Modern Australian Magazine

What Is Selective High School?

  • Written by Samantha Ball


The decision of whether or not to enrol your child in selective high school is a major one, especially if they've almost reached Year 7. If you don't know what selective high school is, why it's different from public school, or how to apply, we've got all the need-to-know information collected for you below!

What Makes Selective High School Different?

Selective high schools provide special learning programs that accommodate academically gifted students. When a student with high academic potential attends public schooling, they'll likely end up with lesson plans that fail to challenge them. They may also be grouped with students who aren't compatible with their academic standards, which can cause both learning and social difficulties. 

There are currently 21 selective high schools in NSW, all of which group high-performing students with students of equal ability. They're taught with specialised methods and materials that challenge them to reach their full academic potential. This is possible partly through the much smaller class size, allowing educators to focus more on each student.

How to Apply for Selective School

Selective high schools in NSW are unzoned, which means you can apply to the school of your choosing regardless of your address. Applications for Year 7 entry must be completed and submitted online through the NSW education website. You should have all your files in order before applying, as applications are only accepted from 6 October 2020 until 9 November 2020 for the 2022 school year.

Parents must provide their contact information, not the student’s, as well as any information concerning the child's disabilities, behavioural conditions, or medical conditions. Once you’ve filled out the form, you can choose up to three selective high schools, in order of preference. When the application is completed and reviewed for any potential errors, you can click submit and write down your application number.

How to Prepare for the Selective School Exam

To prove their high academic ability, students will need to complete a Selective High School Placement Test. This exam includes a 20-minute writing test along with three different 40-minute multiple-choice tests in reading, mathematics, and general ability. Answers will be evaluated based on several factors, including the language used, the organisation of thoughts and ideas, and the student's creativity. 

There are multiple ways to prepare for the exam ahead of time. Students should practise time management and be willing to skip over questions temporarily if they're slowing them down. They should also be prepared to read each item carefully while double-checking to ensure that the question number matches the number on the answer sheet.

Consider Hiring a Tutor

One of the best ways to prepare for the exam is to hire a tutor that is licenced and knowledgable about the Selective High School Placement Test requirements. The right tutor will strengthen your child's reading and mathematics skills while also providing vital information and tips about the exam itself. Thankfully, there are many tutors available for both in-person and online sessions to give your child their best chance at success.


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