2021 Selective School Test | Updates on the latest changes

By now, you should be aware of the changes that have been made to the Selective Schools examinations. If not, here is a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know. Most importantly Cambridge is now managing the Selective Schools tests. Prior to this the Selective School examinations were managed by Acer.

Scholarly is a coaching centre that prepares kids for selective schools’ tests and private school scholarships. Over the past two years, many students from Scholarly coaching centre have earned admission into selective schools like James Ruse Agricultural High School and Baulkham Hills High School. Others have obtained scholarships from big private schools like Sydney Grammar School and Knox Grammar School.

We have excelled in our coaching work as we always keep our curriculum updated. We constantly conduct intensive research to ensure that we feed our students with the latest information. We place an enormous priority on teaching with the most updated and the most current material for our students to prepare them well for the Selective Schools exams.

We spent an insane amount of time to understand the format and structure of the new Cambridge exams and we have found out that the Cambridge tests are exceptionally different from the Acer tests used previously. Since most parents are finding it difficult to understand and adapt to this new examination structure, we would like to point out some of the greatest challenges with the new Cambridge exams and as well address them. We will focus on ways in which students can understand the nature of the new testing techniques, which will help them prepare well for the examination questions.

In the new Cambridge exams for selective schools, the reading section has 30 multiple choice questions to be answered in 40 minutes. The mathematical reasoning section has 35 multiple choice questions to be answered in 35 minutes. The thinking skills section has 40 questions to be answered in 40 minutes, while the writing section has, a single passage question to be answered in 30 minutes.

The big difference between the old and the new exam is that the old exams had 45 questions to be done in 40 minutes while the new exams have 30 questions to be done in 40 minutes. In the reading skills section, for example, the questions are much more difficult now and so much time and focus will be on reading.

The styles and formatting of the questions are also very different. The reading comprehension is now accompanied by close passage evaluation. The multiple-choice questions have 5-10 different answer choices instead of 4 as in the previous ACER tests. This has made choice evaluation tricky and difficult.

Challenges of the new Cambridge tests

With more answer choices provided, there will be a need for keenness in evaluation and elimination, and so the chances of the students making mistakes are high. Some questions are also interlinked. For instance, an answer for question 5, would determine the answer to question 6. Therefore, a student is likely to fail question 6 if they fail to answer question 5 correctly.

The structuring of the Cambridge tests

Generally, the Cambridge exams have been structured in a way that will easily distinguish between the gifted kids and those who are less gifted. In our coaching experience, we have come across extremely gifted students who just do a lot of practice without an innate understanding of the subject matter. When they sit for the Selective Schools exams, they usually know a lot of vocabulary and English grammar but cannot comprehend the questions well enough to analyze and understand the concepts being tested. This is why parents need to make a solid foundation in the analysis of their kid’s performances while they are preparing for the Selective Schools exams. Parents should understand that these exams are much more difficult than the previous ACER exams and that they require more preparation time.

The reading comprehension in the Cambridge tests is not so different from the old ACER tests. The only observable difference is that the texts in the Cambridge tests are modernized Australian tests and so the students should closely observe the analytical techniques.

In cloze passages, there are six questions with seven provided answer choices to fill in. The sentences are also similar, making it difficult to understand nuances, which often requires students to understand the specific differences in terms of emotions and keywords to find the correct answer.

To tackle these questions, the student should read the sentences preceding and the sentences afterward to catch the idea of the text before filling in the blank spaces. These cloze passages are highly developed, and so it is, therefore, the students should be able to read the texts faster because there are more choices answers choices than in the old exams. If they cannot read faster, they will resort to guessing, which is a terrible strategy. The students should also be careful with their answer choices. If a student fills in one of the blank spaces with a wrong answer, they are likely to mess up with the other choices and ultimately leading them to failure.

It is therefore advisable to go through the texts and the answers carefully before filling in the answers. To correctly answer the cloze text questions, students should know whether the story is positive or negative. If the story is optimistic, then you can go for an optimistic answer. If the story is negated, you need to go for a negative answer.

To improve their reading and comprehension speed, students should understand the keywords and emotions, whether positive or negative.

In the evaluation section, there is no elimination like in the cloze questions. Students are given four extracts. They need to read the extracts after which they will be provided with a statement to locate where it is found. This is a difficult and time-consuming task. The new evaluation section is probably even more difficult than the cloze passage.

Generally, the question structures in the Cambridge exams are way more difficult and different from the old Acer tests. If you want to pass your selective school exams, or if you want to earn a private school scholarship, you need to understand these concepts to help prepare yourself well.

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