Skip to main content

A scholarship exam is not like a regular school-based test. It is a specially-designed piece of assessment to determine a student’s level of ability and intellectual prowess. Schools offering scholarships are looking for students who are capable of applying knowledge in a range of ways, across a variety of subject areas. General bursaries are looking for well-rounded students, there are; however, exceptions where institutions are looking for musicality, sporting expertise or the ability to excel at a particular subject.

Ordinary tests look to question and evaluate a student’s memorised and practiced knowledge, whereas scholarship tests aim to assess complex intellectual abilities, problem solving and logical understanding that drive the parameters of an assessment – skills that aren’t able to be simply memorised twenty-four hours before an exam.

Appropriate preparation for this type of situation is too often left to chance, rather than taking the time to fully understand the process, as well as what the exam is likely to assess. This useful guide will hopefully be of help to parents and children and give them a better understanding of what’s to come and how to achieve their desired results.

Here are some ways you can prepare for such exams and give yourself the best chance for success.

Be prepared

Staying in control and practising, digesting, rehearsing and learning from failure are all ways in which the best laid plans will come to fruition.

Verbal reasoning

A key skill for exams of this nature is where the ability to name, implement and explain the appropriate use of selected words is tested. There are practice questions you can get from the leading exam bodies or alternatively, internet searches have some great examples and interactive practice games. A great place online is the Verbal Reasoning Test Organisation.

Numerical reasoning

Evaluation of a student’s ability to use and reason with a choice of numbers whether they be within a mathematical conundrum or as a separate entity that fits within a prescribed system for e.g. prime numbers. One great online resource is the Numerical Reasoning Test Organisation.

Practice, practice, practice

The organisational bodies that are enlisted by some institutions to facilitate and create these exams also offer a wealth of resources to help you prepare for them. There is a selection of practice tests, open questions and past papers to choose from to ensure that you are familiar with not only the type of questions, but the appropriateness of your preparation, knowledge and understanding. Acer has a whole site dedicated to preparing students across Australia, and it is even broken up into states and territories.

Reading comprehension

The tests look at how well a student can understand and interpret the ideas they read in a piece of language arts text. This can involve written and visual material. A great website for practising these skills is which has a list of interactive games aimed at several age levels.

Abstract Reasoning

This skill relies on a student’s ability to use abstract reasoning in order to recognise relationships and to perceive ideas at a theoretical level.


A professional tutoring company will be able to supply a qualified and experienced tutor to guide your child through and engage them in all of the essential skills that a scholarship exam is looking to assess.