GATE Test Preparation Selective Schools WA Year 7 - Ultimate Guide for Parents

Intense competition - 1548 students competing for 225 spots in Perth Modern & Less than 51 Seconds to Answer a Multiple Choice Question. Will your child be in the 85% that miss out?

In this guide, you’ll find out exactly what the GATE test is, what the exam format looks like (number of questions, time, areas tested) and an exam expert will show you how you can best prepare your child for this super competitive exam.

What is the GATE exam (Gifted and Talented Secondary Selective Entry Program) for Perth Modern and other selective schools in WA?

The Academic Selective Entrance Test (ASET) is an extremely competitive and hard exam where only 14% of the 1548 students that sit the exam gain admission to Perth Modern School – the only fully selective academic school in Western Australia. The same test is used for students to attend the GATE (Gifted and Talented Secondary Selective Entry Program) in 18 select public schools in WA.

Every year, the test gets harder and more competitive. The combined cut-off for selection has gotten harder (increases by 10.33 points in 2019) and The West Australian reports that the ‘Education Department figures show the overall number of students applying for places in gifted programs has soared 30 per cent in just four years, from 3631 to 4756’.

This means in that your child needs to prepare for the test.

Your child will sit the exam when they're in Grade 6 for Year 7 entry. Students usually sit the exam in early March and the results for the test are usually released in late May to early June.

On the date of the exam, your child should be above average in maths and English as a base to feel confident for their exam. They need exam technique such as how to answer questions quickly and having a structure they can use when it comes to writing. With the very strict time limits, students who are naturally gifted have sometimes missed out to children who weren’t so intelligent, but were prepared.

The Gifted and Talented Secondary Selective Entrance Programs are offered in 18 public secondary schools in WA that provides an enriched curriculum. Of these schools, the most highly coveted is Perth Modern High School. Other prominent schools in the GATE test are:

  • Shenton College
  • Melville Senior High School
  • Willetton Senior High School
  • Duncraig Senior High School

If you wish for your child to attend any of the following schools listed above through the GATE program, your child needs to sit the competitive Academic Selective Entrance Test (ASET) which has 4 parts to it:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Communicating ideas in writing
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Abstract reasoning

More details about the test format can be found here.

It would be unfair to put your child into the ASET exam without preparation. It is a time-driven exam and totally different from what they get at school. Other children commonly put in 168+ hours of preparation 6 months ahead of test date.

If you don’t prepare, your child will go into the test at a disadvantage. Get them help so they go into the test knowing what to do and how to do their best.

What’s in the GATE exam – the ASET (test format, number of questions and time limit)?

The GATE test, also known as the Academic Selection Entrance Test has 4 parts. 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.

Applications for the test are open in October and close the following year in February. Students usually sit the test in March (the month following close of applications).

The 4 parts along with their description (including time limits and number of questions per test *) are shown below:

Reading Comprehension

Number of questions: 35 multiple-choice questions
What’s the time limit*? 30 minutes
Time per question* ~ 51 seconds

Students are asked to read or review a variety of media such as articles, narrative extracts, poetry and maybe even cartoons. They’re also asked to answer questions based on these texts. It’s not a simple “find the matching word in the text” and if it matches, you win—No, it’s about deep understanding and making those “invisible” connections that the text implies, but is not explicitly stated or obvious.

Communicating Ideas in Writing

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

Your child won’t get a high rank with just normal sentences and correct spelling. To get the school offer, it’s about content – what you write and how you write it. Students need to write a piece according to the question or stimulus given to them. It they don’t, they don’t get any marks. Higher marks are awarded for thoughtfulness in their piece. In the 3 consecutive previous years - the exam prompt has been a narrative prompt i.e. a story. However, your child could be requested to write in any genre.

Quantitative Reasoning

Number of questions: 35 multiple-choice questions
What’s the time limit*? 30 minutes
Time per question* ~ 51 seconds

Don’t expect to see simple calculations that need to be solved - this test is about application and problem solving using mathematics and numbers. Expect to see questions that ask to find the number pattern. Most of the questions involve very simple adding, subtracting, multiplication and/or division – but what’s hard is figuring out what mathematics to use, how to use it and when to use it to solve the question.

Abstract Reasoning

Number of questions: 35 multiple-choice questions
What’s the time limit*? 20 minutes
Time per question* ~ 34 seconds

Parents are often worried about this section, as it appears to be very foreign. Essentially, the section tests how well your child solves problems to do with images and shapes. A lot of the time, it’s about solving patterns (e.g. what image goes in the series, which is the odd one out, what image should be in a particular positions etc...) – and yes, there are strategies your child can learn to help them answer these types of questions quickly and accurately. They're in our abstract reasoning course.

﹡ The number of questions and time limit have been taken from the Candidate Information Bulletin (provided by a parent). 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 answer each multiple choice questions in 51 seconds or less! 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 hard is it to get into Perth Modern School (GATE) & How Do You Prepare Your Kid?

It's a very hard test. At most, you have 51 seconds to go through multiple choice questions and for abstract reasoning, to get through the test, you need to answer each question in 34 seconds or less! The time limit itself is challenging.

To make it harder, the questions are rarely straightforward. They require problem solving - something that is rarely taught in schools.

So how can your child prepare?

The first step is to do sample test question. While the Department of Education do not release past papers, there are a number of ACER prepared exams for the NSW selective school test (also Grade 7) that are available freely for download. You can download sample test papers here.

Exam Success also has a teaching test bank where you child can do practice questions, but more importantly, learn how to answer the question. They'll be able to learn how to approach questions quickly in the time limit.

When I do private tuition, the process I use to help students gain a GATE selective school spot in Perth Modern or the other schools involves just 5 steps!

For reading, quantitative reasoning 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.

Perth Modern School is the highest performing school in Western Australia (WA) in terms of ATAR with a median score of 95.5 (ABC, 2018). To gain access to the best school in WA, you need the best test preparation available.

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

Gifted and Talented WA (GATE) Academic Selection Entrance Test (ASET) Year 7 Entry - Teaching Test Bank

Start practicing for your test and get 600 multiple-choice questions similar to the Gifted and Talented WA (GATE) Academic Selection Entrance Test (ASET) (similar to ACER's style) and this is split up into:

  • Reading - 200 sample test questions.
  • Numerical reasoning - 100 sample test questions (to cover 'quantitative reasoning')
  • Maths - 100 sample test questions (to cover 'quantitative reasoning')
  • Abstract reasoning - 200 sample test questions.

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.

This test bank is available now.

Start your practice now and get a head start on the March 2021 test.

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

On purchase, your subscription will be activated straight away and expires in 31 days from activation.

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

ACER is a trade mark in the name of The Australian Council for Educational Research Limited. Any products available for sale on this website are not approved by The Australian Council for Educational Research Limited.

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 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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