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# Harris Westminster Entrance Exams Watch

I can only speak for maths since that's the entrance examination I did. To prepare, ensure that your algebra is on-point. Make sure you can do simultaneous equations fast and efficiently. Your ability to rearrange equations should be fluid and seamless, and so should factorising. Ultimately, the test will ask you to think. It won't test your advanced mathematics knowledge (they won't ask you to perform calculus or solve a theorem), but they will test your ability to produce logical and sound methods to get through a tricky problem.

Also, my personal bit of advice is to always use algebra and numbers wherever possible. You may struggle to read a question and decipher how to answer it, but it will almost always seem clearer to you if you represent the information algebraically. Also, if the algebra doesn't seem to be in the 'correct form', try to manipulate it. Factorise it. Rearrange it. Substitute random numbers. I've found that whilst I manipulate, it becomes clearer to extrapolate the proper information.

Apart from that, read the questions carefully and triple-check. The test's designed to weed out the best thinkers, so don't allow minor mistakes to make yourself look like a weaker candidate.
Thank you, this has been very useful I will definitely brush up on my skills. How are you finding the school so far?
I can only speak for maths since that's the entrance examination I did. To prepare, ensure that your algebra is on-point. Make sure you can do simultaneous equations fast and efficiently. Your ability to rearrange equations should be fluid and seamless, and so should factorising. Ultimately, the test will ask you to think. It won't test your advanced mathematics knowledge (they won't ask you to perform calculus or solve a theorem), but they will test your ability to produce logical and sound methods to get through a tricky problem.

Also, my personal bit of advice is to always use algebra and numbers wherever possible. You may struggle to read a question and decipher how to answer it, but it will almost always seem clearer to you if you represent the information algebraically. Also, if the algebra doesn't seem to be in the 'correct form', try to manipulate it. Factorise it. Rearrange it. Substitute random numbers. I've found that whilst I manipulate, it becomes clearer to extrapolate the proper information.

Apart from that, read the questions carefully and triple-check. The test's designed to weed out the best thinkers, so don't allow minor mistakes to make yourself look like a weaker candidate.
This seems like great advice! Thank you
3. I'm going to the open evening tomorrow.... I'd like to study french, geography, biology and PTE, anyone currently study those subjects?
Thank you, this has been very useful I will definitely brush up on my skills. How are you finding the school so far?
There's a lot to talk about regarding HWSF. I've been asked the question multiple times, and I always struggle to properly articulate how I feel about the school. Before I go into the details, let me first preface the question by saying it's a very good school, and I'm glad that I came here as opposed to Dartford Grammar.

Firstly, let's talk about the location of it. The school's main 'selling point' is that it's located in Westminster; adjacent to Parliament square, the Big Ben, and other recognizable landmarks. It's quite surreal to be able to travel there each morning, to be frank. Westminster is enthralled as an important political marker -- it has a very 'British' feel to it. Because of this, you will walk into school almost with an obligation to work hard and conduct a standard of etiquette. The surroundings and concious feeling of importance will help carry you to higher personal and academic standards.

The quality of teaching is quite good also. Each teacher is extremely well-versed in their respective subject, as you might expect. Most teachers are OxBridge educated, and some hold PhDs from the best universities in the world. That being said, not all of the teachers are amazing; some, whilst holding prestigious degrees, aren't that good at teaching. Hence, you may find yourself having to reinforce some of the concepts you were taught simply because they weren't adequately explained to you.

As for the building, it's very narrow and claustrophobic. The classrooms are large enough, but the hallways are skinny. There isn't much 'openness', which is inherently due to the fact that it is located in Westminster. It's a worthy sacrifice, however.

My final point is the way the school cultivates interests. I enjoyed maths before I joined the school, but after spending a while exposed to some of the more advanced concepts, everything started to make sense. I now understand maths how it should be, which was something that GCSEs and my terrible old school couldn't come close to achieving. This is partly due to the A-level syllabus and its leap in terms of interesting content, but main credit goes to the maths department of the school and how well it cultivates the interest of mathematics.

All-in-all, a fine institution to study at.
5. I'm going to the open evening tomorrow.
As for the building, it's very narrow and claustrophobic. The classrooms are large enough, but the hallways are skinny.
Being an ex-pupil, I must admit that it was decently sized when I attended HWSF. Not too sure what it's like now, though, with hundreds more pupils.

That being said, not all of the teachers are amazing; some, whilst holding prestigious degrees, aren't that good at teaching. Hence, you may find yourself having to reinforce some of the concepts you were taught simply because they weren't adequately explained to you.
Again, being an ex-pupil is coming in handy to voice my honest opinion on this. Having come from a private school, in all honesty I expected Harris Westminster to lack that quality of teaching that I received at my previous school. Oh dear God, how wrong I was.

I found the teaching quality to be second-to-none, with total dedication from each staff member into everything they taught. Still one of the best schools I think I've ever attended.
There's a lot to talk about regarding HWSF. I've been asked the question multiple times, and I always struggle to properly articulate how I feel about the school. Before I go into the details, let me first preface the question by saying it's a very good school, and I'm glad that I came here as opposed to Dartford Grammar.

Firstly, let's talk about the location of it. The school's main 'selling point' is that it's located in Westminster; adjacent to Parliament square, the Big Ben, and other recognizable landmarks. It's quite surreal to be able to travel there each morning, to be frank. Westminster is enthralled as an important political marker -- it has a very 'British' feel to it. Because of this, you will walk into school almost with an obligation to work hard and conduct a standard of etiquette. The surroundings and concious feeling of importance will help carry you to higher personal and academic standards.

The quality of teaching is quite good also. Each teacher is extremely well-versed in their respective subject, as you might expect. Most teachers are OxBridge educated, and some hold PhDs from the best universities in the world. That being said, not all of the teachers are amazing; some, whilst holding prestigious degrees, aren't that good at teaching. Hence, you may find yourself having to reinforce some of the concepts you were taught simply because they weren't adequately explained to you.

As for the building, it's very narrow and claustrophobic. The classrooms are large enough, but the hallways are skinny. There isn't much 'openness', which is inherently due to the fact that it is located in Westminster. It's a worthy sacrifice, however.

My final point is the way the school cultivates interests. I enjoyed maths before I joined the school, but after spending a while exposed to some of the more advanced concepts, everything started to make sense. I now understand maths how it should be, which was something that GCSEs and my terrible old school couldn't come close to achieving. This is partly due to the A-level syllabus and its leap in terms of interesting content, but main credit goes to the maths department of the school and how well it cultivates the interest of mathematics.

All-in-all, a fine institution to study at.
Wow! Yeah i noticed how the hallways were quite skinny
Good thing that the teachers are great, i think that was my main worry
8. Going to the open day on Saturday, if I apply it'll be for Maths, Further Maths, Physics and French with exams in Maths and French, not decided on my interview subject yet...

Does anyone know what the language interviews are like? Speaking in French is probably my weakest area so if it's anything like that I'll pick Maths haha

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9. (Original post by Vanilla Cupcake)
Going to the open day on Saturday, if I apply it'll be for Maths, Further Maths, Physics and French with exams in Maths and French, not decided on my interview subject yet...
I just got back from the open day and it looked amazing! How did you find it?
I chose pretty similar subjects to you (except with chemistry instead of french).
10. (Original post by queen_kay)
I just got back from the open day and it looked amazing! How did you find it?
I chose pretty similar subjects to you (except with chemistry instead of french).
I'm also going maths further maths physics and chemistry
11. (Original post by kennethdcharles)
I'm also going maths further maths physics and chemistry
It seems like a very popular set of subjects Two of my best friends want to take the same ones.
12. (Original post by queen_kay)
It seems like a very popular set of subjects Two of my best friends want to take the same ones.
I've also noticed that; at the open evening a lot of prospective students wanted to do it and many of the current students also did it. My favourite is physics, closely followed by maths. What about you?
13. (Original post by kennethdcharles)
I've also noticed that; at the open evening a lot of prospective students wanted to do it and many of the current students also did it. My favourite is physics, closely followed by maths. What about you?
Same, physics then maths. Although I'm actually better at maths than physics, I just find the topics in physics more interesting. I'm hoping the two subjects become more closely linked at A-level.
What subjects are you choosing for the entrance exams and the interview on your application?
14. (Original post by queen_kay)
Same, physics then maths. Although I'm actually better at maths than physics, I just find the topics in physics more interesting. I'm hoping the two subjects become more closely linked at A-level.
What subjects are you choosing for the entrance exams and the interview on your application?
Physics for the interview and maths and physics for the entrance exam. What about you?
15. (Original post by kennethdcharles)
Physics for the interview and maths and physics for the entrance exam. What about you?
I picked almost the same as you - physics for the interview and maths and chemistry for the exams, purely because I did better in chemistry than physics in my GCSEs last year and I feel like I have a better understanding of the basics of the subject.
What did you think of the school on the open evening?
I can only speak for maths since that's the entrance examination I did. To prepare, ensure that your algebra is on-point. Make sure you can do simultaneous equations fast and efficiently. Your ability to rearrange equations should be fluid and seamless, and so should factorising. Ultimately, the test will ask you to think. It won't test your advanced mathematics knowledge (they won't ask you to perform calculus or solve a theorem), but they will test your ability to produce logical and sound methods to get through a tricky problem.

Also, my personal bit of advice is to always use algebra and numbers wherever possible. You may struggle to read a question and decipher how to answer it, but it will almost always seem clearer to you if you represent the information algebraically. Also, if the algebra doesn't seem to be in the 'correct form', try to manipulate it. Factorise it. Rearrange it. Substitute random numbers. I've found that whilst I manipulate, it becomes clearer to extrapolate the proper information.

Apart from that, read the questions carefully and triple-check. The test's designed to weed out the best thinkers, so don't allow minor mistakes to make yourself look like a weaker candidate.

Are the sample exams on the website a good replica of the real exams or are they much harder??
17. (Original post by queen_kay)
I picked almost the same as you - physics for the interview and maths and chemistry for the exams, purely because I did better in chemistry than physics in my GCSEs last year and I feel like I have a better understanding of the basics of the subject.
What did you think of the school on the open evening?
I thought it was a really good and nice school. I liked the location and the principle seemed very nice 😊
18. How did you guys like the open day? I remember some students coming into our classes whilst they were going on and they looked so nervous
19. (Original post by amarocks88)
Are the sample exams on the website a good replica of the real exams or are they much harder??
Maths: the ones uploaded on the website are easier in my opinions. The questions are more straight-forward and the methods used to find the solutions to the questions are much more apparent and obvious. On the test, there are a lot more purposeful questions; ones that require more 'thinking' and logic. I feel as though the ones uploaded on the website are similar to GCSE questions, whereas the actual test questions are more akin to a Maths challenge, if that makes sense.

Physics: website one is much more difficult. The actual physics test was difficult (harder than maths), but much more straight-forward than the website. Also, little of the test contained material we'd learned in GCSE at the time; a good 80% of the questions were testing logical ability. Hence, don't get hung-up trying to remember the exact keywords/definitions in your revision guide. Instead, spend that time doing maths revision. Similar to the actual A-level the physics test contained quite a bit of maths, so ensure that your algebra is good.

Keep in mind, the website-uploaded questions are 2 years old, I did this test itself a year ago -- a lot may have changed.

EDIT: just realized that they've changed the physics paper on the website. It looks easier. The maths has remained the same.

EDIT 2: just realized that the content will test knowledge on year 10-11 topics. When I did the test, it was on 9-10 topics. Disregard my opinion; it's probably obsolete by now.
20. (Original post by queen_kay)
I just got back from the open day and it looked amazing! How did you find it?
I chose pretty similar subjects to you (except with chemistry instead of french).
(Original post by liquidconfidence)
How did you guys like the open day? I remember some students coming into our classes whilst they were going on and they looked so nervous
I really enjoyed the open day! I had a nice guide and I liked the atmosphere, it seemed like everyone wanted to learn and was engaged with their subjects. The principal did seem very big on the 'learning is amazing' phrase haha

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