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Preparing for Primary One Interviews at Hong Kong Schools

Securing a place in a reputable primary school in Hong Kong is a significant milestone for both parents and children. The primary school admissions process in Hong Kong often includes a Primary One interview, which can be a nerve-wracking experience for both parents and children. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of Hong Kong's primary one interviews, providing valuable insights and tips to help parents and their little ones navigate this process with confidence. From commonly asked questions to dos and don'ts, we've got you covered.


Teacher and student sitting at a desk playing


Why is it Important to Prepare my Child for the Primary One Interview?

Preparing your child for a primary one interview in Hong Kong is crucial for their academic success and future opportunities. In Hong Kong, primary one interviews are an integral part of the admissions process, as schools aim to select the best candidates who will thrive in their programs. These interviews serve as a way for schools to assess the child's academic potential, social skills, and overall suitability for their institution.


Primary one interviews in Hong Kong are highly competitive, with a limited number of spots available in prestigious schools. The interview process allows schools to evaluate the child's ability to communicate effectively, think critically, and demonstrate their knowledge. It is important for parents to understand the significance of these interviews and take proactive steps to prepare their child for success.


What to expect in a primary school interview

A primary one interview in Hong Kong typically consists of multiple components designed to assess different aspects of the child's abilities. It is essential to familiarize yourself with the interview format to help your child prepare accordingly.


The interview may begin with a warm-up activity or icebreaker to put the child at ease. This could involve simple questions about their hobbies, interests, or favourite subjects. Following the icebreaker, the interviewer may proceed with academic assessments, such as asking the child to solve math problems, assessing their phonetic skills by asking them to read words, or checking their reasoning and observational skills by asking them to point out what is wrong with a certain picture, or choose the odd one out in a series of pictures. Sequencing skills are also likely to be tested.


Some common interview questions and activities during a primary one interview include:

General Questions:

​Interviewer: What is your Name?

​Child: My name is Olivia Lam.

​Interviewer: How are you today?

​Child: I am fine, thank you.

​Interviewer: How old are you?

​Child: I am 6 years old.

​Interviewer: When is your birthday?

​Child: My birthday is on the 10th of May.

​Interviewer: Where do you live?

​Child: I live in Tsing Yi.

​Interviewer: Who do you live with?

​Child: I live with my mum, dad and little brother.

Family Questions:

​Interviewer: Do you have any brothers or sisters?

​Child: Yes, I have a younger brother.

​Interviewer: What is your brother's name?

​Child: My brother's name is Anson.

​Interviewer: How old is your brother?

​Child: My brother is 4 years old.

​Interviewer: What is your mum and dad's names?

​Child: My mum's name is Amy, and my dad's name is Rex.

​Interviewer: What job does your mum and dad do?

​Child: My mum is a schoolteacher and my dad is a vet.

​Interviewer: How many people live in your house?

​Child: Four people live in my house.

​Interviewer: Do you have any pets?

​Child: Yes, I have a cat called Coco.

​Interviewer: Who is the youngest in your family?

​Child: My brother is the youngest.

​Interviewer: Who is the oldest in your family?

​Child: My dad is the oldest.

​Interviewer: Who is the tallest in your family?

​Child: My dad is the tallest.

​Interviewer: Who is the shortest in your family?

​Child: My brother is the shortest.

​Interviewer: What colour hair do your mum and dad have?

​Child: My mum has brown hair, and my dad has black hair.

​Interviewer: What do you and your family like to do on weekends?

​Child: On weekends, we like to ride our bikes and play in the park.

Draw a picture of your family:

picture of a family

The interviewer may then ask your child the following questions about their drawing:

Your child will need to answer in full sentences.



picture of a family


Interviewer:  Who is that?

Child:  That is my mum.


picture of a family


​Interviewer:  Who is that?

Child:  That is my dad.


picture of a family


​Interviewer:  Who is that?

Child:  That is my brother.

picture of a family


​Interviewer:  Who is that?

Child:  That is me.

Draw a shape:

This is most commonly either a circle, a triangle, a square, or a rectangle.


drawing of four shapes

Answer questions about shapes and colours:


four shapes

​Interviewer: What colour is the circle? Child: The circle is red.

​Interviewer: Which shape is the biggest? Child: The triangle is the biggest.

​Interviewer: How many sides does a triangle have? Child: A triangle has three sides.

​Interviewer: Which shape is the smallest? Child: The rectangle is the smallest.

Odd one out:

Your child's critical thinking and reasoning skills may be tested during the primary one interview by being shown a picture of a few different items and asked to choose which is the odd one out. In the image below, the crocodile is the odd one out as it is not a pet.

vector picture of a fish in a bowl, a cat, a crocodile and a dog

Picture description:

Your child may be shown a picture in a book, and asked to describe what they see.

​Interviewer: What do you see in the picture? Child: I see a boy, a girl and a crab. Interviewer: Are there any people in the picture? Child: Yes, there is a boy and a girl. Interviewer: Are there any animals in the picture? Child: Yes, there is a crab. Interviewer: What is the boy doing? Child: He is playing with a ball. Interviewer: What is under the tree? Child: A crab is under the tree.

Interviewer: Who is next to the boy? Child: The girl is next to the boy. Interviewer: What colour is the water? Child: The water is blue. Interviewer: Where are the children? Child: They are at the beach. Interviewer: Do you like to read books? Child: Yes, I love reading.


cartoon image of two children playing at the beach


Play based activities:

Apart from academic assessments, many primary one interviews will also evaluate your child's social skills and interpersonal qualities. They may observe how well the child interacts with peers or responds to hypothetical scenarios during a play session. It is important to note that some schools may also conduct group interviews to assess how the child collaborates and communicates within a team.


Common questions include:

​Interviewer: What are you playing with? Child: I am playing with playdough. Interviewer: Do you like playing with playdough? Child: Yes, I like playing with playdough. Interviewer: What toys do you have at home? Child: I have toy cars and lego at home. Interviewer: Do you like playing with other children? Child: Yes, I like to play with other children.

Interviewer: What are you making? Child: I am making a rocket. Interviewer: What colour is the playdough? Child: It is blue. Interviewer: Who are you playing with? Child: I am playing with my friend. Interviewer: Who is your best friend? Child: My best friend is Sam.

Identification and Numeracy skills:

Your child may be given a simple worksheet to test their ability in matching and math skills.


number matching exercise


a simple math exercise

Sequencing and storytelling:

This is a common interview method for assessing your child's organisational skills, comprehension, and his/her ability in telling stories. Your child may be given a series of 4 images and asked to place them in the correct order.

Encourage your child to use the words - first, next, then, finally.


cartoon story sequencing cards

School Questions:

​Interviewer: What is the name of your school?

​Child: My school's name is Bertoli Kindergarten.

​Interviewer: What is your Teacher's name?

​Child: My teacher's name is Miss Tam.

​Interviewer: What class are you in?

​Child: I am in K3C.

​Interviewer: Where is your school?

​Child: My school is in Tsing Yi.

​Interviewer: How do you get to school in the morning?

​Child: I go to school by bus.

​Interviewer: Do you like school?

​Child: Yes, I like school very much.

​Interviewer: What is your favourite lesson at school?

​Child: My favourite lesson is music class as I like to sing.

​Interviewer: Who are your friends at school?

​Child: My friends at school are, Jason, Ying Ying, and Thomas.

​Interviewer: Do you know the name of this school?

​Child: Yes, this school is called Redhill Primary.

​Interviewer: Would you like to come to this school?

​Child: Yes, I would like to come to this school.


Favourite things:

​Interviewer: What is your favourite fruit?

​Child: My favourite fruit is apple.

​Interviewer: What is your favourite colour?

​Child: My favourite colour is blue.

​Interviewer: What is your favourite animal?

​Child: My favourite animal are dolphins.

​Interviewer: What is your favourite toy?

​Child: I like my train set best.

​Interviewer: Who is your favourite princess or superhero?

​Child: My favourite princess is Cinderella.

Download Primary One Interview Questions for Practise

Primary_One_Interview_Questions
.pdf
Download PDF • 938KB

Preparing your child for a primary school interview

Preparation is key to success in any interview, and primary one interviews are no exception. Here are some crucial tips to help you and your child prepare for the interview:


Research the School

Before the primary one interview, it's essential to research the target schools and familiarize yourself with their interview processes. Visit the school's website, explore online forums and chat groups, and talk to other parents who have gone through the interview process. This research will provide valuable insights into what to expect and help you tailor your preparation accordingly.


Tips for helping your child build confidence before the primary one interview

Building your child's confidence is crucial for their success in a primary school interview. Encourage them to speak up, express their ideas, and engage in conversations. Provide them with opportunities to practice their communication skills, such as through public speaking or joining debate clubs. Additionally, praise their efforts and accomplishments to boost their self-esteem.


Teaching your child good manners and etiquette for the interview

Good manners and etiquette play a significant role in making a positive impression during a primary one interview. Teach your child the importance of greeting the interviewer with a smile, maintaining eye contact, and using polite language by saying "please" and "thank you". Emphasize the significance of active listening and encourage them to ask relevant questions to demonstrate their interest in the school. Teaching your child these social skills beforehand will make a positive impression on the interviewers.


Social Skills

In addition to academic abilities, primary schools also look for children who can actively participate in class, listen attentively to teachers, and get along with their peers. Interviews may include opportunities for "free play" to observe how well your child interacts with others. Encourage your child to engage with their peers during the interview process, showcasing their social skills.


Encourage active listening

Teach your child the importance of listening attentively to the interviewer's questions and instructions. Remind them to maintain eye contact and nod or respond appropriately to show their engagement during a primary one interview.


Practice speaking clearly

Encourage your child to speak slowly and clearly, articulating their words. Remind them to take pauses when needed and to breathe calmly to avoid rushing their answers.


Use positive body language

Teach your child the significance of body language in communication. Advise them to sit up straight, use natural gestures, and maintain a friendly and open posture. Smiling and showing enthusiasm can also convey confidence and interest.

Foster self-expression

Encourage your child to express their thoughts and opinions during the primary one interview. Remind them that their unique perspective is valuable and that their voice matters. Encourage them to share personal experiences or stories that highlight their strengths and interests.


Dressing appropriately for a primary school interview

The way your child presents themselves during the primary one interview can leave a lasting impression on the interviewer. First impressions matter and dressing appropriately for a primary one interview can make a positive impact on the interviewer. While it's important to dress your child in presentable attire, it's equally crucial to strike a balance between formal and comfortable. Choose neat and tidy clothing that reflects your child's personality while adhering to the school's dress code, if any. Avoid outfits that are too flashy or distracting. Instead, choose simple, age-appropriate attire that allows your child to move freely and feel confident.


How to handle difficult questions during the interview

Difficult questions are often designed to assess the child's critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities. Teach your child to remain calm and composed when faced with challenging questions. Encourage them to take a moment to gather their thoughts before responding. Remind them that it is acceptable to ask for clarification if they do not fully understand a question. Encourage them to approach difficult questions with a positive mindset and showcase their ability to think creatively.


Practicing mock interviews with your child

Conducting mock primary one interviews with your child can greatly enhance their interview skills. Create a simulated interview environment and ask them a variety of questions that they may encounter during the actual interview. Provide constructive feedback and guide them on how to improve their responses. This practice will help your child feel more comfortable and confident during the real interview.


Role-playing exercises to practice for the primary one interview

Role-playing exercises can be immensely helpful in preparing your child for their primary one interview. By simulating interview scenarios, you can create a safe and supportive environment for your child to practice their communication skills and build confidence.


Here are some role-playing exercises you can try:

  1. Mock interview: Take turns playing the roles of the interviewer and the interviewee. Prepare a list of common interview questions and practice answering them. Provide feedback and guidance to help your child improve their responses.

  2. Problem-solving scenarios: Create hypothetical situations that require problem-solving skills. Encourage your child to think critically, offer solutions, and explain their thought process. This exercise will help them develop their analytical skills and demonstrate their ability to think on their feet.

  3. Storytelling exercise: Ask your child to tell a story or share an experience. This will help them practice organizing their thoughts, expressing themselves coherently, and engaging the listener. Provide constructive feedback on their storytelling techniques and encourage them to use vivid language and descriptive details.

  4. Peer interview: Arrange a practice interview with a family member or a close friend. This will give your child the opportunity to experience an interview setting with someone other than their immediate family. Encourage the interviewer to ask a variety of questions to simulate real-life scenarios.

  5. Time-bound exercises: Set a timer for your role-playing exercises to simulate the time constraints of a primary one interview. This will help your child develop the ability to think quickly and respond concisely while managing their time effectively.

By incorporating these role-playing exercises into your child's preparation routine, you can help them gain confidence, refine their communication skills, and feel more prepared for their primary one interview.


On the Day of the Primary One Interview

The day of the primary one interview can be stressful, but proper preparation can help alleviate unnecessary pressure. Here are some tips for the interview day:

  • Ensure all required paperwork, such as application forms and documents, are prepared in advance. Double-check that you have everything needed for the interview.

  • Plan to arrive early at the school to avoid any last-minute rush or delays. Arriving early allows your child to settle down and feel more comfortable in the new environment.

  • Explain to your child that the interview is simply an opportunity for the teacher to ask them a few questions and engage in activities. Encourage them to approach the interview with a positive attitude and avoid making it seem like a daunting task.


Read More: 

The Ultimate Guide to Creating an Exceptional Primary One Portfolio for School Admission (erringtonhouse.co.uk)


Dos and Don'ts for the Primary One Interview

During the primary one interview, it's important for both parents and children to be aware of certain dos and don'ts. While each school may have specific expectations, here are some general guidelines to follow:


Do:

  • Dress your child appropriately for the interview day. Choose an outfit that is neat, comfortable, and reflects a respectful appearance. Avoid being too casual or overly formal.

  • Encourage your child to maintain eye contact with the interviewer when speaking. Practice this skill during mock interviews to help them feel more comfortable.

  • Teach your child basic manners, such as greeting the interviewer, saying please and thank you, and showing respect throughout the interview.

  • Engage in the conversation and encourage your child to answer questions genuinely and confidently.

  • Remain supportive of your child throughout the process, regardless of the outcome. Reassure them that their best effort is what matters.

Don't:

  • Overshare personal information during the interview. Help your child craft concise and relevant responses to avoid going off-topic.

  • Encourage your child to be genuine and avoid making up fake answers. Interviewers are skilled at identifying rehearsed or insincere responses.

  • Avoid transferring your stress onto your child. While the interview process may be nerve-wracking for parents, it's important to create a calm and positive environment for your child. Avoid scolding or making them feel bad if things don't go as planned.

  • Remember that the primary school interview is just one aspect of the admissions process. Stay positive and supportive, focusing on finding the right school for your child based on a holistic evaluation.


Following up after the interview

After the primary one interview, it is essential to follow up with a thank-you note or email. This gesture demonstrates your appreciation for the opportunity and leaves a positive impression on the school. Keep the message concise, expressing gratitude for the interview and reiterating your child's interest in attending the school. This simple act of gratitude can set your child apart from other candidates and leave a lasting impression on the admissions committee.



Remember, the primary one interview is just one piece of the puzzle, and staying positive throughout the admissions process is crucial.


Preparing your child for a primary one interview in Hong Kong is a process that requires careful planning and preparation. By understanding the importance of the interview, familiarizing yourself with the interview format, and implementing effective strategies, you can help your child unlock success and secure a place in their desired primary school.


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