How to Prepare Your Child for the Selective High School Placement Test

The NSW Selective High School Placement Test is scheduled for March 10th 2022. The exam determines which current Year 6 students will be offered places in selective high schools in 2023. 

The purpose of this test is to identify academically gifted students who will benefit from the enhanced learning offered in selective high schools. A revised test was introduced in NSW 2021 to place greater emphasis on problem solving and thinking skills.

Competition is fierce and students often begin preparing months, and even years, in advance. With just over three weeks remaining until the test, there are still several steps parents can take to help students prepare. 

Address weak spots

The exam consists of tests in reading, general ability, maths and written expression.  By this stage students should be familiar with the format and know how much time to devote to each question. 

Through their performance in practice tests, you should have a good idea of where your child’s strengths and weaknesses lie. The last few weeks before the exam are ideal for focusing on areas for improvement. 

Take some time to work out exactly where they can make more progress. Are they struggling to complete the reading section in the allotted timeframe, or is maths their weakest subject? It’s not too late to seek outside help if required.

Write down strategies 

Students who have been preparing for some time will have recognised that certain types of questions appear repeatedly in the practice tests. They’ve presumably developed strategies for answering these questions.

In the weeks before the exam, it’s very beneficial for students to devote time to revising their strategies. Get them to identify the sorts of questions they will encounter in each section, and their strategies for answering them.

Having a strong awareness of the different approaches available allows students to make the most of their time. It also reduces stress as students feel more confident and prepared. 

Watch Youtube Videos

Few kids are going to complain about watching Youtube clips, even when they’re educational. Viewing video clips gives them a break from practice papers, while still helping them prepare. This is also something you can do together.

There are many excellent videos on numerical reasoning that can help with the maths section of the exam.

For the written section of the exam, Writing Club has two great videos on how to compose a persuasive text and creative response specifically for the selective high school exam. 

Practice Relaxing Together  

Year 6 students won’t have much experience with relaxation techniques. It’s really helpful if you practice together in the lead up to exams. Stress is very detrimental to performance, and many kids feel under intense pressure. 

You can practice mindfulness or visualisation with your child to help them feel more centred. Some students will enjoy yoga. Activities such as drawing and painting can also be very relaxing because they focus the mind on something else. 

While the selective exam is important, kids need to know that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t get into their desired school. They will still benefit greatly from the experience of sitting the exam.

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