What's MacRob or a Selective School Like?

Some people perceive MacRob, Melbourne High or any of the selective schools to be really geeky, full of students with Asian background and all they’re interested is in studying.  Most of this is probably true (as I’m of Asian background, geeky and interested in studying) but I’d like to provide some insight to parents who are wanting to send their child or get their child into a selective school and how I found it.

1. Academic Focus

Naturally, you do a test to get it so people who go to the school are academically inclined.  They may not be natural geniuses but they’re interested in school work and interested in doing well.  This means you’re surrounded by people who are going to be competitive in getting the best marks.  It meant that my group of friends in high school were more interested in studying so they could get high scores as opposed to trying to find a boyfriend.  Because you’re friends are interested in school, you stay focused too.

2. Some Sports?

I’m not a big fan of sport.  Have never been good at it and don’t understand the appeal of it.  But it’s not to say that students in selective schools don’t do sport.  The majority don’t but there were a few really dedicated groups.  There was a girl in our year level who went on to sail (it was her own held interest and she pursued it within MacRob).  A few of my friends got involved whenever there was a school competition e.g. lacrosse and soccer.  Predictably, our school always lost but the team spirit was there.  So yes - if sport is your thing, there’s definitely space there - it’s just a minority though.

3. Nearly Zero Bullying

Bullying happens in nearly all schools, but at MacRob it was odd because I don’t remember any bullying.  Everyone just left each other alone.  Obviously there is some gossip when girls are around but I didn’t remember any physical or verbal bullying.  There were no fights on the yard or anything of the sort.  Perhaps, we were too busy competing for scores but bullying seemed stupid to even occur at MacRob.  Actually, from memory there was one instance of bullying that occurred involving a nasty letter online (I was not involved but I had heard about it).  The girl doing the bullying was asked to leave the school (for other reasons) in the end.

4. Mastery of Self

The first thing I noticed about MacRob coming from an all Catholic girls school was the lack of rules and fences.  At the Catholic school I went too, we were pretty much fenced in (for our physical safety or to prevent us from leaving?).  Additionally, when the teacher came into class we didn’t need to stand up.  It was a strange observation because while at MacRob there was no fencing (so you could leave whenever you wanted) or rules like ‘standing up’, the students often behaved very respectfully towards each other and the teachers compared to the previous school I went to.  It was all about self-discipline.


Hopefully this helps give you an insight into selective schools.  Leave a comment below :-)

Next: How Many Words Do I Write in a Written Expression Exam for a Scholarship or Selective School Test?


Tanya Heil December 17, 2014

Is it fair to say that a white parent should avoid sending children to these selective schools as they will not be mixing with a similar cultural background? For example, the first language spoken at home may likely be Chinese among the majority of the students and parents, and as a result there are barriers to forming life long friendships and relationships that would not exist in a more native English speaking environment?

Vi from Exam Success January 03, 2015

Hi Tanya, Thanks for your comment. Just to be clear – selective schools are ‘native’ English-speaking environments, like any other school in Australia. Your comment reminded me that I forgot two other important points on my personal experience on the environment of selective schools. * <strong>Diversity</strong> – there were students from all different backgrounds at the school, including those you call ‘white’. The majority were those from an Asian speaking background. * <strong>Inclusion</strong> – there was an environment of inclusion where people would make friends with those from any background. Diversity was not a barrier to forming a life-long friendship. I don’t personally see how it would be as I have friends from all different backgrounds and within my closest group of friends is a girl from an anglo-saxon background. To answer your question, perhaps <strong>you shouldn’t send your child to a selective school</strong> – I don’t think your backward 20th century view on racial segregation will go down well with the school or anyone for that matter.

Yuki May 13, 2016

Thanks to find your article about Macrob 1) What subjects normally students take for VCE? Is it weird if triple sciences and double math are the combination students take? 2) Students would pursue tertially education locally or overseas after their VCE? 3)any students coming from Singapore ? i wish to find out if they are happy and able to blend into the new culture 4)Possible to get some. contact who were previously from Nanyang girl's high in Singapore. 5)possible to. communicate with you offline by email? Thanks Look forward to hearing from you. R. egards Yuki

Vi from examsuccess.com.au June 05, 2016

Hi Yuki, My apologies for the late response. Below is my response to your questions: 1. No, it's actually quite common for triple sciences (bio, chem & physics) and double maths (specialist maths and methods) to be taken. A lot of my friends did this combination and this kind of combination is required for a lot of uni courses for medicine and dentistry so I'm assuming that's why it was taken. But of course, not every student takes these subjects. It's up to the student. There were some students at macrob who didn't even do a maths subject or only one math subject and no science. 2. Again it depends on the student. Most go locally to either Monash or Melbourne and some go interstate. I knew of a few who went overseas - one went to Oxford. A few go overseas for postgraduate education such as to Cambridge and INSEAD. 3. I don't specifically remember certain countries but from memory, I don't remember meeting an international student in my year level. But that's not to say there weren't any. The students are a really welcoming bunch and I'm sure that new students wouldn't have a problem there. 4. I wouldn't be able to assist, but perhaps the school might help. Feel free to visit their website. 5. It's easier to use the form on the blog.

Jane July 22, 2017

Hey there, I have heard that many teachers at macrob don't exactly teach and nor do they focus and they expect the student to know a lot of the stuff. Is this true? Will this happen in VCE? What are the teachers like in VCE?

Vi from examsuccess.com.au July 25, 2017

As a former student, I can only speak for myself. The teachers were AMAZING!!!! They were supportive and very dedicated.

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