Thursday, 9 March 2017

Summary of Selective test preparation in 2017

This page is a summary of the 2017 selective test preparation effort. We have very strong students this year. The preparation followed the same path much like 2016 where students were encouraged to do early private scholarship tests in Sep-Oct the year before. This means the first 2 selective trial tests were completed around 6 months before the selective test. The results of the early scholarship tests gave students (and their parents) some idea of their level of performance.Students went on to complete a massive work program and finished their 8th trial around 5th Mar.

The highlights of the early scholarship effort at the end of 2016 are:

- Three students were invited to scholarship interview and one student won a full scholarship to a boy school.
- Several students achieved performance at around band 8 and early band 9 (out of 9) in scholarship tests.
- One year 4 students scored well into band 7 and 8 (out of 9) in several areas of a scholarship test beating many year 5 students.

The 2017 scholarship season is drawing to a close and a lot of results will come out during the next 3-4 weeks. We will know how many students achieve scholarship offers by the end of April.

2017 scholarship results so far ...
  • 3 interviews The Scots College late 2016 resulting in 1 full scholarship offer for PikachuWPS
  • An interview at an elite private boys school for GUGI1
  • A full scholarship from an elite girls school for Cleverpeacock
  • A full scholarship from an elite private boys school for Clashonlocky
  • Another full scholarship from at an elite private boys school for Clashonlocky
  • Another full scholarship (on spot offer!) from an elite girls school for  Cleverpeacock
  • A full scholarship (on spot offer!) from an elite girls school for Iris2391 
  • Another full scholarship (on spot offer!) from an a co-ed school for  Cleverpeacock 
  • An interview at an elite private girls school for Jiya Rex1 
  • A scholarship offer from a co-ed school for  EmmaS1
  • A scholarship offer from a co-ed school for  Captain OC
Recently, the schools changed tact and asked parents if they would accept an offer less than 100%. As parents told them they only wanted 100% offer so we would get fewer offers. Generally each school only offer 1 full academic scholarship but it looks like they have changed. They now offer 2-3 full scholarships depending on the quality of the candidates and parents insisting on getting 100% (or nothing).

Writing strategy as the key driver for scholarships

Unlike the Selective test where writing is worth about 11%, it is a lot bigger in scholarship tests. In the ACER scholarship test, it is worth up to 50% as there are 2 writing tasks among 4 tasks. As writing is often the worst area of students coming to Mathemafix, the writing strategy has been strictly on getting students to write proper narratives and persuasive tasks within 20-25 minutes. The writing guide along with e-learning modules (Story Starter, Writing Planner, Punctuation) and the  Collaborative Writing Forum for students to share hare all the writing works have delivered top quality writing for hard working students. Our best writer of 2017, despite moderate performance in English reading and Maths, has clinched a full ACER scholarship at one of the best girls schools. Similarly, we have other students doing very well and got 9 full scholarships so far at top private schools.

Best writer's ACER result

Next best writer's ACER result

The selective preparation officially finished on 5th Mar. The performance of students this year indicated that we had a really strong group of students with several students with OC profiles at 240-260.

Attached here is the result of selective trials vs. past Selective profiles from 2016 and summary of 2016 results. The information will help parents predict their children's selective profiles and make informed Selective school choices.

It is important for parents notice the important dates especially the deadline for changing of school choices and submitting the illness/misadventure form to the Selective Unit.

  • 24 March 2017 Requests for consideration of Illness or misadventure submitted by applicants for entry in 2018 28 April 2017 Change of school choice closes for entry in 2018
  • Early July 2017 Placement outcome advice sent for entry in 2018
  • 24 July 2017 Appeals due to primary school principals for entry in 2018


Feedback from students on the 2017 Selective test. [To be updated]

It is clear from the 26 feedback so far, Mathemafix covers the selective test pretty well.

The general consensus is that selective English was harder than Mathemafix's but GA is clearly easier. Students have different opinions about selective maths but more students that it was easier.

Students seem to remember different things. On the question whether science was seen in English reading texts and GA, some saw it but many did not.  Some students recognised that the difficulty for English was close to trial 6-8 where most students struggled.

It is rated by students are better than their tutoring places. The higher the students scored in Mathemafix's 8 trials, the more they reported that the content was similar to the selective test. This was probably due to the fact they understood the questions better and also they had done more work on Mathemafix.

A possible effect of having extremely difficult English is that English will scale very strongly this year. The result will become unstable. Some strong readers who were also lucky in English test will exceed expectation. But it will blunt the middle performers making their English result look much like low performers'. And this means GA score will be really important.

Looking forward for year 6 students

Now that the 2017 selective test is over. Parents would wonder what's next? The following ideas come to mind.

- Rest, sports, music, fun ...
- ICAS competitions and Maths Olympiad
- Maths extension to year 7 and 8

For those year 6 who wish to stay on, there is a special deal of $125 for access until end of 2017.

Some students won't care about ICAS competition any more. However, if a student is not expected to do really well in the selective test and plan to apply for better selective school in year 7 (to enter year 8), great ICAS competition result can be useful to support the application.

Maths Olympiad is supported by the 2 series Maths Challenge Grade 6-7 and Maths Problem Solving Grade 6-7. Last year, the top student here went on to win gold medal and represented Australia in international competition.

Students who came to this website late and only managed to do a small amount of work or those who did not do well might like to stay on. Test results could be reset allowing students to redo them. Other students might like to extend maths to year 7 and 8 (school maths). Even though the maths to prepare for selective test has some year 7 and 8 maths problem solving in it, a lot of formal year 7 and 8 maths theory are still untouched. It is useful to cover all maths theory to end of year 7. This will allow students participate in maths enrichment groups at selective schools. Maths acceleration is achieved by using the Maths Lessons guide and the Maths Lesson module.