THE ACTUAL 2019 SELECTIVE SCHOOLS TEST MODELLED QUESTIONS
One of the most challenging things in the 2019 paper was General Ability (GA) questions. The questions were quite different in 2019 compared to the previous years. There was a significant emphasis on vocab. The type of vocab that actually popped up was a lot of rearranging letters.
The reason why they like doing these rearranging letter questions is that rearranging tests the ability to jumble and rearrange words. So in a way, it also tests a little bit of nonverbal reasoning and how well you’re able to put together patterns. So, for instance, let’s just take the following first question; Rearrange the letters I, G, Y, A, H, W, G, H, and place them into one of the following sentences. Most kids will look at the letters, and they’d be a little bit confused.
What you’re meant to do is to turn these letters into a circle so that you can look beyond just the confines of this confusing rearrangement. You should be able to come up with the word highway after following this procedure. A similar question appeared on the 2019 selective school test. You shouldn’t worry about getting the exact question as it appeared in the 2019 selective test. Instead, you should worry about the question type.
Let’s look at the second example; Rearrange the letters D, T, N, A, M, A, and find an antonym of the word. Again, you are required to rearrange the letters. Remember, these questions aren’t testing vocab thoroughly. They’re simply trying the ability to mix, and then find the answer to the question. This example also looks like a circle formation, and as long as you have mastered your vocab well, you will quickly figure out that the word is adamant. To find its antonym, you need to understand the meaning of the word adamant, which is a personality word. Good emotional understanding is necessary for answering such questions.
If your kid does not have good emotional vocab, they will not be able to succeed in these exams. On finding the antonym, which is the opposite, you need to find the opposite of someone who’s struggling, and so flexible will be the correct answer, and not soft. So, it’s not just a matter of figuring out the question. You’re still dealing with the possibility that selective schools test or the Department of Education will give you questions or options which look very similar. So, for example, here we have two options; flex and soft, which sound similar. In such cases, a lot of kids will end up failing the question even if they knew what the word adamant meant by choosing the word soft out of confusion.
This is just one of the many different tricks and Department of Education likes to play in order to figure out smart kids from those who are not so smart. But again, at the end of the day, you must make sure that you rearrange the words to come up with a word that makes sense.
The next thing that we’re going to go through is synonyms, antonyms and odd one out questions. So again, these are the main issues in the selective school tests. That’s the reason why barcode is the biggest issue because oftentimes, it’s not enough just to know the meaning of the word as used in the context. Understanding the meaning is great. But you need to understand the context too. Let’s take the word countenance for example. There are many meanings to countenance. It could be allowance, covenant or even a facial expression. Now when you see the word countenance, and you don’t know what the word means, you need to pay attention to how it has been used in the context.
In a religious context, people could think that countenance could mean argument. They could also think that it means restriction if they didn’t read it properly. All of these things are just mind games that happen to kids, and the reason why these questions are designed this way is to play mind games on the kids. Your kids need to be very, very good at vocab. However, there’s no point memorizing all the vocab because some of the ones in the selective tests are very complex.
In the maths section, the only really difficult question that popped up in the test was an angle question. Now in terms of angles, you need to know the types of angles formed by different shapes. They could be right angles, square angles and triangles. You should also know their properties, calculate and add them. With proportions, the good thing is that the algebra questions in the selective school tests is that they have multiple choice answers. I know a lot of kids haven’t learned algebra yet, at least on the school curriculum, but it’s at least very important to know how to do stuff like simultaneous equations. This is very basic stuff. For instance, they’ll say something like, A has $20 more than B. B has one quarter the amount of A. You can try to figure it out as long as you can do simple simultaneous equations. There were also questions about graphs, time and money.
English was reasonably straightforward; however, it was deceptive because many questions were emotionally based. There was an even distribution between narratives, information reports, poems and cartoons. You need to understand the type of cartoon, the cartoon’s message, and the humour or irony intended with comics. With poems, you need to understand the different kinds of poems, understand the themes and the techniques used and understand the deeper meaning of the poems. This can also be applied to narratives.
Most of you are already familiar with the writing techniques. Likewise, there will be many emotional questions, which have very similar levels of emotion throughout the initial selective tests. So, you’re going to have like four negative emotions, and you need to tell the difference between the emotions. So telling the difference between emotions is crucial.