Boarding School Admissions Preparation Course

In order to secure admission into a prestigious boarding school in the UK, aspiring students must successfully complete three essential stages: Registration, Entrance exam (UKiset/ CAT4/ ISEB) & Interview Progressing through these stages is critical, as each one is a prerequisite for the next. To ensure the highest chance of admission, it is important for students not to falter at any point during this process.

Our Tutors

Our tutorial programmes are delivered in person or online, led by tutors hailing from prestigious G5 universities. These tutors boast outstanding academic profiles and proven track records of elevating students' scores in as little as six months, enabling them to secure coveted spots in top UK independent schools. With a wealth of experience and exceptional academic backgrounds, our tutors are well-equipped to guide you through every aspect of the test and interview while imparting valuable tips for success.

Types of Entrance Exam:

CAT4 (Cognitive Abilities Test), ISEB (Independent Schools Examinations Board) and UKiset are among the most common assessments used in the UK independent school application process.


  • The CAT4 is designed to give a rounded profile of a student’s ability and learning style, by measuring their strengths and areas for improvement across 4 different batteries: Verbal Reasoning, Non-Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Spatial Ability.
  • CAT4 can be taken at different stages, and schools may administer it during the admissions process. Schools will set their own deadlines, students will be notified in due course if the CAT4 is part of the application process, and when to take it.
  • Certain schools use CAT4 to assess students’ academic potential, or further down the line for placing students into sets according to their ability.

ISEB Common Pre-Tests:

  • The ISEB Common Pre-Tests are adaptive computerised tests assessing student’s English, Maths, Verbal Reasoning and Non-verbal Reasoning ability.
  • They are typically taken by students at 11+ or 13+ entry level. The results are standardised to account for age variations across the school year, to ensure that older pupils in the cohort do not gain an advantage over younger ones.
  • The exact timing of the tests may vary depending on each individual school’s application process. Students should check with their desired schools to determine whether and when they require these tests, and plan accordingly.


  • UKiset is an adaptive assessment used by many UK boarding schools, and is often an initial screening tool in the admissions process for overseas applicants, to identify suitable candidates and help schools and families make informed decisions about their best-fit educational institutions. It is designed to indicate a student’s academic potential and English language skills.
  • After completion, students will receive a UKiset profile. It is a report that includes scores in the Verbal, Non-verbal and Mathematical Reasoning tests and their CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) level in English Reading and Listening.

Note: UKiset is not a replacement for the ISEB. It is a separate assessment that complements the application process.

Boarding School Admissions Preparation Course Courses

GCSE and A-Level Booster

Minimum Hours: 5
Tuition services are available for Year 10-13 students, and are delivered by expert tutors graduated from or studying in renowned universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, and other G5 institutions. Our tutors’ extensive subject knowledge and understanding of exam specifications across different exam boards enable them to identify students’ gaps in knowledge and transfer the most valuable skills and tips for success, even supporting students throughout the length of their studies if necessary.

Interview Training

Minimum Hours: 6
School Interviews enable schools to get to know their prospective students. Schools have their own considerations when selecting candidates, so being able to present yourself to the interviewer is key to success. Our teachers are experienced in delivering comprehensive and interactive training so that students are ready for any interviews they may face.

UKiset / ISEB Mathematics & Non-verbal Reasoning

Minimum Hours: 8 for UKiset / 15 for ISEB
Mathematics Non-verbal Reasoning This section is centred around topics that commonly appear in 11+ tests such as the UKiset, which may not have been addressed by the student’s curriculum at school. Students will be taught how to use mathematical principles such as arithmetic, algebra and geometry to problem-solve, while generally strengthening their logic and numerical reasoning skills. Non-verbal reasoning essentially tests the ability to analyse visual information and solve problems based on visual reasoning, involving shapes, pictures and diagrams. Students will be exposed to different question types and taught systematic, efficient strategies to approach them, increasing their speed and improving their chances of success. How many hours? Typical Student Booking : 8 hours or more. For course outlines of our other entrance exam preparation courses, please ask an advisor.

ISEB English & Verbal Reasoning

Minimum Hours: 15
Designed to develop student’s knowledge of the paper formats, question types, and strategies to answer each type of ISEB 13+ Common Pre-Test question. Questions are selected from a mixture of past papers and custom created resources based on past entrance examinations.

UKiset English & Verbal Reasoning

Minimum Hours: 10
Designed to introduce students to all English-related areas of the UKiset and scaffolded to build up students’ skills in the following key communicational areas:

Entrance Exam Preparation Courses

Our courses are designed to introduce students to all aspects of the entrance exams, drawing attention to tested areas and providing techniques and strategies for success.

FAQ of Boarding School Admissions Preparation Course

Yes, we often include diagnostic assessments at the beginning of the course to help identify your child's strengths and weaknesses. This allows them to focus their efforts on areas that may require more attention, maximising the effectiveness of their exam preparation.

Every student can benefit from personalised attention to strengths or weaknesses, in order to excel beyond their limits. Our experienced tutors offer bespoke 1-to-1 lessons focusing on any area the student wishes to improve or pursue an interest in.

Yes, of course! Our live online courses are interactive, and we encourage active participation. Your child can ask questions during the session, and our experienced tutor will be there to provide clarification and support.

Each course includes a comprehensive set of study materials, which may include lecture notes, practice questions, and additional resources. These materials are typically accessible even after the course concludes, allowing your child to revisit them and reinforce their understanding.

The link to join the live online course will be sent to the registered email address with a reminder one day before the scheduled session. Please ensure that the email address provided during registration is accurate and regularly checked for updates.

Individual lessons or Forming a group

Contact us to book a lesson! Students of similar ability are welcome to join us as a group and enjoy a moderate price!

Ready to Hear Success Stories? See Why Ascent Prep is a Student Favourite!

Find out what our customers say ...
Jessie C.
Desire Subject Physiotherapy
Programme Medicine and Allied Health Professions Admissions Preparation Course
Hours Attended 20

From a young age, Jessie was passionate about sports, especially football and competitive jump roping. An injury during a jump roping competition that required physical therapy piqued her interest in the profession. Jessie chose Biology and Chemistry as her subjects, and her predicted DSE scores met the entry requirements. However, she had doubts about her suitability due to her petite stature and introverted nature, fearing these could be obstacles to becoming a physical therapist. Despite Jessie's excellent grades, her father was also concerned about her career choice, worrying that Jessie was blindly following a trend without truly considering her interests and abilities, as choosing this field would mean committing to a career as a physical therapist.

Our education consultant recommended the shadowing program by Ascent Prep, the only official preparation program recognized by AEAS, offering students clinical internship experiences and professional mentorship. Seeing it as an opportunity to resolve her doubts and increase her chances of being admitted to higher-ranking universities, her father enrolled her in the program.

During the shadowing process, she gained in-depth knowledge of a physical therapist's daily duties, including assessing patients, developing treatment plans, and guiding patients through rehabilitation exercises. Though challenging, she found the work meaningful. Throughout this period, Jessie had the opportunity to ask many questions, particularly about her concerns. After completing the shadowing program, her determination to become a physical therapist was strengthened.

When preparing her personal statement, Jessie tried writing it herself but felt it lacked persuasiveness. With her tutor's guidance, she realized many areas needed improvement. The tutor helped her reorganize her experiences volunteering in physical therapy, highlighting her passion and dedication to the field. During interview training, she learned how to showcase her strengths and effectively answer the interviewer's questions. For example, Ascent Prep tutors taught students how to answer common situational questions, such as:

  • What do you think are the basic professional ethics for a physical therapist?
  • How do you view the relationship between physical therapists and their patients?
  • How would you handle conflicts of interest with patients?

Ascent Prep tutors prepared students for these ethical questions and situational challenges to test their problem-solving abilities, such as:

  • How would you deal with a patient unwilling to cooperate with treatment?
  • How would you respond to an emergency during treatment?
  • How do you collaborate with other healthcare professionals?

Ultimately, with Ascent Prep's assistance, Jessie was accepted into the Physical Therapy program at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and also received offers from the University of Nottingham, University of Birmingham, Brunel University, and the University of Salford in the UK. Among these options, she chose the University of Birmingham and was awarded a scholarship for her outstanding performance.

This journey highlights the value of Ascent Prep, offering practical clinical experiences and professional guidance, enabling students to not only improve academically but also to find their direction in their future career paths.

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Sophie F.
Desire Subject Architecture
Programme Portfolio Guidance
Hours Attended 10

Sophie is a high school student from Hong Kong who has been passionate about architecture since she was young. She excelled academically and actively participated in various architecture-related activities, such as architectural model competitions and visits. However, as the time for further education approached, Sophie began to feel somewhat lost, due to her very high standards for herself. She knew that to gain admission into architecture programs at prestigious universities like Cambridge or UCL, she needed not only excellent academic grades but also well-rounded abilities and creativity.

By chance, Sophie attended a lecture by Ascent Prep, where the instructors shared their experiences in helping students gain admission to top universities. Ascent Prep introduced her to a mentor who was studying architecture at Cambridge. The mentorship and classes were designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter and encouraged Sophie to think critically about the core of architectural studies, enriching her personal statement with diverse elements. In these classes, Sophie learned about architectural history, theory, and design. Her tutor explained complex concepts in an engaging way, making it easy for Sophie to understand.

For instance, during a mock interview, Sophie encountered a challenging question: "What do you think are the professional ethics of an architect?" She had never considered this question before, but with her tutor's guidance, she was able to articulate a well-thought-out answer, boosting her confidence for the actual interview.

The art portfolio is a critical component of university applications, and Sophie's tutor helped her create a portfolio that was both deep and creative. The tutor meticulously guided her through the selection and arrangement of her works, covering her academic research, practical experience, and personal interests. Under the tutor's guidance, Sophie revised her portfolio multiple times, resulting in an impressive collection of work.

Sophie's efforts were rewarded when she was accepted into the Architecture program at the University of Cambridge. Her portfolio showcased her unique understanding of architecture, including a sustainable design proposal that received high praise from her tutor. Moreover, Sophie performed excellently in her university interviews, demonstrating her academic abilities and personal charm.

Sophie's success story is a testament to the effectiveness of the Ascent Prep program, which is dedicated to helping students realize their potential and achieve success in their educational pursuits.

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Andy M.
Desire Subject AEAS
Programme Official AEAS Test Preparation Course
Hours Attended 30

Andy attended a local Hong Kong secondary school. Despite having average grades at school, he has always been afraid of English, to the point of hesitating to speak it. Andy is a typical slow starter; when under pressure, he easily feels overwhelmed. This became even more evident after he took the AEAS test unprepared, resulting in scores far below expectations. The AEAS report recommended Andy to undertake an English course for 20-30 weeks, and the substantial cost of attending a 30-week language course in Australia, including tuition, accommodation, and student insurance, caused considerable concern for his parents. Not only were they considering the dual factors of time and finances, but they also hoped that Andy could have more opportunities to apply to his desired schools. That's when they found us, the only official preparatory course institution recognized by AEAS. In the 1-on-1 courses at Ascent Prep, students receive meticulous instruction from teachers and consultants, improving their English skills and gradually overcoming their fear of English. To the parents' surprise, the child performed excellently in the AEAS test. By achieving good results in Hong Kong, the AEAS report reduced the required language class from 30 weeks to just 4 weeks before entering mainstream schools in Australia. This not only saved money but also allowed the child to integrate into the Australian mainstream education system sooner.

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