Should My Son or Daughter Get a Tutor for the Selective School Test? Well.... that Depends!

When I was preparing for the selective school exam (which had verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, mathematics, creative and analytical writing along with reading comprehension) in Victoria, I went to tuition classes that specialised in the exam only.  Parents often wonder whether tuition is useful and in some circumstances I believe it is… in some others, it isn’t.  The right tuition can help students pinpoint their weak areas and address them.  Tuition can also help students get into the exam mindset.  That being said - you need to find the right tutor though.

Here is a time where tuition didn’t work:

One of the students I tutored prior to seeing me went to another very prominent tutoring college which focused on selective school exams.  He wasn’t doing well in that tutoring school as all they did were practice questions on practice questions.  What happened was this boy got burnt out and the relationship between his father deteriorated.  He wasn’t learning and felt immense pressure.  This situation is not a productive one.

Here’s when it did work:

His dad took him out of the school and he went to see me.  We did one-on-one tuition and each week focused on areas to improve.  We did only the practice questions that were available publicly available (not every week) and understood each on of them in depth.  This boy ended up getting an offer to Suzanne Cory and now goes to a private school on a scholarship.  It’s an instance when tuition did work.

Here’s my own experience.

Good experience - When I was preparing for the selective schools test my dad put me into a coaching school.  I was there for probably six months or so and was tutored by a guy who went to Melbourne High.  It was a good experience because I learnt more there than at school and it combined both theory and practice.  From memory, I think maybe 4 out of 8 of us got in.  Either way, I found it really useful in preparing because we went through timed practice questions and talked about the reasoning being each question - which I thought was useful.

Not so good experience - My dad had the wonderful idea again when I was in Year 12 doing the VCE to send me to the same coaching school to help me with English.  All we did were grammar exercises so I chose to leave.  I didn’t think it was useful to learn grammar day in day out (granted, I didn’t get the answers correct anyway) when I was going to write full essays in the VCE which required a more rounded approach.  The best thing however, was that there was a tutor there (also from Melbourne High).  I asked him how he became so good at English and he simply said reading.  So that’s what I did.  I quit going to tutoring every Saturday morning and instead  read the editorial from The Age (back when people use to buy it in print), highlight words and read through the stories.  It was the best way to improve my English and I ended up getting a Study Score of 41 (anything above 40 in VCE is high).  So the moral here is to do what suits best for your situation.

A good tutor will assess your child and give you a realistic opinion on their ability.

If you want to chat about tuition, you can catch me on LiveChat at if I’m not there, feel free to leave a message :-)


laddawan November 07, 2014

I need online course for my daughter to go to selective test next year,I take her to a fees tutorial,she did not like it,now she want to have online course at home ,can u help please,she is on top of the class at cranbourne secondary college,thanks

Vi from Exam Success November 13, 2014

Hi Laddawan, Sure, our online courses are available to purchase - the verbal reasoning (tested as part of the selective test) is now available to access with the others by the end of November. Kind Regards, Vi

Vi from Exam Success November 13, 2014

Here is the link to our courses:

Mom February 24, 2016

Hi, Do you conduct assessments for students to workout their readiness to take the selective schools entrance test in Vic? My daughter is in Grade 8 and I'm not quite sure if she is ready for it academically speaking. Thanks

Vi from February 24, 2016

Sure Mom, We do detailed assessments to assess whether a student's current academic standard is competitive for the selective school exam. For more details on our assessments, go to: Cheers, Vi

Zoya shiv August 11, 2016

Interested in knowing how I can get help for my daughter who were are hoping to write selective entrance in 2017

Vi from September 23, 2016

It depends on which selective school and state your daughter intends to apply for. We've compiled a list of exams and their tested areas here:

57U13W80X22L9X225 October 21, 2016

my son need good mark for get good job. He is doing the selcttive exam and to get into good high school. we live in new south whale and we just migrate here three years. his english no very good. need privite tutor for good mark. i don't heard of any good tutor yet, does this website have good reccommendate? my job is work in a grocery store but I save up money to get my son university.

Vi from October 22, 2016

Hi there, To assist in improving your son's writing and reading, we have reading and writing classes here:

Anonymous March 09, 2018

My daughter is in year 8, and the selective exam is right around the corner. She used to go tuition (last year) however she stopped as she said she wasnt doing well and didn't feel comfortable being around all the people (she is quite shy). Her 1 year older brother went to the same tuition and got into Melbourne High after taking the test last year. My daughter does well in school however, the topics she used to cover in tuition seem difficult to her (particularly the math). Do you have any advice? I want her to get into Mac Rob and so does she, but is there still time to catch up on Math, ecspecially since she is already stressed due to exams in school.

Vi from March 11, 2018

Hi there! It depends on what level her maths is at. Usually with selective tests, successful candidates usually rank in the higher levels of all subjects, not just one or two. Usually, if she is getting As in school (in maths and English) that's a sign that she is a good candidate for a selective school exam and with past students of, we've seen that doing the maths course ( is all they need to get up to speed with the subject and practicing. But it all depends on your daughter - some questions I'd go through would be: (1) would she do well learning online where she is independently learning or better with a 1-1 tutor? (2) How much time would she have to dedicate to go through the learning content (our courses have at least 30+ hours of learning time).

Mary March 20, 2019

Hi! I'm looking to enroll my son for tutorials and want him to take the selective entry school test eventually. He does well in school and is in grade 6 this year. Pleasr advice what are the tutorial options.... Both online and 1 to 1. What are the fees like? Thank you for your advice!

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