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International School Entrance Assessment

Gavin had his entrance assessment yesterday for an international school. I have been anxious for a while about what they would want to “test” him on and whether he would perform on the day. Although I knew he could cope with the tests, being a child of his own mind, he could either choose to charm the teachers with his wit or he could aggravate them to annoyance with his refusal to cooperate. So hubby and I have been gearing him up for this assessment with the promise of a treat if he did well. I’m glad to say I could not have been prouder of my son.

I must commend the teacher as well because she did a great job of making this series of hoop jumping exercises fun and light hearted. Gavin enjoyed himself and the environment. He was completely sold on the school and wanted to start immediately. I was delighted to see that he clicked well with the teachers and environment. For as much as it was the school’s assessment of him, we, too, were assessing the school and Gavin’s reaction to it.

If you’re a little worried about what the assessment involves, it was actually quite straightforward. This was what we had to do…

The parents had to fill out a form with a list of questions such as:

  • can your child feed himself with a fork and spoon?
  • can your child dress himself?
  • can your child share toys with other children?

Gavin had to do the following:

1. Physical obstacle course – navigate the obstacle course (e.g. throwing a beanbag into a hoop, jumping with two feet, hopping on one foot, running on tiptoe, running in a figure eight, balancing on one foot). He was also asked to walk up and down the stairs (I think this is a requirement because the school is on two levels and the children have to be able to handle the stairs).

2. Fine-motor skills – create a pattern with a mosaic board with pins, e.g. a flower.

3. Create a structure with wooden blocks.

4. Write your name.

5. Write numbers, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…

6. Draw a picture, e.g. a person.

    7. Read out the numbers, e.g. 12, 15, 18, 20.

    8. Label the shapes. He was given a laminated sheet with pictures of shapes and asked what shapes he could recognise, e.g. circle, square, oval, crescent, etc.

    9. Colour matching. He was given another laminated sheet with coloured squares and some coloured squares that he had to match to the coloured squares on the sheet.

    10. Reading. Gavin was invited to select a book and read from it. He read it cover to cover and she asked him a few questions about the story.

    This was the reception assessment. I don’t think the children need to be able to read because I got the sense that the teacher looked surprised when Gavin read the instructions to one of the activities. I explained that he could read so perhaps that might be why she asked him to read the book to her. I think the book reading exercise is more a comprehension test. For example, “Why do you think that was a silly way to hide?” Because he only hid his face and you can still see his body.

    And that was it. Pretty painless.

    Published by Shen-Li

    SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

    4 thoughts on “International School Entrance Assessment

      1. Hi Lydia,

        I do not have the most updated fee structure for Garden. These are the fee structure for 2009/10:

        Application fee (Non-refundable): RM1k
        Registration fee (Non-refundable):
        – Nursery/Reception: RM10k
        – Year 1-13: RM20k (if your child entered in Nursery/reception, you only have to top up another RM10k)

        Tuition Fee (Technology fee) per term:
        – Nursery: RM8305 (RM200)
        – Reception: RM8515 (RM200)
        – Year 1,2: RM9690 (RM350)
        – Year 3,4: RM11060 (RM350)
        – Year 5,6: RM11080 (RM350)
        – Year 7-9: RM13320 (RM400)
        – Year 10,11: RM14730 (RM400)
        – Year 12,13: RM14970 (RM400)

        You also need to pay a deposit but that is refundable.

        The current fee structure for Reception (2011/12) is:
        Application fee: RM1300
        Registration Fee: RM10k
        Tuition Fee (Term 1): RM9965
        Technology Fee (Term 1): RM250


    1. Hi, i have a son who is already 5, and i still find it difficult to teach him to read…do you mind sharing which reading program you go through with your son? i just feel amazed to hear that he can read the instructions of the activities.


      1. Hi Jo – I didn’t have a specific program with my elder son. We did a variety of things – flash cards, reading books, word games. The largest component which I think was responsible was reading together. He loved hearing stories so I would read to him a lot. Jim Trealease, author of The Read Aloud Handbook believes that if all you do is read aloud to your child on a regular basis, he will learn to read. His philosophy was to read three books to your child everyday for a whole year. By the end of the year, you and your child would have read 1000 books together. I never really followed that program but I dare say we did something similar because we read a lot together. My son is 5 and a half now and he loves reading so much, he can come home from school and just read until dinner time.

        My younger son is a lot more active and didn’t really enjoy sitting down to read the same way my elder son did so I needed a different program to get him interested. With a much shorter attention span, I found that flash cards worked really well for him. I’ve been using the Little Reader program with him which he loves. Even though he didn’t enjoy books when he was younger, he is starting to show more interest now and can at least sit through while I read a couple of short stories to him. He has also started recognising words so I believe he is on a similar track as his brother.

        I hope that helps.


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