Everything you need to know about the Selective School Test process

by admin | 13th October 2020 |

It’s that time of year again.

The time that every parent well invested in their Year 5 child’s learning waits for in anticipation – the opening for selective high school test and placement applications.

This year, for entry into Year 7 in 2022, the application period will start on Tuesday, 13 October 2022 and end on Monday, 16 November 2022.

We know what it’s like to be a busy parent, juggling multiple commitments to keep the family afloat. The last thing you have time for is scrolling through internet pages to find the information you need.

That’s why we have compiled the key information you need to know in this post. You can read it now or bookmark the page for later. Either way, this page is here for you when you’re ready.

Just be aware that dates have already been changed multiple times this year by the Department of Education due to COVID. So, keep your eyes on our emails as we will continue alerting you of the changes.

But first, what is a Selective High School?

Selective high schools seek to provide a stimulating environment for dynamic and ambitious students who excel academically. These schools provide admission to students based on merit, with a special entrance examination. This exam is known as the Selective High School Placement Test.

The Placement Test measures English (reading comprehension), mathematics (problem-solving skills), general ability (abstract and verbal reasoning), and writing.

As mentioned in The New Selective High School Placement Test: Everything you need to know, there have been key changes made to the Test, including equal weighting given to mathematics, English and thinking skills. Being aware of these changes will help you give your child the best chance of succeeding.

Also worth noting, is that 2021 will be the final year the test is taken in a paper-based format as computer-based testing will occur from 2022.

What are the key dates I should be aware of?

Typically, students are in Year 5 during the application process and sit the test in Year 6.

The placement test will take place on 11 March 2021 for entry in 2022. However, this is subject to change in the future. Other key dates for Year 7 selective high school placements in 2022 are:

Date Activity
13 October 2020 Applications open for entry
16 November 2020 Applications close for entry
4 December 2020 Principals provide school assessment scores
25 February 2021 Test centre information and Test authority letters available to parents
11 March 2021 Selective High School Placement Test
25 April 2021 Last day to change school choices
2 July 2021 Placement outcomes expected to be released
16 July 2021 Appeals due 14 days after outcomes are released
October 2021 Appeals outcomes released

How competitive is the Selective High School Placement Test?

Entry into selective high schools is very competitive. Around 15,000 Year 6 students across New South Wales take the Test, competing for about one-quarter (3,600) of places offered for first-year entry.

The level of competition has progressively increased over the years as many schools (especially the top selective schools) raise their minimum entry scores.

How do I apply and select school preferences?

You can apply online through the NSW Education website.

You can select up to 3 selective schools in order of preference. This is an important decision, if your child is placed in one of these schools, they will spend 6 years of their life there! You may want to consider factors such as the school’s reputation, transport options, and travel time.

For a list of selective schools and their websites, please click here and refer to page 16.

How is the placement test score calculated?

For selective high school entry, students are ranked in order of academic merit based on the primary school assessment scores in English and mathematics, as well as the Placement Test score.

School assessment scores are based on achievement on the school curriculum in Year 5 after 25 May 2020.

What is the structure of the Selective School Test?

The Placement Test consists of (in this order):

  • 20-minute writing test (one piece of writing)
  • 40-minute Reading Comprehension Test (45 Multiple Choice questions)
  • 40-minute Mathematics Test (40 Multiple Choice questions)
  • 40-minute General Ability test (60 Multiple Choice questions)

There is a 5-minute break between the first two and the last two and a 15-minute break half-way through the duration of the Test.

What is the final mark made up of? 

The final Test mark consists of:

  • English: Two-thirds reading and one-third writing
    100 Marks: 50 from the school score and 50 from the test
  • Mathematics
    100 Marks: 50 from the school score and 50 from the test
  • General Ability
    100 Marks: 100 from the test

Please note the importance of the General Ability section as it carries the heaviest weighting.

Also, please note that independent schools do NOT provide any school assessments marks. This means if your child attends a non-public school, their total mark will be solely based on their test performance.

When should my child start preparing?

As soon as possible, there is no time like the present. As the selective high school placement process is rigorous in nature, you want to ensure you are positioning your child to put their best foot forward.

However, it is never too late. We have witnessed students who started their preparation relatively late compared to other students and still received a selective placement. Yet, we have also seen the ones who needed to start as early as Year 2.

What’s the best way to prepare for the selective school test?

In the weeks leading up to the test, we recommend encouraging your child to do practice questions by using sample tests (note past tests are not released). This will familiarise them with the structure and nature of the questions that will be asked in the real placement test. Sample questions will be made available here.

Before that, it would be beneficial to assess your child’s current skills and abilities to identify the areas they will need to focus on developing in the coming months. You can start preparing with us today by booking a Benchmark Assessment.

For more tips on how to prepare your child for the placement test, read 8 Tips on Preparing your Child for the Selective High School Placement Test.

Is there any other important information I should know?

Your child’s placement outcome is expected to be released on 2 July 2021. At the time, you will receive a notification to log into your application to view the outcome. There are 3 possible outcomes:

  1. Placement in one of the selected schools
  2. Placement on a reserve list for one or more of the selected schools
  3. Unsuccessful for one or more of the selected schools

What happens if my child doesn’t receive a placement?

This is a possibility. In fact, less than one-quarter of students who sit the test are accepted!

An appeals process is available from the date parents are notified of placement outcomes. An appeal can only be made on the following grounds:

  • Something specific happened that prevented your child from attaining higher test score or school assessment score. It must be a situation that wouldn’t have been considered by the school’s selection committee; or
  • Your child is yet to be a permanent resident of Australia but will be granted residency before the end of the 2021 school year. This must be accompanied with proof.

Alternatively, you can try again the following year. Selective school test placements are also made available to students from Years 8 to 12.

Keep supporting your child’s learning and communicate that exceptional results can still be achieved outside of a selective high school. If it is the ongoing challenge they need, that’s what GEA is here for – to meet your child’s learning, emotional and mental needs.

Thinking about Selective High School for your child? Take the first step, book a Benchmark Assessment today.

To remain informed, we encourage you to monitor the NSW Education website for any further updates or changes to the process for placement in 2022. In the meantime, contact us at 1300 001 432 to start preparing your child today.

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