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A James Ruse Graduates Guide to Acing the Selective Exam

Updated: Mar 16


Chris Song, Selective Score: 260

Want to know how to ace the Selective Exam? You’re in luck because we have interviewed 300 Selective’s very own Chris Song, who is a graduate from NSW’s #1 ranked school, James Ruse Agricultural High, and a tutor specialising in the Selective Exam. He shared his Top 3 Tips on acing the exam.


Chris’ Top 3 Tips on Acing the Selective Exam:


1. Know your exam formats.

What: Chris stresses the importance of knowing the format of the Selective Exam. The exam can be broken down into the following four sections, shown in the diagram below:

The Maths, General Ability and Reading sections are made up of multiple-choice questions, while the Writing section is a creative writing task. There is no reading time in the exam.

Why this is important: Familiarity with the exam format is crucial in completing the exam on time. If you are unfamiliar with the exam format, you may waste time on insignificant questions and be less familiar with common trick questions.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses.

What: According to Chris, there are recurring question types within each section of the Selective Test. ‘Familiarise yourself with these question types and learn how to answer them quickly and effectively,’ he says. Once you have figured out which topics you are good at and which you are struggling with, note these down. You can make a mental note; however Chris recommends a written-out list, such as this:

Why this is important:

Identifying your strengths and weaknesses helps with planning. Students in years 5 and 6 naturally have limited planning abilities because the part of the human brain which controls planning does not fully develop until the age of 25. Success in the Selective Test depends on planning, and since children in primary school have not yet reached their true planning potential, they need to compensate for this disadvantage. Why waste precious time on questions focussing on your weaknesses, when you could make the most of your strengths?

Chris says 300 Selective’s Adaptive Quizzing is an excellent resource for efficient study as it personalises online practice quizzes to each student. The algorithm identifies both your strengths and weaknesses for you, and adjusts the difficulty of quiz questions accordingly. Expert tutors keep an eye on this process, making sure you use your study time wisely.


3. Setting goals and staying accountable.

It is important to set short-term and long-term goals, making these realistic. When you set these goals, be sure to do it with someone who you have asked to keep you accountable such as a parent or tutor. Chris recommends writing these goals down on a piece of paper, with one column for your short-term goals, and another column for your long-term goals. Include a timeframe in which you will complete these goals, e.g.

Why this is important:

You may have heard the phrase ‘study smarter, not harder’. This phrase means that there is a good way to prepare for the Selective Test (the smart way), and a bad way to prepare (the hard way). A bad way to study for the Selective Test would be doing practice papers over and over again, without writing a plan outlining what you intend to achieve. By writing out your goals, you will know what you are working towards, instead of studying for the sake of studying.



If you have any additional tips, we’d love to hear them! Comment below to share them with the 300 Selective community.