Preparing for High School NSW Selective School Test 2019 – Exam Format & Tips!

Public schools in New South Wales or NSW public schools offer a wide range of opportunities for gifted and talented students. Opportunity classes are meant for academically gifted students in Year 5 and 6 with high achievements. Parents of students in Year 4 can apply for opportunity classes for their kids. NSW Selective Schools cater to gifted students in Year 7 and above which means the test is taken by students in Year 6.

How students are selected in the NSW selective schools?

These selective high schools are located throughout NSW(New South Wales) and can be partially selective or fully selective high schools. Students are offered placement in selective schools based on their academic merit and the choice of schools they indicate.

The academic merit is determined on the basis of the English and Mathematics assessments of students in primary schools, as well as their performance in the Selective High School Placement Test.

The Format of the Selective High School Placement Test

The NSW Selective High School Placement Test measures the reading, writing, mathematics, and general abilities of the students. It is usually held on the second Thursday of March. In 2019, the NSW Selective School Test will be held on 14th March 2019 while in 2020, this test will be held on 12th March 2020.

The duration of the Selective High School Placement Test is for 2 hours 20 minutes. It consists of:

  • A Writing Test for 20 minutes, and
  • Three Multiple-Choice Tests for 40 minutes each.

Writing Test

In the writing test, a student has to write on the stimulus topic (which can be in the form of a question, a statement, a heading or an image). The marks in the test are awarded on the use of language, quality of thinking of a topic, and the organization of ideas.

No marks are awarded if a student writes off-topic.

Multiple-Choice Tests

The three multiple-choice tests included in the exam are:

  • Reading test (which has 45 questions),
  • Mathematics test (which has 40 questions), and
  • General Ability test (which has 60 questions) – which includes questions on Abstract Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, and Verbal Reasoning.

In these tests, there is no negative marking for the incorrect answers.

ALSO READHow to Prepare for the NSW Opportunity Class 2019

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Preparation Tips for the NSW Selective School Exams

Smart work is the key to be successful in an exam. Here are our tried & tested tips which work for every kid preparing for Selective School Tests:

Know how much time you can devote to each question

Divide the exam duration by the number of questions you have to solve to get an idea of how many seconds or minutes you have for each question. Generally speaking, you’ll have about 53 seconds to solve each question in the Reading Test, 1 minute or 60 seconds to solve each Math question, and about 40 seconds to solve each question of the General Ability section. It means that you need to aim for both speed and accuracy while preparing for the NSW Selective High School Test.

Practice as much as you can

Sample Reading Tests, Mathematics Tests, GA Tests, and Writing Tasks are easily available online. Solve a full-length test in a timed manner, get it checked by an experienced teacher, and then, review your performance.

‘Reviewing your performance’ is a crucial step to be able to learn from your mistakes. When you see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, you’ll find it easier to plug in the holes in time and crack the entrance exam.

Make an Exam Strategy

As you solve past year NSW Selective School Exam papers, practice tests, and sample papers, you’ll notice that many types of questions are often repeated. You may learn shortcuts, tips, and tricks on how to solve these questions quickly to save time on the actual exam day.

Don’t Take Shortcuts in Preparation

When you are preparing for the exam, go all the way. Multiplication tables help you solve Math questions faster and Reading Programs can help you write better.

Solve at least a few Math and Reasoning practice questions daily, and try to understand the key concepts that help in solving those questions thoroughly.

To hone the writing skills, you need to read first. Try to read the editorial section of the most popular newspapers in your area daily – along with the ‘Comments’ section. The Sydney Herald and the Age are some of the good newspapers you may want to read. You may also start or join a book club and read popular fiction books such as the Harry Potter series, the Twilight Saga, and the Hunger Games.

When you read something, underline the words you don’t understand. Find their meanings and write them down in your notebook. This old-fashioned way of increasing your vocabulary is time-tested and yields good results for everyone.


If you’re looking for a solid NSW Selective School tests preparation, it is undeniable that you’re going to need help apart from your school. The best would be to find tutoring options- Online Tutoring Vs. Home-tutoring. You’ll ultimately realize that with full-time school and other day-to-day duties, online tutoring is the best available option for your exam success. 

Find an online English tutor & and an expert online Math tutor for  NSW Selective School exam preparation online.

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