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.

They are looking for evidence of raw intellectual capability. This is usually around critical thinking rather than memory. They are also looking for an ability to express oneself by explaining what one is doing. Finally, they are looking for a child who is teachable, which de facto at this age tends to mean compliant in a classroom or other pedagogical setting.

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

We do this through:

  • Two mock assessments (group and individuals)
  • A critical thinking test conducted in association with Cambridge University
  • A questionnaire on your child’s personality
  • A review of the nursery report
  • Two 1-2-1 tutorial classes with your child
  • Two parent and child coaching sessions
  • 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, 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 assessments involve your child doing a critical thinking set of 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 view of your child’s intellectual capability and helps us to prepare them for the 4+.
  • A personality based parental questionnaire on your child to help us understand the child’s strengths and weaknesses ahead of the 4+.
  • 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.
  • After our group assessment, we give you focused and targeted homework 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.

Paying for the full bundle (£1500) gives you two mock assessments, four tutorial assessments and extensive, weekly, verbal feedback on your child’s current attainment with 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. Last year these were our offers and waitlist results.

Schools OffersWaitlist
DUCKS (Dulwich College)4
Dulwich Prep2
Grimsdale (Mill Hill)1
Habs (Boys)3
Habs (Girls)3
Kensington Prep1
St Alban’s High1
The Hall1

Mentor Education 4+ 1-2-1 Assessment and Preparation Dates

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. You can contact our office to get detailed availability. However, we almost always have some availability as we strictly limit numbers.

We will be running weekend sessions for South London out of our Dulwich Venue. The dates for these sessions are:

Saturday 16th September: Sessions taking place from 9.30am-1pm

Saturday 07th October: Sessions taking place from 9.30am-1pm

Saturday 11th November: Sessions taking place from 9.30am-1pm

Saturday 2nd December: Sessions taking place from 9.30am-1pm

Hampstead: We also run sessions out of Hampstead. Here are our forthcoming Hampstead dates and venues:

Saturday 9th September: Sessions taking place from 9.30am-1pm

Saturday 30th September: Sessions taking place from 9.30am-1pm

Saturday 25th November: Sessions taking place from 9.30am-1pm

Mentor Education 4+ Group Assessment Dates

While we do the individual assessment dates on an ad hoc basis around you at our offices, 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 2023 are:

23rd September (Dulwich area)

14th October (Hampstead area)

28th October (Dulwich area)

4th November (Hampstead area)

18th November (Dulwich area)

9th December (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).