7 Useful Tips on Preparing your Child for the OC Placement Test

by admin | 28th August 2020 |

The test date has been postponed again to 18 Nov 2020. This has given students a substantial amount of time for extra preparation.

Many students are overwhelmed and anxious because of the delay. However, you can reduce stress by looking at the positive side.


It is easier said than done, I bet you are thinking! How do we, as parents, do that?

Listed below are 7 tips you can follow from now until the morning of the exam. They cover all aspects of the test including study pointers, technical details and well-being tips.

1.      Know the test format

We all experience stress, of course at different levels, when we encounter a completely new thing, whether it is a test, an event or even a place. Familiarity with the structure of a test is known to reduce cognitive load and consequently reduces stress.

As for the current format of the OC 2020 test, the exam consists of:

  • 2 parts; Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Each part includes 35 questions and has a time limit of 30 minutes.
  • Each part has 10 Reading Comprehension Questions + 10 Mathematics (problem solving style) questions + 15 General Ability (a mixture of Abstract Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning).

2.      Identify strengths and weaknesses

Have clarity on the above components of the exam. Which one does your child find the most challenging? Having an assessment done can help to identify which areas you need to focus on. All skills should be assessed and practised; however, you can allocate time accordingly to make the most of study sessions.

3.      At home

In addition to testing their knowledge, practice tests familiarise your child with the layout of the question-and-answer sheets. This may seem like an unimportant detail but being familiar with the format means there’s one less thing to worry about under pressure. There are also many books on the market that can help with practising. However, choosing the right books is important.  All practice needs to be timed and under exam conditions.

4.      Exam techniques and reducing cognitive load techniques

Picking up a few test-specific skills will shorten your child’s response time and give them the advantage of having extra time to think about their answers. In multiple-choice questions, students need to know that they are asked to find the correct option out of four, which is completely different from solving an open-ended question. It’s important to note that students are not marked down for incorrect answers on multiple-choice questions, which means that a guess is better than no answer at all. Using the elimination process, students can enhance their chances of guessing correctly. Knowing how the options in multiple-choice questions work will significantly help them in this situation. Also, as certain question styles are repeated in the exam, it’s a good idea to learn to recognise and categorise them.

Reducing cognitive load or stress is conducive to a good performance. There are methods and strategies to reduce stress, such as breathing, being active readers (underlining keywords while reading the question), following the UPSLTM Strategy and other methods.

5.      Reading and developing vocabulary

Strategies for reading and developing vocabulary

  • Developing their ability to strategically read passages with the question in mind. That means, reading the questions first, then the passage.
  • Reading for information not just to enjoy reading.
  • Developing a reading program to expand vocabulary. Students need to start their own dictionary and record new words.
  • Use the new words at the dinner table at home; each member of the family has to come up with one or two new words a day. The one who does not is penalised by putting 50C in the “Vocab Jar”.
  • Write the new words on post-it notes; one word per note and stick them all around the house. Better yet, use the same colour for words that have a similar meaning, or use red for words that have negative meaning and green for positive meaning. I am sure parents can be even more creative in this field.

6.    Mathematics/General Ability

Strategies for mathematics and general ability include:

  • Practising turning worded questions into mathematical language.
  • Translating from English to Mathematics is the most important stage, be mindful of the importance of this stage and give them more time to develop this skill.
  • Using the UPSLTM Strategy to understand, plan, solve and learn, to answer and learn from the word problems

7.      Seek Extra help

Most students who are sitting the OC test are getting extra help from tutors. It could be beneficial to seek help before it is too late.  Choosing the right tutor or tutoring program is helpful to form a strategy for long-term study and for approaching the different types of questions students might encounter. The best thing you can do for your child is to find someone who can teach them how to learn, how to become problem-solvers and enable them to think outside the box.

The day before and the morning of the test:

It is unfortunate that 100% of the entry mark will be determined by the test only this year. A good night’s sleep and some brain food may be beneficial.

Let them rest the day before. No Study on Tuesday 17th Nov 2020 ?

In terms of sleep, 9-11 hours is the recommended amount per night, and some yummy brain food includes blueberries, matcha and whole grains.

Try also adding these foods into their meals in the days leading up to the exam!

These exams are probably going to be the most intense your child has experienced yet, so it is vital to find all the help they can get.

The most important element in this equation is your child. At the end of the day, he/she is the one sitting the test. If they are not well motivated, they are less likely to do well. It is a long and challenging journey for them. As a parent, you need to help them keep going. Setting short-term achievable goals helps them significantly. Another important tactic is to incentivise them. As a parent, I know what excites my child and keeps her motivated!

OC Practice Tests

Give your child extra preparation in the upcoming Opportunity Class placement test. These practice tests are designed to give your child an accurate representation of the placement test.

Each practice test contains two parts, part 1 and part 2. Each part contains 35 questions and has a 30-minute time limit. Please read the instructions carefully before beginning your test. You will have two attempts. Your first attempt will show you whether you were correct or incorrect and your second attempt will show you the correct answers at the conclusion of the test.

We have 5 practice tests available.


Opportunity Class Spring Holiday Intensive Course

This course will run from Mon 28/9/2020 to Friday 2/10/2020
9am – 1pm Each Day

5 Total Sessions

In this course we will focus on:

  • trial tests and maximising performance under exam condition
  • detailed feedback on every mistake
  • focus on topics where students need the most support (especially the GA)
  • exam techniques and tips

Offered in Kogarah, Turramurra and online (hybrid).

Thinking about Opportunity Class for your child? Take the first step and book a Benchmark Assessment with us today. 

A benchmark assessment gives us insight into your child’s current ability. It will enable us to identify strengths & weaknesses in their learning and gauge the misalignment between their true ability and their performance at school.

We offer two benchmark assessments, an Opportunity Class (OC) benchmark, and a Selective/Scholarship benchmark

Performed in-house by our highly qualified and experienced teachers, our benchmark assessments are designed to give you clarity and an expert, in-depth insight.

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