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Going to a boarding school in England (questions!)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm susands's daughter writing! I have quiet a few questions, but i'll give some back round first.

So very recently i have decided to go to a boarding school in England. I've always had a dream to do it in the back of my mind, but I really never thought it was possible. (turns out it might be!! ) It's going to be a huge adjustment from unschooling and living in America all my live, and never having been to England, but I'm sooo excited. (already making my packing list ) It is called Bromsgrove School. It is in the Worcestershire town of Bromsgrove, and is 500 years old, and is in the top ten of all British coeducational boarding/day schools. They have over 1,500 pupils, including about 300 international students from all over the world. I will be in Sixth Form, and I would be going September next year, but I have to take their entrance exam in mid December. We talked to someone in admissions, and she said the test would be math and English, but wouldn't give any more information on the test.

So, onto the questions. Has anyones kids taken the GCSE's? Were they really difficult? What kid of math was on them? We are assuming that the Bromsgrove test would be somewhat based on the GCSE. I'm doing lots of writing, and preparing for lots of algebra, some trig, geometry, ect. I've looked around on the internet to find as much as I can math wise, but no one really gives a solid answer. Some say there is a little bit of statistics and probability on the test, some say there isn't. Same with trig.

What is the area around Bromsgrove like?

And has anyone moved from America to England, or vise versa? What are some of the cultural differences you've noticed? How different do people act? Was it difficult to adjust?

Does anyone have any experiences with international boarding schools?

I'm sure I have more questions, but this is all that I can think of right now. Thank you so much for reading! I would post a link to the school's website, but is that against the rules?
post #2 of 13
Hi there, how very exciting for you! Here's a link to the BBC GCSE revision guide which might help you. http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/

I have friends in the US who have kids going through high school. There seems to be a subtle difference in the assessment style. GCSEs largely test data interpretation skills with less emphasis on recall of facts. You will also have to get used to different conventions used in spelling and grammar; coloUr, centRE for example, which I'm sure will be a bit strange. The school year arrangement and holidays are different, (three terms, each with a week's break half way through.)
Good luck!
post #3 of 13
It could be worth asking for copies of past papers of the entrance exam, either from the school itself or from the agency administering your test. You'll probably find that about 60% of the mums on this board have taken GCSEs, in addition to our teenagers. For GCSE past papers, look here: http://www.gcsemathspastpapers.com/g...-questions.htm but, as I said, I'd look specifically at the entrance exams. I'd expect to see all of the things you mentioned on the test, though.

Good luck!
post #4 of 13
Don't have any advice, but just wanted to say I'm excited for you! England is an amazing place and I want to move there myself someday. i wish I had known about boarding schools when I was in middle/high school but for some reason I thought they were all military schools! I'm a little dumb sometimes Good luck!!
post #5 of 13
How exciting! Other people have already posted links to useful sites so I have nothing new to add other than Good Luck!

I also wonder (but could be wrong) whether there will be an verbal reasoning questions as part of the entrance exam? I know that exams for entry to many private schools at 11 contain a verbal reasoning section - so it might be worth checking this.
post #6 of 13

My daughter goes to international boarding school

My daughter goes to international boarding school and so far everything is great. Actually we chose together when she was looking for a school and we finally agreed on several and double checked to make sure the final decision is right.

I think some factors are essential: location, cost, teacher quality, history data, amenities...

take a look at my daughter's boarding school and tell me if you like it: http://www.cic-totalcare.com/en/TotalLiving.php (:-))

By the way, we're Korean and ESL is important for my daughter too.
post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by susands View Post
So, onto the questions. Has anyones kids taken the GCSE's? Were they really difficult?

What is the area around Bromsgrove like?

And has anyone moved from America to England, or vise versa? What are some of the cultural differences you've noticed? How different do people act? Was it difficult to adjust?

Does anyone have any experiences with international boarding schools?
Hi! I am a US -> UK transplant, I have lived here 18 years. Not near Bromsgrove, but I know Birmingham a little (UK's 2nd largest city).

I expect Bromsgrove will be a sleepy small town, and you'll find people nip off to Birmingham ('Brum' as it's called) for nightlife and clubbing. On the train, probably.

The GCSE's will not be that tough, you should be able to find test-papers on the Internet. Think of 10th-11th grade material.

Lots and lots of cultural differences:

Legal age to drink alcohol here is 18, getting legless on booze is a very popular past-time of the young locals, sadly. Legal age to have sex here is 16 (although not surprisingly, the actual age to lose virginity here is higher than in the USA).

North Americans come across as extremely exhuberant, brash and loud compared to British people. Something where you may end up embarrassing yourself or your new mates without realising (but most English people immensely admire the energy and optimism of Americans).

Lots of spelling differences, notice I said 'realising' not realizing, etc.!

Lots of small language differences: for Heaven's sake, do NOT refer to your fanny pack. And over here, a 'fag' is a cigarette (mostly). Be wary of the words pants, pee, piss, knickers, Randy, muffins. They all mean something different over here!!

Birmingham is extemely multi-cultural. British cities are generally filthy, alas.

Everything is smaller and the pace of life generally slower.

Footwear is important; teenagers can get away with wearing sneakers ("trainers"), but try to get some good quality leather shoes once you've been here a while.

I would write more, but my son is clamouring for the 'poota.
Your school sounds a bit exclusive, I expect you'll meet many more well-to-do people than ordinary folk.
bfn, and good luck.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow, thank you for all of the replies everyone! (I'm sorry it took me so long to reply too!)

Thanks for the websites, I've been on the BBC GCSE revision guide, and it has helped a lot to prepare me for what might be on the test. I've been doing a lot of English assignments from that site. I looked at the other website, and it looks really good too, thanks for posting the link, I think that site will come in handy.

Thank you so much Cavy for all of the cultural information! I love hearing about that kind of stuff. I'll keep all of the things you said in mind.

I really appreciate all of the tips and information everyone posted, thanks!
post #9 of 13
I know this thread is fairly old, but I couldn't read and not respond. Good for you for exploring this option! Have you taken the mid-December test yet? Are you any further in your decision-making?

I went to a boarding school in England and it was, by far, the best four years of my pre-adulthood. I was there for the ages of 10-14 years old, so a little younger than you. But I think all the positives apply for you too. I moved to the US for high school, so I know how it is making that transition.

There will be some cultural adjustment, but that's not all bad. A lot of it is fun. You make friends quickly in boarding school, because you are around each other 24/7. In general, in my experience and noted by others, Americans tend to be very outgoing, friendly and easy to connect with. The British can be more reserved, but once you have become friends, they can be much more solid and loyal. I know I'm making sweeping generalizations here... but I think that in your situation you are more than likely to make some very good solid connections quickly.

And I can't say enough good about how much my experience at boarding school shaped me. I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't done it... and that is for the better. I only hope that at some point the same or similar opportunities are available to my children, when they get to that point.
post #10 of 13
I've been in an international school before. I was blank on things to expect on it. At my first day it was totally different from races and peer groups. It is not easy for me to adjust at all. But I need to adjust and get to it.

International boarding school has a good effect to me in return. It has helped me to have a proper intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual growth. I've also build up my self-discipline and decision making skills and abilities.
post #11 of 13



There is a brilliant site called Which Boarding School which advises parents on the right boarding school in the UK for for their children totally free of charge. It's one-to one advice too!




post #12 of 13

I never went to boarding school, but I joined the Navy and was stationed in Scotland for two years when I was only a bit older than you, and I LOVED it! Scotland in particular and the UK in general are beautiful places; like another poster said, the bigger cities tend to be a bit dirty-London's wonderful, amazing, spectacular, breath-taking and FILTHY!-but the countryside is amazing, and there's literally history everywhere you turn. Don't make the mistake a lot of my mates did and stay holed up in your room all the time because of the chancy weather; get yourself a good, warm, practical coat, sturdy shoes and a pair of wellies for the wetter days (and there are lots of them, it's rains A TON) and get out and explore. Learn the rail system, it's the easiest way to get from point A to point B when you need to go more than a mile or two, but most small towns-and it sounds like your school is in a pretty small town-have all the important stuff-the chippie, the Chinese take-away, the book sellers :-)-within easy walking distance. Learn the slang; like someone else said, there are words that aren't a big deal for us that are VERY off-color in UK-"shag" has a totally different meaning for someone from Bur-ming-UM, England, than it has for someone for someone from Bur-ming-HAM, Alabama-and there are other words that are just different. They say "ice lollies", we say "popsicles". They say "loo", we say "bathroom". They say "trainers" and "trackies", we say "sneakers" and "sweats". Not a big deal most of the time, most people will know what you're talking about whichever words you use, it just makes you feel more at home when you sound like your mates and the people out in town. And most importantly, enjoy yourself!!! This is such an amazing opportunity, you are so lucky that you have this available to you while you are so young, I think that you are going to have the time of your life!

post #13 of 13

Whoops, double post!

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