10 Tips on How to Prepare for the NSW Selective High School Placement Test

With less than 3 months until the NSW Selective High School Placement Test on Thursday 10 March 2016 (but make sure you check the official source to attend your exam at the correct date and time) here are some tips I’ve put together to help those preparing:


1)   Know what the test contains.  Four papers – Reading Test, General Ability Test (includes in one entrance exam numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning), Maths Test and Written Expression Test.

2)   Know how long you need to spend per question.  Divide the time in seconds by the number of questions.  Then you know how many seconds to spend per question.

3)   Start practicing with the free available sample test papers for NSW selective high school entrance exam or test.  Best thing you’ll do, find it here http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/learning/k-6assessments/shsplacement/ss_sampletest.php

4)   Strategy - As you progress through the practice questions, you’ll see that they have certain types of repeating questions.  Categorise them into types and create strategies to solve them more quickly.  Strategies are like short cuts to deal with things.  Put these strategies down in paper and use them.

5)   Start a reading program to help with discussion or argumentative writing using the editorial section of the newspaper or go through The Sydney Morning Herald Comment’s Section http://www.smh.com.au/comment or The Age’s comment section http://www.theage.com.au/comment.  Record and find definitions for words that you don’t know.  Do it weekly.

6)   Now create a reading program to help with your creative writing.  If you have the time, read Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie and apparently the 12 new Harry Potter books that may be coming out for Christmas this year.  If you’re not really into reading but like movies, perhaps read some books that got turned into movies like Twilight and The Hunger Games.

7)   Polish up on mathematical concepts.  The ACER style exams really go hard on this.  They really test your understanding of linkages between mathematical concepts as opposed to completing complex calculations.  Plus, you’ll need to know how to translate worded questions into their correct formula and then solve.

8)   Know your multiplication times tables and how multiplication times tables are calculated and how they relate to other operations e.g. 4 x 3 means 4 + 4 + 4.  4 x 3 = 12, and 12 / 3 = 4 and 12 / 4 = 3.  It’s all connected beautifully.  It’s not about memorizing the whole timetables up to 12, but rather memorizing some of it and then being able to work it out without a times table sheet in front of you.

9)   Watch some videos – Go to www.youtube.com/studyforexams (disclosure: that’s my youtube channel), on this channel, I work through some numerical reasoning questions and explain the reasoning being some difficult questions.

10)   Need for speed.  The entrance exam for the reading test will have different passages, some of them long.  Remember, you’re not trying to learn what the passage is saying; you simply want to answer the question.  So I usually, read the question first, locate the correct area in the passage, where necessary, read 1-2 sentences/1 paragraph before and after and then decide on my answer.  There are certain specific questions that will require you to read the whole passage – can you guess which ones they are?  Put your answers in the comments section below and when we read 10 comments, I’ll provide the answer J

 If all this seems too hard, you could just do our online courses which has all of this in one simple to access place.   Get it here https://www.examsuccess.com.au/courses

Next: Principal's Discretionary Category Application Form MacRob, Melb High Help!


Jennifer Mathew July 08, 2015

Please send me these weekly I have a selective exam coming up and I dont know how to study for it

Lizzie November 09, 2015

Just keep on practicing ur head off untl the selective exam, make sure to time yourself too so u could do questions faster, and also read lots of ur books that you've got at home.

Shikha November 09, 2015

Would love to see more tips

Vi from examsuccess.com.au November 10, 2015

Hi Shikha, will probably put out more more tips in the next few weeks or so about little short cuts students can do to help them best use their time. Will be sending it out in the next newsletter :-)

Cdance December 29, 2015

I have the selective test coming up soon and there is so much pressure. I literally feel like I'm not improving whatsoever. I was great at English and terrible at math but now I'm bad at both! What do I do! It's in 2.5 months!

Vi from examsuccess.com.au January 10, 2016

Hey Cdance, I know you might feel a lot of pressure and that's normal - students do feel stressed coming up to it. The most important thing is to focus on the task at hand and try your best on the day. While doing well in the test will help you secure a place in a selective school, remember that schooling is only one part of life and the school you go to does not determine what you can achieve for the rest of your life. That's up to you. For example, a girl I used to know is now working in the US at Google (she didn't go to a selective school, nor did she get the high scores needed to get into a prestigious university). Thanks for taking the time to comment and I wish you all the best in your upcoming test Cdance!

Terrick Hou January 13, 2016

My parents are pressuring me all the time! I'm horrible at English and the selective test is comin up in 2 months. I put in North Sydney boys and I don't think I can make it. HELP ME!!!

Vi from examsuccess.com.au January 15, 2016

Hey Lizzie! Yep - I'd agree with all of that! :-) Especially reading heaps of books.

Vi from examsuccess.com.au January 15, 2016

Hey Terrick, sorry to hear about all the pressure your getting. I know this is easier said than done, but try to focus your energy on enhancing what you're good at and also trying to improve your writing to the best you can with the few weeks that you have left. It's just if you start to get really stressed out, it's not good for your health and it's important to be in good health. If it helps, students have put up their model essays and have practiced their writing on our free writing prompts at esenglish.herokuapp.com. Perhaps try it and see how you go. Otherwise, hope all gets better and I wish you all the best for your exam!

Terrick Hou January 15, 2016

Thanks Vi for the website! I'll practise hard!

Fi January 30, 2016

Vi - the NSW exam is on Thursday 10th of March 2016. The 12th is a Saturday.

Vi from examsuccess.com.au January 30, 2016

Thanks for pointing out the typo Fi! Have updated this now.

emily2016 February 03, 2016

hi, my test is coming up and i am really wanting to read the shortcuts you are going to put up. have you put it up yet???

Vi from examsuccess.com.au February 03, 2016

Hi Emily, haven't had the chance yet - it is a busy time atm with tutoring because the exam is coming up soon, but if I get a chance from now to then I'll try to do it.

Vivi February 21, 2016

I have one too on march 10th I am working my head off literally

EZ February 29, 2016

I have the selective coming up next Thursday. I am really nervous and I kind of feel not ready. I still keep worrying about if it is going to be hard or not. what should I do?

Naveera March 02, 2016

I have the test in 7 days,I really need help to pass.I am not sure what it is like, but I still wanna make my parents proud they have spend so much money on me just for the exam. Please Help You Are My Only Chance 😭

Naveera March 02, 2016

P.S I live in NSW so technically 7 days

Jennifer March 07, 2016

Hiiiiiiii' I also need Help We have the same name!

Ling March 08, 2016

My test is this Thursday and I am freaking out. I went to tutoring classes but I'm not improving to much. Maths is my achilles heel. ARGGGGHHHH!

Ling March 08, 2016

My test is this Thursday and I am freaking out. I went to tutoring classes but I'm not improving to much. Maths is my achilles heel and I don't think I will pass. mum wants me to go to Hornsby girls High and she expects so much from me. ARGGGGHHHH!

Ling March 08, 2016

Sorry, just left out something. Ignore this post and read the next one.

Kyanna March 09, 2016

Thanks for all the help!!!

Ling March 09, 2016

MY TEST IS TOMORROW !!!!!!!!!!!!😱😖😫😭😓😬😁😰

Same t March 09, 2016

Hey ling same here by the way what school do you go to?

Cdance March 09, 2016

OMG same! I'm freaking out! I have went tutoring for 1.5 years just for the selective test alone! I've done more before that tho. Good luck!

Naveera March 09, 2016

Ahhhhh, Test tomorrow reading everything I can to help me pass, One out of 3 children get in I heard... ⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠

Naveera March 09, 2016

PS if you live in NSW near hurstville going to st George girls.... See you at the test 📝📚📉📐🔊 ⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰⏰

Sammy March 09, 2016

The selective is tomorrow and I am studying so much right now. I've managed my time out for Maths and GA but not English or Writing. I'm so going to fail!!

Puny Ahmed March 09, 2016

I'm so scared, test is tomorrow!!!!The test is tomorrow and I'm soo not ready!

kiki March 09, 2016


kiki March 09, 2016

This is incorrect. Its 10 march 8:07 rn FREAKIN OUUUT

Kyanna March 10, 2016

I just did my test and it wasn't as hard as I thought. Thanks for all the help!!! Love Kyanna

Emma March 10, 2016

THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE EMMA GUMMY

Emma March 10, 2016


Ling March 23, 2016

I go to Tangara School for Girls, it's a private school.

Ling March 23, 2016

Tangara School For Girls. It's in Cherrybrook.

Ling March 23, 2016

I I agree, but I guessed the last few questions in maths and GA.

paramvir guraya September 17, 2016

Hi Vi, my selective is in about 6 months. I'm terrible in g.a & maths.... Do you have any good tips??

paramvir guraya September 17, 2016

did you ever go to a selective school??

Abthahi Tazrian September 17, 2016

Hi guys I do tutoring every week but is there any extras I can do during the week to keep me going.... :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Vi from examsuccess.com.au September 23, 2016

Hi there! Yes, I did. It was great mainly because of the friendships I made that I still have now. :-)

pete September 24, 2016

Yess... I made in Sydney Boys - I got 239.94

abthahi tazrian October 04, 2016

oh yaaa man i got 289.57 yess i made it to james rouse agricultural school booooooooooooooo yaaaaaaaaaa

Robin November 26, 2016

I have it in 5 months time I'm freaking out now Help me

Sid November 29, 2016

I made it to james rouse I'm on top of the world thanks everything

Mikayel January 11, 2017

I need help for the selective schools exam I have it on the 9th of March this year and I am scared I won't pass can you please help me. Thank you.

Bryan January 13, 2017

My Selective Test is coming in one month and I haven't even mastered the basics of GA and Reading!!!!!!!!!!

ella February 21, 2017


Shaylia !! March 01, 2017

Selective test is coming in 1 week and ARGHHH THE PRESSURE!!! I'm really bad at maths and GA. I didn't take tutoring too. I just hope I make it in St George Girls with my writing and reading! Wish everyone else all the luck for next week :)

nijahn March 07, 2017

I have my selective exam in 2 days plz help meeeeeeeeeee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Danyal March 08, 2017

Yes write down all the formulas,look over your work and don't make silly mistakes For GA study vocab and have a keen eye for patterns Good Luck

Danyal March 08, 2017

That's impossible the highest mark ever 255

Danyal March 08, 2017

I have mine in 9 minutes !!!!!!!!!

Donald Trump March 08, 2017


Ahmet April 14, 2017

Wait you guys are confusing me soooo much. Isn't the Hurlstone selective exam on August? I'm doing the test for year 11 btw. Does anybody know the date. How do I tryout for more than one selective school, Is it all at the same time for each school, or can I decide which day or which time I can sit the exam. Thank you so much.

dhruv July 12, 2017

OMG IM FREAKIN OUT MY TEST IS IN A FEW DAYS SO IM STUDYING HARD PS THANKS FOR THE HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cookie Bookie November 06, 2017

In 6 months I am entering the selective test, but I don't know how to 'Study"... Because when I "do" I get distracted and do stuff that does not relate to it.

Orpa Nafisha December 18, 2017

Hi, I’m a nearly year 6 student in Perth studying for the selective school test as it’s in 13 weeks. Academically, I get around 4 A’s and the rest B’s, i’ve been doing some practice tests online and have been getting 18 out of 20 for general ability, reading and write pretty good narratives and persuasives but for maths I get as an average, 12 out of 20 which was unexpected because I always get A’s on it. Would all of the things I’m doing be good enough to get into Perth Modern?

Orpa Nafisha January 23, 2018

Hey, I’m in yr 6 now! And the test is in 2 months . . .

James Ruse Hopefullly March 06, 2018

Help!!! The test is legit in one week! I hope to get into James Ruse or Hornsby Girls, my dad is going to kill me if I get into Gosford! How can I improve my reading? My marks are very high for the others but I always flunk English!

James Ruse Hopefullly March 12, 2018

OMG! The test is in three days! I'm not actually nervous surprisingly, I really want to become a doctor when I'm older but my mum says if I don't get into James Ruse then I'll not have a big chance of becoming one. Are there any tips on improving my English marks? Especially Reading.

Baulko Student March 13, 2018

LOL! Peeps try to get into selective, just saying the test is really easy like as long as you do good in the GA you'll get in alright. Maths is super easy, English is the same as Pre Uni and writing was easy but you guys might get a different mark.

donald dump March 13, 2018

**** ohh my gash the test Is after tommprow 2018 in the house brahh and undies

NSGplsplspls March 14, 2018

I’m so scared Test is tomorrow help meeeeee......is the test really hard??

LOL March 14, 2018

I have one tomorrow

LOL March 14, 2018

ya but mines tomorrow

LOL March 14, 2018

same here

fgt March 14, 2018

lol me too. im screwed

fgt March 14, 2018


Smarty March 14, 2018

Good job!! Hope you’re liking high school

Smarty March 14, 2018

That’s nice ,but the highest ever is 255 so it is hard to believe you...

Smarty March 14, 2018

That’s fine Ella. Even I do that sometimes but practice is the key, so just practice every day an I bet you’ll get into Hurlstone with flying colors.. Don’t give up. 🙂

Smarty March 14, 2018

Just practice your struggles and don’t get distracted.... I bet you’ll pass with flying colours... I am doing the test tomorrow too, but because I’ve practiced and studied, I am not stressed....

Smarty March 14, 2018

Hi, Just try and concentrate on reading and understand the text.... If you need, look at the questions first and then read the text so you can find the answers in one go... Good Luck!

Smarty March 14, 2018

Don’t worry, and I have left some feedback on your other comment

Smarty March 14, 2018

Guys, Don’t worry!! It is okay, we will do great.. Don’t stress!!

Samia September 07, 2018

I was just searching on tips for practicing and preparing for Selective, then I find this! I definitely think this will help me because I have about a couple of months less than a year to practice (I'm in year 5). I am really nervous to! Most of my year 6 friends go in and they said it was really hard. I hope this will help. THANKS!

Whizzo December 27, 2018

Hey guys! I am so far acing it, at my tuition but do any of you live in South Aus, or go to Pre-Uni New College? Please do reply, Fellow Scholarship worker, Whizzo

Not so genius person January 25, 2019

I NEED HELP. TRYING TO GET INTO MAC FIELDS OR HURLSTORNE . Does anyone know if it's ok to not finish of the writing exam and how get faster?

As February 24, 2019

Hey, can you pls help me with the English comprehensions or writings. I am really bad at these. I need tips and tricks for this. Can u reply quick. Cause my test is in 2 weeks.

AS February 24, 2019

Hey, can u pls help me with my reading comprehension and writing. I do not get good in any and the selective test is in 2 weeks. Pls reply. I need some good tips and tricks!

AS February 24, 2019

Pls help! I need the tips and tricks ASAP! I might sound really harsh, but I am just so stressed out. I do not know how to study. How do you study. I don’t get it. The test is in 2 weeks. PLS HELP! I NEED HELP!

AS February 25, 2019

Pls can u help me. I need tips and tricks for g.a., English and writing. I need help. I am bad at all of those subjects pls help. My test is in 2 weeks and I am getting really bad in mock tests. PLS HELP! INEED TIPS AND TRICKS!

Smart Princess March 13, 2019

Hey Everyone! This website looks quite old but I just want to say, it's nice to put tips here, as it's helping a lot of people. Thank you for the tips. They helped me a lot. Tomorrow's my exam, you know. I just hope everything will be fine.

IL March 13, 2019

You know you can also look at other webs or click into the links on this web if you didn't.My selective test is also tomorrow. It said on the permission note (you need to hand one in otherwise they wont allow you in) that there is no need to practise on the day before the exam just to let you know. But if you have like a month left I recommend you to study if you haven't studied yet. It's helpful if others read this too! I'm nervous myself, but that won't do you any good in the test. I'm pretty sure you're not the only on nervous, so much others (as you can see on this website) are nervous and so much other people sitting the test are too. :)

IL March 13, 2019

My test is (as some people already saw) is tomorrow. I have went to tutoring to, I'm lucky I'm above average. But not enough for Fort St, sad life.

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