Easy-to-Understand Guide: ACER Scholarship Exams and the Cooperative Scholarship Testing Program

Last night, a parent from Western Australia rung me distressed and confused about the multitude of information out there about the ACER scholarship so this guide is here to make it easy to understand the scholarship exam process using a question and answer format.

What is ACER and the Cooperative Scholarship testing program?

ACER produces tests papers for many schools and selection programs.  They currently produce customised selective exams for:

  • NSW high school placement exam
  • Perth Modern School
  • Brisbane State High School

They also run a cooperative scholarship testing program.  It’s a separate test for students wanting to get a scholarship from various schools.  For more information, read the next section.

What’s the Cooperative Scholarship Testing Program?

The cooperative scholarship testing program is where your child sits an exam set by ACER for application to many schools and the results of your child’s test are shared between schools.  Your child gets to choose schools by preference (order of which school you want most) and also sits the exam at their first preference school.

The cooperative scholarship testing program runs in NSW, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.

Usually a common exam date is set, but schools can set an alternative testing date.

Thing to note with the cooperative scholarship testing program is that the preference you put down is important as some schools will only choose students who put down the school of their first preference.

What Grades Can Apply for the ACER Cooperative Scholarship Testing Program?

The ACER cooperative scholarship program is mainly for high school entry and they have 3 levels.

Level Details
1 for children entering Year 7 or 8 and your child will usually apply when they’re in primary school and sit the exam in Grade 6
2 is for children entering Year 9/10
3 is for children entering Year 11/12


What’s in the ACER cooperative scholarship test and tips to answering each area,

There are three main tests:

Test Time Limit Description Test/Exam Tip
Written Expression 25 minutes Scholarship tests usually have creative writing questions Tips: Write a simple but unique piece that features the exam prompt (image/statement) centrally throughout - A piece that is well written but doesn’t answer the question/feature the prompt is likely to receive low marks - A parent said that her child received 2% for her written piece as a consequent of not featuring the writing prompt.
Humanities 40 minutes No prior knowledge is required - You are supposed to read the text then answer Practice reading comprehension skills with non-fiction texts.
Mathematics 40 minutes Tests your ability to complete mathematical problems These do rely on your child’s knowledge of maths for their curriculum level along with puzzles - Get a textbook for the level applied for and go through it along with doing mathematical puzzles.

There may be an additional test at the request of the school for a second written expression.  Usually, this is a persuasive piece.

How do I apply?

Go to http://www.acer.edu.au/scholarship and find a list of schools that participate in the scholarship testing program and then apply at your favourite school.

This guide is a work in progress and we plan to expand it to become comprehensive and freely available for parents.  Do you have any other questions about scholarships?  Let us know by putting a comment at the bottom so that we can include it in the guide!

Next: How to Get a Private High School Scholarship


heet March 04, 2017

I have just received my ACER scholarship results and I have no idea of how to interpret them. Can you please help? Regards Heet

Sign up to post comments

Have A Question?

Get in touch!