The 4 Plus Assessment

Little girl sitting on the floor crossed leg reading a book for her 4 plus assessment

Is the 4+ right for my child

Many parents feels that it is a lottery who passes a 4+ on a given day. However, we notice that children who pass one 4+ tend to pass many. By contrast, a child who fails one, tends to fail many or all of the assessments. In short, the schools are consistent looking for the same attributes and are successful in using the days to identify them.

Firstly, they are looking for readiness for school – can your child start learning from early on in reception or do they need to learn the unspoken rules of school for the whole of reception?

Secondly, they are looking for aptitude for learning. We call these the 4 Plus Pillars and we guide all our children and parents through these.

Thirdly, the most academic schools are looking for some ability to do simple literacy and numeracy tasks. Parents fixate on these but actually they are signficantly less important that the 4 Plus Pillars which are around aptitude for learning.

What to expect in the 4 Plus assessment?

The teachers will take your child into as assessment room. They will not take the parent with them. If your child will not go then that is invariably a fail. About 10% of children fail at this stage.

In the room some of the activities replicate a classroom environment, sometimes there is a group reading exercise followed by a Q&A session. Then there is a series of tests in which the child’s cognitive ability is assessed. These appear as games but actually put some unresolvable dilemma for the child to attempt to find a solution. The child also needs to show that they are able to express themselves and can explain themselves clearly.

Some schools also have some sort of fine motor skill test and a few even have a gross motor skills test.

What schools take the 4+ assessment?

Many of the North London schools use this test as well as the Dulwich schools in South London. A few prep schools also use the test. The schools that we typically prepare children for include:

Our approach also prepares children for preparatory schools which use a 4+ assessment like The Hall, Dulwich Prep or the Thomas’s schools

How to prepare for the 4 Plus assessment

  1. Make sure your child can leave you.
  2. Make sure your child can explain whatever task they are doing.
  3. Make sure your child can draw their family and explain who is there.
  4. Make sure your child is not hungry on the day.
  5. Make sure your child is not sleepy on the day.
  6. Make sure your child is not sick on the day.
  7. Make sure your child has been to the toilet before the assessment.
  8. Make sure your chid has visited the school before so is not in strange surroundings.
  9. Make your child feel the assessment day is a playdate but one which they need to be well behaved at.
  10. Remind your child of the importance of manners on the day.
man and young boy paired reading a book at home to prepare for the 4 plus assessment

How can we help you with the 4 Plus?

There are many misconceptions about the 4 Plus exam. In fact, much of what you read on parent forums is counter-productive and can damage your chances of admission. Our staff include assessors from the top independent schools in London. Our package:

  • gives you the inside knowledge you need of what is on the exam and why
  • assesses where your child is today with mock assessments
  • helps prepare your child
  • helps you to prepare your child

Our full list of services includes:

  • Initial assessment to determine where your child sits against the 4 Plus Pillars and their peers together with a prediction of their likelihood of success in the 4 Plus and an personalised action plan for each child
  • A standardised critical thinking and motor skills test conducted in association with Cambridge University
  • A formal assessment of your child’s literacy and numeracy ability
  • A review of the nursery report
  • 1-2-1 coaching sessions – sometimes these also involve parental guidance and involvement
  • Paired coaching sessions – helping children learn the basic skills of collaboration
  • Group coaching sessions – giving children the ability to work in larger groups just as they will be assessed for part of the assessment
  • A parent coaching webinar series with three sessions giving guidance about how to help your child.
  • Intensive literacy and numeracy courses in the summer and the autumn to help children have edge at the most competitive schools.
  • Extensive verbal feedback on your child’s progress

Our 4+ assessment and preparation package

Most parents buy our comprehensive assessment and preparation package. This provides you with a detailed initial view of where your child is with regard to passing the 4 plus. We then work with you to help your child develop and overcome any barriers. We then do a further assessment which allows for any fine tuning. This package costs £1,500. We believe it is the most thorough package of its type and is built on several years of successful experience, helping over 100 children, talking to teachers who conduct the 4 plus at all the main schools and a partnership with Cambridge University to ensure we have the best testing approach.

  • We offer two mock assessments for your child. One is an individual assessment which is especially important for the South London schools and for the second round of the North London schools. Secondly, later in the year when your child has matured, we offer a Group assessment, which is relevant for the South London schools and for the first round of the North London schools. Your child is assessed against the measures that are relevant for your target schools. We provide detailed verbal feedback after the session on your child’s performance and give pointers about how to progress. Our group assessment team includes the range of staff typically involved in a 4+ group assessment – a teacher, a teaching assistant, a school registrar, a SEND specialist and a head teacher.
  • Our initial assessment has a second stage where we do a set of critical thinking and motor exercises with a teacher using tooling created by Cambridge University. We are the only tutoring agency who use this tool and it allows us to give a scientific, standardised view of your child’s intellectual capability and helps us to prepare them for the 4+. In this second stage of the initial assessment we also do tests around literacy and numeracy skills.
  • A review of the latest nursery / pre school report and guidance about what this means for the 4+ assessment and coaching about how schools will view the comments in that report (the reports are the basis of, and sometimes the actual, reference).
  • We offer two 1-2-1 tutorial classes with your child. We teach them how to approach the critical thinking elements of the 4+. We use the actual games that schools use in the 4+. We give feedback to the parents afterwards. We do these without the parent present as children behave differently in front of their parents.
  • We offer two parent and child coaching sessions with the parent (or nanny) of your child and your child themselves, in which we show you how to best prepare your child for the different elements of the 4+. We fully involve the parent or nanny in the activity and teach you how to do the activity to encourage the right behaviours for the 4+. This is one of the most insightful elements of the course as often parent behaviour, whilst well meaning, is unintentionally counter-productive. This is particularly good for teaching the adult communication and the collaboration part of the assessment.
  • At the end of these coaching sessions we do another assessment. If suitable for your child and their current stage of development this will be a group assessment. After this we give you focused and targeted homework for the summer holidays to assist you with your 4+ Journey. This will be with either one of our lead assessors or our Head of 4 Plus. It is vital that, in order for your child to have the best possible chance of passing the 4 Plus, the parents and carers follow Mentor Education’s 4 Plus Pillars. This will be discussed with you at length.
  • Across this time we also run a webinar series only open to those who have purchased this package. We have three webinars in which we teach parents how to coach and support their own child.

Paying for the full bundle (£1500) gives you two mock assessments, four tutorial assessments, a nursery report review, a three part webinar series and extensive, regular, verbal feedback on your child’s current attainment and the work that you need to do with them.

When should you start preparing for the 4+?

The most successful candidates have a 12 month run in. We begin working with parents around January / February. We typically work on the individual aspects with the child and the parents. Our approach is to work with parents so there are lots of things for you to do with your child during the Easter and Summer holidays. Things shift gear from September because by now children are better equipped to work on the emotionally intelligent skills such as the collaboration and sharing skills. This sees us get more group assessments and activities in to help children master these critically important elements of the 4 plus.

Our track record for the 4 plus

Typically, the acceptance rate for most 4+ assessments is around 10-20%. Our rate is around 60-70%. We have a rule that we only help a maximum of ten children each year for the each school’s 4+ assessment. If we helped everyone, then practically we would be helping no one. These were our offers results for children applying in 2023/24 to start in September 2024

SchoolMentor ApplicantsNumber of Mentor Children who passedMentor Pass Rate %
Bromley High22100%
DPL (Dulwich Prep)66100%
DUCKS (Dulwich College)88100%
JAGS (James Allen’s Girls School)10770%
Habs (girls)55100%
Habs (boys)4375%
Herne Hill33100%
Manor Lodge33100%
NLCS (North London Collegiate)10880%
St Albans22100%
St Christopher’s22100%
South Hampstead High5480%
Sydenham High4375%
The Hall3267%

4+ Assessment, Coaching and Group/Paired Locations

Clapham: We run these during the week every day, during the day out of our Clapham office. These are located very close to Clapham South Station. We also run intensive courses on literacy and numeracy over the summer and in the autumn from here.

Dulwich: We run sessions out of Oakfield Preparatory School, on the South Circular just by West Dulwich station, every Saturday morning in term time.

Hampstead: We run sessions out of Hampstead Parochial School, just by Hampstead tube station, every Saturday morning in term time. We also run intensive courses on literacy and numeracy over the summer and in the autumn from here.

West Hampstead: We run sessions out of Emmanuel Church in West Hampstead, just opposite the Waitrose by West End Green, every Tuesday morning.

Mentor Education 4+ Group Assessment Dates

While we do the individual assessment dates on an ad hoc basis around you at our offices or our school sites, we need to create cohorts of children for the group assessment dates. We do these later in the year to give children the time to develop more of these skills. By this stage families have usually been working with us for six to nine months and so their children are well prepared. The Mentor Education Group Mock Assessment dates for 2024 are:

Dulwich area:

  • 15th June
  • 28th September
  • 12th October
  • 2nd November
  • 3rd January (2025)

Hampstead area:

  • 22nd June
  • 14th September
  • 5th October
  • 9th November
  • 7th December
  • 4th January (2025)

Mentor Education 4 Plus Paired Coaching Dates

As well as large group assessments we also run paired coaching sessions. Almost all the 4 plus assessments involve paired exercises which force children to complete tasks together. This ability to collaborate tends to be an emerging skill until the summer. We organise set days were we gather children together and run these paired activities. The Mentor Education Paired Days for 2024 are:

Dulwich area:

Hampstead area:

Contact us for more details about our 4+ Assessment

As we have a strict rule that we only help ten children each year for each school’s  4+ entry, please do not delay in booking. If you would like to find out more and make a booking please call us on 020 8883 2519 or alternatively you can book using the form below.

Booking Form For 4 Plus Preparation and Assessment

You can book here for either our full coaching and mock assessment package (£1,500), or just for our double mock assessment with feedback package (£750). You can book one mock assessment with feedback (£500). If you are unsure yet but want to reserve a slot with us you can just register (£100) and we will make sure you are in our cohort (once we have 10 boys and 10 girls for each of the North London, West London and South London groups of schools we take no more children).