The 13+ scholarship exam is fiercely competitive and intellectually demanding. With the toughest scholarship papers demanding the standard of a good GCSE student, candidates must be performing above the level that they have been prepared by their prep school. Less formulaic than many public examinations, the scholarship paper is designed for the most able students to display their innate ability. The paper seeks to test applicants beyond rote learning and memorisation of facts. Consequently, as well as ensuring our students are comfortable with the relevant content, we like to focus on developing lateral thought and critical reasoning among our students, and nurture a willingness to question information with which they are presented.
While our tutors rigorously prepare students for their exams, they always keep a careful eye on the interview, a key stage in the scholarship examination process. Interviewers want to see an intellectual curiosity that goes far beyond the applicant’s peers and a raw intelligence that can be nurtured at school. We see the 13+ scholarship interview as an Oxbridge interview for young people. Teachers and Oxford dons alike are looking for the same thing: an interest in academia and the potential to excel. It helps that the majority of our tutors are Oxford and Cambridge graduates, who will explore key philosophical and political concepts with our students, and encourage them to formulate their own opinions, listen to other people’s ideas and defend their views.
To date, Pembroke has helped students win scholarships at Eton College, Winchester College, Westminster School, St Paul’s School, King’s College School, Wimbledon, St Paul’s Girls’ School and St Mary’s School, Ascot, among others. We are confident that we are doing something right!