IGNITE Program (ACER HAST) Entrance Exam in 2021

Here's what every parent should know in order to prepare their child for this competitive selective school entry exam.


Have you ever noticed that your child is quick at grasping new concepts, diverse in their interests and maybe even bored or frustrated because their homework is too easy?

If so, congratulations. You might be raising an intellectually gifted kid who is a perfect candidate for the IGNITE program.

Learn how IGNITE can benefit your child’s future, what to expect from the IGNITE program’s ACER HAST exam, and what you can do to help your child prepare for their challenging test day.


IGNITE Program Basics: What Is It & How Does It Work

IGNITE is a specialised accelerated learning program for students in Grades 8-10 offered by public schools in South Australia. It’s designed for children with high abilities who perform well ahead of their peers and are not sufficiently challenged by the regular curriculum.

The IGNITE selected entry program offers your talented child flexibility to adjust their senior school years as they see fit.

Learners have two options:

  1. Follow a compacted course and complete Grades 8-10 in two years instead of three. Your child can then choose whether they want to finish Years 11-12 in two or three years and take university-level subjects in their final year.
  2. Follow an enrichment companion course. In this case, students complete Grades 8-10 at the usual pace but they learn subjects in more detail compared to their peers. They still can accelerate in the subjects where they excel.

That said, academic challenge is not the only goal of selected accelerated learning programs. By gaining entry into IGNITE, your child reaps many more benefits that go beyond the academic curriculum. They get a unique chance to:

  • learn in a nurturing environment and collaborate with peers of similar abilities and interests
  • master higher-order skills and competencies, including intercultural and ethical understanding, independence, and social awareness
  • develop a lifelong passion for learning.

Gaining entry into IGNITE is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide your child with a high-quality education under the guidance of top instructors.

Unfortunately, this opportunity doesn't come easy...

What Does It Take To Get Into IGNITE Program In 2021?

There are three selective schools in the Adelaide area that deliver the IGNITE program:

  • The Heights School (~6o spots)
  • Glenunga International High School (~100 spots)
  • Aberfoyle Park High School (~50 spots)

Brighton Secondary School offers an enrichment program under the name Think Bright, which is similar to IGNITE. But Think Bright students don’t have the choice of accelerating their learning but rather dive deeper into the curriculum through extension classes and extracurricular enrichment activities.

All applicants for the IGNITE program have to sit a challenging four-part IGNITE exam, held in February every year, followed by an interview. The entrance test is open to students in Year 7 and exceptionally mature Year 6 students for Year 8 entry.

There are about 200 spots available, and hundreds of intelligent students apply every year, which means the competition is fierce. Only the best of the best get through.

To add to the challenge, your child can sit an IGNITE exam only once. If they take it in Year 6 and fail, there’s no possibility of retaking the test in Year 7. You only get the one chance.

What’s In The IGNITE Exam (Test Format, Number Of Questions, Time Limit)

All three participating schools use the ACER HAST exam as a first part of the selection process.

Our students who have sat ACER HAST say that the exam is challenging. It's designed to spot exceptionally gifted and talented kids, so the questions are one or two grades higher in difficulty compared to your child's current year.

The ACER HAST consists of four sections: reading comprehension, mathematical reasoning, abstract reasoning, written expression. Here's an outline of each subtest along with the number of questions and the time limit.


Reading Comprehension


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

Reading comprehension tests your child’s ability to work with large chunks of information. Your child will be presented with a variety of texts – from non-fiction magazine articles to poetry – and asked to answer multiple-choice questions based on what they’ve read.

Students face lots of difficulties here. They not only need to display extensive vocabulary knowledge and understand words in context but also know how to read quickly, make inferences, and recognise tricky answer options.

Our reading comprehension course teaches students essential strategies and time-saving tricks to face even the toughest questions with success and confidence. You can take a sneak peek into test-like sample questions and step-by-step video answers here.

Mathematical Reasoning


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

Mathematical reasoning is not a regular Maths assessment your child takes at school. This part will test your child’s logical thinking and how well they can reason using mathematical concepts. The questions are complex and require your child to figure out what calculations to formulate to arrive at the final answer.

The challenge here is to figure out HOW to solve the problem, what mathematical operators are needed, and do the necessary calculations – all in less than ~80 seconds per question.

Fortunately, there are shortcuts and tricks to solve mathematical reasoning problems quickly and accurately.

Abstract Reasoning


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

In this part, your child will have to solve visual puzzles and problems. Abstract reasoning questions generally involve patterns, shapes, and colors and (often chaotic at first glance) diagrams.

Many students struggle with abstract reasoning because these questions seem alien and are not taught in school. However, with the right guidance, students can be taught how to critically think through abstract reasoning questions, learn about the types of questions and how to strategically approach them to ultimately solve them.
This is what we teach our students in the abstract reasoning course, which is chock-full of practical tips and techniques to crack abstract reasoning questions like a pro.

Written Expression


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

In this part, your child will have to write a piece based on a given prompt. The type of writing required changes from year to year. It may include (but is not limited to): persuasive essay, a narrative/creative essay, opinion piece, descriptive writing, etc.

This subtest is scored not only based on your child’s ability to craft clear sentences (with correct grammar and punctuation) but also on their ideas and content of their essays, how well they can organize their thoughts in writing, and how effectively they use the language.

It seems a lot to accomplish in 25 minutes and because of this, we have developed time-tested strategies that help our students write top-notch essays from scratch within the required timeframe (or less). Want to know how? Join our writing improvement program and learn all the secrets successful students use to create A+ essays.

*The number of questions and time limit have been estimated from the ACER HAST Candidate Information Bulletin and other publicly available information. 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 the number of questions.

How You Can Help Your Child Succeed On The IGNITE Exam: 3 Must-Know Tips

You can't sit an exam for your child, but, as a parent, you're probably wondering what you can do to maximise your child's IGNITE test results.

Wonder no more! Here are three tips every parent must know to help their child succeed.

Don’t Rush Into The Test

Since the IGNITE program exam is open to students in Year 6, many parents decide to register their kids for the test as soon as possible. But here's the catch - the IGNITE exam can be taken only once. It means that your child gets only one chance to ace their test.

Plus, they'll compete with talented applicants who had an extra year to prepare for the test.

That's why we recommend parents to not be in a hurry and wait to sit the test in Year 7.

Improve on Weak Areas & Continue to Build Strengths

The final score is broken down into subtests. Your child needs to show exceptional performance on all parts of the test to be more confident of getting an IGNITE offer.

Knowledge is just a part of the exam. Even if your child excels at a particular subject, they need to learn exam strategy, practice their time management, and work on their "test-finishing" skills.

Don't Underestimate Good Preparation

In theory, competitive exams are supposed to test the child's innate aptitude and intellectual ability. Which is why test providers discourage parents from getting their kids any preparation before the test day.

In practice, all the areas tested in the exam can be trained and improved. Students perform better under time pressure if they know what to expect and what kind of questions they will have to deal with.

Most of your child's competitors will come to the test prepared, and some kids start their test prep even two years before they sit the IGNITE exam. It would be unfair to leave your child's success to the whim of destiny.

We've combined 8+ years of experience in the competitive exam industry with our personal academic achievements to bring you the best study materials ever.

With the most up-to-date instructional content, our secret proprietary exam strategies, test-like practice questions, and a strong focus on problem-solving, your child will be not only ultra-prepared for their test day but also gain valuable skills for future academic success.

Choose the way you want your child to prep below.


Bundle Deal
6 Courses Package

Customise your competitive test prep and save $$$ for ultimate exam success.

What's Included:

  • Your choice of 6 individual courses: 80+ hours of content learning, 1,000+ test-like questions with in-depth explanations, final mock test, our proprietary exam strategies and shortcuts, score reports, timed and untimed practice mode. Don't know what courses or test papers to choose for your exam? Check out our course and test paper selection guide.
  • Free writing boost bonus (valued $100+) in the form of expert scoring and customised expert video feedback on 5 of your essays. This is the best way to get maximum writing improvement in a short time frame. See an example of scoring and expert video feedback on a real essay.

After purchase, you gain immediate access to your course for 6 months to get a head start on your test prep.

Don't know what courses or test papers to choose for your exam? Check our course and test paper selection guide based on your exam .

$AU487.30
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
Bundle Deal
5 Courses Package

Customise your competitive test prep and save $$$ for ultimate exam success.

What's Included:

  • Your choice of 5 individual courses: 80+ hours of content learning, 850+ test-like questions with in-depth explanations, final mock test, our proprietary exam strategies and shortcuts, score reports, timed and untimed practice mode. Don't know what courses or test papers to choose for your exam? Check out our course and test paper selection guide.
  • Free writing boost bonus (valued $100+) in the form of expert scoring and customised expert video feedback on 5 of your essays. This is the best way to get maximum writing improvement in a short time frame. See an example of scoring and expert video feedback on a real essay.

After purchase, you gain immediate access to your course for 6 months to get a head start on your test prep.

Don't know what courses or test papers to choose for your exam? Check our course and test paper selection guide based on your exam .

$AU454.30
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
Reading Comprehension Test Preparation Online

Practicing reading skills is essential for competitive entrance exams, such as scholarships, selective schools, and NAPLAN literacy. And with our online course, practice has never been easier.

Learn the ins and outs of reading comprehension questions, find out how to answer them accurately, and discover score-boosting strategies to approach different texts, including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Lastly, give your verbal skills a workout with a final test that includes a variety of passages with questions and answers.

The course is designed for students in Year 5, Year 6, and Year 7, but can be used for general reading improvement in Year 8 and Year 9.

Great for:

  • NSW HSPT (Reading Test)
  • Academic Assessment Services scholarship and selective school exams
  • ACER scholarships and selective schools exams like Perth Modern, WA GATE and Brisbane State High School.
  • Edutest scholarships and selective school tests like Victorian Selective Schools (MacRob, Melb High, Suzanne Cory and Nossal) and Queensland Academies Selective entry (Year 7).

After purchase, you gain immediate access to your course for 6 months to get a head start on your test prep.

$AU163.77
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

Narrative Writing - Written Expression Test Preparation

Written expression is the hardest part of any exam.

It doesn’t have to be!

This online narrative writing course (narrative writing is part of creative writing) will introduce you to a step-by-step process of writing top-notch essays so you can ace your NAPLAN, get scholarships and gain entry to selective schools – regardless of your experience.

In 18 extensive checkpoints, we’ll:

  • explore what makes a good piece based on multiple examples and sample essays from real students
  • learn to come up with interesting storylines for given topics
  • practice building a logical structure and crafting description to communicate our ideas.

Each checkpoint ends with a writing stimulus in the form of writing prompts or visuals so you can apply the powerful techniques you’ve learned in practice.

This course also includes complimentary expert scoring (using our unique 52-point scoring system) & expert video feedback on 1 of your essays - you can see an example of scoring and expert video feedback on a real essay here.

Great for:

  • NSW HSPT
  • Academic Assessment Services scholarship and selective school exams
  • ACER scholarships and selective schools exams like Perth Modern, WA GATE and Brisbane State High School.
  • Edutest scholarships and selective school tests like Victorian Selective Schools (MacRob, Melb High, Suzanne Cory and Nossal) and Queensland Academies Selective entry (Year 7).

After purchase, you gain immediate access to your course for 6 months to get a head start on your test prep.

$AU175.99
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

Mathematics (Maths) Test Preparation Online Grade 7 Entry

Got a competitive entrance exam or NAPLAN numeracy test coming up? Set yourself up for success with our online Maths course!

Designed for students in grades 5, 6, and 7, the course starts with a refresher of the basics and works its way to advanced arithmetic to cover major test question types you need to know before your test day.

You'll learn our time-tested exam strategies as well as get ample practice and perfect your problem-solving skills with multiple diagnostic questions along the way.

Finally, we'll end with a full-length exam because what a better way to prepare for competitive exams than to take a maths test that's as close to a real thing as possible.

Great for:

  • NSW HSPT (Maths Test)
  • Academic Assessment Services scholarship and selective school exams
  • ACER scholarships and selective schools exams like Perth Modern, WA GATE and Brisbane State High School.
  • Edutest scholarships and selective school tests like Queensland Academies Selective entry (Year 7).

After purchase, you gain immediate access to your course for 6 months to get a head start on your test prep.

$AU163.77
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

Persuasive Writing & Discussion Written Expression Test Preparation

You can be a grammar whiz and an A+ student. But without good written expression, you're unlikely to succeed in NAPLAN and entrance exams for selective schools and scholarships. This persuasive & discussion writing online course everything you need to refine your argument skills and become a more confident writer.

Throughout the course, we'll focus on a variety of topics such as generating ideas, essay structure and argument development. We'll look at real-life examples and sample essays to discover powerful persuasive techniques that will take your piece from good to great and improve your grade.

Finally, you'll practice with a variety of test-like prompts to build a rock-solid writing routine and conquer your exam.

This course also includes complimentary expert scoring (using our unique 52-point scoring system) & expert video feedback on 1 of your essays - you can see an example of scoring and expert video feedback on a real essay here.

Great for:

  • NSW HSPT
  • Academic Assessment Services scholarship and selective school exams
  • ACER scholarships and selective schools exams like Perth Modern, WA GATE and Brisbane State High School.
  • Edutest scholarships and selective school tests like Victorian Selective Schools (MacRob, Melb High, Suzanne Cory and Nossal) and Queensland Academies Selective entry (Year 7).

After purchase, you gain immediate access to your course for 6 months to get a head start on your test prep.

$AU175.99
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:

Which package / courses should I select? And why is there maths 7 and maths 9 (but not maths for Grade 8)?

For students who excel in maths, we recommend getting the 5 courses package selecting the following courses: reading, maths 9, abstract reasoning, narrative writing and persuasive and discussion writing.

For students who need some help with mathematics, we recommend getting the 6 courses package and adding in maths 7, to do two maths courses, the Year 7 & Year 9 (starting with the Year 7 course).

There is no maths Grade 8 as the test often examines concepts that are 1-2 years above the current year level and the Grade 9 maths module would cover this (and more).

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 $20.90 per month for an individual course or $42.90 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.

Will the courses suit my child?

The courses best suit students who are able to work independently and who can operate a computer. Students who have gained the most from our courses have been students who are able to plan out their time and commit to a regular routine of test preparation.

Do I need to buy anything else with the courses? Should I get more practice test questions?

We believe the courses to be comprehensive and contain a sufficient number of questions to help reinforce strategies learnt. Past students have used the courses solely (i.e. did not have outside tuition) and have been offered spots in selective schools or have received scholarship offers.

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