At Education First we are delighted that so many of our students each year earn a place at a selective high school or a scholarship to a non-government school. The Selective Schools Test for students in Year 6 is usually on the third Thursday in March each year. Scholarship Tests for non-government schools are held on various Saturdays from March through to May.
We prepare many students in our program that covers mathematics, reading comprehension, written expression, general ability and exam techniques. The 45-week program starts at the beginning of Year 5. Year 5 students are welcome to enrol at any time, however the program is not individualised for those starting later in the year. There is a lot of material to cover, so it is not realistic to expect success when starting preparations later in the year. For the same reason, we do not enrol Year 6 students into this program.
Some people believe that preparing for these tests is a waste of time. How could that be? The tests require the application of knowledge and skills at speed under pressure. We teach the knowledge and skills, and the students practise applying them. Does anyone think it is a waste of time to train for the district athletics’ carnival? We wonder if academic skills and achievements are considered less important than those in sporting activities.
Some people believe that if a child needs tuition to gain entry to a selective school then they don’t belong there and will not cope when they get there. Our view is that students who are used to working towards their goals perform very well in the selective school environment. Gosford High has over 1100 applicants each year for 180 places. This is the second highest number of applicants of all selective high schools in New South Wales.
One third of the marks for Selective School entry are provided by the student’s primary school at the time of application in October in Year 5. Students therefore need to be working at an advanced level right through Year 5, and should enrol in our Advanced Primary English, Mathematics and General Ability programs when they are starting Year 5.
A Profile Score of about 185 - 195 out of 300 is usually needed to gain a place at Gosford High School. The contribution of the different components to the final score in rounded percentage terms is:
|Raw School Marks English||
|Raw School Marks Mathematics||
|Test Marks Reading||
|Test Marks Writing||
|Test Marks Mathematics||
|Test Marks General Ability||
Parents are sent a brief notification of results in July. All parents can then make a written request for the full profile of results. If you then show us the results we can update our statistics.
English and General AbilityThis tuition program covers reading comprehension, written expression, grammar, spelling, punctuation and vocabulary development. General ability topics covered are analogies, synonyms and antonyms, codes, series and logic.
Mathematics and General AbilityThis tuition program builds knowledge and skill in all number operations, fractions and decimals, space and measurement. There is a strong emphasis on the basic number facts, including the times tables, as students with well-developed number sense find maths much easier. Students also learn a range of problem-solving strategies for solving both routine and more complicated problems. General ability topics covered are number and shape series, number rules and equations.
Test TechniquesTest techniques are also developed and practised in both the English and Mathematics programs. Most students of this age need a lot of guidance to work quickly and carefully while not rushing and guessing wildly, or spending too much time on the extremely difficult “alien” questions.
Program structure after the testsAfter the tests, we encourage students to continue tuition so that they will be extremely well prepared for high school. Following the test, the English program involves more extensive writing and research skills such as note-taking. The Mathematics program is devoted to ensuring students have mastery of the strands of number (especially fractions and decimals), space and measurement, and develops introductory algebra concepts.
The purposes of the Super Saturday workshop are:
• to help students develop a positive mental image of themselves as test performers
• to develop visualisation and relaxation strategies
• to allow students to experience and identify the emotions generated by the test situation
• to explore the thinking generated by these emotions
• to consider how this thinking determines responses to the emotions and affects performance
• to develop and use test techniques which maximise test performance
To enable the above purposes to be achieved, our tests are very difficult. The highest mark ever scored on our tests is 105 out of 140. The average score of students who do get into Gosford High is 80 to 85 out of 140. The reading, mathematics and general ability tests are each of forty minutes duration and the writing test is twenty minutes. Over the years, many students have found this workshop to be the most beneficial event in the whole tuition program.
It is important that all students take an optimistic attitude into the actual test, as the smallest amount of negativity or doubt can throw the emotions into a spin and cause a significant drop in performance. For this reason, test marks from Super Saturday are not released to students or parents. It is important that children do not feel any extra pressure from their parents. The students are all trying as hard as they can. We have had the experience of a parent berating a child for scoring “only 88” in our test, even though it was the second highest score that year. The student then had trouble sleeping for a week and ended up doing poorly in the actual test.
In the past some students, whom we thought did not have a great chance, ended up doing very well in the test because of their calmness on the day. Our students have a clear advantage over most others sitting the test. If they do not make it into the selective school, they should still be congratulated for attempting the test. They should be reassured that what they learn and experience in our tuition program will have them well prepared for their first year at whichever high school they attend, and will help them to be in the top classes in Year 7.
Selective high schools: Year 7 placement in 2015
Application for Year 7 entry to a selective high school in 2015 is made in October 2013.
Generally students are in Year 5 when application is made.
Application packages are available from your child's government primary school, some non-government primary schools, selective high schools, school education group offices and some state office locations.
Early November 2013
Parents complete all relevant sections of the application form and return it to the principal of your child's primary school.
Keep the application information and sample test paper for future reference.
Late November 2013
Principals provide school assessment scores and comments and send the completed applications to the Selective High School Placement Unit.
Thursday 13 March 2014
All students who have applied and are in NSW at the time are expected to attend the Selective High Schools Test. The test is conducted only once and only at designated test centres within NSW.
Results are sent to parents.
If you have not received notification of the test centre your child is to attend by 28 February you should contact the Selective High School Placement Unit.
Phone (02) 9707 6262
Fax (02) 9707 6265
Post PO Box 6109
Milperra DC 1891