Brisbane State High School Selective Exam in Grade 5 – Ultimate Test Prep Guide for Parents

71 Questions in 110 Minutes for Grade 5. Will Your Child Miss Out on a Spot?

What is the Brisbane State High School Test (sitting the test in Grade 5) & How to Prepare Your Child?

Brisbane State High School is arguably Queensland’s top academic performing public school having been ranked in 2017 and 2018 as one of the top 10 performing schools in NAPLAN.

It offers academic selective entry, so, for your child to gain entry into this exclusive high school, they need to complete an intensely competitive selective test, and meet the very high cut-off level.

For Year 7 entry, students can sit the exam when they’re in Year 5 to get ‘conditional entry’. If they don’t get in when they sit the exam in Grade 5, there’s also a second chance when they’re in Year 6. But in Grade 6, the exam is longer (4 parts instead of 3) and it’s their last chance.

This means that it’s really important to try and gain ‘conditional’ entry when your child is in Grade 5 so that you can be sure of securing a good high school for your child.

If your child will be sitting in Year 5, (see this post if they’re sitting in Year 6), the test goes for approximately 110 minutes (not including breaks) and students are put through their paces to complete 3 test papers – a reading, mathematical reasoning and written expression paper (more details below).

While the test is shorter in Year 5, the cut-off is higher so it appears that the exam in Year 5 is more ‘harder’ in terms of getting an offer. What we have found is many students who don’t get in through sitting the exam in Grade 5, then, subsequently get in when they sit the exam in Year 6.

Given this, Exam Success has helped students prepare and successfully get in first round when they have sat the exam in Grade 5 for Year 7 entry.

Next, find out what’s in the test in detail and how your child can ace their exams.

With such a high cut off, your child needs preparation to make sure they’re in that top 5-10%. Getting a ‘conditional’ offer means you can rest just a little bit easier knowing you’re a step ahead in securing your child’s future in an excellent and well-regarded school.

What’s in the Brisbane State High School exam – sitting the test in Grade 5 (test format, number of questions and time limit)?

The Brisbane State High School placement test has three parts in Grade 5. It is written by ACER and is part of their Higher Ability Selection Test (HAST). More information about ACER’s HAST can be found here.

The multiple choice parts are heavily based around critical thinking, problem-solving and mathematical application and therefore, rote learning such as memorizing multiplication tables or formulas, isn’t going to give your child the edge they need.

What they need are strategies in order to problem-solve quickly and correctly when faced with an exam question.

Furthermore, while many students do well in mathematics and reading because they are multiple-choice questions, an area where students often lose marks is in written expression.

The 3 parts along with their description (including time limits and number of questions per test *) are shown below:

Reading Comprehension

Number of questions: 40 multiple-choice questions
What’s the time limit*? 45 minutes
Time per question* ~ 67 seconds

Students are given a range of texts both written and/or in image form and asked to answer questions. Topics range from English, Art, History, Geography and Social Studies. Students do not need prior knowledge and all information is provided in the stimulus material. The test measures how well your child can understand and interpret from language.

Mathematical Reasoning

Number of questions: 30 multiple-choice questions
What’s the time limit*? 40 minutes
Time per question* ~ 80 seconds

Mathematical reasoning is about ability and being able to use mathematics to solve problems. It’s not a test about how much you know in the field of mathematics according to the curriculum. To do well in this test, your child would have deep knowledge of mathematics and how to use mathematics to solve problems.

Written Expression

Number of questions: 1 writing prompt
What’s the time limit*? 25 minutes
Time per question* ~ 25 minutes

Students are provided with a prompt – this could be a picture, a statement or a combination of the two. From this prompt, they are to write a piece (we recommend writing at least 250 words). The type of piece that could be request ranges – it could be a narrative/story, descriptive piece, explanation piece, opinion piece or argumentative piece. It’s important that students write to the prompt (or their risk being penalized) and put forward a piece that is unique and thoughtful.

﹡ The number of questions and time limit have been taken from the ACER website for the Higher Ability Selection Test. Please note that the authoritative body can change the number of questions and time limits from year to year so please refer to their websites for the most up to date information. Time per question is calculated by taking the time limit divided by number of questions.

While the exam has 3 parts, the time limit provided to students is very limited – less than 2 minutes to work through and get the answer correct for multiple-choice questions. For written expression, writing a whole piece in 25 minutes is a challenge.

Your child needs support and expert programs designed around beating the clock. Programs that teach strategic time management and how to answer the question correctly & quickly.

How can your child ace the Brisbane State High School when they sit the exam in Year 5 (and get a school offer)?

You can help your child prepare for the Brisbane State High School exam (when they sit in Year 5 for Year 7 entry) by following the process we use when we do private tuition.

When we do private tuition, the process we use to help students gain a spot in Brisbane State High School involves just 5 steps!

For reading and mathematics:

  1. Do a practice test disregarding the time limit. Focus on getting the question right and find out what your score is in the end.
  2. For any question you didn’t get correct, figure out what should be the correct answer (and check it with your answer key).
  3. For those same questions, come up with strategies so that when you’re faced with a similar question next time, you’ll be able to answer it. Hone your strategy over time so that you reduce the number of steps it takes to get to the answer (and so that you can answer the question more quickly).
  4. Repeat steps 1 – 3 until you get a score of 95-100%. Each time you repeat it, if done properly, your child should be seeing a higher score in their practice test.
  5. Then do practice tests within the time limit. What you’ll find is that working in a time limit is easier, once you have a process to answering various questions correctly.

While they look like 5 easy steps, going through each step does time a long time if done properly.

Written Expression is a bit trickier as there are so many ways where your writing can lose marks (we’ve identified 52!).

Based on our experience helping students get into selective schools, we’ve found that students improve dramatically through targeted feedback. Writing improves quickly when you have experts providing feedback. Your child shouldn’t have to sit in class and learn grammar rules, but rather, they should:

  1. Write their essay
  2. Get customized feedback.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 again. Using the feedback, overtime, students see an improvement in their essays. They stop making the same mistakes and their writing is better.

Make your child’s first go count and ace the exam to secure your child’s spot in one of the best high schools in Queensland!

Here's test preparation designed for your child's success

Brisbane State High School (Test in Grade 5 for Year 7 Entry) - Teaching Test Bank

Help your child get practice & learn with our Brisbane State High School (Test in Grade 5 for Year 7 Entry) teaching test bank. The teaching test bank combines 600 online practice questions (option to use timed or untimed practice mode) with a 'how-to' video to show your child how to answer the question in 5 steps or less for each question.

Exam Success' teaching test bank will cover 600 multiple-choice questions similar to ACER style (they write the Brisbane State High School test) questions and this is split up into:

  • Reading Comprehension - 300 sample test questions.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - 300 sample test questions.

Want a free trial to see if Teaching Test Bank is right for you? Click here to try out Teaching Test Bank - for free

This test bank is available now.

Once your subscription expires, you can choose to extend it any time for only $52.80 for 31 days.

One month access
The price above is inclusive of 10% GST. If you are purchasing for use outside of Australia, at checkout, you'll be charged the amount without GST

Frequently Asked Questions

See answers to frequently asked questions by parents:

How does the extension work for courses? I need more than 6 months.

It's great that you're planning ahead. Once you purchase, access is provided for 6 months from the date of purchase. An extension is $19 per month for an individual course or $39 to have your whole originally purchased course package renewed per month. To get extension access, just extend on the website where you access your course.

How do we get more practice worksheets to work on? The videos are helpful but we need more practice material to practice under time constrraints [sic].

As a minimum, per course there are 10 questions x 10 checkpoints = 100 questions (some courses/checkpoints have more). The final checkpoints (Checkpoint 11 / 12) is the practice exam which has for the Year 7 exams, approximately 30-45 questions depending on the course and for Year 9, this is 50-65 questions depending on the course. The course should provide all the practice questions you require in order to prepare effectively for the exam.

Parents don't often realise that too many practice questions is not a good thing because students are more likely to skim over the question and 'do it' and opposed to understanding the logic more deeply. Understanding the logic leads to Exam Success!

I've seen this problem happen a lot where parents buy all this practice material and become confused and stressed not knowing where to start! Focus on quality of practice questions over quantity and your child will be less stressed, more focused and better prepared for the exam. It's about studying smarter not harder!

If I wish to purchase whole package, how much time (approx.) should it take for my 10yr old to complete all the units?

If you have the time for example, 6 months to spare, I'd recommend 3.5 hours each weekend. Each course has 12 checkpoints and there are 7 courses altogether (84 checkpoints - approximately 84+ hours of exam preparation. If you have 3 months to the time of the exam, I'd recommend doing a checkpoint per day (if doing the full package of 7 courses). Some students say it takes on average 37 hours to complete one course (for 7 courses that would be 210 hours) so potentially, your child could do the course full time during the summer holiday period and beyond.

If we complete certain units but want to go back to previous units, can we do that? How long are the videos available to us? Can they be downloaded?

Yes - that's what we wanted as students often have to reinforce their knowledge. You can revisit the unit whenever you like. It's like having the ultimate text book in video format and you can flip ahead or back whenever you need. Access is granted for a period of six months. If you need an extension it is $19 per month for an individual course or $39 per month to have your whole package extended per month.

No the videos cannot be downloaded, everything is available to access on the site.

Is there a discount if we want to buy more than 2 packages? If I plan to buy all packages, it comes up to almost $700/- which is quite pricey

There are packages available that provide savings.

Individual packages are there as sometimes, students may only need to polish up on one area and this provides them with that polishing up.

We price our products based on the work involved to prepare them and we put in alot of effort as shown by our results and reviews from students and parents. When you think about it, we are value for money compared to other providers as:

Hendersons charge around $180 - $270 for a 1-day workshop on 1 subject only. Ours is $150 and students have access for six months AND they can revisit whenever they need.

James An's selective trial test course cost around $1090 for four subjects over a 10-week term (Herald Sun 2013). Exam Success' full package is $449 which includes +3 more subject but also $641 LESS expensive than James An.

According to a Sydney Morning Herald article, "Mr Mysore said he had spent about $3000 to help prepare his son, who went to coaching for four hours a week, for the selective exam." (Herald Sun 2013). Exam Success' course is less than 1/3 of the cost and doing the full package (7 courses) over 6 months would take around 3.5 hours per week.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the teacher. I've heard stories where students have a good teacher at a tuition school and when they don't they don't really take much in.

At Exam Success, we make sure that what your child is watching is effective so that they get the best learning possible and preparation for their exam.

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