Articles for parents

How does Kumon study prepare students for an interview?

Feb 2020

It’s never too early to learn basic interview skills. Whether it’s to gain entrance to a private/independent school, to be awarded a scholarship, university entrance, or to land their very first job, your child will need to put their best foot forward to succeed. Learning effective interview techniques early on in life is not only a useful skill but could also be a crucial step towards success for the future.

Every interview is different, but the question that determines the outcome remains the same - is this candidate a suitable match? While the success of a candidate is often based on a combination of factors on paper, such as entrance exams, application forms, school reports, extracurricular activities, etc., the face-to-face interview is considered to be the best possible opportunity to show one’s potential. So, how can Kumon prepare your child for these prospective interviews?

Handling pressure
Many people find interviews to be a nerve-wracking and stressful experience. Fortunately, Kumon students are prepared for those high-pressure moments. Because Kumon students are familiar with focusing on a task, studying unfamiliar work and facing the unknown, they are in fact able to thrive under such conditions. Their self-confidence in their own abilities and experience in learning things for themselves can be conveyed in the interview conversation. This can make them excellent interview candidates, equipped with the skills and ‘can-do’ attitude needed to overcome the fear and pressure of any interview.

Following instructions and interpreting
Behind every interview question, there’s usually a bigger picture that the interviewer is trying to paint. To succeed, candidates will need to be able to interpret the motivation behind every question.

Did you know that reading questions and following instructions carefully is a significant part of the Kumon Maths and English Programmes? Through long-term study, Kumon students eventually become accustomed to interpreting questions as they routinely practice reading and following directions on their own. This is a useful skill in any interview situation where candidates will need to figure out what the interviewer is really asking in order to give an accurate and well-thought out response.

Responding to broad questions effectively and articulately
Children who study the Kumon English Programme benefit from being exposed to an array of extracts from books and articles from the beginning of their Kumon journey, and are encouraged to read for themselves from Kumon’s Recommended Reading List as early as possible.

Showing a genuine interest in books and being able to provide a critical analysis of them is crucial for some interviews. For example, common questions asked at private and independent school interviews include:

  • What do you like to read outside of school?
  • Who is your favourite author?

These questions provide the school with a good indication of how keen your child is to learn for themselves outside of school and what reading level they are on, and so it’s a good idea that your child is engaging in regular reading. Fortunately, the English programme aims to nurture a life-long habit of reading for not just educational purposes, but also for enjoyment and interest.

As your child starts to attend interviews for student jobs or voluntary work, they may come across questions like “what’s the last book you read for fun?” or “what book are you currently reading?”. Personal questions like this are asked to get a better idea of who the candidate is outside of their work experience and their ability to converse on a range of subjects. There is no right or wrong answer, but the interviewer is expecting a detailed response. Kumon’s positive influence on a child’s attitude to reading prepares them for such questions. 

As Kumon students cultivate the habit of reading books, they not only expand their knowledge of the world, they also develop a rich vocabulary bank. Having a wider vocabulary can help students to express themselves more articulately in an interview, making their expressions more powerful and effective – impressing the interviewer!

Tackling problem-solving questions
Interview problem-solving questions are used to identify, test and measure a candidate’s approach to difficult and unusual situations. Schools and employers want to know how your child will handle particular situations and if they’ll display the type of behaviour that they expect. Studying with Kumon offers countless opportunities for children to develop in their problem-solving abilities by encouraging them to work out sums and comprehension answers independently. The Kumon worksheets have been designed in such a way that they specifically encourage children to work things out for themselves and draw upon a student’s problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Feeling confident
Being confident can maximise the success of an interview. The Kumon Method of Learning develops a child’s confidence to strive for their goals and aspirations. Students study at their ‘just-right’ level, meaning that they start at a comfortable level based on their ability and fluency. They progress at their own individual pace and eventually go on to study advanced work, beyond their school grade level. Through this method of study, students begin to believe in their own capability. Because they are confident in their abilities to tackle any challenge, they are ready for the unknown questions asked in an interview and can provide impressive responses, delivered with confidence.