Tuesday, 27 March 2018

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.

04 Aug

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
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
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
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
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)
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 ...)
- 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
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

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.

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.

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