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the wise owl tutor kent


What is the Kent Test?

I get many enquiries about the Kent Test and many parents (and children) don’t really understand what it is or what it entails. Read my introduction to the test below to find out more.

The Kent test is designed to assess whether grammar school is a suitable option for your child. In Kent, we have two types of secondary schools: grammar and high schools. The test is designed to find out what sort of learner your child is and what type of school would be the best fit for them.

The test itself isn’t compulsory and your child doesn’t have to sit it if you have no interest in a grammar school place. To sit the test, you must register your child. This usually happens between June and July. They will sit the test at the start of Year 6.

I remember only too well from when my son, Charlie, was sitting the Kent Test that preparing your child for the Kent Test is such a tricky balancing act. You want to support them so that they have the skills needed to pass the test but you don’t want them to suffer burn out due to excessive revision and pressure.

If you want to prepare your child for the test, Year 5 is the perfect time to begin. Formal preparation before this really isn’t necessary and so much can be done at home! Take a look at ‘Having Fun with Kent Test Practice’ for ideas of the games and activities you can do with your child.

One of my mottos is ‘little and often’. Your child will stay much more engaged during shorter, more focussed study sessions.

It is also vital that your child has plenty of downtime on the lead-up to the test. This includes time AWAY from screens (I’ll leave you to battle that one out!) and plenty of time getting exercise, being out in the fresh air or doing something creative.

Many parents and children get really worried about the test and build it up into this HUGE thing. There really is no need. Remember, it’s about finding the right fit for your child, which may or may not be a grammar school.

The test itself contains two multiple choice papers and a written task all of which are completed on the same day. If you live in Kent, your child will complete the test at their school. If you live outside of Kent, the test will usually take place on the weekend immediately after the Kent test at a designated test centre.

On the day of the test, the first paper you will do is Paper 1: English and Maths. You will have a booklet to work through and you will have 25 minutes to work through the English and 25 minutes to work through the Maths. All of the questions will be multiple choice and you will mark your answers on a separate answer sheet. The English test consists of comprehension, spelling, punctuation and grammar while the maths test will contain around 25 problem solving questions.

You will have a short break before being given Paper 2: Reasoning. Again, these will be multiple choice and you will mark your answers on the separate answer sheet provided. The paper is split into Verbal Reasoning, Spatial Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning. You will have about 1 hour to complete the reasoning questions but this is split up into smaller amounts of time, including practice questions. The Verbal Reasoning will take about 20 minutes while the Spatial and Non-Verbal Reasoning are divided into about 5 sub-tests. The aim for BOTH papers is to answer as many questions as you can.

It is important to understand that the test is NOT marked in person but by a very clever marking machine- hence the separate answer sheet. It can take a little practice to get used to recording your answers in this way.

Here are some examples of the sorts of reasoning questions you may encounter:

Verbal Reasoning:

In these questions, the same letter must fit both sets of brackets, to complete the word in front of the brackets and begin the word after the brackets.

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The answer is h (the four new words are dish, hurt, much and hole).
In these questions, there are two pairs of words. Only one of the five possible answers will go equally well with both these pairs.

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The answer is trip. The word ‘trip’ can mean losing your balance (fall/stumble) and also to go somewhere (journey/ outing).

Spatial Reasoning:

These questions contain hidden shapes. The shape on the left is the target. The target is hidden in one of the five shapes to the right of the line. It is exactly the same size and the same way round where it is hidden. All of the sides of the target must be visible in the shape where it is hiding. Choose which of the five shapes contains the hidden target.

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The answer is e. The hidden target is shown in bold below so that you can clearly see this.

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Non-Verbal Reasoning:

Find the odd one out There are five figures. Find the figure that is most unlike the other four.

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The answer is b because all of the shapes are divided in half with one half striped except b which has more than half striped, so b is the odd one out.

The final task you’ll be asked to complete is a short writing task. You will be given a selection of prompts and you will have the choice of whichever one will best showcase your writing skills. This could be a persuasive letter, a newspaper report, a short story or to complete a story. You will have a total of 40 minutes (so not long!). 10 minutes to plan what you are going to write and 30 minutes to write.

A few weeks after the test, in October, you will receive your results via email. This will let you know which type of secondary school is best for you.

I really hope that all makes sense and has helped to clear the minefield of information that you can very easily get bogged down with!

If you would like me to clarify anything or you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Kindest regards,


External Links:

KCC Kent Test important information: places/kent-test

KCC Kent Test familiarisation booklet: familiarisation-booklet.pdf

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