Insider’s Story on Direct School Admission (DSA): 

Part 3  Direct School Admission Interview Top Secret 

The DSA interview may seem daunting at first, but with preparation and confidence, your child should be able to ace it.

Q1. Does every school require interviews?

  • Not all schools will require interviews. There are other means of assessing your child’s suitability, such as admission tests and camps.
  • There are two types of interviews: the solo interview and the group interview.

Q2. What are some interview questions to expect?

  • You can expect routine questions
    • the applicant’s strengths, weaknesses, personality
    • the applicant’s portfolio/academic track record/achievements
    • the applicant’s potential to contribute to the DSA school based on applicant’s experience and opinions
    • the school’s programmes and motivation for choosing the school
  • Non-routine questions
  • the applicant’s reasoning process
  • the applicant’s ability to think on the spot and handle surprise
  • General knowledge, current affairs question
  • Questions about general knowledge and whether applicant can apply them
  • Questions about social issues and current affairs
  • (For group interviews) Interviewers also look out for the interactions between the applicants and problem-solving skills.

Q3. If my child applied DSA based on his or her exceptional talent in mathematics, will there be math theory related interview questions?

  • This would depend on the school. Some applicants were asked math-related interview questions. However, some were asked about current affairs issues that were not related to math.

Q4. What do interviewers expect from their applicants?

  • Interviewers may be looking out for: strong communication skills, confidence, ability to adapt to unexpected events and whether applicant can value-add to the domain he or she specialises in.
  • Body language is also important: your child should sit up straight, maintain the right posture and maintain eye contact with interviewer.

Q5. In a group interview, how vocal/outspoken my child should be?

  • when it is your child’s turn, he or she should answer with confidence.
  • When it is not your child’s turn, do not attempt to answer the question unless the student cannot handle the question and the interviewer has indicated the rest of the students in the room can answer.
  • Being overly aggressive may create the impression that your child is not a team player.

Q6. How can we prepare our child for the interview?

  • For routine questions:
    • Draft a short pitch and get your child to memorise.
    • Keep practicing until it becomes natural.
    • Don’t focus on something too cliché or common. For example, many applicants do play the piano or have activities such swimming. Instead of providing too much details about your general achievements, you should highlight something unique about you to distinguish yourself from others.
    • For non-routine questions:
    • Exposure to current affairs is crucial. You can engage your child in current affairs by having light conversations over dinner or reading newspaper articles with them.

Q7. Do we need to enrol our child for any special DSA preparation programmes found in the tuition centres?

Gifted and Talented Education offers programmes such as Classroom to Boardroom which focuses on communication skills and critical reasoning process. We also conduct DSA interview camps to help students manage the interview process effectively.  The DSA Interview is likely to be the first interview in your child’s life.  Sufficient preparation and warm up exercises will make a huge difference.