Sitting the test at external test centres

Students whose parents have applied for them to be placed in a Year 5 opportunity class in 2021 must sit the Opportunity Class Placement Test.

The test will be held on Wednesday 18 November 2020 at 9.00 am at the test centre you have been allocated.

Test components

There are two parts to the test, each comprising 35 multiple-choice questions in English, mathematics and general ability (thinking skills). Students have 30 minutes to answer each part of the test. They answer on an answer booklet that is later marked by a computer.

Test length

The following is a sample timetable for the test. Parents should drop students off at the test centre by 9.00 am and return promptly at 11.15 am to pick them up. Do not arrive before 8:30 am as there is no supervision available. Apart from the arrival time and duration of the tests this timetable is approximate and will vary according to the size and location of the test centre.

Activity Start/finish
Students arrive by 9am
Students assemble in school groups 9-9:20am
Administration and practice 9:20-9:50am
Part 1 (30 minutes) 9:50-10:20am
Short break 10:20-10:30am
Part 2 (30 minutes) 10:30-11am
Students dismissed 11.15 am

Getting to and from the test

Parents or carers must arrange transport to and from the test centre. A supervisor will be waiting outside the test venue to escort students to the test room. Additional precautions are also in place for parents or carers to ensure we stay COVID-safe while at the testing centre:

  • Parents or carers will not be able to enter the test room. Only parents or carers that have explicit authorisation from the High Performing Students Team as part of a disability provision prior to the test may enter the test room.
  • Parents or carers are not allowed to gather in groups at the test centre before and after the test. It is highly recommended that parents or carers leave the test centre after dropping their students off. If parents have to stay at the car park or within close proximity to the test centre while they wait, they should avoid gathering in groups.
  • Parents or carers must be ready to collect students from the test centre by 11.15 am, the approximate dismissal time. If the test finishes early and parents have not yet arrived to collect their children, students will be returned to the test room under supervision until 11.15 am. Students are not to be left waiting after the test.

School uniforms

Students should wear school uniform. Before the test the students will be assembled in primary school groups outside the test centre. The wearing of the school uniform helps the supervisors running the test to organise the students more easily.

Late arrivals

Students who arrive late may be allowed to take the test, but will be required to finish at the same time as other students. No extra time will be given.

Things to bring to the test

  • Students MUST bring a printed copy of their ‘Test authority’ letter showing their application number.
  • Students who have been granted disability provisions must bring any specially approved items.
  • If your child has an EpiPen you must provide the ‘Anaphylaxis kit’ to the presiding officer.
Students should bring Students should not bring
Glasses, asthma inhaler and tissues, if required. Any other medical equipment must be approved before the test. Pens, pencils, pencil cases, erasers, note paper or other material such as dictionaries or books.
Clear plastic water bottle – with no writing on it except for the brand name (to be stored under the seat to avoid spills). Equipment such as rulers, calculators, computers, mobile phones, computer watches, watches that calculate or beep or any device that calculates, photographs or communicates. (Presiding officers have discretion not to allow any device suspected of breaching this rule.)

Pens will be provided for all students sitting the test.

Identifying students

At their desks in the test room students will find an answer booklet labelled with their name, date of birth and current school. They must tell a supervisor if the details are wrong. Identifying details are not provided to markers so all papers are marked anonymously. Answer booklets are linked back to the student using a unique booklet barcode.

Showing your answers

The presiding officer (the person in charge of the test centre) will show students how to record their responses in the answer booklet before starting Part 1. Students will be given a chance to practise recording their answers. Students who need further help should raise their hands.

Example of the guided and timed practice questions.
Image: This part of an answer booklet shows the boxes students will colour to show their answers for the three guided practice questions. Students will also be provided with the opportunity to do timed practice questions to give them practice with managing their time.
Example of Part 1.
Image: The answers for Part 1 of the test are grouped according to the page number in the question booklet, e.g. questions 1, 2, 3 and 4 are on Page 8 of the question booklet and questions 5 and 6 are on Page 9 of the question booklet. This helps students to make sure they are answering each question on the right line of the answer page.

Students must show their answers in the answer booklet and not the question booklet unless authorised in advance as a disability provision.

If students need to work anything out they may write in the question booklet but they must show answers in the answer booklet.

Example of Part 2.
Image: The answers for Part 2 of the test are also grouped according to the page number in the question booklet, e.g. questions 1, 2 and 3 are on Page 2 and questions 4, 5 and 6 are on Page 3 of the question booklet.

Expectations of students

Students must be careful not to look at the work of others during the test. Students suspected of cheating risk having the test marks not counted. Students must follow the presiding officer’s and supervisors’ instructions both during the test and in the short break. In a small number of cases parents will be advised that they are permitted to stay on the test centre grounds for student wellbeing reasons.

Generally, parents are NOT permitted to enter the test centre and they must leave the test centre grounds during the test as the test centre needs to maintain its security. Please do not photograph other students or attempt to take photographs of the inside of the test room (even through windows) as it can cause disturbance to the candidates.

During the short break

In the break between Part 1 and Part 2 of the test students will remain seated in the test room while supervisors complete administrative tasks in preparation for Part 2 of the test. During this period students may raise their hands if they need to go to the toilet.

Timing the test

The presiding officer will show students the test clock being used to time the test. In most cases, the test centre clock is an analogue clock. Students must know how to read an analogue clock. If students cannot see the time on the test centre clock, they should raise their hands and tell the presiding officer or supervisor. No time warnings will be given before the end of each part of the test.

Other things to know

  • There is nothing you should study for the tests. It is important to think clearly and to use your ability to deal with new problems and situations to choose an answer.
  • Pay attention when the presiding officer (the person in charge of the tests) talks to you and shows you where to record the answers for each test.
  • If you have any problems understanding the instructions put your hand up and the presiding officer or supervisor will answer your questions.
  • Do NOT open the question booklet until the presiding officer tells you to do so. When doing Part 2 do not go back to Part 1 for any reason. There are coloured strips down the side of each page so that supervisors can see which Part you are looking at.
  • At the beginning of the first session there will be practice questions to help you become familiar with the kinds of questions in the tests and to make sure that you know how to show your answers in the test. Work through these when you are told, and stop work when you are told to.
  • Read each test question carefully before you start answering it. Do not rush or you might make careless mistakes but don’t spend too much time on one question. Always choose the answer that you think is best. If you find a question too difficult mark the answer you think is best and come back to that question later if you have time.
  • To change an answer, draw an X through the answer you don’t want and colour in the box of the new answer. If you want to choose an answer you previously crossed out, circle the answer you now want and draw an X over the latest answer you coloured in.
The instructions on how to cross out an incorrect answer.
  • Every multiple choice question has equal value. Marks are awarded for each correct answer. Incorrect, double or blank answers score zero. Marks are not taken off for wrong answers. It is better to have a guess rather than leave an answer blank. Not leaving any answers blank helps you make sure you are answering on the correct line.
  • Keep checking that the number of the question you are working on in the question booklet is the same as the number you are marking on the answer sheet. Check this with the eight ‘Answer check’ reminders throughout the tests (like the one shown below). If you find you are answering a question at the wrong place, put your hand up and tell your supervisor. The supervisor will record the details for the selection committees to check later. Start the next question at the correct place and come back to fix the problem if you have time, changing one question at a time. You should not cross out a whole group of answers at once as you could run out of time correcting them. Do not spend too much time trying to fix the problem unless you have finished the last question.

Answer check example

Look at your answer booklet – was the last box you filled in for Question 8?

If it was, keep going. If it wasn’t, put your hand up now for help.

  • If you want to work anything out in the multiple-choice tests you can write on the question booklet. The question and answer booklets will be collected at the end of the test, but any notes that you have made in the question booklet will not be marked.
  • There will be no time warnings during the test. Once the test starts you will need to check the test centre’s clock to find out how much time you have left. The presiding officer will tell you which test centre clock is the official one. Put your hand up if you cannot see the time on the clock. Do not use your own watch to keep track of the time.

Sample test papers

Sample test papers are available on the department’s website. There is also a 2020 answer sheet so that the candidates can practise colouring in the answer boxes as they are required to do in the test. Check the department’s website for updated sample answer sheets under ‘Preparing for the test’.

Students must bring a printed copy of their ‘Test authority’ letter or email to the test centre on test day.

Enquiries: High Performing Students Team

Telephone: 1300 880 367

Email: ssu@det.nsw.edu.au

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