Writing Test in Selective schools & Scholarships – Good Vocabulary & Spelling is NOT ENOUGH [Case Study]

I want to tell you the story about Anna [name has been changed to protect privacy].

Like many students who sit a selective or scholarship school test, she did well at school – she was even in the accelerated program!

So… she went into the very hard selective school test with a false sense of security. One that ultimately… led to soul-crushing REJECTION.

After the selective school test, Anna suffered huge disappointment when she received the “rejection” letter. Her “above average” & “superior” for verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, reading comprehension, and mathematics wasn’t enough!

The “average” scores in creative writing and persuasive writing led to her MISSING OUT on a school offer.

While she received high ranks in English school assessments, she had NO IDEA when it came to writing under test conditions and stressful time limits.

It was frustrating and excruciating. She decided to do the test again (when it’s even harder and less spots are available) and got in touch with us… and we helped her to improve her writing.

Here’s what we did.

Anna would submit an essay and then we’d give feedback.

What was Anna’s writing like?

Well, her sentences were clear. It seemed like she had great vocabulary. Also, there were no issues with grammar and her spelling was spot on.

Some would think this would be enough…

It’s not.

There are heaps of ways for your child to lose precious points in writing.

We’ve identified 52 ways through our Expert Writing Insights writing feedback tool (only available through writing club).

Here’s 3 of our writing tips based on feedback that we gave to Anna.

1. Don’t add unnecessary words.

Anna wrote “it knows, by intuition or instinct, how the flowers should be arranged”. However, “instinct” and “intuition” are almost the same thing in this context, rendering one of them unnecessary.

A wonderfully rich vocabulary and use of imagery is excellent to have but be aware that it is possible to over-do descriptive words.

Writing will be more succinct and powerful if your child chooses words sparingly, only including those, which definitely add to the story.

2. Have a storyline if the piece is supposed to be a narrative.

Description is great but it’s not a story. Don’t write a piece such that is resembles a series of unlinked descriptions rather than a story.

For example, in Anna’s second paragraph, she wrote:

Adrenaline surged through my veins and my heart raced at the thought that another person was amongst these woods. " Whoever you are, please reveal yourself!" I called out in desperation into the grey emptiness, waving my arms profusely.

At this point, you expect something to happen but instead the piece continues into description.

The storyline should come before the description and the description should be there to support the storyline.

3. Balance

Descriptive sentences are great and vivid. However, try to balance them with a few ‘telling’ sentences. This will help create balance in a writing piece and make paragraphs seem less ‘overwhelming’ in description. It will also help to progress a storyline.

When Anna sat the test this year… she got a school offer!

A lot of students who do writing club with us get a school offer - here are some of the reviews:



Brisbane State High and Queensland Academies offer
Brisbane State High and Queensland Academies offer


The important question is HOW did she improve her writing and end up getting a school offer? (This is so that YOU can do the same thing too).

Well… it’s simple.

She got the right feedback.

Writing can be improved greatly and quickly when your child gets the RIGHT feedback.

The right feedback helped her to fix up the mistakes in her writing and through that, she ended up scoring a spot in a selective school.

Exam Success has identified 52 ways on how your child could LOSE marks in their writing and put it into Expert Writing Insights – a super feedback tool that helps your child improve their writing by pointing out what exactly is holding their writing back.

It also tells your child what they need to do to move their mark to a higher rank & you will only be able to access Expert Writing Insights through our writing club – a program that helps students improve their writing.

Your child’s exam is SO IMPORTANT – don’t leave it to chance and don’t develop a false sense of security.

Preparation is necessary (regardless of school marks) and if your child doesn’t know their writing weaknesses, this could lead to YOUR CHILD MISSING OUT on a school spot.

Anna got a second chance, but not everyone does.

Find a Writing Club to help your child with their important exam now.

Next: 6 Steps on How to Teach Your Child to Write an A+ Story and Learn English at the Same Time (Includes 10 Creative Writing Prompts)


AS February 25, 2019

Pls help send me tips and tricks on this . I am doing the selective test in two weeks. Pls help me. I am terrible in writing and English and g.a. Pls help.

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