Brisbane State High School Selective Exam in Grade 6 – Ultimate Test Prep Guide for Parents

Year 6 Test - 30 More Questions & Last Chance your Child has. Will Your Child Miss Out?

What is the Brisbane State High School Test (sitting the test in Grade 6) & 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.

You may have recently found out about the exam or your child tried to gain entrance when sitting the Year 5 test and failed to secure conditional entry.

In any case, the exam in Grade 6 is usually held in April each year and is the last chance your child has in gaining selective entry into the school. But in Grade 6, the exam is 30 minutes longer and harder than the Grade 5 exam - it has 4 parts instead of 3 through the addition of 30 abstract reasoning questions.

The test goes for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes (not including breaks) and students are put through their paces to complete 4 test papers – a reading, mathematical reasoning, abstract reasoning and written expression paper (more details below).

As it is your child's final chance to gain admission via selective entry, it's important that you start preparation early and make practice a regular habit. This is so that your child can feel confident coming into the exam.

While the test is longer in Year 6, what we have found is that 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. So there is hope.

Exam Success has helped students prepare and successfully gain entrance into Brisbane State High School when sitting the exam in Grade 6 as their first time, or after they have failed the Year 5 test.

As it is your child's last chance, it's important they are fully prepared for the test. It is quite common that students do coaching or preparation before the test and if you child doesn't, they're left in a position of disadvantage. Often, students who miss out feel huge disappointment. Because this is your child's final chance, make it count.

What’s in the Brisbane State High School exam – sitting the test in Grade 6 (test format, number of questions and time limit)?

The Brisbane State High School placement test has 4 parts in Grade 6. 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 memorising multiplication tables or formulas, isn’t going to give your child the edge they need.

What your child needs are strategies in order to problem-solve quickly and correctly when faced with an exam question.

Abstract reasoning is often unfamiliar to many parents but it can be taught and is a study area under 'reasoning' a branch of study under philosophy. Our abstract reasoning course is developed by one of our exam experts who has studied from a logic professor at the renowned University of Melbourne.

The 4 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.

Abstract Reasoning

Number of questions: 30 multiple-choice questions
What’s the time limit*? 30 minutes
Time per question* ~ 60 seconds

Abstract reasoning is about being able to look at images or pictures and solve problems. For exampe, there may be a series of images, and you need to figure out which one doesn't belong, which one is the next picture in the series, which one should be added in and more. There are ways in which you can solve these and they are in our abstract reasoning course.

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 requested varies – 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 penalised) 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.

As you'll see, the time limit provided to students is very limited – students need to get to the answer for an abstract reasoning question within 60 seconds! For written expression, writing a whole piece in 25 minutes is a real 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 Test when they sit the exam in Year 6 (and get a school offer)?

Here's a case study from one of our past students.

A Year 5 girl sat the Brisbane State High School test for Year 7 entry. She didn’t do preparation and missed out. Fortunately, she could sit the exam in Year 6. This was her second and last chance to get in and her mother contacted Exam Success. We found that her scores were high in all areas except writing so she started writing essays and we gave her feedback. We continued this practice and feedback loop over 12 essays within 3 months while she also went through our online courses to build up her test taking strategies.

When she sat the exam in Year 6, she got in!

The main difference between her last exam and the exam she sat in Year 6 was that she was prepared – she got good quality feedback and test preparation designed by experts.
Students and parents can do it themselves, but you don’t know what you don’t know. Having an expert helps!

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

For reading, mathematics and abstract reasoning:

  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 sure you prepare your child fully for their final and last chance so that they can ace the exam and get a spot in one of the best high schools in Queensland!

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

How to Write a Creative Piece in Under 20 Minutes (for Year 7 entry)

Author's Score (ATAR or IELTS): 96.04

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
How to Write an Argumentative Piece in Under 20 Minutes (for Year 7 entry)

Author's Score (ATAR or IELTS): 96.04

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 provides 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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