How I got into Westminster School Sixth Form

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og_ad_informant
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Nikita_2313
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You got 100% on a real TSA paper under exam conditions? So you are saying that at the age of 15 (?) you are already better than most of the Oxford applicants? (The average TSA score for successful Oxford applicant is much lower...). Sorry, but I find it quite hard to believe you.

Certainly, if I'm wrong, then you are probably a genius and a very intelligent person, so I wish you good luck in your studies.
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h3110
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I don't believe that you got 100% on the TSA
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frozenwater
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Agree 100% about preparation. Even if there's no revision list like there is for GCSEs, look at what the style of exams (i.e. application of basic knowledge to more complex problems, grasping new concepts quickly, no past papers etc.) says about what the school is looking for, and prepare for that. In interviews, don't try to pull off the perfect student persona unless you 100% are. They know that most 15 year olds aren't reading university biology textbooks at the weekend. If they find a weakness, don't worry because this is a good opportunity to show how you are planning to better yourself (or even better are already improving yourself, if you have a relevant example).

PS: see you next year?
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og_ad_informant
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(Original post by frozenwater)
Agree 100% about preparation. Even if there's no revision list like there is for GCSEs, look at what the style of exams (i.e. application of basic knowledge to more complex problems, grasping new concepts quickly, no past papers etc.) says about what the school is looking for, and prepare for that. In interviews, don't try to pull off the perfect student persona unless you 100% are. They know that most 15 year olds aren't reading university biology textbooks at the weekend. If they find a weakness, don't worry because this is a good opportunity to show how you are planning to better yourself (or even better are already improving yourself, if you have a relevant example).

PS: see you next year?
Yeah, did you get in for Sixth form or are you a student already there?
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doped
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I got a place at Westminster this year and I agree with basically everything og_ad_informant said. I'm a boy doing competitive subjects (bio, chem, math, econ) and since only around 10 boys get in every year out of the 100+ that apply, I myself also studied for the exams.

(Original post by frozenwater)
Agree 100% about preparation. Even if there's no revision list like there is for GCSEs, look at what the style of exams (i.e. application of basic knowledge to more complex problems, grasping new concepts quickly, no past papers etc.) says about what the school is looking for, and prepare for that. In interviews, don't try to pull off the perfect student persona unless you 100% are. They know that most 15 year olds aren't reading university biology textbooks at the weekend. If they find a weakness, don't worry because this is a good opportunity to show how you are planning to better yourself (or even better are already improving yourself, if you have a relevant example).

PS: see you next year?
Also og_ad_informant and frozenwater - join the facebook group! 'Westminster School 2017 Entry'
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randyorton
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(Original post by doped)
I got a place at Westminster this year and I agree with basically everything og_ad_informant said. I'm a boy doing competitive subjects (bio, chem, math, econ) and since only around 10 boys get in every year out of the 100+ that apply, I myself also studied for the exams.



Also og_ad_informant and frozenwater - join the facebook group! 'Westminster School 2017 Entry'
Ahh Westminster school.... Enjoy the extremely competitive atmosphere and the unbelievably dull vibes that come within. It seems like a horrible school even with the Oxbridge stat...
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doped
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(Original post by timster32)
Ahh Westminster school.... Enjoy the extremely competitive atmosphere and the unbelievably dull vibes that come within. It seems like a horrible school even with the Oxbridge stat...
Why do you think that?
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randyorton
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(Original post by doped)
Why do you think that?
I know that because I have friends who go to the school and have really had to seriously up there game, the school supposedly supports students solely in academics and isn't that bothered about extra-curricular stuff. I've also visited the school before and it just seems devoid of a friendly atmosphere.
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doped
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(Original post by timster32)
I know that because I have friends who go to the school and have really had to seriously up there game, the school supposedly supports students solely in academics and isn't that bothered about extra-curricular stuff. I've also visited the school before and it just seems devoid of a friendly atmosphere.
Well of course, since it's an academically selective school after all. That's the main reason you apply. Although there are quite a lot of extra curricular activities, esp rowing, fencing, music orchestras

Why do you think it's devoid of a friendly atmosphere?
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(Original post by doped)
Well of course, since it's an academically selective school after all. That's the main reason you apply. Although there are quite a lot of extra curricular activities, esp rowing, fencing, music orchestras

Why do you think it's devoid of a friendly atmosphere?
I go to an academically selective school but it still has an atmosphere of competitive but still a place where the people actually have personalities. About 20 Oxbridge candidates came to my school for like this interview day that we do between the schools and when I spoke with some of them, they just seemed too driven, like obviously it's good to be driven but they just seemed to exceed this.

The atmosphere is just too competitive, the people there only care about themselves and being the best, and they aren't that social either. Yeah they play football and stuff too but they don't put THAT much emphasis on EC's, don't get me wrong though, Westminster is an excellent school!
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doped
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(Original post by timster32)
I go to an academically selective school but it still has an atmosphere of competitive but still a place where the people actually have personalities. About 20 Oxbridge candidates came to my school for like this interview day that we do between the schools and when I spoke with some of them, they just seemed too driven, like obviously it's good to be driven but they just seemed to exceed this.

The atmosphere is just too competitive, the people there only care about themselves and being the best, and they aren't that social either. Yeah they play football and stuff too but they don't put THAT much emphasis on EC's, don't get me wrong though, Westminster is an excellent school!
The open day, not the oxbridge rate, was my main motivation for applying to Westminster actually. I found the atmosphere pretty relaxed and everyone seemed to get along well with each other socially and the teachers, something which isn't the case at my current school. When I spoke to the students they each seemed to have unique personalities, ambitions and interests and were able to convey them with not only intelligence but maturity and justified opinions. It was something I really admired, and I wanted to be part of such a community.

Well, everyone's entitled to their own opinion and I'm sorry if the school gave off that impression for you. Perhaps you visited on a bad day?
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randyorton
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(Original post by doped)
The open day, not the oxbridge rate, was my main motivation for applying to Westminster actually. I found the atmosphere pretty relaxed and everyone seemed to get along well with each other socially and the teachers, something which isn't the case at my current school. When I spoke to the students they each seemed to have unique personalities, ambitions and interests and were able to convey them with not only intelligence but maturity and justified opinions. It was something I really admired, and I wanted to be part of such a community.

Well, everyone's entitled to their own opinion and I'm sorry if the school gave off that impression for you. Perhaps you visited on a bad day?
Haha ok I'm glad you enjoyed it anyway, but don't be surprised if you do feel slightly overhwelmed when you get there. I know a guy in your year at Westminster and he just always seems to be working. Went to the same local state school as me too, so we have similar experiences but well done on getting there anyway. I was supposed to apply to go there for 11+ entry but I got into my current school before hand with a better pay package so I never bothered to sit the exam but I would have preferred to go to a day school so your lucky you made the right choice!
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doped
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(Original post by og_ad_informant)
Yeah I'm doing Math and three sciences, which was really competitive. I think this is really the best advice we can give anyone applying. It sucks that I don't have facebook, I only use snapchat and insta lmao. Any other way I could get hooked up with the info on that group?
Get facebook if you can! It doesn't take long, our insta details are in the group
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doped
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(Original post by og_ad_informant)
I'd just like to add something that seems to be coming up a lot.

Yes, Westminster has the highest Oxbridge entrance rate of any school in the world at around 50%. Yes, that is impressive. BUT

No, that is not why most of us who got in at Sixth form want to go there. Motivated, hard working kids with ambition will make it to Oxford, Cambridge or the Ivies no matter which school they go to. That's the premise upon which these prestigious unis are built on. You go there for the experience, being surrounded by competent and equally motivated peers that force you to push yourself and improve in every facet of your life; especially emotionally.

I think if you're looking to go here because of Oxbridge rates, you're unlikely to get accepted in the first place. Just wanted to clear that up.

I hope this helps.
I agree totally. However I do think the Westminster selection process is very similar to that of Oxbridge, and is a microcosm, or a practice run as such, of the real thing. It is basically designed to recruit those who already have potential for Oxbridge. Nevertheless from the open day I don't doubt the quality of the teaching but yes, you are right in that self motivation is key when it comes to Oxbridge.


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Moura
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Do you guys have to pay for it?
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(Original post by og_ad_informant)
Hey guys, I recently got offered a place at Westminster school, I'll be giving you a no-******** approach on how I got in here. I'll offer some tips based on what I saw, and perhaps clarify some doubts in a clear and simple format.

Firstly, since I didn't know the level of competition, I just assumed that everyone applying would be better than me and would have a stronger application than I did, for this is only way of preparing that I can guarantee I will get in. I wanted to get in this school real bad, I was very driven; and that's important for you to be.

I read up a lot about the school, and read many threads on this forum. I took entrance exams in Maths (no Further Maths) and the three sciences. Everywhere I looked, people said "you can't study for them" and "they test innate ability to think". That's bull. I finished the GCSE syllabi for these 4 subjects, and then learnt some basic A level concepts to improve my understanding and ability to grasp new concepts. You can prepare for everything, remember that. To anyone serious about getting in I recommend doing the same, as I found it quite helpful.

I went to the entrance exams slightly intimidated by the 1000 people that were there. Nevertheless, I think I scored 95-100% in Maths, Biology, Physics, but the Chemistry exam was much harder. I think I scored around 75-85% in that. Though many students are shown their scores in the interviews, I was not, since I didn't many many mistakes in these papers. The studying I did for these exams was somewhat helpful. While most of what I studied didn't come up at all, some small bits did, and the studying improved my ability to grasp concepts - which was key. There will be kids coming out of the exams cocky about how easy it was. Ignore them. I came out of the Chemistry exam shuddering and asked people whether they too found it difficult, and most said it was fairly straightforward. I saw none of those kids at the interviews.

I was later invited for interviews, which consist of the TSA, the general interview, and subject specific interviews. The TSA is the most important of these, and then the general interview. The subject specific interviews are not that important, and they are used merely to check you're teachable and competent. Since Westminter prides itself on it's astonishing Oxbridge entrance rates, it uses the TSA (Oxbridge entrance exam) to check whether candidates will get in there. Every day for 2 weeks before the interviews, I got up and did past papers for 2 hours before school, came back and did research to prepare for the subject specific interviews, then spent time thinking about why I wanted to go to Westminster for the general interview. I also spent time learning current affairs so I could hold a conversation. This amount of work is by no means necessary, but is what I did, so others you are competing against might be doing, too.

The preparation I did for the TSA by doing all the Oxbridge past papers was super helpful, and I think it's the reason why I got close to 100% on the TSA. Note that the TSA paper they make you sit isn't a full Oxbridge paper, but a shorter one which is slightly easier. I also learnt a lot about the school, a little about it's history and it's faculty. An example of why is in my general interview. When asked why I want to come to Westminster, I brought up the schools involvement in an international debate competition. You should show badly you want to be there by telling the interviewer stuff about the school they don't even know.

My tips can be summarised in one overly trite sentence. Work hard, work smart, and relax on the day knowing you have outworked the competition. Learn current affairs and research your chosen subjects and the school well. Not everything you learn will be useful, neither should you try make it so; but if you have the opportunity to showcase a little of what you've learnt, it'll all be worth it. Anyways, that's how I prepared, and I feel that's the only way that you're guaranteed entry. I hope this was helpful.
How can this be true, i did entrance exams in the same subjects and i knew most of my syllabus and i still didnt get in and i revised for a long time! Are you doing the GCSE or IGCSE? Hardly any content on those exams had anything to do with the gcse, thats how it felt for me. The physics exam was ridiculous I had no clue what it was asking em most of the time. For chemistry i assumed some of the stuff was to do with hydrocarbons or something like that, and it was hard and the biology maybe the only thing related with gcse biology was when they asked about ways to prevent pathogens getting into your body, something along those lines. And maths, there was no enough time and the question were like 8 lines each, i prefer more pure maths then wordy questions i dont think any of my gcse maths helped me in that exam. I agree with other people, sorry but i think the exam is how you think and about luck, as a lightbulb might come on in your head or you might be starring at a question for hours and still your head will be blank. That exam hall, was just full of people who go to private school and most people done the igcse which i dont think was fair.I still have no idea how you could have prepared, i tried this preparation thing and even if i prepared for 1 year i dont think i would have got in. And im not dumb or anything like that, not the smartest person but im not completely dumb lets just sayAlso do you attend private school or grammar or comprehensive school?.Anyways congratulations on your success.
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doped
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(Original post by Moura)
Do you guys have to pay for it?
Pay for what, the school? Yes we do, but I have a generous bursary :-)


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doped
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(Original post by Anonymous1502)
How can this be true, i did entrance exams in the same subjects and i knew most of my syllabus and i still didnt get in and i revised for a long time! Are you doing the GCSE or IGCSE? Hardly any content on those exams had anything to do with the gcse, thats how it felt for me. The physics exam was ridiculous I had no clue what it was asking em most of the time. For chemistry i assumed some of the stuff was to do with hydrocarbons or something like that, and it was hard and the biology maybe the only thing related with gcse biology was when they asked about ways to prevent pathogens getting into your body, something along those lines. And maths, there was no enough time and the question were like 8 lines each, i prefer more pure maths then wordy questions i dont think any of my gcse maths helped me in that exam. I agree with other people, sorry but i think the exam is how you think and about luck, as a lightbulb might come on in your head or you might be starring at a question for hours and still your head will be blank. That exam hall, was just full of people who go to private school and most people done the igcse which i dont think was fair.I still have no idea how you could have prepared, i tried this preparation thing and even if i prepared for 1 year i dont think i would have got in. And im not dumb or anything like that, not the smartest person but im not completely dumb lets just sayAlso do you attend private school or grammar or comprehensive school?.Anyways congratulations on your success.
I attend a normal comprehensive state school. Of course it wouldn't be routine GCSE questions, you need to do other preparation like practicing BMAT papers.


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(Original post by doped)
I attend a normal comprehensive state school. Of course it wouldn't be routine GCSE questions, you need to do other preparation like practicing BMAT papers.


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BMAT papers, thats for medicine, what does that have to do with biology, not everyone applying for biology wants to do medicine?:confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused::confused:
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