The test

The Selective High School Placement Test for entry to Year 7 in 2024 was held on 4 May 2023.

If your child was 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. From 14 April 2023 parents cannot alter student school or address details in the application dashboard. Request any change by sending a message.

VIDEO: Watch students talking about preparing for the test

Transcript of video: ‘Preparing for the High School Placement Test’ (2 minutes 58 seconds)

[upbeat music]

[on-screen text:]
What did you do to prepare the Selective High School Placement Test?

[music fades]

My mum printed out quite a few practice tests.

I found lots of practice tests online, and just listened a lot at school.

I did some practice tests that we found online and I did some studying around what subjects would be in the test.

[on-screen text:]
What advice would you give to students who are about to sit the test?

Take deep breaths, regardless of how you're feeling, it just calms your heart rate down.

Be confident and manage your time wisely.

Read the question like really carefully. Read it at least twice or three times to get all the keywords out of the questions. And then I think about how I would solve this and that really kept me focused; just keep on doing the strategy.

Usually it's taking about a minute a question. I think I found was the sweet spot, and nutting out the easier questions first, then moving on to the harder ones. And if you come in with confidence you’re gonna smash it.

[on-screen text:]
How were you feeling before the test?

The night before I was pretty confident but then I got to the test and I was like oh a bit nervous, but I just pushed through it, and it was fine.

Slightly nervous cause I knew that I wanted to get in, but I wasn't all too worried.

I was a bit nervous, a bit scared, but I knew I was just going to try my hardest and hope I made it in.

I was quite anxious, but I was so excited because it was a new chapter of like my life and how I would succeed

So I had a lot of butterflies in my stomach and my hands were sweaty and everything, but I did end up doing pretty well.

I was feeling really good, I was like I can do it, I got this. Just believe in yourself

[on-screen text:]
Is there anything you wish you’d known before the test?

Probably wish [I’d known] how much I really wanted to get into the selective schools.

Double check your working-out and just stay calm I guess.

Keep on doing it because even if there is a hard question, it is a selective test after all so the questions are supposed to be hard, so just give it a go.

[on-screen text:]
If there’s one thing you think everyone should know about the test, what would it be?

For me, the day went by really quick, we did it all in one day and all four tests it was really simple

You go in with confidence and you come out with confidence.

The time seems very scary because it's counting down constantly, but it's really not that scary

Practice tests are basically the key to passing the selective exam.

Just try your best.

[NSW Government logo]

[music fades out]

[End of transcript]

VIDEO: Watch students talking about their experience sitting the test

Transcript of video: ‘Sitting the Selective High School Placement Test’ (3 minutes 35 seconds)

[upbeat music]

[on-screen text:]
What was going through your mind when you opened the test?

[music fades]

When I opened the test, I was just like, alright, let's get this started. I put on my game face on.

That’s a lot of questions.

Scared, hoping the questions would be easy. They were a bit hard, but I managed to get through all of them.

If I do get in, I'm going to make lots of new friends and have new opportunities

I've done a lot of practice questions, this is the same, it’s just like a normal test you’re doing at home so don’t be too stressed out.

[on-screen text:]
Filling out the answer sheet?

Don’t always just think that just because the first option looks pretty correct, you can just fill out that one, really think carefully about it because some options may be 80% correct. Some options may be 60% correct. But there's always one option that's going to be 100% correct. So you really need to think about all the options, not just circle the one you think’s right.

Go with what your gut feel is. If you know that it's that answer, put it down. Otherwise, just take your best guess.

Process the questions before you answer them and read the questions quite carefully.

Just do all the questions you can do. But then if there's a question you're like, really stuck on just guess since there's a 25% chance that you're going to get it correct.

So if you’re not entirely sure, just put any one down, and who knows it could be the right one.

Put a little asterisk next to it to come back to it or guess the answer. It's better to guess the answer and have a quarter chance of getting it right than have zero chance at all of getting it right.

It's better to guess than to leave it blank. ‘Cause if you guess you might get some correct.

[on-screen text:]
If you finish the test with time to spare, what should you do?

Check over your answers again. If you have 5 minutes, just start from the start. If you have questions that you’re unsure about go to those first and then just keep checking through.

Revise over all your questions, especially the hard ones.

Look over the whole entire test and check every question and try to look at the questions that were harder for you.

Read over your questions, make sure that you’ve read each one carefully and look at all the answers and try and do the math in your head or on a sheet of paper if you have one.

[on-screen text:]
If you’re running out of time in the test and you haven’t finished, what should you do?

If it's possible, leave some questions that you really don't know ‘til after so that the ones that you do know, you can do them quickly.

Guess all the questions, guarantee that was a life saver for me.

Put down any answer that you think could be correct, get through as many questions as you can since the marks aren’t deducted.

[on-screen text:]
Are you glad you took the test?

Yes, very much so.


Yes, I am very glad that I took the selective school test.

I am very glad and grateful that I took the test because it has opened up so many new opportunities.

It was something that I wasn't sure about and now I'm happy that I did it because it's such a wonderful experience.

If I didn't try it, I wouldn't have known I liked it and I’ve loved it here.

[NSW Government logo]

[music and screen fades out]

[End of transcript]

Test date

The test is held only in NSW and only on the test date of 4 May 2023. The test starts at 9am and finishes at approximately 1:30pm. The finish time may vary according to the size of the test centre.

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.

Missing the test

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.

Students who sit the test have a much greater chance of placement than students who do not sit the test. This is because only 5% of places at any selective high school are available for students who have been unable to sit the test. For example a selective high school with 100 vacancies will have only 5 places available for students who have missed the test.

Test authority

An 'Authority to sit the Selective High School Placement Test' letter was sent to applicants through a message in the application dashboard on 20 April 2023, along with the test centre location and a link to this page of 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 this web page where parents can download Test information 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.

Parents also get a separate message, if relevant:

  • 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 email 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 and 2024, the placement test is in a paper-based format.

Test structure

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

Section Minutes Questions Type Weighting


40 30 Multiple choice 25%

Mathematical reasoning

40 35 Multiple choice 25%

Thinking skills

40 40 Multiple choice 35%


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 applications close, 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, dictionaries 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.
  • Press your pencil firmly when you shade in the circle so it shows clearly the answer you want.
  • 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.
  • In the Writing test, make sure you write neatly and press your pencil firmly so your writing can be read easily.
  • 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

For placement in 2024, it is expected that parents will be notified of the release of the outcome of the placement process on 18 August 2023.

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