Wednesday, 1 August 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 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 ( 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
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.


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.

27 Aug
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
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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