Selective high schools – Year 7

Applying for placement in a selective high school in Year 7


Find out about key dates in the placement process.

Entry to Year 7 in 2023

Information is subject to change throughout 2022 because COVID-19 restrictions may affect timing and processes.

Applications for entry in 2023 opened on 19 October 2021 and closed on 17 November 2021. The placement test will be held on 10 March 2022.

Late application

Closing dates for applications are strictly observed. The only circumstances under which a late application can be considered are:

  • Where parents are applying for placement of their children in selective high schools where there may be a shortage of suitable applicants, either for some rural schools or for a few metropolitan schools. The choices are locked for those applicants and they cannot be considered for other selective high schools even if they move their residence.
  • Where both parents/carers have documentary evidence to support a claim that circumstances beyond their control prevented them from completing an application. The application takes a maximum of 20 minutes to complete and is available 24 hours a day on any internet enabled device during the month that applications are open.

Even if a late request to apply is approved, the school selection committees later have the discretion not to accept the late application.

If you have been prevented from applying on time you may request approval to apply late from 23 November through the application dashboard. The online form is available on 23 November. Find out more about late applications.

If not approved, you have the option to apply for placement starting in Years 8 to 12.

Download the printable information for applicants about placement in selective high schools for Year 7 entry (PDF 518KB).

Due to COVID 19 restrictions in 2021, primary schools are not required to provide school assessment scores for the 2022 selective high school placement process for Year 7 entry in 2023. Primary school principals will continue the usual process of confirming information entered by parents in their applications and by adding relevant information on student background, disability and reasonable adjustments.

Messaging and making changes to the application

Send and receive messages through your application dashboard. The message is automatically connected to your child's record.

You can make changes to your application after it has been submitted. You can update details and upload documents. You can also send messages directly to the High Performing Students Team and receive messages within your application dashboard. It is your responsibility to check and correct your application if your details change.

Some changes are restricted to certain key dates. To view details and make changes, go to the 'Action' column to the right of your listed application and click on the three dots. Resubmit after you have made your changes.

Student details such as current school and address cannot be changed in your application dashboard after test centre allocation. If you need to change student details such as current school and address, please send a message via your application portal including the details of the change you wish to make. We will update the record for you. You can then check later in your application that the changes have been made.

The test

The Selective High School Placement Test in 2022 is expected to be paper-based.

See practice test questions and use them to help your child practise answering on the answer sheets.

Due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19 the department is working in consultation with NSW Health to develop a COVID safe plan for the Selective High School Placement Test in March 2022.

To continue supporting community safety students attending NSW public schools will be tested within their own primary schools, with non-government students to be tested in external test venues. The test will be delivered in the usual paper-based format, with the test date currently scheduled for the 10 March 2022.

Parents will be informed of the location of the test centre and be given details about the test via email two weeks prior to the test. Parents must ensure their child’s school in 2022 is updated in their application dashboard.

Public schools with candidates will be informed of the procedures for the test in the coming weeks.

Entry to Year 7 in 2022

The reserve list is active until May 2022. Parents will be contacted if a place becomes available. You can follow the progress of the reserve lists.

Closing of reserve lists

Students who have accepted an offer to a selective high school and also have a place on a reserve list will be removed from the reserve list on the last day students attend for the school year.

To remain on the reserve list after this date the current offer must be declined. There is no guarantee the student will receive any further offers.

For those remaining on reserve lists, an offer may be made until at least the end of Term 1, or until mid-June at the latest, when all reserve lists close and the Years 8 to 12 placement begins.

Authority to attend

In mid-January 2022, Authority to attend letters are sent to parents of students placed in 2022. This letter must be taken to the school on the first day to complete enrolment.

Video – A guide to the Selective High School Placement Test

Duration – 05:26

Updates to the video content:

  • Bring with you – two 2B pencils, a sharpener and an eraser.
  • You must show your answers on the answer sheet. Otherwise they will not be marked.
  • Make sure you don’t look at or copy another student’s work.
  • Cover your answer sheet as you work to make sure nobody can copy your answers.
A video guide for students taking the Selective High School Placement Test.

This video about the Selective High School Placement Test will provide an overview of the format and content of the test, to let you know ‘what to expect’ in preparation for, and on test day.

The Selective High School Placement Test has been designed to allow you to demonstrate your ability across a range of subject areas.

This means that rather than focusing on the ability to memorise and recall factual information, it tests your skills in thinking and reasoning to find the best answer.

There are four tests, which are Reading, Mathematical Reasoning, Thinking Skills, and Writing.

You will take the tests one after the other, and may not use a calculator for any part of the test, though you can write down your working out.

Let’s take a look at each test.

For the Reading test, you must answer 30 questions in 40 minutes.

The questions are based on a diverse range of texts and assess a range of reading skills.

Reading questions come in different contexts to test a range of skills.

The questions are based on different genres and include non-fiction and fiction, such as poetry, magazine articles, reports and extracts from books.

This is an example of a Reading question taken from the sample question booklet available on the website.

It’s a gap match type of question. Sentences have been removed from the text. You will be given multiple sentences as options to choose from, to fill each gap.

More Reading example questions are available in the sample test.

For the Mathematical Reasoning test, you must answer 35 questions in 40 minutes.

The questions are all multiple choice. You will be asked to choose the best answer from five options.

This tests mathematical reasoning skills, and your ability to apply your mathematical understanding or knowledge to new problems.

You can’t use a calculator for any part of the test.

Questions can be drawn from a range of mathematical content areas.

This is an example of a Mathematical Reasoning question, taken from the sample test.

Select the best answer from the five options provided.

More Mathematical Reasoning example questions are available in the sample test.

For the Thinking Skills test, students must answer 40 questions in 40 minutes.

The questions are all multiple choice. You will be asked to choose the best answer from four options.

This test will assess your ability in critical thinking and problem solving. No previous knowledge is required.

There are a range of different question types in the Thinking Skills test.

For the Writing test, you must complete one set writing task within 30 minutes.

You will be marked on the creativity of your ideas and your ability to write effectively for a purpose and an audience.

The text structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, chosen style and the vocabulary you use to help you express your message with also contribute to your mark.

Here is the example of the writing task from the sample test.

A planning sheet to brainstorm and organise your ideas is provided in the test question booklet.

Write your response on the lined answer sheet. Your response must be written in the two pages provided – no additional pages can be requested.

Make some plans:

  • refer to the Test Authority letter to check your test location, date and arrival time
  • organise your transportation and allow adequate time for travel.

Bring with you:

  • your Test Authority letter, to show the supervisor upon arrival
  • a clear water bottle
  • a snack to have during the test break
  • a letter from your parent or carer, explaining if you are going home with someone else after the test or if you have permission to walk home

At the test:

  • when you arrive, follow the signs to the test entrance
  • you will meet the supervisor who will take you to the test room and provide you with all the instructions you will need
  • you will receive a pencil and eraser to use during the test
  • the test room is a quiet space
  • there will be a break after each test.

Things to remember:

  • get a good night’s sleep – a rested brain thinks clearly
  • attempt all questions – you don’t lose marks for incorrect answers, and the test is designed to be challenging
  • manage your time – do your best to answer each question. If you find it difficult, choose your best guess and come back to it at the end if you have time
  • check your question number matches the answer sheet number when shading in the bubbles
  • you can rub out an answer if you change your mind – be sure to show your new answer clearly
  • try to keep calm – it’s understandable to feel nervous about a test
  • do your best – the test is your chance to show your strengths.

.For further information and support:

  • visit the Selective high schools and opportunity classes site
  • view the online sample question papers
  • ask your parents to contact the High Performing Students Team via email or phone if they still have questions.

Review of Selective Education Access

In December 2018, the NSW Minister for Education announced the findings of the Review of Selective Education Access. For more information, see Review of Selective Education Access: Findings and Action Plan.

Information about changes to the placement process is published on this site when it is available.

If you do not find the information you need on this site, please send a message by logging into your application dashboard or else email your enquiry to the Team rather than phoning. It will be attended to as soon as possible.

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