How should my child prepare for the Pre-Tests?

Additional test practice is not a requirement of the ISEB Pre-Tests. The Pre-Tests have been designed to include content from the national curriculum, and therefore your child should learn everything required as part of their schooling. However, we understand that many families may choose to engage in additional practice for the ISEB Pre-Tests at home.

At ISEB, we advocate a holistic approach to preparation and practice for all our examinations and qualifications and aim to encourage a balanced, sustainable approach to preparation.

As such, we have produced a wide range of free guides and resources specific to the ISEB Pre-Tests and will continue to add to this bank over the coming months. In response to requests from parents and schools, we have also endorsed a test practice platform that we feel is the most suitable for children preparing for the Pre-Tests, Bond Online Premium Plus. You can find out more about Bond Online Premium Plus, delivered in partnership with CENTURY and Bond (Oxford University Press), below.

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

ISEB recommends pupils use the free ISEB Test Walkthrough to familiarise themselves with the test platform, explore the accessibility features, and see the styles of questions that might be asked during the test.


ISEB Pre-Tests: Information for Parents

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ISEB Pre-Tests: Preparation

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The step-by-step process for SEND

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ISEB Pre-Tests: Test Framework

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ISEB Pre-Tests: SEND Guidance

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Non-verbal reasoning postcard - Odd One Out

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Non-verbal reasoning postcard - Odd One Out

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Non-verbal reasoning postcard - Odd One Out

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Non-verbal reasoning postcard - Find the Twin

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Non-verbal reasoning postcard - Find the Twin

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Non-verbal reasoning postcard - How Many Blocks?

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Test practice

Bond Online Premium Plus

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 is also the only AI-powered test practice platform adapting to the pace of your child, keeping them challenged, engaged and motivated.

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.

Familiarisation with a test player or platform can ease nerves and help to reduce test anxiety. Parents and guardians can explore the free ISEB Test Walkthrough or make use of the mock tests as part of Bond Online Premium Plus to support their child to feel confident in their assessment.

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

The ISEB Parent Power Toolkit

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.

Find out more about Part 1: Laying the Foundations and Part 2: Sustainable Revision now.

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, maths, 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 tests are designed in such a way that repeated practice will not continuously improve performance. However, it is important for applicants’ confidence that they are familiar with the nature and style of the tests and we provide a short familiarisation for this purpose.

    The familiarisation test can also be used to check any adjustments that may be needed for SEND candidates prior to 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?

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

    We encourage parents and guardians to be thorough when evaluating test practice or preparation platforms. Your child’s school will also be able to advise the best course of action.

    ISEB endorses Bond Online Premium Plus as we have worked with CENTURY and Bond (Oxford University Press) to develop the questions and mock tests, and we believe it most closely resembles the structure and format of the 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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