Reflection on the 2024 Selective placement test

by globaledu | 15th May 2024 |

The 2024 Selective Placement Test was a challenging but ultimately rewarding experience. After months of preparation, students were relieved that it was finally over. Most of our students said that they found it similar to the mock tests they have been doing throughout the course at GEA. Some were easier but some were more challenging. Not all students, for obvious reasons, agree on the rating for the difficulty of the questions. However, they all loved the idea that it is finally over! This year a record of over 18600 students sat the test. There are only just above 4000 seats available in selective schools.


Here is some feedback about each component:


The reading included similar types of questions as the year before. Nothing out of the ordinary.

The poem was “A Martian Sends a Postcard Home” a 1979 poem by Craig Rain (an English Contemporary Poet). A great choice of an age-appropriate poem that considers various aspects of human behaviour. It is a somewhat humorous and ironic poem.

Two texts comparison- the context that was used was the travel of two girls in the first text the girl was flying to Melbourne while in the second one, the girl was travelling on a train to a boarding school (a short extract from the book “The Getting of Wisdom by Henry Handel Richardson).

The cloze comprehension text was about sniffer dogs finding platypuses.

And finally in the four extracts the theme used was “Teachers”.

Overall, the reading test was not that challenging, and the questions varied from factual level to inferential higher order thinking level.


Mathematical Reasoning

The majority of our students said that it was simpler than our course’s mock exams. The questions were simple to answer; no algebra or formulas were required. Students reported that the problems were mostly problem-solving in nature, requiring little computations—a point we have been highlighting in our courses. It ultimately comes down to the ability of students to problem-solve rather than computations and formulas.

Some of the questions they remembered were of the following topics:

  • lowest common multiples,
  • fractions (involving improper fractions, decimals and mixed numerals),
  • two equations were given with two unknowns and finding the relationship between the unknowns (kind of Y6-friendly simultaneous equations),
  • 2D shapes involving area and perimeter and
  • 3D objects statement questions involving the number of vertices and creating triangular prisms from square pyramids
  • There were questions involving patterns
  • data (graphs)
  • time elapse – using flight and different time zones context and another question involving a clock and rotation of clock hands.
  • Questions involving coins and notes
  • Finding the total number of a group of different coloured balls given fractions of it

Thinking Skills

The Thinking Skills were deemed by the students to be the most difficult of all the other tests this year but they all said it was expected. Is it not. We all know it is supposed to be the trickiest one and the most demanding in terms of time management. However, there were no surprises.

It had more questions focused on mathematics rather than critical thinking (strengthen and weaken questions). These are some of the questions recalled by our students:

  • Shapes with most lines of symmetry
  • Truth and lies type of questions
  • Codes – deciphering a coded message
  • Finding fallacy in reasoning
  • Find the correct reasoning – “Who is correct” questions



The writing task was to write a newspaper report about animals running loose in your town for the local newspaper. This is a great age-appropriate topic which our students said it was quite easy to do and fun to think about.  They were happy they knew the marking criteria as they have been practicing this type of genre with the marking rubric in our course.



As anticipated, the 2024 Selective placement test unfolded just as we had prepared for, with no unexpected twists or turns. Surprisingly, the math section proved to be more manageable than our rigorous mock tests, offering a welcome relief. Similarly, the reading portion maintained a familiar level of difficulty, featuring engaging texts that mirrored our practice sessions. However, the writing task presented us with an ordinary genre—a newspaper report—set in a context suitable for year-six students. Despite its simplicity, it demanded precision and clarity in expression and tone. The Thinking Skills section, as predicted, posed a greater challenge compared to the other sections, yet it remained within the bounds of our expectations, not surpassing the difficulty of previous years. With this in mind, we approach the results in August with optimism, confidence in our students’ performance and hopeful for favourable outcomes.

Until then, if you are a parent who finds themselves in need of guidance regarding school selection—remember, the deadline is June 16, 2024—or if you are a parent of a Year 5 student seeking assistance in preparing for the 2025 test, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to support one another on this journey towards unlocking a world of full potential for our children.


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