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Traditionally, the stress and pressure associated with scholarship entrance exams was a key reason why parents sought the support and investment of a skilled private tutor. The outcome of a scholarship test usually has much more academic weight for a child than most other assessment. Unless you have already undergone such a process, it isn’t always clear what the test will entail and what specifically the schools are looking for in their candidates.

Here is an overview of the process, the examination and the marking that will hopefully instil a greater sense of confidence in both parent and child.

Points of Consideration

Avoid Cramming Like the Plague

All experts agree that the practice of cramming before such an exam will not only be a waste of time, it will be a waste of the opportunity to secure that elusive funding. Entrance exams are not created with cursory and memorised knowledge at the forefront of what is being collated.

No Curriculum Content

Reviewing past exams, assessment or course work is not going to help either. These tests are not interested in establishing rote learning or the student’s ability to retrieve learned knowledge. They go much deeper than that to establish patterns of intelligence.

Absent Subjects

The tests are also not categorised into subject areas. They are not set out into traditional English, Mathematics and Science based sections, instead it is all-round evaluation of skills.


What Exactly do These Exams Test

There are generally 3 options schools have for their entrance exams. Firstly, they can contract commercial third-parties to administer the tests and results, with the most popular choices resting with either Edutest or Acer. Alternatively, the school can decide to administer and create the assessment themselves.

Features of the examination are looking to evaluate a student’s complex intellectual abilities – skills that aren’t able to be simply memorised twenty-four hours before hand. They focus on a child’s aptitude for:

  • Deducing
  • Inferring
  • Interpreting
  • Critical Thinking
  • Applied Logic
  • Problem Solving

In general terms, students are presented with specific stimuli such as a diagram, article or image to apply their higher-order thinking skills to and create a coherent argument, summation or evaluation.


How Are the Tests Marked

The marking of these tests are done so by using a global approach, where unique ideas outweigh the use of perfect grammar and spelling. Their results are also ‘normed’ by which schools can measure their applicant’s ability and results against all other students who took the exam.

The tests are year-level based too and aim to distinguish between students of high academic ability. They are more difficult than assessment administered at regular school level. Best practice ensures the exams are scaled so that student performance can be compared easily by schools across the year levels and test levels.


As these scholarship examinations focus on evaluating long-standing skills of a student, it is advised that long-term support and intervention can improve results significantly. Experts acknowledge that undertaking focussed tutoring and courses can greatly improve the outcome.