Selective high school practice tests

What is in the test?

The Selective High School Placement Test has 4 test sections.

Section Questions Minutes Type Weighting


30 40 Multiple choice 25%

Mathematical reasoning

35 40 Multiple choice 25%

Thinking skills

40 40 Multiple choice 35%


1 30 Open response 15%

You will be given a question paper and a separate answer sheet for you to mark your answers on, and to write your response to the Writing question.

More about the 4 test sections

Reading test

Number of questions Time Test type
30 40 minutes Multiple-choice

The Reading test questions assess various reading skills through a diverse range of texts.

The texts include different genres such as:

  • non-fiction
  • fiction
  • poetry
  • magazine articles
  • reports.

Mathematical reasoning test

Number of questions Time Test type
35 40 minutes Multiple-choice

The Mathematical reasoning test assesses the student's ability to use mathematical understanding and knowledge to solve problems from a range of math topics.

Calculators are not used in the mathematical reasoning test (or any other test section).

Thinking skills test

Number of questions Time Test type
40 40 minutes Multiple-choice

The Thinking skills test evaluates the student's critical thinking and problem-solving abilities through various question types.

No previous knowledge is required for this test.

Writing test

Number of questions Time Test type
1 30 minutes Written response

The writing test consists of a topic which you must write about according to the instructions.

This test assesses the creativity of your ideas and your ability to write effectively for a purpose and audience. The test will also assess grammar, punctuation, spelling and vocabulary.

Your writing must address the given topic, otherwise it will be marked lower, regardless of your fluency or creativity.

To learn more about the placement test download the Test information [PDF 802KB].

Selective high schools student resource hub

Did you know there is a Student resource hub where your child can:

  • learn more about whether a selective high school might be a good fit
  • take interactive quizzes
  • practise test items to help them prepare
  • and lots more.

Video – Get the whole picture about selective high schools: the test (duration 2:15)

VIDEO: Hear students answering some common questions about the test

[Transcript of video animation: ‘Get the whole picture about selective high schools: The test’ (2 minutes 15 seconds)]


[Caringbah student 2]
There's no point sitting the test if you're not coached. I don't think that's the case at all. I think most people that were sitting the test probably weren't coached.

[Baulkham Hills student 1]
I have plenty of friends that were not coached and that are doing very well within the school.

[Baulkham Hills student 3]
Definitely. I know a lot of people that aren’t coached. They have the ability and the study skills to be able to do very well just because of their personality and their mindset.

[Caringbah student 3]
I still recommend just looking at some papers and just familiarizing yourself with it. That's really it. You don't have to be coached.

[Caringbah student 1]
You have to practise heaps for the test.

[Baulkham Hills student 1]
I have a testament against that because I did not study for OC or selective in any shape or form.

[Caringbah student 2]
The test is there to see how you can adapt and problem solve and think. So I definitely think getting used to the structure of the test helps. However, you don't have to spend your entire life before the test studying to try and get in

[Caringbah student 3]
I think you just need to know what the structure is and just realise, understand how much time you have.

[Caringbah student 2]
The test isn't testing high school concepts. The test is testing your ability and thinking and problem solving.

[Fort Street student 1]
If you missed out on OC, you won't get in, false.

[Fort Street student 2]

[Baulkham Hills student 3]
Well, that's not right. I definitely didn't get into OC.

[Baulkham Hills student 2]
I didn't either.

[Fort Street student 1]
I bombed my OC test. But I still got into selective school. So the OC how you did in the OC test has no effect whatsoever on how you'd like, how you go in the selective test.

[Caringbah student 2]
You don't need to be Einstein to get in, right?

[Fort Street student 3]
Anyone who's thinking about going to the selective schools test, just give it a go. It doesn't matter if you get in. It doesn't matter if you don't get in, give it a go. If you get into selective school, that's amazing. Come join our cool, quirky cohorts. Yeah, You'll find people that you belong with.

[End of transcript]

Practice tests

Your child may feel more confident and prepared if they practise answering the test questions below.

These are not the actual questions they will get on the day, but examples of the types of questions they might get.

You can view the questions, the answer sheets and the answers for the multiple-choice tests. The sample practice tests also have explanations of the answers.

Practice Writing tests and answer sheets are also included. Your child will have to write 2 pages in their response.

Video – Preparing for the Selective High School Placement Test (duration 2:55)

VIDEO: Watch students talking about preparing for the test

Transcript of video: ‘Preparing for the Selective 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]


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]


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