Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Preparing for online ICAS competitions

Year 5-6 students

To target ICAS science top 2% students should complete Mini Science and General Problem Solving series with average over 85%

To target ICAS mathematics top 2% students should work on

OC Mathematics Booster
< target average 85% plus
Mini Math Challenge Grade 4-5
< target average 80% plus
Mathematics Grade 5
< last 3 tests at 90% plus
Mathematics Grade 6
< first 6 tests at 90% plus
Mini Math Challenge Grade 6-7
< 1/4 of the test with average 75% plus
Mini Math Problem Solving Grade 6-7
< 1/4 of the test with average 75% plus

To target ICAS English top 2% students should work on

English Reading Skills Grade 6   
< target average 90% plus   
English Comprehension Grade 6
< target average 90% plus           
English Reading Skills Grade 7
< target average 90% plus
English Comprehension Grade 7
< target average 90% plus

To target ICAS Digital Technology top 2% students should work on

Computer Skills Grade 3-4
< target average 80% plus
Computer Skills Grade 5-6
< target average 75% plus

The failed questions for Computer Skills series should be reviewed by actually running application and practising the skills. Just look at the right answer will be of very little help. This is why DT is difficult to get high scores.

To prepare for ICAS writing, students must prepare for persuasive writing this year. They need to get the structure right (see the writing guide on page QUICK LINKS). They must learn to write good arguments. They must practise online and type 350-400 words over 30 minutes. Use the module read-summarise-write for practice.



Year 3-4 students

To target ICAS science top 2% students should complete Mini Science and General Problem Solving Grade 3-4 series with average over 85%

To target ICAS mathematics top 2% students should work on

OC Mathematics Booster
< target average 85% plus
Mini Math Challenge Grade 4-5
< target average 80% plus

To target ICAS English top 2% students should work on

English Comprehension Grade 5
< target average 90% plus            


And revise all failed questions from OC English Boosters and OC English Trials 

To target ICAS Digital Technology top 2% students should work on

Mini Computer Skills Grade 3-4
< target average 80% plus

The failed questions for Computer Skills series should be reviewed by actually running application and practising the skills. Just look at the right answer will be of very little help. This is why DT is difficult to get high scores.

To prepare for ICAS writing, students must prepare for persuasive writing this year. They need to get the structure right (see the writing guide on page QUICK LINKS). They must learn to write good arguments. They must practise online and type 300-350 words over 30 minutes. Use the module read-summarise-write for practice.

Monday, 1 July 2019

2019 OC preparation

This blog will take the load off the Mathemafix message board by hosting important information about 2019 OC preparation. 


4 Aug
---
The deadline for changing OC choices is 9 August 2019, on page QUICK LINKS you have the latest entry scores into OC classes for 2019 school year start. School marks tend to be unreliable. OC English test marks tend to be very low. In 2018 OC test, the English test marks for good readers tend to be around 35%-65% with most stay under 65%. I expect the same problem for 2019 OC test. This creates two issues.

- School English marks for English under 80% will affect the profile pretty badly.
- A crash in the OC English part with a score under 50% will cause a huge problem.

OC English test < 50% without school marks = disaster!
OC English test < 50% plus school English marks < 80 = disaster!
OC English test > 65% but < 80% plus school English marks < 80 = ok
OC English test > 50% but < 65% plus school English marks > 90 = good
OC English test > 80% without school marks = great
OC English test > 80% plus school English marks > 90 = great

Students from Catholic schools without school marks who is facing the risk of crashing in English can have a bad OC profile unless GA score is over 85%. Maths won't rescue the situation. Only GA can.

Parents should be very careful with 2nd OC choice. Getting a low OC placement does not mean you would accept it however it helps when you ask the current school to put the kids into enrichment classes.
 

29 Jul
---
Looking beyond the OC test, there are several important questions. Should a kid continue to work on academic extension or take a break? How long is the break? Is the performance in the OC test help predict the performance in the selective test 19 months down the track?

- Every kid deserves a break after OC preparation. This is true unless the kid did not do any OC preparation and just sat the test.
- How long the break should be depends on many factors such as how hard a kid has worked before the OC test,  how well the kid scored on OC trials and other tests, what level of performance is required for entering a target selective school, what other priority such as sports and music ...  It's generally safe for the kids to have a break until they starts year 5. However, those who scored under 70% in OC trials and generally scored around 75% or less in year 5 work are considered 1 full year behind those who scored around 80% plus in OC trials and 85% in other works. And this means the ones who scored under 70% in OC trials won't make it to top 10 selective schools unless they took shorter breaks and re-do or revise the OC preparation program extensively. Those who did not even prepare for OC should do the OC preparation program from scratch (at a faster pace).
- The performance in OC test "unfortunately" predicts the performance in the selective test 19 months down the track rather well. Most students will get similar selective test result to their OC result. The ones who do better or worse are in the small minority who either work work very hard do don't do much at all. Maturity is also a big factor. 

Mathemafix's selective program is designed to be the continuation of the OC program. About 1/2 of the hardest work in the OC program is part of the beginning of the Selective program. This allows students who did not prepare for OC (or those who score around 70% or under in the OC program) to revise the OC program. These students tend to come back quickly from the OC test date after a short break. This allows them time to narrow the gap between themselves and the top students. Even the top students, who often come back at the start of year 5 in late Jan of year 5, would also do OC revision. Past experience shows that top students finish the revision of the OC program quickly by Mar-Apr while weaker students tend to finish the revision by Aug-Sep of year 5. If the weaker students also finish the revision about Mar-Apr, they would have a chance to compete for a place in one of the top 10 selective schools.

At Mathemafix, we focus on the foundation before the extension. So, the result is very consistent. However, factors such as luck in school marks and on the test day, maturity, over-coaching could produce considerable variations. The overall picture shows that Mathemafix helps a lot more students gain extra points than those who lost points in the selective profile vs the oc profile. The extreme cases of gain all came from students who either had bad luck in OC test then good luck in SS test or simply had massive improvement from 1-on-1 tutoring or help from parents.


27 Jul
---
We are getting so close to OC test now that students should be resting! It is a mistake to ask students to work right until the day before the OC test. They must rest for the big day. They should not take any risk in sports or bad weather in the days leading to the OC test.

This year we have so many strong students in OC group. We are expecting a very good set of OC results. However, as they make English so hard, the school English marks will become more important because the English test marks will be low. Also the scaling for English test marks will be high and this is why English worths a lot more than maths.

As students are likely to do poorly in English, it is probably a better idea to select the maths and GA questions to do first and then do the English questions last. This is because students are expected to fail many English questions, so it's best to move them to the end to give more time to get maths and GA done properly.

11 Jul 
---
The selective result confirms what the SSU says in the review of the OC and Selective program. They put very hard English in to the test. In fact, this was seen in the 2018 OC English part of the OC test. So, it's either the same or even hard for OC English this year. The impact is heavy on students who get poor English school marks and Catholic school students who don't get any school marks. If these students score under 50% for OC English, the profile is likely to be low. It is expected that very few students will get over 65% for OC English.

Students are advised to work hard on OC English Boosters and do the year 5 English comprehension series. Review failed questions carefully with parents. Do a lot of ReadTheory.Org quizzes.

2018 OC test results
 
 
09 July
---
We are now at the stage where the top performers should really be relaxing and finish off trial 8. This is why being among top performers is great. One can relax while others have to work to catch up. Those who are behind a lot now need to take advantage of the school holidays to catch up with OC trials, OC boosters and do a lot of revision of failed questions.

Trial scores for kids who have done at least 6 trials vs last year's students' and their real OC profiles.


01 Jul
---
We have now reached the most critical of OC preparation. We have a week to go until the school holiday before the OC test. The two weeks of holiday gives students much needed space to relax a bit and also do a bit more of what they struggle to find time to do. The aim is to wrap up OC prep 1 week before the OC test date to allow students to relax just before the OC test.

Here are some useful tips

- Students should have a few days of fun when school holidays start then settle into some more hard work. Do not take a long holiday overseas or interstate.
- Plan to relax the week before the OC test to avoid panic, sickness and tiredness.
- Kids should avoid risky activities, eat safe food and stay healthy. A common problem is getting a cold just before the OC test. This is why kids should avoid risk exposure to big change in weather/temperature.
- Many students still need to improve exam techniques.  Use the document Exam Techniques Guide on page QUICK LINKS to improve.
- Become very familiar with the OC test format. Parents should print the sample OC test from the SSU out and get kids to practise this sample paper and fill in the answer sheet. Use a timer to set strict time.

https://education.nsw.gov.au/public-schools/selective-high-schools-and-opportunity-classes/year-5/the-test#tabs289960

NW Sydney OC classes are very competitive. It is getting so insane that the cutoff scores are now around 245+ for top ones like North Rocks, Beecroft,  Ermington. It's so hard to get into these classes. However, many schools offer enrichment classes. They use OC test performance to offer places to students. So, make sure you put your 2nd choice low enough to guarantee a placement to get a good chance to enter enrichment class (in case OC placement of 1st choice is not possible).

This is the OC trial ranking against past students for those who have done at least 5 OC trials



04 Apr 
---
The 1st OC trial set is now open. Top students would want to stick to the normal schedule doing 1st trial on week 1 of April and then 1 trial set every 2 weeks until they finish all 8 trials just before the OC test. On the other end, weak students would plan to have trial 8 done 1 week before the OC test, and one trial is done every week. This means top students start 1st trial around the 17th week away from the OC test. Weak students will delay and start the first trial 9 weeks away from the OC test date. Other students would start a bit later than 1st Apr but finish 1 week before the OC test.

To be ready for the 1st OC trial set, one should have done a lot of the English comprehension Grade 4, start a bit on English comprehension grade 5. In maths, they would have done some of the maths challenge grade 4-5 and 1/2 of the Mathematics Grade 5 series. They would have completed all General Ability Year 3-4. At this point they also start to work on OC Booster Series and do the tests between the trials.

As far as learning is concerned, students who starts 1st OC trial set should have completely covered all year 5 school maths (see Maths Lessons guide) and done enough reading at year 5 level (using books or online reading program such as ReadingEggpress). Use ReadTheory.Org now to boost performance. Top year 4 students should read at grade 7 (US level seems easy).


OC trial averages for 2018 can give some idea about student performance



02 Jan
---
I found a ridiculously generous scholarship test for year 4 girls. Kambala offer some scholarships for year 5-12 (8 years). Girls at year 4 can sit this scholarship test on 2nd Mar for a chance to win 8 years of scholarship!

http://kambala.nsw.edu.au/entry/#scholarships

Even though this one is academic, I do expect that the winner is likely to be a kid with super academic ability plus with music, sport and other qualities and coming from a middle/upper class family. 

Junior scholarships at 50% for 8 years

https://www.knox.nsw.edu.au/enrolments/scholarships

Various junior scholarships without clear indication of discount percentage & number of years

Academic Scholarships – St Andrew's Cathedral School

https://www.sacs.nsw.edu.au/enrol/scholarships/academic-scholarships

Only partial scholarships

https://www.pittwaterhouse.com.au/join-us/scholarships

https://www.stpauls.nsw.edu.au/contact/schols/

https://sgs.nsw.edu.au/enrolment/scholarships/

https://www.tara.nsw.edu.au/enrolment/scholarships

http://www.btac.nsw.edu.au/enrol/scholarships/



In NSW outside Sydney

Nowra Anglican College
Mamre Anglican School 
Bishop Tyrrell Anglican College 
Wollondilly Anglican College


01 Jan
---
We are now entering a serious phase of OC test preparation for 2019. Students are entering year 4 and will do the OC test on 31st July 2019.

At this stage of starting year 4, it is important to think about getting good marks from the  schools. Here are some tips that parents must keep in mind.

- School marks are quite important. Some kids did well in OC test but the poor school marks caused a lot of problems and they ended up getting poor OC profiles.
- There is NO STANDARD on how teachers give the school marks. This is a weakness for students in public schools. Some schools are even against OC test so teachers may deliberately give poor school marks. Most Catholic schools will not give school marks and this is a good advantage for students going to Catholic schools. If they do well in the actual OC test, they automatically get the equivalent of about 96-99 in school marks.
- Maths is often not a problem except when the  teacher or the school management is against OC test. English school mark is the trouble area. Often bad English marks come from poor spelling and poor writing as many teachers give English marks mainly from writing works.

For students in NW of Sydney, the entry scores into OC classes  are getting ridiculous. Beecroft cutoff for 2019 (2018 test) is 250 at reserve #3. Northrocks was at 245. It is becoming impossible for many to compete for places in this area of Sydney. What this means is the impact of school marks will be extreme. Kids cannot get OC placement without school marks close to 99. What this means is that Catholic school kids are now at a big advantage in this area as they only need to do really well in the OC test.

---
We had a very successful 2018 OC preparation. The link be low leads to the web blog for what happened during 2018 OC preparation.

https://mathemafix-users.blogspot.com/2017/11/2018-oc-preparation.html

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

2020 Selective School and Private School Scholarship Test Preparation

This blog entry will inform members of the Selective Support group on important issues related to the 2020 Selective Test and scholarship tests to take the heavy load away of the internal message board.

11 Aug
---
By now, most students have moved on to year 6-7 work and the top performers are preparing for early scholarship tests. However, there are weaker students who are still struggling with OC revision and year 5 work. A question in the mind of parents is whether to drop the year 5 work and move on to year 6-7 work even though the scores look very poor. The answer is that students should continue to work on year 5 work and spend plenty of time to build the foundation by doing a lot of reading, complete year 6 school maths lessons and do spelling/vocab ... The year 6-7 work can wait until 3 months before the selective test. There is no point doing what they are not ready for to get more frustration and no benefit. Students who are still doing year 5 and OC revision around Aug would only achieve between 195-210 in the selective test.

08 July
---
We are now getting ready to start an early scholarship test campaign. Between Aug - Nov, a few private schools in Sydney offer scholarship tests for year-7 entry in 2021.  These early scholarship tests are much better than mock selective tests offered by big tutoring colleges. They accurately tell the performance of students so parents know the weaknesses that the students should focus on. These tests are good warm up tests for students to get ready for the main scholarship season in Feb-Mar 2020.

On page QUICK LINKS, parents find a document called 2019 Early Scholarship tests in Sydney with all the details about the schools and test dates. The document Early Scholarship Prep Tracking for year 5 shows the work that should be done to prepare for early scholarship tests. And the document Creative Writing Workshop flyer July 2019 is about the creative writing workshop. We will take only 6 students for the workshop. And we will only run it if there are 6 students interested.

We are very proud of the year 6 who managed to win 24 private school scholarships this year (14 in 2017 and 18 in 2018). Hopefully, year 5 students will rise to the challenge and win as many next year.

Another issue is ICAS for 2019. UNSW Global as replaced their old ICAS program by their new REACH program. Their new ICAS program is supposed to be harder and only available as online test in September. Many schools have dropped ICAS or cut down to fewer subjects. Many students will miss out. ICAS results are useful for scholarship applications. If your school does not offer ICAS, Northshore Coaching is the only alternative to do REACH first and hope to reach top 10% to do ICAS with them. The closing dates are fast approaching.

12 May
---
I had a look at the UNSW Global's REACH year 5 paper for Digital Technologies today. It is not easier than the 2018 ICAS year 5 paper for Digital Technologies. It's early to say anything until I see more REACH papers. However, the logical idea which also implied in UNSW Global's description of the new ICAS and REACH programs is that ICAS will be mainly for high performers. As it is done only online, it is not marketed by UNSW Global as their main product. Northshore also refuses to provide ICAS test to those who do not achieve top 10% in REACH. This might mean that ICAS tests will be much harder and more inline with the level of selective school and scholarship tests.

What this might lead to is that the ICAS distinctions and high distinctions will be more valuable than before. Before, one can fail 4-5 questions in some hard  papers like science and DT but still get HD. If they all get harder, one can fail more questions and still get HD.
 
11 Apr
---
I checked with UNSW Global and they say that if schools don't offer ICAS, the  only way is to go to North Shore. As North Shore offers REACH first and only top 10% will be invited to do ICAS, it's bad but it's the only choice. Many schools don't want to offer ICAS as they do not have decent computers and network to handle online ICAS. So, a lot of students will miss out of ICAS test. ICAS is only of good value to those wishing to apply for scholarships at private schools. Otherwise just buy the past papers and do them at home to get some idea of performance.

---
ICAS will be a problem this year. Schools don't know what to do as UNSW Global's old ICAS has been replaced by their new program called REACH which is more or less a NAPLAN level test for various subjects. Their new ICAS is now for high performers. ICAS also goes online and cramped into 1 week. Many schools don't know what to do and may not offer ICAS at all. Some cut the participation down to only English and Maths.

This is a problem for our students because the high performers would want to do scholarship tests. They want ICAS results to be in the portfolio to support the scholarship application. In this case, parents may need to use North Shore  Coaching who is a partner of EAA to participate in REACH. North Shore wants kids to do REACH first then top 10% will be invited to do ICAS. Parents should check if they will allow kids to do ICAS without doing REACH and getting into the top 10% first.
 
07 Apr
---
The attention is now being turned to 2020 selective test. A glimpse of the success of 2019 selective group has so far been seen by the number of scholarship offers from private schools. It is at 18 and expected to rise a bit more. This means, we will beat last year's record of 18 scholarships.

Year 5 students will follow the same path to Oct 2019 where some will sit a number of early private scholarships on offer. The schools expected to offer early scholarships are: Pymble LC, Abbotsleigh, Danebank and Barker College. Only Barker College is available to boys. All the others are for girls.

Top performers

This means strong performers and those wishing to do scholarship tests should be on the fast pace. By Aug, these students would already do some year 7 work and try 2 selective trials by Sept and early Oct. There is a document to guide students wishing to do early scholarship test. Top students who may not wish to do any of these early scholarship tests would still want to work at this pace. 

Normal performers

A lot of students are not among the top performers. They need more time. So, they might only finish OC revision by Sept and get on year 6 and 7 level late. They will have to work harder during Sep - Dec and work very hard in Jan-Feb 2020 to be ready for scholarship tests and the selective test.

Other events

The NAPLAN test is important even though it is easy. NAPLAN 2019 will be in May. Even though, NAPLAN is known to be easy, we have a few issues to consider. It is an online test. And writing online is not easy if students are slow in typing. The other issue is that students often score poorly in writing. This can affect the school report and also affect the English marks going into the selective school application. Students must prepare for NAPLAN writing by working on both narrative and persuasive writing even though only one type will be tested in the NAPLAN. No one knows which type it will be for the year!

ICAS can be important. It is certainly important for scholarship applications. This year, EEA has changed ICAS. They offer two programs called REACH and ICAS. ICAS is now for high performers while REACH is for all students. Perhaps, they hope to get more low performers doing their tests. The trouble is that ICAS is now cramped into 1 week in Sept. It is also changed into online test including writing (only year 3-4 are exempted from online writing). Students will need to type fast enough. The preparation will be very cramped in a critical time where a lot of school work will be going on to collect marks for the selective school application.






Wednesday, 2 January 2019

2019 Selective School and Private School Scholarship Test Preparation

This blog entry will inform members of the Selective Support group on important issues related to the 2019 Selective Test and scholarship tests to take the heavy load away of the internal message board.

12 Jul
---
It's extremely unusual, but one school (Northolm Grammar) is offering scholarship test on 31st Aug for 2020 entry. This is extremely late. It is a chance for those in NW Sydney who did not do well in the selective test to apply.

It's very rare that a student on Mathemafix would not get a selective placement. Those who did not get a placement or not a placement that parents are happy with could also consider the Catholic selective program which is at some Catholic high schools.

https://sydcatholicschools.nsw.edu.au/newman-selective-gifted-education-program/

This program is offered to students who are already enrolled at the Catholic high schools that offer this program. What this means is that parents must look for a Catholic HS offering the Newman program and apply for enrolment. After being accepted and enrolled, fill the form to apply for the Newman selective program. The students will be asked to sit for a Catholic selective test in between Mar-April of year 7 at the Catholic high school. This test is also created by ACER and is similar to the public selective test. But it is known to be a bit easier.

To prepare for this, just come back to Mathemafix to revise and do a bit more work  till end of year 6.

06 Jul
---
Results are coming in. Here is what I have so far. Some suspiciously low marks (in red boxes) given by the schools really hurt some students and cost them their 1st choice. This happens every year to some students. Parents just have to try to appeal and hope to move the reserve place higher to get an entry on reserve.



02 Jul
---
It's an exciting and also nervous time for parents and students. The selective 2019 result will come on on Friday 5th July. In the past they typically emailed the results out slowly after 2:30pm until evening. They did not want to clog their mail server. This means many parents won't know until late evening.

On the scholarship front, it is amazing. We had one scholarship at Melbourne, a scholarship offer at Arden for vanilla1, a full scholarship at TIGS for Andre1, one extra full scholarship for coconutnut  at Reddam and one for sashacat3 at King's. The final tally is at 24 scholarships. This is a new target for students in 2020 SS group to chase. 

The current scholarship tally


SuperVJ1 Ravenswood (full)
ksb17ss Meriden (full), Pymble LC
Pandy1 PLC Sydney
Daksh1 PLC Sydney (full)
Thor1 Syd Grammar (full)
panda PLC Sydney (full)
silver1 Santa Sabina (full)
Moonstone  Danebank (full)
neoncyan Pymble LC
coconutnut  Newington (full), Shore (full), The Scots (full), Reddam(full)
EnT_07  PLC Sydney, St Andrew Cathedra (full), St Catherine (full), Kambala (full)
Miss Watson Meriden (full)
Aquaunicorn Santa Sabina
sashacat3 King's
Andre1 TIGS (full)
vanilla1 Arden

The number of scholarship offers foreshadows a great set of selective school results.

24 Apr
---
26 April 2019 is the last day to change selective high school choices for entry in 2020. 

The entry scores for 2019 entry (2018 selective test) is available online. The scores show that entry scores all increased due to the easy selective test in 2018. Parents should expect the scores to be lower for 2019 selective test as the test was harder.

https://data.cese.nsw.gov.au/data/dataset/selective-high-schools-minimum-entry-scores


20 Apr
---
The scholarship season has ended however, a few schools still have finished awarding scholarships. Reddam has not even started the interviews. 

Students on Mathemafix have achieved a better tally than last year's 18. The tally now stands at 19 scholarships with 14 of them being full scholarships. This tally does not include a scholarship achieved in music which is not based on academic work. One student turned down an interview after getting a full scholarship from Syd Grammar. Some parents have not reported as they want to keep it quiet or not happy with the offer (a few do pop up much later each year and not counted into the  year's tally).

As one interview at Reddam for coconutnut is still outstanding, we probably will get 20 scholarships altogether.

Congrats to the following students

SuperVJ1 Ravenswood (full)
ksb17ss Meriden (full), Pymble LC
Pandy1 PLC Sydney
Daksh1 PLC Sydney (full)
Thor1 Syd Grammar (full)
panda PLC Sydney (full)
silver1 Santa Sabina (full)
Moonstone  Danebank (full)
neoncyan Pymble LC
coconutnut  Newington (full), Shore (full), The Scots (full)
EnT_07  PLC Sydney, St Andrew Cathedra (full), St Catherine (full), Kambala (full)
Miss Watson Meriden (full)
Aquaunicorn Santa Sabina


The experience from 2019 scholarship season can be summarised as below

- Some top schools don't ask for a portfolio so more students flock to them. They order a harder test so the results don't look very high (Meriden is an example)
- Schools in NW Sydney that offer early scholarship tests like Pymble LC, Abbottleigh have stronger competition.
- It is easier to gain scholarships at schools ranked out side top 40. Some even offer full scholarships without interview if they see a good portfolio!
- It's hard for boys to gain scholarships as there are not many boys private schools and they don't offer as many scholarships as girls schools.
- It's reassuring that kids who have been with Mathemafix since OC test did very well and so are the ones who dropped out of tutoring colleges to focus on Mathemafix during the last 6 months of selective preparation did well. In fact, they won most of the 19 scholarships.


Scholarship test results from winners

The performance required to win is different from schools to schools. Generally for AAS academic scholarships, schools call for interview when at least 4 of 5 areas enter band 9 and the remained one must be in band 8. For ACER, the total performance must be within top 4%. It's easier for music scholarship applicants.

One can compare with selective trials on Mathemafix and see that kids has some chance if they are among top 20 and highest chance if they are among top 10.



10 Mar
---
Now is the time to rest for the selective test. Students need to be fresh on the day to well. It's important to call it the end and rest. Students should avoid risky things such as eating out and exposure to sudden change in weather or playing tough sports just before the selective test.

Here is the ranking against last year's students based on the last 3 trial sets (trials 6-8). This ranking is probably more accurate than the ranking across all 8 trial tests (since Oct 2018) when it comes to predicting the performance in the selective test. 

Several students are not in this list as they have not finished the last trial. There seems to be a lot of hesitation from students this year to complete all 8 trials.




--- update 09-Mar-2019 
The results of 2019 scholarships are slowly coming back. So far we have achieved

- 4 scholarships during Oct-Nov 2018 scholarship tests with 2 full scholarships to Ravenswood and Dane bank and 2 part scholarships to Pymble LC.
- 1 full scholarship to Newington
- 2 boys short listed to group activities at Syd Grammar and 1 eventually got an interview
- 4 girls invited to interview at PLC Sydney
- 4 girls invited to interview at Santa Sabina
- 1 girl invited to group activities at Ascham


Many other private schools have not started calling for interviews. In the next 2-3 weeks, we will know about those already interviewed and hopefully more interviews will be offered.
 

21 Feb
---
Not all students are high performers so some parents wonder what to do if they get offers from low selective schools that they don't really want to attend? There are some Catholic schools that offer the Newman program. It's a gifted program that the Catholic schools have been running in a fashion similar to part-selective schools. The difference is in enrolment. The students must be enrolled at a school that has the Newman program before being allowed to sit the test to enter the Newman class. The test is later around July-Aug each year.

Students who can achieve placement into a part selective pubic school will certainly get a place in this Newman program.

Here is the list of Catholic schools offering the Newman program.

School
SUBURB
2018 HSC Ranking
BURRANEER
unknown
St Ursula’s College
KINGSGROVE
85
Bethany College
HURSTVILLE
96
WOOLWICH
107
Marist College North Shore
NORTH SYDNEY
123
Marcellin College
RANDWICK
130
SUTHERLAND
131
ENGADINE
142
ASHFIELD
159
CARINGBAH
176
FIVE DOCK
180
WEST HOXTON
186
WAKELEY
200
HINCHINBROOK
203
AUBURN
207
LAKEMBA
255
REVESBY
256
LIVERPOOL
291
ASHFIELD
342



04 Feb
---
There is an article on SMH about scholarship tests. This one has an interview with AAS managing director.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/topperforming-primary-kids-take-on-tough-private-school-test-20161025-gsa1ih.html

The AAS scholarship test has been growing in popularity across Sydney's private schools. AAS marks the tests quickly. Each test is separate for each school and allows each school to set a different date for its test. The format is also closer to the NSW selective school test. The ACER test is quite different with heavy emphasis on English with 2 writing tasks and without a "general ability" component.

Most schools that use ACER test tend to use the ACER  co-op test which is shared by all schools on the same date. Even though it is supposed to be convenient for students to do just 1 test while applying to many schools, the reality is a cheat. ACER forces parents to rank the school choices so only the 1st choice school will consider the application while all of them take the monies! It's extremely rare for a school ranked lower to even contact the parents to offer an interview. They just have too many good applicants to care about doing what is fair to parents and students.

Our students are getting ready for the first few scholarship tests in Feb. This year, several top schools are offering AAS tests early. This brings the effort forward for the top students who intend to try their best to win. This is good because if the weaker schools offer first, parents have to pay to keep them then later lose the monies when they turn down these offers to accept offers from higher ranked schools. In the past, curiously, many top schools tend to delay their tests to the middle of later part of the Feb-Mar scholarship seasons.

22 Jan
---
All past students said that the OC Revision series of 10 tests was harder than selective trials. This is because this series has the hardest questions that most students at OC level failed. It is highly recommended that all year 6 students should complete these 10 tests and learn to solve the failed questions. The following table shows how this series related to real selective profiles during the past 2 years.




11 Jan
---
Now is the time to apply for private school scholarships. The following list shows most of the scholarship tests available in Sydney, New Castle and The Illawarra. It's important to check the school website for info such as what types of scholarships are on offer, if a report is offered about test performance and how far the school is from home. Students who average close to 80% on selective trials are capable of getting scholarship interviews. Other students might do scholarship tests for the purpose of getting experience (as selective trials). Lower performers might like to apply to schools of lower ranking to avoid competition from high performers.

Students should have done 6 selective trials and a variety of other tests before the 1st scholarship test. 

School name
Type
Location
Date
Test type
Report
Rank
Ascham School
Girls
Edgecliff
9 Feb
AAS
yes
9
Santa Sabina College (IB)
Girls
Strathfield
9 Feb
AAS
yes
48
Brigidine College St Ives
Girls
St Ives
9 Feb
AAS
no
72
Trinity Grammar (IB)
Boys
Summer Hill
9 Feb
AAS
yes
66
Sydney Grammar
Boys
Darlinghurst
10 Feb
inhouse
no
6
Newington (IB)
Boys
Stanmore
11 Feb
AAS
yes
89
Emanuel School
Co-ed
Randwick
13 Feb
ACER alt.
no*
44
Queenwood School for Girls (IB)
Girls
Mosman
15 Feb
AAS
yes
37
MLC School (IB)
Girls
Burwood
15 Feb
AAS
yes
31
St Luke’s Grammar School
Co-ed
Dee Why
16 Feb
AAS

58
Meriden School
Girls
Strathfield
16 Feb
AAS
yes
22
Presbyterian Ladies' College
Girls
Croydon
16 Feb
ACER alt.
yes
21
The King’s School
Boys
N. Parramatta
17 Feb
Edutest
no
30
Knox Grammar
Boys
Wahroonga
22 Feb
AAS
no
19
SCEGGS
Girls
Darlinghurst
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
16
Sydney Church of England Grammar School (SHORE)
Boys
N. Sydney
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
34
Arden Anglican School
Co-ed
Epping
23 Feb
AAS
yes
64
Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy (IB)
Girls
N. Sydney
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
69
International Grammar School
Co-ed
Ultimo
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
74
The Scots College
Boys
Bellevue Hill
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
no*
76
St Joseph’s College
Boys
Hunters Hill
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
no*
79
Northholm Grammar School
Co-ed
Fiddletown
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
90
St Vincent’s College
Girls
Potts Point
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
102
Oxford Falls Grammar School
Co-ed
Oxford Falls
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
104
St Andrew’s Cathedral School (IB)
Co-ed
Sydney
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
108
St Philip's Christian College, Newcastle
Co-ed
Newcastle
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
110
Georges River Grammar
Co-ed
Georges Hall
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
129
Rosebank College
Co-ed
Five Dock
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
132
Wollondilly Anglican College
Co-ed
Tahmoor
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
148
SCECGS Redlands (IB)
Co-ed
Cremorne
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
150
Pittwater House
Co-ed
Collaroy
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
175
Penrith Anglican College (IB)
Co-ed
Orchard Hills
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
211
All Saints Grammar
Co-ed
Belmore
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
232
Thomas Hassall Anglican College
Co-ed
Middleton Grange
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
*
279
Rouse Hill Anglican College
Co-ed
Rouse Hill
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
no*
386
ShellHarbour Anglican College
Co-ed
Dunmore
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
424
St Paul's Grammar School (IB)
Co-ed
Cranebrook
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
436
Wenona School
Girls
N. Sydney
1 Mar
AAS
yes
33
Kambala School (IB)
Girls
Rose Bay
2 Mar
AAS
yes
18
Cranbrook School (IB)
Boys
Bellevue Hill
2 Mar
AAS

42
Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta
Girls
Parramatta
2 Mar
AAS
yes
78
The Hills Grammar (IB)
Co-ed
Kenthurst
2 Mar
AAS

103
Pacific Hills Christian School
Co-ed
Dural
2 Mar
ACER alt.
yes
157
TARA Anglican School for Girls (IB)
Girls
N. Parramatta
9 Mar
Edutest
no
77
St Catherine’s School
Girls
Waverley
9 Mar
AAS
yes
59
St George Christian School
Co-ed
Hurstville
22 Mar
ACER alt.
yes
137
Reddam House School
Co-ed
Woollahra
10 Mar
ACER alt.
yes
17
The Illawarra Grammar School (IB)
Co-ed
Mangerton
5 Apr
AAS
yes
153

24 Dec
---
The NSW Department of education has conducted a review of its G&T programs. The report is published on its website.

https://education.nsw.gov.au/about-us/strategies-and-reports/our-reports-and-reviews/review-of-selective-education-access

I have read the entire report and feel relieved that the review was conducted by independent experts from Melbourne, Adelaide and a university in the USA. 

They propose many actions but only a few are note-worthy as they might affect students in a significant way.

- They did not review the scaling/moderation process for school marks and test marks at all. This is where the marks could be "doctored" to achieve a political or social engineering purpose. They did not want to expose this out to the independent experts.
- They want to review the school marks and make them more consistent across schools. But it is only proposed. Nothing is expected to happen soon because they have to work with many parties and the problem of non-government schools not providing school marks. They can only make public schools provide more consistent marks according to a well-defined standard. This can only be good for all students in public schools.
- They want to redesign the OC and Selective school tests so that they will be more tuned to "ability" rather than performance. This is an area where we have endless debates. So, they propose that students of higher ability should be given harder questions in an adaptive test (probably run by computers) much like the online NAPLAN. This is something they haven't even sorted out in NAPLAN. Until they can make sure that all test centres can provide computers and there is enough debating on this adaptive model, they won't do it. It's expensive and subjected to too many criticisms.
- They want to fight the tutoring business by making the test more unpredictable. However, they also want students who don't get tutoring to find the test less unfamiliar. How on Earth is this possible? They even suggest that schools should help students to become familiar with the test. They also propose to use adaptive test run by computers to create this unpredictability.

They argue that the current test is weighted in favour of maths because the GA part is weighted in favour of maths. So, the overall weight of the whole test is more to maths than English. Perhaps, the marks that they have correctly shows this. But this conclusion is based on ALL applicants. It is not based solely on the successful applicants. We know that the successful applicants generally find English a lot harder than maths. The marks for English is always substantially lower than the marks for maths. So, this finding is debatable. Also, this does not touch the scaling process that favours English. Moreover, a lot of students just go into the selective test and guess the questions. They shouldn't be there at the first place. They should have based this conclusion only on the marks of the successful applicants.

It's been a long debate over ability vs. performance. High performance cannot be achieved without ability. Yet, many still claim that ability alone should qualify students into selective schools. The truth is clearly that only those with high ability and also work hard can get high performance. If they actually succeed in producing tests that favour students of higher ability against the hard-working students who rely on easier questions and familiarity with question types, it will be great! This will favour Mathemafix's users as we have lots of students who want to study less, play more and deal with harder stuff.

It's silly how they go about this. It's nothing new as the way to identify students of higher ability has been around for hundreds of years. All they need to do is to give more marks to the harder questions. This is what Sydney Grammar do in their scholarship test. It has always been a feature in the past and currently used in high school, HSC and at universities. This feature might be in the "improved" selective test for 2019! There is no need for an adaptive computer-generated test based on how many questions a student has got so far during taking a test.

I think the whole thing is just a set of proposals. Nothing of significance will happen in the next 3 years apart from cosmetic things like better communication to schools and parents and marketing campaign targeting small minority groups. They will ask schools to provide more information to students and parents and even provide some help to students level the playing field between those who have tutoring and those who don't. But the schools will be the ones who actually decide if they want to do anything at all.

16 Dec
---
Congrats to Moonstone on 100% scholarship offer. The reports from Danebank and Pymble LC are now out. There is 1 full scholarship offer from Danebank and 2 x 25% offers from Pymble. I now have some ideas. Danebank is easier to get scholarships as the competition is not as tough on the SW side of Sydney. Pymble is just very hard to get an offer.

We now have 4 scholarships with 2 of them are full scholarships: 100% Ravenswood, 100% Danebank, 2 x 25% Pymble.

I also got feedback from a parent that one kid got all areas to beginning of band 9 did not even get an interview. From this, I guess that Pymble expect the kids to get a couple of areas to near the end of band 9 and will tolerate 1 area at middle of band 8. They don't like all areas failing to reach end of band 9. This is consistent with past experience. And this means a full scholarship is only expected if a kid at least get to the middle of band 9 for ALL areas


It looks like this is the battle of true Mathemafix believers vs. non-believers. So far, 2 kids who followed the early scholarship work plan and worked hard got scholarship offers. One kid joined Mathemafix late and only got a few 1-on-1 writing lessons to try to bridge the writing gap managed to get an offer. The kid already had excellent performance in other areas.

The others did not get invitation to interviews (including some who relied on tutoring class work and trials). What looks so interesting is the quality of writing expected in scholarship tests. They set it very low compared to what we, at Mathemafix, expect the kids to be at. It is funny to see that one of our weakest writers got into band 9! But it also shows that we have students who know they are weak in some areas and made a real effort to improve. It all goes back to self-learning, independent thinking, parental support and diligence. 

On page QUICK LINKS, there are now plenty of sheets supporting narrative writing and the comprehensive writing guide. The are writing modules in More ...  and the Collaborative Writing Forum. Students have all the support they ever need to do well if they want to put in a real effort. Writing does not worth much in the selective test but it is really important in scholarship tests just because it is the area where most kids are weak.

15 Nov
---
Congrats to ksb17ss on a part scholarship offer. It's just a confirmation of current performance and an interview experience. This will lead to excellent opportunities in the main season of scholarship tests between Feb-Mar 2019. Writing is the hardest area and it is where one would want to do well to gain interview opportunities. 

14 Nov
---
I attended the Syd Grammar presentation on scholarship. The following points are in their presentation.

- Up to 25 scholarships (all types) but they have never awarded 25 scholarships in the past and don't have the intention to award that many. All scholarships are 100%.
- Syd Grammar is "marketing" their relatively new program called "fee-assisted" places where students of lower ability than the scholarship winners can get a discount depending on the income of parents.
- Syd Grammar emphasizes that they look for boys who fit Syd Grammar culture. From what they said I guess that they want: high academic performance, broad knowledge, creativity, passion, tolerance, hard working. They emphasize that they want meet more boys and get to know what the boys like, how they live, how they study, how they play ... 

- I think they want to push the message that they push the students very hard in academic front. But they provide a huge amount of support to students and help the students to cope and do well. However, they expect students to work very hard. This is what they want to differentiate against public selective schools where the public selective schools also push the students very hard, but expect students to get outside help and tutoring to keep up.
- Syd Grammar seems to suggest that they want to market fee-assisted places to get access to more high quality students with good values rather than using 100% scholarship offers to get more top quality students. They want money become less of the issue for high quality students who want to study at Syd Grammar. Frankly, this sounds like a different way of offering small scholarships.
- The scholarship (and fee-assisted) process has 3 steps: test, group activity for observation, interview.

- There are 3 music scholarships. Applicants are highly recommended to sit the scholarship test. If they don't sit this one, they will have to sit the entrance test in May anyway. Successful music scholarship applicants, by sitting the scholarship test, they may not have to sit the May entrance test. If they don't do well in the scholarship test, they can sit the entrance test again.
- The scholarship is written and marked by Syd Grammar teachers. As they do not use multiple choice, students who don't have good spelling, good sentence structure and grammar, ability to find the answers and write succinctly and also the ability to write creatively in the narrative task are not the type of students they look for.

Basically, boys who want to apply for Syd Grammar scholarship should be able to come up with answers without looking at the multiple choices and write the answers down in clear and error free sentences. They also need to be able to write good narratives. This is old school scholar type who can think deep and write well. While this type of students will always do well in the selective test, most students who do well in the selective test won't do well in this type of old fashioned tests.
 

12 Nov
---
Here is the list of scholarships on offer in Sydney. By no means, this list is complete. If parents find more schools, please let me know. This list is sorted by dates of the tests. Parents should check with the schools to see if they offer a report of test performance. It seems that, for ACER tests, if a school does not automatically provides the result, parents can now go directly to ACER to ask for the result. However, Edutest and AAS will not provide the result directly. It is entirely up to the schools to decide. Please let me know about this by email to mathemafix@gmail.com

It looks like some schools have moved their dates to early Feb to make it harder for parents to "run away". Once a scholarship interview is finished and a scholarship is offered, parents only get a few days to pay the enrolment fees and get locked in.

Parents should identify their favourite school's test date, and then enrol the kids to do a couple of scholarship tests at other schools before this date. This will prepare the students better for the most important test.

All students heading to scholarship tests should aim to finish at least 6 selective trial sets, plenty of selective boosters and complete 75% of the entire selective program before the 1st scholarship test. High performers generally finish 80%-85% of the selective program around 1 week before the selective school test at the middle of Mar.

Around Christmas, we would have a number of results back from early scholarship tests. I will provide an analysis of the picture so parents know what to expect going into the main scholarship season of Feb-Mar 2019.


School name
Type
Location
Date
Test type
Report
Ranking
Ascham School
Girls
Edgecliff
9 Feb
AAS

18
Santa Sabina College (IB)
Girls
Strathfield
9 Feb
AAS
yes
47
Brigidine College St Ives
Girls
St Ives
9 Feb
AAS
no
50
Sydney Grammar
Boys
Darlinghurst
10 Feb
inhouse
no
6
Newington (IB)
Boys
Stanmore
11 Feb
AAS

89
Emanuel School
Co-ed
Randwick
13 Feb
ACER alt.
no*
38
Queenwood School for Girls (IB)
Girls
Mosman
15 Feb
AAS
yes
19
MLC School (IB)
Girls
Burwood
15 Feb
AAS
yes
68
Meriden School
Girls
Strathfield
16 Feb
AAS
yes
22
Presbyterian Ladies' College
Girls
Croydon
16 Feb
ACER alt.
yes
36
St Luke’s Grammar School
Co-ed
Dee Why
16 Feb
AAS
yes
58
The King’s School
Boys
N.  Parramatta
17 Feb
Edutest
no
30
Knox Grammar
Boys
Wahroonga
22 Feb
AAS
no
28
SCEGGS
Girls
Darlinghurst
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
12
Sydney Church of England Grammar School (SHORE)
Boys
N.  Sydney
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
26
Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy (IB)
Girls
N.  Sydney
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

74
The Scots College
Boys
Bellevue Hill
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
no*
76
St Vincent’s College
Girls
Potts Point
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
81
St Joseph’s College
Boys
Hunters Hill
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
no*
90
International Grammar School
Co-ed
Ultimo
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
96
Penrith Anglican College (IB)
Co-ed
Orchard Hills
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

96
Oxford Falls Grammar School
Co-ed
Oxford Falls
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

107
Pittwater House
Co-ed
Collaroy
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

110
Arden Anglican School
Co-ed
Epping
23 Feb
AAS
yes
116
Northholm Grammar School
Co-ed
Fiddletown
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

130
Thomas Hassall Anglican College
Co-ed
Middleton Grange
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

137
St Andrew’s Cathedral School (IB)
Co-ed
Sydney
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

139
Georges River Grammar
Co-ed
Georges Hall
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
140
SCECGS Redlands (IB)
Co-ed
Cremorne
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

153
Rosebank College
Co-ed
Five Dock
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
179
St Paul's Grammar School (IB)
Co-ed
Cranebrook
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

273
All Saints Grammar
Co-ed
Belmore
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

278
ShellHarbour Anglican College
Co-ed
Dunmore
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
yes
290
Wollondilly Anglican College
Co-ed
Bargo
23 Feb
ACER Co-op

304
Rouse Hill Anglican College
Co-ed
Rouse Hill
23 Feb
ACER Co-op
no*
313
Wenona School
Girls
N.  Sydney
1 Mar
AAS
yes
15
Cranbrook School (IB)
Boys
Bellevue Hill
2 Mar
AAS

56
Kambala School (IB)
Girls
Rose Bay
2 Mar
AAS
yes
56
The Hills Grammar (IB)
Co-ed
Kenthurst
2 Mar
AAS

73
Our Lady of Mercy College Parramatta
Girls
Parramatta
2 Mar
AAS

100
Pacific Hills Christian School
Co-ed
Dural
2 Mar
ACER alt.
yes
131
TARA Anglican School for Girls (IB)
Girls
N.  Parramatta
9 Mar
Edutest
no
43
St Catherine’s School
Girls
Waverley
9 Mar
AAS

46
St George Christian School
Co-ed
Hurstville
22 Mar
ACER alt.
yes
169
Trinity Grammar (IB)
Boys
Summer Hill
TBA
AAS
yes
106
The Illawarra Grammar School (IB)
Co-ed
Mangerton
TBA
AAS

245
Reddam House School
Co-ed
Woollahra
TBA (in Jan)
ACER alt.
yes
8

* It is possible to go directly to ACER to ask for the result.

11 Nov
---
School marks for selective application continue to be a big headache for parents. Big problems tend to happen to 10% of students due to several factors: mistakes at the school, inconsistent procedure for collecting marks across different teachers, personal prejudice from a teacher on what kind of marks to collect for English, inconsistencies across school report and marks for selective application.

The ongoing appeals and arguments between parents and the schools and the SSU have reveal all these terrible problems that started at the schools and continue to the SSU. Appeal is almost NEVER successful. Even when it is successful, the students will only be offered places on the reserve list of the lowest choice of schools. They only ever get the left-over crumbs on the table!


So, the message is "Make sure the school has a fair procedure in awarding marks and make sure that you see the teacher 2-3 times from term 1 to middle of term 3 in year 5 to detect if the school marks will be good or bad". If the school marks are likely to be bad, move the kids out of public school into Catholic schools to avoid school marks altogether.


Schools can give marks in inconsistent ways


- Each teacher will give marks from his/her own view points. And the marks going into school reports can be very different from marks going into the selective application!

- The school may collect all English works and get one teacher to remark them all to get marks for the selective application.
- The school may set tests to collect marks for selective school application.
- The school may use ICAS and/or NAPLAN as a part of the marks to go into the selective school application.
- Some teachers may not even follow the procedure of the school for getting the marks.
- Some teachers may not care at all and move on to another school as their part time jobs at the school anyway finish after year 5.

You can only trust the school if it has a printed and published procedure for collecting marks using mainly tests rather than letting teachers do whatever they like. So, it's important to ask the school for a printed copy or email of the procedure. If they do not have it, don't trust them.


The solution is to book appointment to meet with the class teacher 2-3 times between term 1 to term 3. Discuss about the performance of the kid and ask what the marks for selective application will be like. 


What could be wrong in dealing with the appeal after the selective result is out?


The best thing is to avoid having to appeal! Appeal is almost never successful and only ever result in getting the left-over crumbs if it is successful.

- Schools may deny the problem and claim something went wrong with the SSU computer database. They will resubmit the marks and allow the appeal to go ahead.
- Schools may claim that writing quality is poor and show evidence without showing how the work is compared to those of other students. The marks are all subjective! They would refuse to support the appeal.
- The school may support the appeal with the wrong reason and the SSU will throw the appeal out! This puts the onus on parents to be 100% sure about the reason for appeal (don't expect the principal to be correct about this).
- It's very important to know that the SSU does not care what happens at the school! They only send the application to the panel when the reason for appeal is valid. Parents must make sure they chase the schools for evidence of incorrect marks. And the schools will try as hard as they can to deny that they made a mistake. So, it's vital to push the school so hard that they have to reveal the works. Parents must see the works and agree that the works are poor and the marks were fair. Otherwise be prepare to threaten to sue the school for failing to properly assess students.

09 Nov
---
Congrats to ksb17ss on getting an interview offer at an early scholarship test. It looks like kids who score around 250-260 in OC test are leading the charge in getting interviews at early scholarship tests. However, by Feb-Mar, they do even out after completing most of the Mathemafix selective program. By this time, even kids with OC profile around 225 could do well in scholarship tests and get interview offers.

Now is the time for all year 5 kids to start looking at the Selective Minimum Work Plan 2019 to make sure enough of the important work get done. Only the weakest students would continue doing year 4-5 work at OC level for another few weeks (until end of Dec) and then they have to get on this minimum work plan to get enough exposure to selective level questions.
 
04 Oct
---
I plan to run a mock trial on Sat 13th. This allows parents to see their kids' performance against last year student around the same time and see what selective profiles these past students got in 2018. This is also part of the preparation for early scholarship in Oct-Nov. Many students are not working on the Early Scholarship Tracking plan, do 2 online selective trials and get ready for early scholarship tests.

25 Sep
---
Some parents have asked me about their kids' results from the PreUni ASAT mock selective test. This test has always been a headache for many parents because they are new to game and have no idea what a mock selective trial in Sep really means. The PreUni ASAT is also a test that is designed to scare parents and hope parents will enrol their kids to do the weekly PreUni trial tests. So, they tweak the test to terrify the parents as much as possible. While, all tutoring places would do this, PreUni is the one that has gone too far in this direction.

There are so many reasons why kids don't do well in this test in Sept. To name a few, here is the list of issues.

- The kids are not ready. They have not done enough work and not at the level of a selective school test because this test is 7 months away from the real selective test.
- A lot of kids who do weekly trials at tutoring colleges have seen the kinds of questions at selective level do they score better and get higher ranking.
- Many students at PreUni are in this test, and they have been given similar questions to the ones in the ASAT test. So, they rank higher than kids who do not attend PreUni weekly trials.
- The test is design to scare parents and get them to enrol kids into PreUni weekly trials. Therefore, ridiculous questions are added to make sure kids don't score well.

If your child has nearly completed the early scholarship plan on Mathemafix with good scores, the story will be completely different. It is likely that your child will be within the top 150 students at this ASAT test. However, the main idea at Mathemafix, is that students work at their own level and try to score over 85% at all times to build the foundation for highest performance in Feb-Mar 2019. They aim to be ready when it's time to do the real things such as scholarship tests and the selective test.

What does it mean if your child got a rank 800th or even worse in PreUni ASAT test? It only means your child is likely to score under 220 in the real selective test. And your child will have a small chance of getting into one of the top 10 selective schools. It's not unusual for kids on Mathemafix who are ranked around 500th in the Sept ASAT to move to top 150 in the Jan ASAT and got a place in one of the top 7 selective schools.

So, if your child gets a poor result from the Sept ASAT, don't be scared and enrol your child in PreUni weekly trials. This is what they want you to do! It's a waste of time and will give more stress to your child. It's better to get on with the early scholarship work plan and sit an early scholarship test to get a more realistic result from Pymble LC or Danebank.

Here is a comment from a parent about the PreUni mock test. Her child got a terrible rank. Later, the kid got 225 in the 2018 selective test (around 40 points higher than what PreUni predicted).


---
15 Sep
---
It's bit too early to talk about scholarship results. However, Ravenswood moved their scholarship test from Feb of year 6 to Aug of year 5 just for this year for some unknown reason. Congrats to SuperVJ on a full scholarship offer on this very early scholarship test. This is the 1st offer considered as 2019 scholarship season.


It's unfortunate that The Scots College has moved their scholarship test to Feb-Mar 2019, so the boys only Barker College test. But Barker will not provide a report. The girls still have Danebank and Pymble LC tests which will reports. I plan to offer a mock paper trial to help students going to the early scholarships during Oct-Nov. The detail is on page QUICK LINKS: Scholarship-Selective Paper Mock Test on 13th Oct 2018. Please read the document and let me know if you like to take part in it. Use the contact form or email me (mathemafix@gmail.com) to reserve a place.

Students should now be doing the work in the document Early Scholarship Prep Tracking for year 5 Aug-Oct to get the right types of work to get ready for early scholarship tests. 

30 Aug
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There are a few students from WA and Victoria on Mathemafix preparing for gifted & talented tests in their states. A document has been created to summarise information about the G&T Programs Around Australia is now available for download.



Western Australia - Year 6 test for year 7 entry

Open:  October Close:  February Test date: March



Between 2017-2018, a student from WA prepared on Mathemafix over 12 months and score over 240 in WA GATE test, got a place in the 1st ranked school, Perth Modern. She also won a scholarship at a private school. Her ranking on Mathemafix was about the level of students who secure placements into the 5th rank selective school.



Victoria SEAL - Year 6 test for year 7 entry

Open: February Close:  April Test date: May



In 2018, one student prepared for 12 weeks on Mathemafix and sat the SEAL test in Victoria and got placement. It was not a top ranked school. 



It looks like Mathemafix's selective program is quite universal. It helps students to deal with G&T tests across Australia.

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There are a lot of private school scholarship tests coming up for students in Victoria mainly from EduTest and also some from ACER for Sep-Nov.

https://aus.edutest.com.au/
https://www.acer.org/scholarship-parents/victoria/participating-schools

27 Aug
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The Scots College no longer offers early scholarship test. Last year, they still did the test in Nov but they moved the interviews and offers to Feb 2018. They have decided to move the whole thing to Feb 2019.



This means that only Barker college is available to the boys but this school will not give a report. One would only do this test with intention to win it.

Among the mock selective test, the SWAT test (19 August 2018) from Northshore is decent. PreUni ASAT test (Sunday, 9th September 2018) is probably the most popular one with the largest number of participants. However, the profile prediction from this test is very bad and this is especially for students not attending PreUni tutoring classes. Past students often claimed that the PreUni ASAT's content was far away from the real selective tests.

04 Aug
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I found out late about the scholarship at Ravenswood Girls on 18th Aug. This is one is super early and this school used to offer scholarship in Feb for year 6 students. Students who are going to this one should do some of the tests across all series in the  scholarship plan and perhaps the 1st selective trial. It is not a great idea to do something this early (and try to be ready for this early one) then wait for months to get to the main scholarship season in Feb of year 6. It's good as a selective mock trial for experience.

15 July
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We will start early scholarship preparation from 1st Aug.

See 2018 Early Scholarship Tests in Sydney for more details

Use Early Scholarship Prep Tracking for year 5 Aug-Oct for tracking the minimum work for scholarship preparation

See 2017 Early Scholarship to see last year's early scholarship effort and results. 
 

11 July
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Now that the 2018 selective results are out, the focus is on year 5 students heading to early scholarship tests in Sep-Nov. We will start our early scholarship campaign from first week of Aug. It is expected that strong students who are in OC classes will join this campaign. This campaign treats the early scholarship tests as "realistic selective trials". There are very few schools offering early scholarship tests. Some really strong students might try to win a scholarship if but they live close to these schools.

The early scholarship campaign will include

- A Creative Writing Workshop starting at end of July 
- Students will do a number of online tests at year 6-7 level
- Students will complete 2 selective trials.

Parents might like to visit the page about 2017 Early Scholarship to see last year's early scholarship effort and results.


10 July
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The 2018 selective results are out.

The biggest issue that can be seen in 2018 selective test result is that some schools gave really bad marks to students. This caused them to lose between 10-20 points! English school marks are particularly bad. This is especially true for students who have bad spelling, poor sentence structure and virtually unable to make much sense in their writing work. This indicates that reading is not the major component in English according to these year 5 teachers. This means year 5 students must learn from the experience and try to fix the basics in spelling, grammar, sentence structure and expression. These are basic stuff before students even get around to write narrative and persuasive work.

If year 5 students get writing result for NAPLAN in band 5-6, the English marks going into selective test is expected to be bad. Reading should be at the top band (band 8) and writing should at least be at band 7 before students are expected to have good English school marks around 90%.

This makes parents in public schools jealous of those in Catholic schools. Now that Catholic schools don't give marks, whatever students get in the selective test will be all that goes into the selective profile, and this means there is no drag from school marks. For the same test performance, Catholic school students will get the best selective profile.

The 2018 selective results show ...

- Maths is easy like previous 2 years. Strong kids here get near 100% for maths.
- English is hard as usual. Writing is marked very hard so the marks are low. This all adds to better scaling for English.
- GA scores look quite high. The extra set of GA questions on verbal and non-verbal reasoning really helped the students.
- School maths is most unpredictable. A few students are given poor school marks and they hurt the profile. Those from catholic schools without school marks got the full benefit of high test marks without the scaling and ranking penalty which always drag the profiles down.
- Some school marks for English are very bad (vs. students' comprehension ability on Mathemafix and real Eng. test marks). This indicates that these schools used writing marks for English. The SSU recommends that writing must be a part of English mark but it seems these schools use only writing marks for school Eng. marks!
- Cutoff scores at full selective schools look a lot higher than last year. The test could have been a bit easier or there are more applicants at these schools.


2018 selective school results look excellent. The selective test might have been easy as the 1st round cutoffs at many selective schools jumped between 5-9 points. By Dec, they should settle back down but still higher than those of 2017.



16 May
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For students who will do ICAS competitions, just by completing the OC revision with all OC trials and boosters with averages over 85%, they are already set up to do well.

There are extra work students should do for the ICAS competition

ICAS Science Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Students should do:
Mini Science and General Problem Solving Grade 5-6

ICAS Spelling Wednesday, 13 June 2018

ICAS Writing Thursday, 14 June 2018

For spelling, students can just write a lot and spelling will automatically improved. Paste the writing into Word for spelling check will help spelling.

There are several resources for writing

Guides (on page QUICK LINKS)
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Guide for Scholarship and Selective Test Writing (updated May 2017)
Dialogue Technique and Worksheet (updated April 2018)
Narrative Essentials - Cheat Sheet (updated May 2018)
Narrative & Exposition Charts

E-writing modules (in More ...)
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- Read Sumarise Write
- Story Starters
- Writing Planner

- Punctuation

ICAS English Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Students should do

- Revise OC English Boosters
- Do English Comprehension Grade 6

and use the modules

- English Revision
- Reading Library (focus more on non-fiction) 
- Watch BTN, read transcript of texts and write summaries to improve writing and spelling too.

ICAS Mathematics Tuesday, 14 August 2018


- Revise OC Maths Boosters
- Revise the last 5 tests from the series Mathematics Grade5
- Revise Mini Math Challenge Grade 4-5

3 May
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Year 5 students will have to do the NAPLAN test soon. The NAPLAN tests are supposed to be easy. For most students here, the only component that will be a problem is the writing component. There is no way to know if students will be asked to write a narrative or a persuasive task. And this means, students must prepare for both.

The writing component is also very important because it influences the school marks for English. It also reports back to students and parents/teachers how well students write. And often, the message is not very good for most students. They find it hard to get to the top band while it's so easy to get to the top band for other components.

Often students in OC class will have a part of their school marks for the selective test coming from the NAPLAN and a part from the ICAS competitions (maths and English). This means students should try to do well in NAPLAN and ICAS.

To prepare for NAPLAN writing, students should use the Scholarship and Selective test writing guide on page QUICK LINKS. However, this document is big and difficult. Those who just want a quick and easy shortcut can at least download the Narrative & Exposition Charts to make sure they write with correct structure for each text type.

27 Mar
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At this stage, strong students who are in Opportunity Classes (or enrichment classes in strong private schools and public schools in states other than NSW) should complete the OC Revision work ASAP. This means, they should do the OC trials and boosters.

NSW students, who could score about 80%-85% average across the 8 OC trial sets will have a big chance to reach the top 10 selective schools in Sydney. 

After completing the OC revision stage, students can request to be moved to year 6 level to start year 6-7 work. Later, all year 5 students will be moved to year 6 by end of July.

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We are not about 12 months away from the 2019 selective school test. It's a good time to give parents a preview of what will happen. For most parents who have been with Mathemafix for a few months or those whose kids did OC preparation here, it's very clear how this system work. However, new parents whose kids have just joined often think Mathemafix only offers selective trials. This is quite far from the truth.

Mathemafix offers complete preparation for the selective tests and scholarship tests across Australia. We now have more kids from Perth and Melbourne doing their GATE and SEAL selective programs here. We have scholarship winners from other states than NSW. The selective trials are released by a fixed schedule starting around Sep as some students will do early scholarship tests during Oct-Nov of year 5. Most selective school tests will be around middle of Feb to 1st week of May of year 6. The 8 selective trials, while very important, only serve to rank students and predict their performance in scholarship and selective tests. The other works are more important in preparing them for these real tests.

Therefore, it does not make sense to parents who think that kids come on Mathemafix and do whatever they like any and at any time they like. Some hardest series of work (at year 7-8) level are not available to kids at year 5 who are barely capable of doing year 5 work at Mathemafix. They will be opened up to students once they are nearly ready. They could be open up early (on request) to a student once the student shows that s/he is nearly ready. The monitoring, pro-active support and professional advice from Mathemafix prove to make all the difference. We have nearly 100% of kids getting some kind of selective school offer, around 60% go to top 10 selective schools and a big number of private school scholarship winners each year. This does not happen by accident! It happens by design (:

If parents are only after a quick trial of the hard work, they should join Mathemafix between Oct and Jan (school year 5-6). This period is when all the hardest test series are available for students to get ready for scholarship and selective school tests.

Parents should read (all the documents are on page QUICK LINKS)

- SS G&T Program guide
- SS Road map
- User Guide

These documents provide all the pointers to how the program works and what parents could do to support their kids at home.

The survey of students doing the NSW 2018 selective test gives a good idea how effective Mathemafix is.