2020 Selective Schools Test Questions | Full Review

Parents of year four and year five students wonder what the 2020 selective school test looks like. These are parents who are frustrated with the current coaching programs available in many Australian coaching centres. Others are first-time parents who don’t know what kind of coaching classes to enroll their kids in or the kind of books they need to prepare for the selective tests.

In the 2020 selective school test, English and writing were difficult compared to maths and GA. The only thing that was difficult with maths was that the test had lots of long tables and graphs questions. Some questions with variables were also irrelevant. With GA, most kids found it easy because it contained fundamental questions. The only struggle was with vocab. The GA also had many visual-spatial reasoning questions and a lot of tricky matrices.

kid studying for the 2020 selective schools test

English in the Selective Schools Test

The English section had two quotes, two cartoons, two nonfictional passages, and two fictional passages. There were also two poems. The questions were straightforward, but many kids found them difficult.
99% of the kids who hadn’t been exposed to quotes and cartoons and didn’t understand how to break down poems found this section difficult, and so they scored low marks in the English section.

Generally, a lot of these questions were unfamiliar and different from the typical questions. For instance, with some of the nonfiction passages, there were a lot of tables. The most difficult questions in the English test revolved around interpreting graphs. One of the graphs was on customer brand loyalty. Students were expected to compare people who were likely to continue purchasing the products and services from a company after a positive or a negative experience. Again, this isn’t easy to do because most kids were not used to interpreting graphs. They didn’t know how to differentiate variables and compare different things.

Cartoons are constantly becoming common with selective exams. Though not a big part of the exam like nonfiction, narratives, and poems, they still play a big role in the selective exam. One of the cartoons which appeared in the 2020 selective school exam was a child giving the father instructions on how she wants to be controlled. Generally, when going through cartoons like this, you must point out the humour and character emotion.

Breaking down this cartoon, we know that parental controls are meant to be for parents and not kids. Yet here we see a role reversal where the child teaches the father how to control her, making the cartoon funny. Irony can also be seen in this whole idea of a daughter controlling her father. It’s ironic because, obviously, parental control is not meant to be set by the child. It’s meant to be set by the parent.


Another cartoon was of a kid showing a parenting book to the librarian. The kid says she wasn’t told anything about dealing with parents. This was a funny cartoon because usually parenting means parents are teaching the kids and not the kids teaching parents. So again, we have a reversal of roles between the kids and the parents.

There were two quotes given. With quote questions, children are required to understand the deeper meaning of the quotes. From this similar quote, ‘The middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything.’ It simply mocks the fact that young people think they know everything when really, they don’t know anything. So, the hidden meaning is that young people know a whole lot less than they actually think they know. It also points out the fact that middle-aged people are not too trusting that they believe that everything is a lie.

With poetry, you need to understand the deeper themes of poetry. You can practice this by going through poems with different themes. You can go through environmental poems or poems that talk about seasons and those which talk about people. It would be best if you also went through many really famous poems also because they have appeared in OC and Selective tests many times. This is a poem that popped up in the actual 2020 selective exam.


This is green as grace ruby.
Red as blood sapphires
Shines as blue as heaven
A flag lies in mud
A diamond is blue
A brilliant stone to catch the world's desire
And opal holds a fiery spark
But flint holds fire
oc test poetry book

In this poem, you need to figure out the main idea and the deeper meaning. Is it talking about emeralds and diamonds? Why are they relevant? And what is the relevance of the flint? In this case, the flint is used to create fire. So, the poem is trying to say that despite the flag lying in the mud, despite it not being as physically beautiful as Emerald, Ruby, or Sapphire, which are all beautiful jewels, the flood holds the greatest practical value. The flint can be used to make fire.

In terms of passages, two were given. One was on Indians, and the second one was on Aboriginals. So, again, having some cultural understanding is going to help you understand such passages. Many Indian kids said that they found the Indian passage exceptionally easy. At the same time, some kids might not have understood it because they’re not exposed to that many cultures. In terms of Aboriginals, kids needed to understand things such as stolen generations and Australia’s history. So obviously, there’s a lot of Australian stuff that goes on in these selective schools tests. To answer the passage questions correctly, you need very extensive vocab. You also need to understand the differences between different emotional words.


The writing topic was about a square bike. This topic was difficult because, without any consideration, many kids just wrote a story about a bike without any plot. Some other kids did not answer the question. The problem with most kids is that they have not been exposed to a vast range of good stories, and so most of them talk about monsters, romances and fairies. They have no emotional depth or imagery, and usually, they build out the image in the author’s mind.

Remember, the Selective schools test is not an intelligence exam. It’s a preparation test. So, you need to make sure that you prepare your kid adequately. Otherwise, you’re going to suffer in the exam.

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