The test

The Selective High School Placement Test for entry to Year 7 in 2024 is expected to be held on 4 May 2023. It is not possible to sit the test on any other day or from any location outside NSW.

If your child is unable to sit the test on test day, or was prevented from doing his or her best in the test, you should submit a request for consideration of illness/misadventure, along with relevant supporting evidence. The link to the form is available in your application dashboard from test day until 11 May 2023.

Current applicants—how to message us

For the quickest response to your questions, please log in to the application dashboard to message us.

Learn more at Messages and changes to the application.


Test date

The test is held only in NSW and only on the test date of 4 May 2023.

Applicants are advised of test arrangements two weeks prior to the test. If the test date or location is changed due to NSW Health restrictions we will notify parents of new arrangements individually.

COVID-19

Students must not attend the test if there is a risk to their health or the health of others such, as in cases of contact with contagious disease. If students are sick with signs of respiratory illness they cannot be admitted to sit the test. Should your child test positive to COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19 or influenza within the week prior to the test, please do not send the child to the test.

If your child is unable to attend the placement test due to illness, you will be able to follow the usual process to submit a request for consideration of Illness or Misadventure. The Selective Education Unit will review each case and will seek alternative evidence of academic merit for selective high school placement.

Test authority

An 'Authority to sit the Selective High School Placement Test' letter will be sent to applicants through the application dashboard on 20 April 2023, along with the test centre location and information about the test.

The test information consists of:

  • the test centre your child has been allocated to
  • a test authority letter which must be printed and taken to the allocated test centre on test day
  • a link to a Test information sheet for parents and students that explains the test and lists what your child should and should not bring. It also gives instructions for how to show the answers to the test questions.
  • information about reasonable adjustments to the test for disability, if relevant.

If you do not receive the test centre allocation email alert by 21 April 2023, check your spam folder in the account you used to apply. Log in to your application dashboard to see your messages. Send a message to the Unit through your application dashboard if you do not have access to the test centre allocation or the test authority letter.

Test centre allocations cannot be changed except in extenuating circumstances.

Test information

The Selective High School Placement Test has been designed to allow students to demonstrate their abilities across a range of areas, including reading, mathematical reasoning, thinking skills and writing.

In 2023, the placement test is expected to be in a paper-based format.

Test structure

The test consists of four sections and is structured as follows:

Section Minutes Questions Type Weighting

Reading

40 30 Multiple choice 25%

Mathematical reasoning

40 35 Multiple choice 25%

Thinking skills

40 40 Multiple choice 35%

Writing

30 1 Open response 15%

Reading Test

The reading test consists of 30 questions. Students have 40 minutes to complete the test. The questions are based on a diverse range of texts and assess a range of reading skills. The answers are all multiple choice.

The reading test questions are based on different genres such as non-fiction, fiction, poetry, magazine articles and reports.

Mathematical Reasoning Test

The mathematical reasoning test consists of 35 questions. Students have 40 minutes to complete the test. The answers are all multiple choice.

The mathematical reasoning test assesses the student’s ability to apply mathematical understanding and knowledge to problems, with questions drawn from a range of mathematical content areas.

Calculators are not used in the mathematical reasoning test.

Thinking skills Test

The thinking skills test consists of 40 questions. Students have 40 minutes to complete the test. The answers are all multiple choice.

The thinking skills test assesses the student’s ability in critical thinking and problem solving. There are a range of different question types in the test.

No previous knowledge is required for this test.

Writing Test

The writing test consists of a topic about which students must write according to the instructions. Students have 30 minutes to complete the test. The test assesses the student’s creativity of ideas and ability to write effectively for a purpose and audience. The test will also assess grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary. Students who do not address the topic in their writing, regardless of fluency or creativity, will receive low marks.

Students use pencils to show their answers. Multiple choice tests are marked by computer.

Preparing for the test

Students will be more comfortable with the test process if they are familiar with the format of the test, the types of questions and what the answer sheet looks like. Practice test questions and answer sheets are provided to help students become familiar with the test and to practise answering quickly. However, the Department of Education does not recommend any specific coaching for the test.

Results of practice tests do not show how a student will score in their Selective High School Placement Test. The selection committee will not consider scores on any type of practice tests.

Practice tests

The practice test papers indicate the types of questions to expect from the Selective High School Placement Test but are not the questions that will be asked on test day. You can view the questions, the answer sheets, the answers and an explanation of the answers for the multiple choice tests. Practice Writing Tests and answer sheets are also included. Students are expected to write no more than two pages.

(The practice test papers are intended for printing and may not meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. Students are provided with modified test materials as reasonable adjustments for disability in the test if required.)

Section Links to practice tests

Reading

Reading sample questions (PDF 476KB)

Reading sample answer sheet (PDF 663.5KB)

Reading sample answers (PDF 52KB)

Explanation of answers - Reading (PDF 521KB)


Mathematical reasoning

Mathematical reasoning sample questions (PDF 1.15MB)

Mathematical reasoning sample answer sheet (PDF 651KB)

Mathematical reasoning sample answers (PDF 85KB)

Explanation of answers - Mathematical reasoning (PDF 997KB)

Thinking skills

Thinking skills sample questions (PDF 3.54MB)

Thinking skills sample answer sheet (PDF 641KB)

Thinking skills sample answers (PDF 83KB)

Explanation of answers - Thinking skills (PDF 641KB)


Writing

Writing sample question (PDF 239.5KB)

Writing sample answer sheet (627.6KB)

Practice tests from the 2022 Selective High School Placement Test

Section Test links
Reading

Reading practice test questions (PDF 612KB)

Reading practice test answer sheet (PDF 122KB)

Reading practice test answers (PDF 88KB)

Mathematical reasoning

Maths practice test questions (1.1 MB)

Maths practice test answer sheet (PDF 122KB)

Maths practice test answers (PDF 74KB)

Thinking skills

Thinking skills practice test questions (PDF 474KB)

Thinking skills practice test answer sheet (PDF 123KB)

Thinking skills practice test answers (PDF 72KB)

Writing

Writing practice test questions (PDF 409KB)

Writing practice test answer sheet (PDF 122KB)

Practice tests from the 2021 Selective High School Placement Test

Section Test links
Reading

Reading practice test questions (PDF 1413KB)

Reading practice test answer sheet (PDF 67KB)

Reading practice test answers (PDF 85KB)

Mathematical reasoning

Maths practice test questions (PDF 1.91MB)

Maths practice test answer sheet (PDF 67KB)

Maths practice test answers (PDF 87KB)

Thinking skills

Thinking practice test questions (PDF 3MB)

Thinking practice test answer sheet (PDF 67KB)

Thinking practice test answers (PDF 85KB)

Writing

Writing practice test questions (PDF 713KB)

Writing practice test answer sheet (PDF 63KB)

Answer sheets

Students answer the multiple-choice questions on a separate answer sheet by shading in the circle for the alternative that best answers the question. Students use their pencils to fill in their answers. To change an answer they must rub out the incorrect answer thoroughly and show the new answer clearly.

The test invigilator (the person in charge of running the test) shows how to record answers on the answer sheets at the start of the test. Students must raise their hands if they have any questions or problems during the test.

Students must show their answers on the answer sheet and not the question paper instead. If students need to work anything out they may write in the question paper but they must show answers on the answer sheet. If your child does not follow instructions and marks the answers on the question paper instead of the answer sheet, the marks will not be counted. The exception to this is where a student has a transcription approved as a reasonable adjustment for disability.

Reasonable adjustments for disability

At the time of submitting a selective high school application, applicants may request reasonable adjustments for disability for the test because of a disability, medical condition, injury or behavioural condition. In the case of potentially life-threatening medical conditions, parents must request reasonable adjustments for disability at the time of applying.

If a student is injured or diagnosed after 16 November 2022, parents should contact the Selective Education Unit for advice about late requests for reasonable adjustments.

Find out more about reasonable adjustments.

Test centres

Parents will be notified of their child's test centre location and the availability of the Test authority letter through their application dashboard on the evening of 20 April 2023. Students will be allocated to test centres with others from the same school where possible.

Students must attend the test centre they have been allocated to. The test centres cannot usually be changed after allocation.

If you do not see the notice of your child's test centre in your application dashboard by 21 April 2023, please contact the Unit.

Test day

Students should wear school uniform, including a jumper if it is a cool day and a hat for the break.

Parents must drop students off at the entrance to the test centre by 9.00am. If parents are required to wait at the test centre as a reasonable adjustment for disability they will receive specific instructions with their Test Authority Letter to sit the test.

Students who arrive late will be allowed to take the test but will be required to finish at the same time as other students.

Students found to be involved in malpractice will be ineligible for placement. Find out more about malpractice.

If something occurs to delay or disrupt the test parents will be informed by mobile phone text message as soon as possible.

There is a break approximately half way through the tests and short breaks between tests. In the longer break students may leave the test room and should go to the toilet. They should not run or play vigorous games. Students should eat food they have brought with them. Students should not share food or bring food containing nuts or nut products.

The test will finish at approximately 1:30pm. The finish time will vary according to the size of the test centre. If the test is delayed, please wait quietly at the test centre entrance and take care to avoid disruption to the test. Students are not to be left waiting after the test. If the test finishes early, students will be supervised.

If you arrange for your child to be collected by someone else, please send a note with the child advising of the arrangement and taking responsibility for your child's safety.

Parents must observe any parking restrictions near the test centre.

What should students bring to the test

Parents are notified of items to bring along with the test centre allocation. Students must bring:

  • two 2B pencils, an eraser and a pencil sharpener
  • a printed copy of their Test authority letter showing their application number
  • a substantial snack to eat during the break between the two sessions of the test. This is important if the test is running late
  • a clear bottle of water to keep under the desk during the test
  • any items approved as adjustments for disability, including anaphylaxis kits containing an EpiPen, the Action plan for anaphylaxis and the medication.

Students who wear glasses and those who require asthma inhalers and spacers, tissues, diabetes equipment, or FM transmitters should bring them to the test.

Students should not bring pens, rulers, note paper, or books. Smart watches, phones or other devices that compute, photograph, communicate or make a noise will not be allowed at or near the student's desk in the test centre.

A wristwatch that does not make a noise, calculate, compute, communicate or photograph can be worn but the test centre analogue clock is the official time-keeper.

Information for students

A short video shows an overview of the test format and content and shows what to expect on the test day. Additional tips:
  • You must show your answers on the answer sheet, otherwise they will not be marked (unless you have permission).
  • 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.

Tips for the test

  • There is nothing you should study especially for the test. It is most important to think clearly and to use your ability to deal with new problems and situations to choose an answer.
  • Pay attention when the test invigilator (the person in charge of running the test) or other supervisor talks to you and shows you where to record the answers for each test.
  • Do NOT open the question paper until the test invigilator tells you to do so.
  • Read each test question carefully and think about what it asks you to do.
  • If you have any problems understanding the instructions keep calm and read the question over again. The supervisor cannot help you read the question or choose your answer.
  • Use your time wisely. Work steadily. Choose the answer that you think is best. If you find a question too difficult, do not spend a long time on it. Mark the answer you think is best and come back to that question later if you have time.
  • If you change your mind about your answer, rub out the incorrect answer completely and mark the new answer clearly.
  • Stop work immediately when you are told to.
  • 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 paper is the same as the number you are marking on the answer sheet. If you find you are answering a question at the wrong place, start the next question at the correct place and come back to fix the problem later if you have time, changing one question at a time. You should not rub out a whole group of answers at once as you could run out of time correcting them.
  • If you want to work anything out in the multiple-choice tests you can make notes on the question paper or on the back of your personal details sheet. Any notes that you make in the question paper or on the personal details sheet will not be marked.
  • In the writing test you must write only about the question you are given. The question will ask you to write for a particular purpose and audience. Markers will pay attention to creative ideas, the structure of the writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation as well as effectiveness for the purpose and audience.
  • There will be no time warnings during the test. You will need to check the test centre's clock to find out how much time you have left. The test invigilator will tell you which test centre clock is the official one. Put your hand up if you cannot see it clearly.
  • Put your hand up if you have any other problems or any questions at any time.
  • Be careful not to look at the work of others or talk to others during the test. Try not to let others see your answers. Students found to be copying will not have their test marks counted.
  • Follow the test invigilator's instructions both during the tests and in the breaks.
  • If something happens to prevent you doing your best in the test, tell your parents about it so they can decide whether to make an illness/misadventure request.

Illness or misadventure

If your child is affected by events that occurred to prevent him or her from performing their best or attending the test, you must get a medical certificate on the test day. If the events affecting performance on the test are not about medical issues, you will need to supply other relevant evidence.

Depending on the circumstances, it may be advisable for the student to sit the test and make an illness/misadventure request afterwards. However, students must not attend the test if there is a risk to their health or the health of others, such as in cases of contact with contagious disease. Students with signs of respiratory illness cannot be admitted.

To make a request for special consideration of illness/misadventure you will need to submit the request via the application dashboard by 11 May 2023 through your application dashboard.

You need to submit a request with evidence by this date even if you have already sent the Unit a message about an issue affecting test performance or about missing the test.

Find out more about illness/misadventure and how to submit a request.

Marking of the test

The multiple-choice tests are computer marked. The writing test is marked by at least two independent markers.

Placement outcome

It is expected that parents will be notified of the release of the outcome of the placement process in mid-August 2023.


Return to top of page Back to top