Hunter students knuckle down for Selective High School Placement Test

By , 18/01/2019 12:48

High stakes: From left, Astrid Morson, who said Merewether was “really good”, Brody Rousell, Leo Long, who said he “wanted to do the test even if I don’t go” and Kate McTaggart. Picture: Simone De PeakASTRID Morson was dismayed when she realised she would have to spend her 12thbirthday sitting theSelective High School Placement Test.
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“At first I thought ‘Oh I don’t want to do that!’” she said.“But then I realised it wasn’t that bad–some people said getting in may be a belated present. Plus I knew I’d get to go out for milkshakes afterwards.”

Astrid and her best friend Kate McTaggart from The Junction Publicplus Brody Rousell and Leo Long from St Joseph’s at Merewetherare among a record 14,959 students who sat the test on Thursday. They are vying for a chance to secure one of the4226 year seven places atat the state’s21 selective and 26 partially selectiveschools. Merewether Highhas 180 spots available.

“I’d heard this is a really great high school and can open up a lot of opportunities for you in the future,” Brody said. “You can get a great job from getting in so I really wanted to come here.

“I’ll behappy if I don’t get in because I know I’ve tried my hardest, but if I do get in I’ll be even happier.”

The students satthree 40 minute multiple choice tests in reading, mathematics and general ability. They were also given 20 minutes and a statement as stimulus for a piece of writing. Kate said afterwards she was feeling “relieved” while Astrid said she “felt good knowing everything is over and now I can relax”. Brody said he was glad he “used all his time at tutoring well and it’s paid off”, while Leo said he was now a “little nervous about whether I’m going to get in or not”.

Brody and Leo said the tests were easier than expected but still challenging, Astrid said they were“quite difficult, as I had expected” while Kate said they were“easier than when I started practising, but not as easy as school tests”. All said the general ability test was the hardest, “because we only had 40 seconds for each question –and you either knew the patterns or you didn’t”.

Brody started tutoring in term three last year and cut out screen time over the past week to focus on practice papers, while the other three recently completed a six-week course to prepare for the test. They attended their tutor’s house once a week to sit two practice papers, plus takeone home. “We also learned strategies for how to manage our time and how to eliminate answers in the multiple choice questions,” Astrid said. “It made me more confident coming here, I knew what to expect.” The girls also did additional papers each weekend.

The Department of Education will send parents a letter on July 6 about whether their child has been offered a place. Astrid said she was “nervous and wanted to get the results today” while Kate said she would “need something to distract me from the wait.”

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