Academic Assessment Services Scholarship Yr 7 Test Preparation - Ultimate Guide for Parents

Even a 20% fee-reduction scholarship saves parents $7374 each year** - Gain access to the most prestigious schools to give your child a significant advantage in life.

In this guide, you’ll find out what an Academic Assessment Services (AAS) exam format looks like (number of questions, time, areas tested), what schools generally use AAS to set their exam, how hard a scholarship exam is and what is expected. As a bonus, an exam expert will show you how to best do test preparation for your child for this competitive exam.

What is an Academic Assessment Services (AAS) scholarship exam and how hard is the test?

If you have applied for your child to sit a scholarship or are planning to do you, you may be advised that it will be an Academic Assessment Services scholarship exam. What is this and how do you prepare your child for it?

Academic Assessment Services are an exam provider/setter. There are 3 major test setters in Australia; they are ACER, Edutest and Academic Assessment Services (aka AAS and formerly known as Robert Allwell & Associates).

A scholarship provides you with affordability (parents receive a fee reduction usually 20-100% on tuition fees, usually saving parents more than $7000 a year) so that your child can access to the most prestigious schools.

It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that gives your child a significant advantage in life. However, in order to gain a scholarship, your child must sit a competitive test.

Schools don’t write their own scholarship exams, as assessments are quite difficult to do. Instead, they outsource testing to companies.

An Academic Assessment Services scholarship test has 4 parts being abstract reasoning and problem solving, mathematics achievement and reasoning, reading comprehension and written expression. Each of these test parts will be explained in more detail below (time, format, what it tests exactly).

So how hard is an Academic Assessment Services scholarship exam?

Like most scholarship exams, Academic Assessment Services scholarship exams are very difficult due to:

  • Very short time limit – usually 60 seconds to complete a multiple-choice question and 25 minutes to write an essay.
  • Testing both achievement (what you learn at school) and problem solving (something students don’t get taught at school) with the higher marks rewarded to students who do the harder problem solving questions correctly.

As a guide, your child should be performing 1-2 grades above their current grade in both Maths and English. This means an A to A+ in order to be considered somewhat competitive as candidates who sit the exam are most likely to be at that level already.

Academic Assessment Services scholarship exams are even harder in selection compared to their exams for selective schools. This is because a scholarship may provide 1-3 spots a year while selective schools often have 225 spots or more.

Because the savings for a scholarship can run to more than $44,244 over 6 years from Grade 7 – 12, the stakes are high and so is the competition.

Many children commonly put in 168+ hours of preparation 6 months ahead of test date.

I have personally seen instances where naturally gifted students missed out to someone who was prepared because they had poor exam technique (just because you are gifted doesn’t mean that you naturally have good exam technique).

It would be unfair to put your child into the Academic Assessment Services exam without preparation. It is a time-driven exam and totally different from what they get at school.

If you don’t prepare, your child goes in the test at a disadvantage. Get them help so they go into the test knowing what to do and how to do their best.

What’s in an Academic Assessment Services exam – test format, number of questions and time limit?

An Academic Assessment Services exam generally has 4 parts although schools can customise for their own needs. Robert Allwell, the director of Academic Assessment Services has stated that:

Mathematic tasks are heavily weighted to reasoning rather than simply learned skills, and reading comprehension tasks are weighted to reward interpretation, inference and synthesis.

And for writing, he stated that ‘examiners look for originality, adherence to the topic, fluency and strong control of syntax, grammar and vocabulary in the writing component of tests’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 2018)

It is important to note that for any scholarship test, rote learning and memorizing multiplication tables, questions or formulas, isn’t going to give your child the edge they need. Instead, developing strong reasoning skills, having a strategy for writing and exam technique will be useful to help your child answer questions quickly and correctly and this is what Exam Success focusses on.

The 4 parts along with their description (including time limits and estimated number of questions per test *) are shown below:

Abstract Reasoning and Problem Solving

Number of questions: 60 multiple-choice questions (estimated)
What’s the time limit*? 40 - 45 minutes
Time per question* ~ 40 - 45 seconds

We believe that this section is another name for general ability. On the official AAS website, it says that ‘this test assesses the ability to reason with and analyse information using verbal, mathematical, figural and spatial concepts’, this means that test questions around verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and pure abstract reasoning are common. See description below of each of these three:

  • Verbal reasoning is largely about pattern detection using words and language. The language doesn’t need to be English, sometimes; verbal reasoning questions are about decoding a code written in some alien language. Other possible verbal reasoning questions that could appear in the exam are: odd word out, word that has the closest meaning to another word, adding or removing a letter to make a different word, logical consequence based on a statement, if & and statements. Because of its heavy reliance on words, those with a wider vocabulary range (this means knowing how the word is spelled and what it means) may find verbal reasoning easier compared to those with a limited vocabulary range.

  • Abstract reasoning is about being able to look at images or pictures and solve problems. For example, there may be a series of images, and you need to figure out which one doesn't belong, which one is the next picture in the series, which one should be added in and more. There are ways in which you can solve these and they are in our abstract reasoning course.

  • Numerical reasoning - Don’t expect to see simple calculations that need to be solved - this test is about application and problem solving using mathematics and numbers. Expect to see questions that ask to find the number pattern. Most of the questions involve very simple adding, subtracting, multiplication and/or division – but what’s hard is figuring out what mathematics to use, how to use it and when to use it to solve the question.

Written Expression

Number of questions: 1 writing prompt
What’s the time limit*? 25 minutes
Time per question* ~ 25 minutes

Any style of writing can be requested and if it is requested, your child needs to write accordingly or risk losing points. Just because your child can write sentences with perfect spelling and grammar, doesn’t mean they’ll get a good mark. They’re just the basics. Scholarship selection requires higher skills – these are:

  • Originality – unique stories not like the rest stand out. But again, these need to be written well and planned carefully to fit within the 25 minutes you are provided. Your child should choose their storyline or structure of the piece carefully. Exam Success provides a set structure that students have used to win scholarships – see our masterclass video on this here for persuasive and narrative writing.
  • Related to the prompt – your child can’t write anything they want, they need to come up with a piece that is directly related to the stimulus/question they’re given. This could be an image, a statement or both. Students that don’t do this risk getting a nil mark. It’s important your child relates to the prompt because in the past, students have come into the exam with rehearsed essays. We do not recommend you memorise essays beforehand. However, we highly recommend you practice a lot and have ‘backup’ sentences that you can use.
  • Fluency and strong control of syntax – your child should write clear sentences that are in order and can be easily understood. So not to write: “Yesterday, I will eat dinner”, but write: “Yesterday, I ate dinner”.
  • Grammar and vocabulary – One of the biggest misconceptions that students and parents (and teachers) have is that to score well in this area, you have to use a lot of ‘big words’. Using a ‘big word’ incorrectly and in the wrong context will lose your child marks. Also, if you don’t know how to spell the word, it will also likely lose you marks. Remember, words need to be selected carefully to ‘enhance’ your piece. Poorly chosen words will lead to loss of marks. For example, “A plethora of reasons why” is better written as the simpler “A number of reasons why…”


Number of questions: 45 multiple-choice questions (estimated)
What’s the time limit*? 40 - 45 minutes
Time per question* ~ 53 - 60 seconds

Students are asked to read or review a variety of media from non-fiction texts like interviews and articles to fiction texts like narratives. Students are asked to answer questions based on texts presented. This test isn’t straightforward where you look at the question and search through the text for the answer.

Instead, the test is weighted where higher marks are awarded for the harder questions – these are questions that ask your child to interpret (that means to understand what a part of the text means when there isn’t complete information), inference (this means to figure out conclusions using reasoning from the information your child has read) and synthesis (this means to figure out how separate parts in a text form an overall whole understanding). Inference is a step in logical reasoning and something Exam Success teaches.

Mathematics Achievement and Reasoning

Number of questions: 45 multiple-choice questions (estimated)
What’s the time limit*? 40 - 45 minutes
Time per question* ~ 53 - 60 seconds

According to the Academic Assessment Services website, “for primary and junior secondary students these tests assess curriculum-related mathematics tasks and mathematical reasoning tasks. Middle and senior secondary students are assessed on mathematics reasoning tasks. These are different to curriculum-based mathematics and focus on problem-solving skills.” What this means is that your child’s maths test in Year 7 will have a combination of what they learn at school (curriculum) but also problem solving style maths questions where your child has to think about what maths they need to use.

Usually it’s very simple maths (e.g. adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying) but the difficulty is in HOW to use it and when. The exam rewards students more if they do well for the reasoning parts. Questions like “If a person is 2 times another person’s age now, how old will they be in 10 years time” may appear. There are strategies your child can learn to help them answer these types of questions quickly and accurately.

﹡ The number of questions and time limit have been estimated from the Academic Assessment Services website and publicly available information. Please note that the authoritative body can change the number of questions and time limits from year to year so please refer to their websites for the most up to date information. Time per question is calculated by taking the time limit divided by number of questions.

﹡﹡ Calculated as the identified cost of private school tuition fees of $36,870 per year for inner suburb of capital city multiplied by 20%.

As you'll see, the scholarship test is heavily weighted towards reasoning i.e. thinking skills rather than curriculum – this means you’ll need test preparation that teaches logical reasoning. Logical reasoning is unfamiliar to many parents but it can be taught and is a study area under ‘logic’ a branch of study under philosophy. Our courses and test questions are developed by one of our exam experts who majored in philosophy and studied logic reasoning from a logic professor at the renowned University of Melbourne.

Your child needs support and expert programs designed around building skills in reasoning that they don’t teach you at school. These are the skills that will help your child answer those hard questions they get the highest marks for. Most children can answer the easier questions but it’s the harder questions that help your child get selected for a scholarship.

How Do You Prepare Your Kid For the Academic Assessment Services Scholarship Test?

Because the questions reward children who can do problem solving, the questions are rarely straightforward. They require reasoning skills - something that is rarely taught in schools.

So how can your child prepare?

The first step is to do sample question papers. While Academic Assessment Services do not release past papers, we have found that there are a number of ways you can test logical reasoning and have created our own set of questions – that have been used by students to prepare for an Academic Assessment Services exam and successfully gain a scholarship.

You can sign up to the teaching test bank here - select 'test papers'.

When I do private tuition, the process I use to help students gain a scholarship involves just 5 steps!

For reading, mathematical reasoning and abstract reasoning:

  1. Do a practice test disregarding the time limit. Focus on getting the question right and find out what your score is in the end.
  2. For any question you didn’t get correct, figure out what should be the correct answer (and check it with your answer key).
  3. For those same questions, come up with strategies so that when you’re faced with a similar question next time, you’ll be able to answer it. Hone your strategy over time so that you reduce the number of steps it takes to get to the answer (and so that you can answer the question more quickly).
  4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 until you get a score of 95-100%. Each time you repeat it, if done properly, your child should be seeing a higher score in their practice test.
  5. Then do practice tests within the time limit. What you’ll find is that working in a time limit is easier, once you have a process to answering various questions correctly.

While they look like 5 easy steps, going through each step does time a long time if done properly and coming up with strategies takes time. The strategy that has the least step is the quickest way there but it requires clear thought and understanding around logical links. You can develop these strategies yourself, or you can do our courses where these strategies are provided.

Written Expression is a bit trickier as there are so many ways where your writing can lose marks (we’ve identified 52!).

Based on our experience helping students get scholarships, we’ve found that students improve dramatically and quickly through targeted feedback. Writing improves quickly when you have experts providing feedback. Your child shouldn’t have to sit in class and learn grammar rules, but rather, they should:

  1. Write their essay
  2. Get customized feedback.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 again. Using the feedback, overtime, students see an improvement in their essays. They stop making the same mistakes and their writing is better.

A scholarship is much sought after – it provides parents and children with access to the most prestigious and top schools at a reduced price (savings usually $40,000 over 6 years). It is a lifetime opportunity that provides your child with endless benefits.

Here's test preparation designed for your child's success

Here are schools that use Academic Assessment Services (AAS) to prepare their exams. Please note that this is a guide - for the most up to date information, we recommend that you contact the school directly to confirm the provider of your scholarship exam.

How to Write a Creative Piece in Under 20 Minutes (for Year 7 entry)

Author's Score (ATAR or IELTS): 96.04

The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
How to Write an Argumentative Piece in Under 20 Minutes (for Year 7 entry)

Author's Score (ATAR or IELTS): 96.04

The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST
General Ability to Reach for Exam Success (for Year 7 entry)

Author's Score (ATAR or IELTS): 96.04

The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST

Frequently Asked Questions

See answers to frequently asked questions by parents:

How does the extension work for courses? I need more than 6 months.

It's great that you're planning ahead. Once you purchase, access is provided for 6 months from the date of purchase. An extension is $20.90 per month for an individual course or $42.90 to have your whole originally purchased course package renewed per month. To get extension access, just extend on the website where you access your course.

How do we get more practice worksheets to work on? The videos are helpful but we need more practice material to practice under time constrraints [sic].

As a minimum, per course there are 10 questions x 10 checkpoints = 100 questions (some courses/checkpoints have more). The final checkpoints (Checkpoint 11 / 12) is the practice exam which has for the Year 7 exams, approximately 30-45 questions depending on the course and for Year 9, this is 50-65 questions depending on the course. The course should provide all the practice questions you require in order to prepare effectively for the exam.

Parents don't often realise that too many practice questions is not a good thing because students are more likely to skim over the question and 'do it' and opposed to understanding the logic more deeply. Understanding the logic leads to Exam Success!

I've seen this problem happen a lot where parents buy all this practice material and become confused and stressed not knowing where to start! Focus on quality of practice questions over quantity and your child will be less stressed, more focused and better prepared for the exam. It's about studying smarter not harder!

If I wish to purchase whole package, how much time (approx.) should it take for my 10yr old to complete all the units?

If you have the time for example, 6 months to spare, I'd recommend 3.5 hours each weekend. Each course has 12 checkpoints and there are 7 courses altogether (84 checkpoints - approximately 84+ hours of exam preparation. If you have 3 months to the time of the exam, I'd recommend doing a checkpoint per day (if doing the full package of 7 courses). Some students say it takes on average 37 hours to complete one course (for 7 courses that would be 210 hours) so potentially, your child could do the course full time during the summer holiday period and beyond.

If we complete certain units but want to go back to previous units, can we do that? How long are the videos available to us? Can they be downloaded?

Yes - that's what we wanted as students often have to reinforce their knowledge. You can revisit the unit whenever you like. It's like having the ultimate text book in video format and you can flip ahead or back whenever you need. Access is granted for a period of six months. If you need an extension it is $19 per month for an individual course or $39 per month to have your whole package extended per month.

No the videos cannot be downloaded, everything is available to access on the site.

Is there a discount if we want to buy more than 2 packages? If I plan to buy all packages, it comes up to almost $700/- which is quite pricey

There are packages available that provides savings.

Individual packages are there as sometimes, students may only need to polish up on one area and this provides them with that polishing up.

We price our products based on the work involved to prepare them and we put in alot of effort as shown by our results and reviews from students and parents. When you think about it, we are value for money compared to other providers as:

Hendersons charge around $180 - $270 for a 1-day workshop on 1 subject only. Ours is $150 and students have access for six months AND they can revisit whenever they need.

James An's selective trial test course cost around $1090 for four subjects over a 10-week term (Herald Sun 2013). Exam Success' full package is $449 which includes +3 more subject but also $641 LESS expensive than James An.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, "Mr Mysore said he had spent about $3000 to help prepare his son, who went to coaching for four hours a week, for the selective exam." (Herald Sun 2013). Exam Success' course is less than 1/3 of the cost and doing the full package (7 courses) over 6 months would take around 3.5 hours per week.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the teacher. I've heard stories where students have a good teacher at a tuition school and when they don't they don't really take much in.

At Exam Success, we make sure that what your child is watching is effective so that they get the best learning possible and preparation for their exam.

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