Advice for Parents of Students Taking the Selective High School Placement Exam Introduction:
    • Last updated June 12, 2023
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Advice for Parents of Students Taking the Selective High School Placement Exam Introduction:

Posted By BrainDoc Academy     June 12, 2023    


Students in the sixth grade take an entrance exam for entry into a selective public high school in the following academic year. The exam in New South Wales assesses not only English and mathematics knowledge but also "thinking skills" (mostly based on logical reasoning). The competition for spots is fierce. Many parents see their children's enrollment in a selective high school as a strategy to ensure their children will do well on statewide standardized tests. NSW Practice Tests are not as easy as you think.

Only the most talented kids are accepted into exclusive schools:

  • The 2018 NSW Department of Education evaluation indicated that the selection process for Selective Schools Practice required significant modification. 
  • It was discovered that some students from underprivileged families, Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and students in rural and isolated locations may be discouraged from applying due to "unintended barriers" in the application process.




What about alternate entry points?

More pupils from different socioeconomic backgrounds would be admitted to elite schools if more methods were used to identify them (beyond the application). Having elementary schools recommend individuals they believe are gifted or have great potential could be one solution. After all, there will always be a subset of low-income households that will only think to apply if they study for the required exams.


Data for Evaluation:

The 2021 version of the Selective High School Placement Test will be used for the 2022 school year. The new exam places a heavier premium on critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, and problem-solving. It also modifies the relative importance of test questions requiring mathematical, linguistic, and cognitive abilities.


  • The NSW Department of Education commissioned the 2018 Review of Selective Education Access report, which informed these adjustments.
  • The 2022 placement exam will still be administered on paper.
  • Students in the class of 2021 will take a placement exam for SHS that will measure their reading, mathematics, critical thinking, and writing capabilities.

When taking a selective exam, what strategies have proven successful?

  • Exam preparation, including studying, can give you the impression that you are ready to take the test. However, nothing goes according to plan on the actual day. 
  • You say you're exhausted and lack enthusiasm. Everything you need to know to stop this from happening is right here. You should see the location of the test, who will drive you there, and what you'll be eating for lunch at the very least the night before. 
  • This will allow you to arrive at the exam calmly and prepared to give your full attention to the task. Eat nutrient-dense, motivation-boosting foods to feel energized and focused. 
  • You should also bring a printout of the test authority letter, your application number, two 2B pencils, a sharpener, and an eraser. Tissues, glasses, an asthma inhaler, an FM transmitter, and a sustaining meal are good ideas if needed.


The exam proctor will show you the ropes before the test begins, showing you things like how to take notes. Use the provided answer sheet when taking exams with multiple-choice questions. If you change your mind about an answer, cross it out completely and circle the new one. 


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