How should my child prepare for the Pre-Tests?

The Pre-Tests are based on the national curriculum, so your child will be prepared through their schooling and additional preparation is not a requirement.

Some families wish to build on this with preparation activities at home and to support this; ISEB provides a range of tools and resources to encourage a balanced and sustainable approach to preparation which you can explore on this page below.

Please note that the only test practice platform we endorse is Bond Online Premium Plus, as it is the only platform that includes verified questions and mock tests provided by us.

We believe pupil wellbeing should be at the heart of assessment and we work closely with schools to ensure that the overall test experience is positive and as stress-free as possible for the children taking them.

We hope that by highlighting these resources here, families will feel supported and empowered during their admissions journey and test experience.


The ISEB Pre-Tests Walkthrough

The ISEB Pre-Tests are completed using an online test player. It can be beneficial for pupils to familiarise themself with the online test player in advance of their live tests, and you can do so for free using the Pre-Tests Walkthrough.

The walkthrough allows pupils to experience the test player as it will be on the day and to experiment with the accessibility features available to decide what will work best for them.


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Test practice

Authentic and accurate premium test practice

Many products claim to offer the best way to prepare for ISEB’s Pre-Tests. These products often claim to provide an authentic experience, through questions and mock tests that closely align to the Pre-Tests. In all but one case (Bond Online Premium Plus), ISEB has not worked with these companies, and has not supplied any questions or information about our test player to them.

As a direct result of feedback from families and schools, we have worked with Bond, Oxford University Press, and CENTURY to develop and introduce the only ISEB-endorsed test practice platform, Bond Online Premium Plus.

Bond Online Premium Plus contains thousands of questions provided by ISEB, all of which are in line with the topics for the 2024-25 testing session. Parents and guardians can support their child through the Guardian Dashboard and assign mock tests to assess current knowledge and identify areas for improvement.

Bond Online Premium Plus has been quality-checked and verified by ISEB for its accuracy, and it is the most authentic test preparation platform available.

Bond Online Premium Plus

Bond Online Premium Plus has been created by CENTURY Tech and Bond, Oxford University Press, to offer practice for the ISEB Pre-Tests.

We made the decision to endorse this product following requests from parents, guardians, teachers and schools for a quality-assured and accurate test platform for the ISEB Pre-Tests.

Bond Online Premium Plus is the only endorsed test practice platform and features verified questions from ISEB all of which have been rigorously tested to ensure they are high-quality and appropriate for the upcoming testing session.

You can try it free for 7 days and cancel your subscription anytime.

Key Features

Bond Online Premium Plus is the only online test practice platform with questions and mock tests created and endorsed by ISEB.

The platform utilises CENTURY’s award-winning AI technology and accurately reflects the test experience.

Mock tests, available on Bond Online Premium Plus, have been built to mirror the live test experience and, in partnership with bespoke learning suggestions and the engaging lesson content available on the platform, can ease nerves and help to reduce test anxiety.

Why ISEB works with CENTURY and Bond

ISEB have been working closely with CENTURY since 2021 when the new ISEB Common Pre-Tests were launched, utilising their award-winning AI technology.

CENTURY developed and maintain the ISEB Pre-Tests platform and therefore have an excellent understanding of the test player, format, and the type of questions children will answer.

Bond, Oxford University Press, are globally renowned for their practice and preparation materials for a wide range of tests and assessments. Celebrating 60 years in 2024, they are seen as the gold standard of resources and test prep provision.

Wellbeing in assessment

Prioritising child wellbeing

We have been working closely with parenting expert Dr Kathy Weston, creator and founder of Tooled Up Education, to produce a set of premium resources designed to help families navigate periods of stress and worry. The four-part Parent Power Toolkit is specifically focused on helping parents and guardians to prepare their children for their whole admissions journey, not just for the test or exam.

We have endeavoured to keep the Parent Power Toolkit affordable, to ensure that as many families as possible can benefit from the invaluable research-backed advice and practical activities provided. Each pack provides at least six specially-created, premium video or PDF resources, and some packs also contain additional articles.

The Parent Power Toolkit

ISEB has been working with Dr Kathy Weston and Tooled Up Education to produce a four-part Parent Power Toolkit to support parents in helping their child navigate their admissions journey.

The Parent Power Toolkit has been designed to give agency to parents and guardians, ensuring they have the strategies and knowledge to prioritise their child’s mental health and wellbeing during stressful periods. Material has been developed to be flexible and easy to integrate into busy family life, prioritising a healthy balance between revision and relaxation.

All four parts of the Parent Power Toolkit are available now!

Click to find out more:

Part 1: Laying the Foundations

Part 2: Sustainable Revision

Part 3: Preparation

Part 4: Looking Forward

What is Tooled Up Education?

Tooled Up Education is the leading digital platform used by school communities and organisations to disseminate evidence-based resources to parents, carers and those who support and educate children. Their focus is supporting all aspects of parenting, education and family life.

Tooled Up Education was created and founded by Dr Kathy Weston.

Tooled Up is an ideal partner for the exam board of the independent sector and exemplifies ISEB’s commitment to supporting children, parents, and families to navigate their admissions journey in full, not just ahead of the exam.

Who is Dr Kathy Weston?

Dr Kathy Weston is the founder of Tooled Up Education. She holds a Masters and Doctorate from the University of Cambridge and was an education and policy researcher for over ten years.

In addition to founding Tooled Up Education, Dr Weston has also co-authored two books on “Engaging Parents” for Bloomsbury (2018; 2020) with Professor Janet Goodall.

Preparation FAQs

  • How do the ISEB Pre-Tests work?

    The ISEB Pre-Tests are online, multiple-choice tests and are taken on a computer. There are four tests: English, mathematics, verbal reasoning (VR) and non-verbal reasoning (NVR).

    Each question is answered by choosing an answer from a selection shown on the screen. Each question must be answered, and applicants cannot go back to previous questions.

    The tests are designed to identify attainment and potential.

  • What is an 'adaptive' test?

    An adaptive test is one where the questions are tailored to the pupil. This means each child is shown questions based on their in-test performance, which ensures that the difficulty remains at the right level so that each child can perform to the best of their abilities, without losing confidence. In an adaptive test, pupils may be presented with different numbers of questions than other children, but this ensures the test remains the right length for each child.

  • How long are the tests?

    The standard test length for each subject is:

    • English – 40 minutes
    • Mathematics – 40 minutes
    • Non-verbal reasoning – 30 minutes
    • Verbal reasoning – 25 minutes

    The total assessment length is 2 hours 15 minutes.

    These test lengths have been designed to allow pupils the optimum time to complete the tests. Some pupils may not need the full time for the tests. Others may have agreed extra time as confirmed by the senior school to which they are applying.

    ISEB ensures that the length of the test is optimised to provide an accurate score for every pupil and allows for any errors uncharacteristic of the general level of ability shown in a pupils’ responses.

  • What material can my child use during the tests?

    Textbooks, calculators, mobile devices, or other materials which might assist a candidate will not be accessible during the ISEB Pre-Tests.

    Applicants should have access to pen/pencil and paper for their rough work during the tests. It is the responsibility of the invigilation centre to provide pen/pencil and paper.

  • How many questions will my child answer?

    Children are encouraged to work steadily through each test module and should try to answer all the questions they meet. The time allowance for each module has been carefully designed to give applicants time to consider their answers.

  • What happens when my child answers all the questions?

    When all the questions have been answered, the test module will automatically end.

  • Why is familiarisation recommended?

    The ISEB Pre-Tests are mapped to the national curriculum and therefore your child should cover all the topics needed in their current schooling.

    The tests have been designed to allow pupils to demonstrate their ability (English and mathematics tests) and potential (verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests).

    Familiarisation activities can help reduce test anxiety and overall stress, ensuring pupils are confident when approaching their live tests.

    As an online test, familiarisation can also help pupils build confidence navigating the digital test platform and offer the opportunity to test adjustable features.

    ISEB recommends that families use the Pre-Tests Walkthrough to explore the test player interface, try out the different accessibility options, and see the styles and types of questions that might be presented in the live tests.

  • How do the tests assess attainment?

    The English and mathematics tests are designed in line with topics and knowledge that pupils will be taught in class. They, therefore, assess a child’s ability to recall what they have been taught and apply this knowledge to solve problems in core areas of the curriculum.

  • How do the tests assess potential?

    The verbal reasoning (VR) and non-verbal reasoning (NVR) tests enable pupils to demonstrate their academic potential through a range of question types that may be unfamiliar to them. It is the pupils’ ability to analyse, think creatively and critically, find patterns, and problem-solve that is assessed. These abilities are important indicators of potential as they indicate a pupil’s ability to acquire new information and apply this to situations they have not previously come across.

  • Can I use a different test practice platform?

    Many products claim to offer the best way to prepare for ISEB’s Pre-Tests.

    You can familiarise your child with the test experience for free, using our ISEB Pre-Tests Walkthrough.

    This allows pupils to experience the test player as it will be on the day and to experiment with the accessibility features available to decide what will work best for them.

    The only Pre-Tests practice platform endorsed by ISEB is Bond Online Premium Plus. This is because it is the only platform that contains thousands of questions provided by ISEB and has been quality-checked by our product experts.

    ISEB cannot guarantee the accuracy of any other third-party platforms offering test practice or preparation for the ISEB Pre-Tests.

    If you are at all confused or would like specific guidance regarding external products, please contact our team through the Customer Support Portal, who will be happy to help.


The Pre-Tests Knowledge Base

To access a range of support articles, videos and FAQs about using the Guardian Portal and registering your child for the tests, visit our Common Pre-Tests Knowledge Base. You can also contact us with any queries you might have by submitting a ticket.


Registering for the Pre-Tests

Access information for parents and guardians registering children for the ISEB Pre-Tests, as well as important information about test scheduling, special arrangements, and finding an invigilation centre.

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