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NSW Selective High Schools

The Selective High School Placement Test is designed to measure ability through tests in reading, mathematics, general ability and writing. The test is held only in NSW and only on the test date each year.

The Selective High School Placement Test consists four sections and is structured as follows:

Section Minutes Questions Type
Reading 40 30 Multiple choice
Mathematical Reasoning 40 35 Multiple choice
Thinking Skills 40 40 Multiple choice
Writing 30 1 Open response


No marks are taken off for incorrect answers in the multiple-choice tests.

Students are given a stimulus for the writing test – an image, statement, heading or question. Two pages are provided for the writing test. Assessment for the writing test is based on:

  • Whether the writing is about the stimulus topic.
  • No marks will be awarded if the writing is not based on the topic
  • Quality of thinking about a topic
    organisation of ideas
  • Use of language.
  • The writing must be the student's own work and must not be very similar to the work of other students.

The writing test is marked by trained markers. Multiple-choice tests are marked by computer. Answer booklets are identified by barcodes so students cannot be identified by the markers.

Students suspected of cheating risk disqualification from the test.

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education

Minimum Entry Scores
Download Past and Sample Papers

Review of Selective Tests System

The NSW Department of Education conducted a review of the methods and processes used to identify and place gifted students in selective schools. The department created a thirteen-point action plan to make the selection process more fair and accessible to all.

Summary of Action Items

Encourage more gifted students from under‑represented groups to apply
Ensure appropriate provisions and adjustments for gifted students with disability
Make the selection process more relevant for gifted students from rural and remote areas, and the selective schools that target them
Minimise imprecision to increase confidence in the accuracy of measurement
Align the difficulty of the tests to the ability levels of the gifted students sitting them
Update the frameworks used to guide test design and incorporate state-of-the-art assessment strategies
Ensure mathematical and English ability are correctly weighted
Reduce predictability and coachability, and support schools in preparing their students to sit the selection tests
Partner with schools, families and communities to revise the School Assessment Score process
Closing the gender gap in the selection system
Consider adjustments to the process of nominating school preferences
Partner with schools, families and communities to review post-Year 7 entry to selective education
Strengthen the department’s ability to link data across the NSW education system and its responsiveness to emerging trends in selective education

Download Official Review Report

Selective Test Dates

Year Dates of the Selective High School Placement Test
(for Year 6 students seeking entry to Year 7 the following year)
2023 4 May 2023 for 2024 entry
2024 TBA for 2025 entry
2025 TBA for 2026 entry

Information Source: Public Schools, NSW Department of Education