As parents in Hong Kong, one of the most crucial milestones in our children’s educational journey is securing a place in a reputable primary school. Each primary school has its own admissions processes, and most, if not all, will require an interview. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of Hong Kong’s primary school interviews, shedding light on what to expect, most commonly asked questions, how to prepare, and providing valuable insights to help parents and their little ones navigate this process with confidence.
Commonly asked interview questions
All schools will have their own interview processes, but it’s a good idea to be prepared for these common interview questions.
- What is your name?
- How old are you?
- How many family members do you have?
- What subjects do you enjoy the most in kindergarten and why?
- Do you have any hobbies or extracurricular activities?
- Do you like reading?
- What do you want to be when you grow up?
- General knowledge questions e.g. How many days are in a week?
- Situational questions e.g. What would you do if you saw a classmate fall down in school?
Tips to prepare for primary school interviews
Explain how to prepare before the interview (i.e. researching the school, mock interviews and role-playing, inculcating interview’s dos and don’ts) and on the interview day (i.e. make sure prepared all the paperwork, arrive early, and be confident)
No matter how you spin it, doing some preparation work with your child before their primary school interview will help make things go a lot smoother. Here are some crucial tips to help you get started.
Research the school
Prepare a list of all your target schools and find out as much as you can about their interview process. This means looking on their website, forums, and chat groups, and talking to other parents who have gone through the interview process. This will help you get a better idea of what kind of further preparation needs to be done.
Mock interviews are great for getting your child used to interacting with a stranger in a new environment. Many learning centers and preschools offer mock interviews, just like in Tutor Time’s kindergarten program. We intentionally place the child in a new classroom with a new teacher, then take them through a standard interview process.
Manners and behavior
Many primary schools (especially local schools) expect children to have manners and show respect. For example, saying good morning to the interviewer, saying goodbye, saying please and thank you are all things that will be taken into consideration.
Primary schools are not only looking for intelligent children, they are also looking for children who are able to participate in class, listen to the teacher, and get along with others. Many interviews will include time for ‘free play’ so that the interview can observe how your child plays alongside other children.
On the day
Make sure to prepare all the required paperwork in advance and arrive early to avoid any unnecessary stress. Tell your child that a teacher is simply going to ask them a few questions and do some activities with them. Avoid making it a big deal.
Dos and Don’ts for an interview
While each admission and interview process will have their own selection criteria, it’s a good idea to have the basic dos and don’ts covered.
- Dress your child appropriately for the interview day. Not too casual but also not overly formal. Make sure they are comfortable.
- Maintain eye contact with the interviewer when talking. When kids get nervous, they tend to avoid eye contact. This is something your child can practice in their mock interviews.
- Greet the interviewer, say please and thank you, and show basic manners.
- Engage in the conversation and be genuine when answering questions.
- Remain supportive of your child no matter the outcome.
- Overshare personal information. During preparation, help your child answer questions in a clear and concise manner.
- Make up fake answers. The interviewers are well-equipped to spot those who are genuine and those who are just reciting answers.
- Transfer the stress onto your child. You may be stressed about this process, but your child doesn’t grasp the full consequences. For them, it’s just another day of going to school.
- Scold your child. If the interview doesn’t go as planned, scolding them or making them feel bad will only negatively affect their next interviews.
Hong Kong’s primary school interviews are often one of the most challenging parts of the admissions process. It is far too easy for parents to go overboard with interview preparation, but it is also a concern when children are not well-prepared. Use your own judgment to see what areas your child needs to work on. If they are shy around strangers, perhaps they just need to do more trial runs with people they aren’t familiar with. If they have trouble expressing their thoughts, more speech practice can do the trick. At the end of the day, no matter the outcome of the interview, it’s important to stay positive. After all, the admissions process involves many other factors and steps to determine whether the school is the right fit for your child.