A Note For Those Taking The Selective Test 2024
“The NSW Selective Writing Test is quite difficult to crack. I say this because the questions, over the last few years, have become extremely unpredictable.
To tackle this, I always teach my students to think quickly on their feet. To be able to write well in limited time, one must always have a plan or format ready.
To get you started on this, below, I’ve given tips on how to plan out journal articles/journalistic pieces. This will help you quickly have a structure ready if the question revolves around this theme.
The other thing that you will need to be good at is vocabulary. Read our 9 easy tips to improve vocabulary at home.”
– Steve Xu,
Leverage the Inverted Pyramid Structure
Use the inverted pyramid structure to prioritise information. Start with the most crucial details (the lead), then important facts, and finally background information.
Example: “XYZ School’s solar panel project slashes energy costs by 40%.” Start with this impactful lead, follow with how the project was implemented, and conclude with a brief history of the school’s environmental initiatives.
Importance: This structure grabs the reader’s attention immediately, ensuring the most critical information is conveyed first, which is crucial in journalistic writing, especially in a selective school test setting where concise and impactful communication is key.
The Nut Graf: Establishing the Context
Following your lead, include a ‘nut graf’ – a paragraph that provides the essential context of your story. It should answer why this story matters and give a glimpse of what is to follow.
Example: “This initiative, entirely student-led, reflects a growing awareness and action towards sustainable practices in educational institutions.”
Importance: The nut graf grounds the reader, providing a reason to care about the story. It’s essential for framing the narrative and giving it relevance, which is critical for engaging the reader in an exam context.
The 5Ws and 1H
After setting the stage, delve into the details. This is where you expand on the 5 Ws and 1 H (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How). Organise this section logically.
Example: Detail who initiated the project, what the project entails, when it was launched, where it is implemented, why it was considered necessary, and how it was executed.
Importance: Providing these details answers all potential questions a reader might have, offering a comprehensive understanding of the topic, which is vital for demonstrating thorough knowledge and research skills in exams.
Including Quotes for Personal Touch
Use quotes from relevant individuals to add depth and perspective. Ensure that the quotes are distributed evenly throughout the piece and are relevant to the sections they’re in. For a balanced view, include differing perspectives if applicable.
Example: “Seeing our project come to life and positively impact our school’s carbon footprint has been incredibly rewarding,’ says Jamie Lee, a student leader.”
Importance: Quotes add a human element to the story, making it more relatable and engaging. Including diverse viewpoints also shows a well-rounded understanding of the topic, a skill highly valued in exam responses.
5. Use Active Voice
Prefer the active voice over the passive for its directness and energy.
Example: “The students launched a recycling program” versus “A recycling program was launched by the students.”
Importance: Active voice makes the writing more direct and lively, which is key to maintaining the reader’s interest and conveying information efficiently, an important aspect in time-pressured exam settings.
6. Integrate Data and Statistics
Add data and statistics to link it to a broader story, message or event. But, please double-check all your numbers and ensure that your data is presented simply.
Example: “Since the installation of solar panels, the school has seen a 40% decrease in energy costs, saving approximately $20,000 annually.”
Importance: Using data and statistics lends authority and credibility to your writing. It demonstrates an ability to incorporate factual evidence to support claims, a critical skill in journalistic and academic writing.
7. Visual and Textual Breaks
Remember, the visual layout is also part of the structure. Use paragraphs effectively to break text into digestible chunks. Subheadings can be useful in longer pieces to guide readers through your article.
Example: Use paragraphs to separate introduction, key points, and conclusion. Use subheadings like ‘Student Initiative,’ ‘Environmental Impact,’ and ‘Future Plans’ in longer articles.
Importance: Good visual layout improves readability, making it easier for the reader to follow and comprehend the piece. In exams, this can make your answer stand out for its clarity and organisation.
Need help navigating the NSW Selective Test 2024 and NSW Selective Test 2025? Reach out here: https://scholarlytraining.com/whatsapp