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  • Does my child get an advantage if we live very close to a selective high school?

    No. Selection committees do not consider travelling times and transport arrangements when offering places.

  • What provision is made for students from non-government schools?

    The selection procedures are the same for all students. The only difference is that the Unit advises government school principals about the students from their school who have applied. Parents of non-government schools must ask their principals to complete the principal's page (sent with their application confirmation) and then must negotiate with the principal to return the page to the Unit.

    If your non-government school does not provide school assessment scores, you should complete the Request for formal exemption form.

    The selection committee will not generally grant an exemption to applicants who do not have school assessment scores if any other students from the school have them. The selection committee may decide not to accept the application in this case.

  • What can I do to prepare my child for the Selective High School Placement Test?

    Encourage your child to use the sample tests to practise answering the questions on the sample answer sheets. Students will also be given practice questions before the test begins. See example tests at:

            Sample test papers

    The results of practice items do not mean that your child will score the same in the test. Selection committees and appeals panels will not make placement decisions based on a student's performance in the sample tests. The page numbers on the sample answer sheet will not match the page numbers on the sample test questions.

    The Department of Education does not endorse coaching for the Selective High School Placement Test.

  • If my outcome advice indicates that my child is unsuccessful, can his or her name be placed on a reserve list?

    No. Three terms are used in outcome letters: 'offer', 'reserve list' and 'unsuccessful'. Selection committees decide the students who will receive offers and those who will be placed on reserve lists. Students who have been offered places for a particular school will have higher scores than those who are on the reserve list or are unsuccessful for that school. Students placed on reserve lists will be given a number indicating their position on the reserve list. Progress on the reserve list varies from year to year. When offers begin to be made from the reserve list, the progress of each school's reserve list is available on this web site.

    Check progress on the reserve list (from early August 2016)

  • What does the Selective High School Placement Test tell me about my child's performance?

    The Selective High School Placement Test measures ability while the school scores show each student's achievement on the school curriculum. The test helps to identify students for entry into selective high schools on the basis of academic merit. It is not meant to be a diagnostic test to identify the student's strengths and weaknesses in English or mathematics performance. The student's primary school is most appropriate to advise you on your child's performance in these areas.

  • If my child was unsuccessful for opportunity class placement, does it mean he or she will be unsuccessful for selective high school entry?

    Not necessarily. The entry requirements for opportunity class and selective high school placement can be quite different. Students can improve over the time since they applied for opportunity class placement. Many gifted and talented students applying for selective schools did not apply for opportunity class placement.  Not all students from opportunity classes are successful for selective high school entry. Remember there are over twice as many Year 7 places in selective high schools as there are Year 5 places in opportunity classes.

  • If I receive an offer to one of my lower choices as well as being on the reserve list for one of my higher choices, do I have to give up the offer to stay on the reserve list?

    You can accept an offer to one school while remaining on the reserve list for one or more of your higher choices until 3pm on the last day of school. For entry in 2017, the last day of school is 16 December 2016. After that time no further offers will be made to students who have already accepted placement in a selective high school and have not later declined the offer.

  • If my child is one of the last to be made an offer, does that mean he or she will struggle at a selective high school?

    The selection committee offers places or reserve list positions only to those students they think are capable of doing well at a selective high school. There are many things which can affect student performance, including your child's willingness to learn, his or her response to teachers and interaction with other students. While some students who receive late offers might have problems, the majority should have no difficulties.

  • What should I do if my child does not get into a selective high school?

    As there is one place for approximately three people applying, not all students can be placed. Be supportive and explain to your child that he or she can be very successful at a comprehensive high school. Students from comprehensive high schools can achieve results which are as good as, or even better than, results gained by selective high school students.

    The NSW government also provides excellent comprehensive high schools. Comprehensive high schools implement gifted and talented programs as a feature of the Department of Education's gifted and talented policy.

  • What score does a student have to gain to be successful for selective high school placement?

    There is no fixed score that a student has to achieve to be successful for placement at a particular selective high school as students are placed in rank order to fill the available vacancies. The score held by the last student placed at the school is the 'minimum entry score' that is published on the Unit's website in the following April each year. This score can vary from school to school and from year to year. The greater the demand for the school the higher the entry score is likely to be. For example, in a school with 150 places, the score achieved for the 150th ranked student who accepts a place at that school becomes the entry score.

    As a guide, the entry scores required for the previous year are available at: Entry scores

    Please note that the scores on the website show the score held by the last student accepting a place for entry in 2015. The entry score for 2016 will not be known until after the placement process is finalised. Though your child's score may be higher than that shown for last year this does not necessarily mean that they will be offered a place for entry in a later year.

  • How is the profile score derived if my child is the only one applying from his/her school?

    Students who do not have school assessment scores or those who are the only candidates from the school will be considered on test marks only for the full 300 marks.

  • How can I find out my child's score?

    Most parents/carers will receive their child's profile score at the bottom of their placement outcome advice in July. You can receive further details of your child's scores in the selective high school placement process after you have received your placement outcome. Use the online form Request for scores on the 'Forms' page of the Unit's website or, if it is unavailable, email the Unit to request scores. The only further details available are school assessment scores and test scores. No other score details can be provided.

  • Why are profile scores and further details sometimes unavailable?

    Where students have been considered on other evidence of academic merit, such as an individual IQ test, or the selection committee has adjusted the score based on supplementary information, the original calculated profile score is not applicable. The Unit does not have the resources to provide individual advice about adjusted scores.

  • How does the reserve list work?

    If your child is on a reserve list for a selective high school the number on the placement outcome advice shows his or her position on the list. How quickly the Unit offers places to those on a reserve list depends on whether students accept or decline an offer, and whether other students receive subsequent offers to a school of higher choice. If your child's position is reached on the reserve list, the Unit will contact you with an offer. From early August you can track where the reserve lists are up to on the Unit's website. See progress on the reserve list.

  • Can I change my choice of schools after submitting the application?

    You must think about your choices very carefully when you apply. You can ask for a change of choice without explanation if it is before 29 April 2016, when selection committee lists are created. After this date you would have to prove extenuating circumstances which occurred after 29 April 2016and submit documentary evidence. Any change must be approved.

  • Why do some partially selective high schools combine selective and comprehensive students in the senior years?

    Some partially selective high schools do this. It allows the school to better organise the timetable and offer more electives than would be possible if the selective students were kept as a separate group. This organisation advantages selective students as the school can offer a wider range of electives.