Many scholarly students who aced the 2021 selective school tests had a strong foundation in math and English. They found it incredibly easy to tackle the questions. In the new Cambridge tests, there was one closed passage, a poem, and a difficult non-fiction passage. The only difficult section was the thinking skills. In this article, we will talk about the testing styles in the new Cambridge tests while looking and analyzing at different questions that were given in different sections of the test.

1.Cloze passage

In the English test, there was a cloze passage that was based on the Australian taste of summer. The passage talked about Australia’s obsession with ice creams. The cloze passage options were not that difficult to analyze. Students were required to know the chronological and historical order of occurrences. This was a feature article based on the history of ice-cream in Australia. This test required the children to read through it and find the missing gaps. The first gap was from this excerpt from Peter’s publication;

“Frederick Peter likely filled the first churn for the ice cream Australians enjoy today. He had come back to check a business investment but began to miss the ice cream that his mother made while he was a child in Michigan. Peters’ publication says that in those days what passed for ice-cream in Australia was a yellow custard-like concoction” From this except, one of the gaps we can identify is that Australia had no actual ice cream. “The pioneer of gourmet ice cream in Australia is Alex Mendelssohn who arrived in Australia in the early 1960s. Alex says, “it wasn’t rich and there was not much choice of flavor.” There was only, vanilla, strawberry, chocolate, and Neapolitan flavors.” From this except, another gap that we can identify is that there was not so much choice of flavor. Most students found this cloze passage the most difficult section in the English test.


2. Poem

The poem that the candidates were required to analyze was Drifters by Bruce Ware. Many students found the poem simple and the questions easy.

“One day soon he’ll tell her it’s time to start packing and the kids will yell ‘Truly?’ and get wildly excited for no reason and the brown kelpie pup will start dashing about, tripping everyone up and she’ll go out to the vegetable patch and pick all the green tomatoes from the vines and notice how the oldest girl is close to tears because she was happy here, and how the youngest girl is beaming because she wasn’t. And the first thing she’ll put on the trailer will be the bottling-set she never unpacked from Grovedale, and when the loaded ute bumps down the drive past the blackberry canes with their last shriveled fruit, she won’t even ask why they’re leaving this time, or where they’re headed for she’ll only remember how, when they came here she held out her hands, bright with berries, the first of the season, and said: ‘Make a wish, Tom, make a wish.’”

The poem was about nomadism and its theme was hope. There is also symbolism like packing which symbolizes moving and green tomatoes which symbolize that they are moving without proper preparation. There was also natural imagery symbolizing unhappiness and depression because they are leaving valuable things behind, yet they hope that they will be able to adapt to the changes in their new location. It is also important to note that the last word of ‘drifters’ symbolizes ‘wish’ since so much of the poem is concerned with the effects of decision-making and with oppressive and repressive acts of will. Another poem was the village by the sea, which was easy as it was more of a description, and so many students didn’t find the questions difficult.

3.Thinking skills

In thinking skills, there was a combination of dialogue questions, spatial reasoning questions, graph questions, syllogisms, and logical fallacies. There are about 4-5 strength and weakening arguments. Some of them were written in conjunction with the dialogue questions. There were quite many spatial reasoning questions too, as well as 4-5 logical fallacy questions. Some of them tested logical reasoning. The reason why thinking skills are designed this way is to make things a little bit more approachable. That’s why they didn’t use any critical thinking or dialogue questions.

The reason why they included old GA-style questions was that they wanted the test to appear easier. Some kids had problems with time management and so they did not complete all questions. There were also critical thinking questions and graph questions. Students were required to read from the graph to figure out which statements were correct out of the choices that were provided.

In the critical thinking questions, students were required to evaluate the answers while in spatial reasoning, the students were asked to find the next pattern from a given figure, and they had to choose the correct answer from the choices.


4. Math Test

The math test was really easy. The test contained a multiplication question, a table question, a numerical order question, and other basic topics. This was one of the questions;

There are ten animals in a zoo with ten legs total. These animals consist of eagles (2 legs), cows (4 legs), and snakes (no legs). What is the total maximum number of snakes in the zoo?

In this question, students were required to use their knowledge of multiplication to work out the number of snakes in the zoo.

5. Writing

The writing topic was a bit strange. They were set to prevent students from using pre-memorized scripts. In the test, the report was to write about a shipping container that had burst. Most students had never experienced writing news reports, and so they wrote narratives instead. The few students who were able to figure out that they needed to write a report did not also include the headline and witness statements. This made most students score very low in the writing section.
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