The format of entrance exams differ according to grade level. For the children applying for enrollment in grade one or below, they are called interviews, rather than exams. The period of the interview will include several types of activities, some individual, some with a group with a teacher and some when the child is simply playing with others. Several aspects of readiness will be taken into consideration such as ability to follow instructions, coordination between hand and eye, muscular growth in general, the ability to converse and build relations with others, concentration, and other matters. Although it is important that the child speaks Arabic and knows the Arabic alphabet and numbers before he enters first grade, other developmental aspects are also important. Of course, the readiness level expected of the child varies according to his age and grade level.
As for the entrance exams for admission to grades 2 – 10, they include Arabic, English, and math. A personal interview with either the General Director or Principal and Student Counselor will also be required for students of grades 7-10 who have passed the entrance exams. The exams are designed on the basis of the goals included in the formal curriculum as applied at DAS.
The general aim is that the student may be accepted at DAS if he has achieved a level of knowledge in the three subjects that will enable him to succeed in the targeted class. DAS takes into consideration that students coming to a new setting with new teachers and new methods and exams may not achieve as well as those who are accustomed to the setting. We take this into account when determining the minimum acceptable grade.
The purpose of scheduling an orientation day before the exams is to make students feel comfortable. When the children applying to enter pre-school or grade 1 come for the orientation day, they will spend time with stories, free play, and some activities similar to the kind that will be used when they come for the official interview. When students of the second grade and above come the first time, they will be introduced to the place where they will take the exams and some of the people who might be there as well as receive worksheets to work on at home. The exam will take place on their second visit. Therefore, it is important for parents to be sure to make arrangements for the student to attend the orientation – to get to know the place and the people he will meet on the day of the exam or the interview – in order to give them the best possible preparation for success.