5 Time-Busting Tips for Your Child’s Selective School and Scholarship Exams

Selective school and scholarship exams have demanding time limits!

Around the 15 - 25 minute mark for a writing piece and around 30 - 40 minutes for a multiple choice test such as mathematics and reading comprehension. These restrictive time limits mean that when your child is monitoring how much time they’re spending on each question, it’ll be in the seconds[  ]{.Apple-converted-space}If they’re not monitoring their time, they might not finish their exam!

Here are 5 simple hacks to help your child use their time effectively and efficiently and cut down on things that are eating into their precious exam time.

  1. Written expression or writing test - Write on every second line so that when you need to fix things up during review time (and there will be mistakes to fix), all you have to do is cross out the mistake and then write your correction above in the spare line. Don’t spend any of the exam time rubbing out mistakes with an eraser - when we’re counting in seconds, using an eraser eats up too many precious seconds.
    1. General Ability such as numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning and abstract reasoning - If your child’s done a few practice questions, you’ll start to see that there are certain patterns with certain questions. This means there’s an opportunity to come prepared. Group questions together and come up with strategies (or you could just get entrance exam strategies from us) that you can apply to sets of questions. This is one of the best ways in which your child could save time. Why? because they’ve done their thinking for the exam beforehand!
      1. Written expression or writing test - When doing the writing test, your child should have a plan that sets out the plot, introduction, middle and end (for creative writing). A plan helps your child keep on track (reducing correction time later on). Make sure that the plan is simple (one sentence that gets to the point) and eliminates detail e.g. the age of the characters or their appearance in order to best make use of time.
        1. Mathematics - chunk out your calculations. Mathematics needs to be done without a calculator and a quick way of doing calculations efficiently is to ‘chunk’ your calculations - it’s my terminology meaning to group the numbers into small calculations but in larger more manageable numbers.

          For example: The common way of calculating 398 + 472 (the long way) is by adding the last digits together, then the second last and then the first digits - that’s three set of calculations and I’d also need to carry numbers.

          With ‘chunking’ I would group them like this 470 (because that’s 2 less than 472) + 400 (because that’s near 398 less 2) = 870 (Notice that 470 and 400 are very easy to add together?). Because the +2 and -2 cancel out, the answer is 870.

          ‘Chunking’ things is a good way to do maths very quickly and more accurately. You do need to practice though and an easy way to do so is when you’re buying something and need to calculate change. You could even incorporate a daily ‘calculate the change’ game for your child as a fun way to practicing ‘chunking’.

          1. Reading Comprehension - Read the question first (not the text). This help you search for what you’re looking for and makes reading the text more directed and less time wasting. For example, if you read the text first and it’s long (say 60 seconds), you’ll need to then read the questions (15 seconds) and then go back to the text (another 60 seconds). That’s reading the text twice unnecessarily. Instead, if you read the questions first and then read the text, it means you’ll only need to read the text once saving you 60 seconds of unnecessary time wasted.

            Hope you enjoyed these tips and please share any tips you have below!

Next: The Hard Part in the Selective School Tests and Scholarship Exams is Problem Solving, It’s Not the Curriculum!


Giang August 26, 2018

wouldn't that effect your paragraph?

Vi from examsuccess.com.au August 27, 2018

With writing, if you don't have space to write on every second line, then don't I wouldn't do it. It's about using judgement based on the situation. I'm not sure what you mean by affecting your paragraphs... if you mean that the assessor wouldn't be able to distinguish a paragraph if you skip a line, then I would suggest denoting a new paragraph through indentation. Not by skipping a line.

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