Everything you need to know about the scholarship tests for non-government high schools

by admin | 02nd February 2021 |

The new year is the perfect time to consider your goals for the year ahead. This includes your child’s education. Especially if you want to give your child the future they deserve. 

If your child is about to enter Year 6, choice of high schools has likely been a conversation topic of late. Aside from high school preferences, have you considered whether your child could qualify for a scholarship? 

We know you want your child to receive the best possible education. Why not receive that top quality education without breaking the bank? If this is your goal, a scholarship may be your answer. 

In this blog, we answer key questions raised by parents in relation to the ACER Scholarship Tests for non-government and independent high schools. 

To help you digest the information with ease (we understand, it’s a lot to take in), we have split up the questions into three parts: 


  • Part A: The Overview – a “synopsis” on the ACER Scholarship Tests 
  • Part B: The Application – the how, when, and how much of the application process 
  • Part C: The Expectations – what to expect from and how to prepare for the tests



Tell me more about the ACER Scholarship Tests 

The ACER Scholarship tests are a series of academic ability tests used to identify academically gifted students for the award of a scholarship at non-government schools across Australia.  

These tests require students to demonstrate skills such as critical thinking, interpretation, and the ability to infer and deduce from a given set of information. The tests aren’t based on the school curriculum and therefore don’t test the ability of the student to recall knowledge learned in the classroom. 


What are the participating schools? 

Schools participating in the ACER scholarship program are listed on the ACER website at https://www.acer.org/au/scholarship/participating-schools.  


What’s the difference between a ‘cooperative’ and ‘alternative date’ school? 

Cooperative schools are part of a cooperative program in which the student sits the test once on the cooperative program test date (the same date for all cooperative schools) at their first preference school. Results are shared with the other schools the student has also applied for. 

Alternative date schools choose to conduct the test on an alternative test date which best suits their needs. Students must sit the test for each alternative school they have applied for and test results aren’t shared with any other schools. 



How can I apply for my child to sit the tests? 

The application process is simple, however may vary between schools. To begin the process, create a Parent Account in the ACER Scholarship Test online application system. Through the system, you can complete an application for your child for each desired school.  

Please note some schools may require additional information as part of the application process. We advise that you check the individual school websites for any other requirements before submitting the online application. 


When can I apply? 

Applications for 2022 entry have already opened. For many schools, the application period will close in the coming weeks. 

  • Cooperative program schools – applications will close at midnight on Monday, 8 February 2021 for NSW and VIC schools 
  • Alternative date program schools – closing dates vary, please check each school’s website to confirm 


How much does it cost to apply? 

Application fees are set by each school, details of which are available on the schools’ websites. 




When would my child sit the test? 

Test dates vary across schools, however most participating schools (cooperative program) in NSW have a scheduled test date of Saturday, 27 February 2021. Test dates for alternative date program schools are also available on the ACER website or on the individual school websites. 


What is the test structure? 

For Years 7 to 12, there are a maximum of four separate sub-tests: 

  • Test 1: Written Expression (extended response, 25 minutes) – tests the student’s ability to express thoughts and ideas in different styles of writing  
  • Test 2: Humanities – Comprehension and Interpretation (multiple choice, 40 minutes) – tests the student’s ability to think critically and answer questions related to written and visual material 
  • Test 3: Mathematics (multiple choice, 40 minutes) – measures a student’s mathematical and scientific abilities using materials from a variety of sources 
  • Test 4Written Expression (extended response, 25 minutes) – tests the same abilities as Test 1, using a different topic 

A break is allowed between Tests 2 and 3.  


How can I prepare my child for the tests? 

Given the tests are not based on the school curriculum, revision of learned content isn’t the best form of preparation. Skills tested are those learned in and out of school. ACER suggests the best preparation is to read widely and think critically. 

We also recommend using practice tests to prepare. Practice tests can be purchased through your Parent Account in the online application system, under ‘Practice Materials.’.  


Can Global Education Academy provide any support? 

Certainly! GEA provides specialised tutoring for entrance into a Scholarship Program. 

To help you decide whether your child should sit the ACER Scholarships Tests, GEA offers a benchmark assessment for students who are looking to sit the test for selective high schools or scholarships. 

If you decide to go ahead, we help equip your child with the skills and the knowledge required to sit scholarship tests, entry tests for private schools and other similar tests. 

Our specialised tutoring program was developed by our founder, Dr Majeda Awawdeh, and is run by fully qualified educators with many years’ experience.  

For more information about how we can help you, enquire now

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