Selective Test Preparation Guide

9 May 2021 The Alchemy Team

Selective tests, whether into Victorian Selective Schools or scholarships, are super competitive. Having a timeframe, knowing when and how to prepare for the test is vital in providing the student with the best opportunity to pass the exam.

Having a general guideline goes a long way in helping you get your child prepared for the exam at the right time. Every child is different. The guide should help you cater to your child accordingly.

Determine If Your Child is a Good Candidate for the Exam

The purpose of selective tests and scholarship exams is to identify the best students in the different levels. Students who are already doing well in school and show high academic promise are the best suited to sit for the selective exams.

Children getting at least a B in school in Math and English at their current level has excellent chances of passing the selective test.

Know the Test Format

Beginning 2020, NSW students started sitting in a renewed version of the Selective High School Placement Test.

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The system comprises a narrative writing test, reading multiple-choice questions, mathematics multiple choice questions and general ability multiple-choice questions.

The goal of the selective exam is to select the cream of the cream in the education system by testing a wide range of skills in various areas.

Thorough preparation in all the necessary areas is vital to ensure improvement across the board to guarantee excellent results.

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you have clarity on the components of the exam, the next step is to identify which of these components the student finds most challenging.

Past reports, talking with teaching and having assessments done are some of the excellent ways you can use to identify problem areas.

Ensure you assess and practice all the skills. However, allocate more time to the weak areas during study sessions to place more focus on areas of improvement.

Get Extra Help

Getting assistance is an excellent way of improving your chances of passing the selective test. If you’re going for a long-term study, teachers and external tutors can help you understand the approach for different types of questions. Online tutors are also an invaluable asset.

With a selective school tutor, the student can work with a qualified tutor who they find most suitable. The online tutor will attend to the needs of the student at the comfort of their home and convenience, increasing retention and quality of the study sessions.

Using an online tutoring service helps the student find someone who can teach them to think outside the box and become a problem-solver, which is what selective tests require.

Mastering Exam Techniques and Reducing Cognitive Load Techniques

Make time to build your test-specific skills. Having such skills will reduce response time and give you the advantage of having extra time to ponder on some of the answers.

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For instance, students should avoid being marked down for incorrect answers when dealing with multiple choice questions. Also, it’s better to guess than not having an answer at all. One of the techniques students can use in such questions is the elimination process which can help students guess more accurately.

It’s also vital for the student to master the different questions styles in the exam, recognise them and categorise them. This will make it easier to understand what the questions are about and have the right approach.

Students will also need to master how to reduce cognitive load and stress to enhance their mental performance. Breathing exercises, active reading (while reading the questions and following the UPSL strategy are a few methods that can help free up your brain and ease the thought process.

Reading and Writing

For the reading and writing section of the exam, there are several strategies you can implement. These include:

  • Having a reading program to expand your vocabulary. Have a book where you note down the new words you learn and what they mean.
  • Develop the ability to read passages with the question in mind strategically. You have to read the questions first then the passage. This not only helps you to save time but also identify possible answers while reading through the passage.
  • Don’t just enjoy reading. Read to get the information.
  • Practise creative and persuasive writing. Take 3 minutes to plan, 15 minutes to write and 2 minutes to edit your work.

Mathematics / General Ability

Some of the strategies you can use for mathematics and general include:

  • Turning worded questions into mathematical equations.
  • Using the UPSL strategy to understand, plan, solve, and learn from the word problems and answer them.

The Day Before the Test

The day before the test is just as important. Having the right program and routine is vital to ensure the student is fully prepared.

Ensure you get enough rest. 9 – 11 hours of sleep is recommended to ensure the brain is well-rested. Nutrition is also critical. Blueberries, whole grains and matcha are some of the foods that will fuel the performance of your brain. Try to have as much of these foods in your diet on the days leading to the exam.

Final Remarks

This guideline provides you with everything a child needs to prepare and sit for selective exams. It’s important to note that this is a long and challenging journey that requires proper preparation and motivation. Ensure you get the child all the support and assistance they need to give them the best chance of doing well.

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