Non-verbal reasoning lessons develop the practice and ability to problem-solve using pictures and diagrams. The discipline tests the ability to analyse visual information and solve problems based on visual reasoning. Often, children are asked to look at a series of diagrams and find the odd one out or the next in the sequence.
Verbal reasoning lessons develop a child's ability to make deductions from text. The format is typically a written passage followed by a statement, and you must decide whether the statement is true, false or that you cannot say. They evaluate your understanding of language and level of verbal comprehension and logic.
Two examinations set by GL assessment determine entry into Trafford Grammar schools. Each paper includes maths, verbal and non-verbal reasoning. Pupils in Year 5, in preparation for these exams, have specialist lessons in all three elements. Whilst the lessons familiarise the children with types of questions, advise on techniques, and give practice against "the clock", a decisive factor will be the innate ability of the children. Whilst the school maximises ability, given the non-selective nature of the school, the percentage pass rate will vary from year to year.
During the summer holiday between Year Five and Year Six, all children are invited to attend school for a few preparation sessions every week and for a full week of lessons in readiness for Trafford Grammar School examinations in early September. Additional preparation and support sessions are offered routinely throughout the academic year.
Independent Grammar School entry examinations all include maths and English examination papers. The content of the papers is adequately covered in Hale Prep's school curriculum. Increasingly, there is a reliance on IQ testing, including non-verbal elements. The precise formats of the exams vary from year to year.
A major difference between the local foundation grammar schools and the independent grammar schools is that the independent grammar schools interview pupils. This underlines the advantage of Hale Prep's curriculum, not simply the confidence that seven years of drama gives but the range of topics the children have experienced.
A number of the independent grammar schools' examinations are now taken on computers. Given the children at the school have been having IT lessons since Year 1, plus the examination practice the pupils are given includes examinations on the computer, this does not present any particular problem. Children taking these examinations are given additional practice and support in the run-up to examination dates.