January 20, 2020 Maddy Arthur

Is getting into a Selective School Hard?

People might tell you your child is the crème de la crème of their primary school, that they are gifted and talented, that the world is their oyster! And chances are very high that all these facts are true. These thoughts, along with glowing teacher report cards and endless wondering about your child’s future, may have brewed the idea that a selective school is the place for your child’s progression through high school. If you are thinking these thoughts, that is fantastic! Your child being nurtured and encouraged towards a bright future, and at Alchemy we know that academic success always starts with support at home. Now with your sights set on a selective school you can begin the entry process.

About now you might notice that an entrance exam plays a very large part in your child’s entry into a selective school. This exam is very challenging, it tests a wide range of skills in literacy, numeracy and problem solving. Not only that, but it asks them to complete four papers in only 2 hours and 20 minutes in a hall full of other kids just as talented and focused as they are. I know what you’re thinking – “My child’s a super star, there’s no way they’ll fail this, they’ve never failed anything before!” And that might very well be true, but getting into a selective school is, honestly, hard.

You can trust me on this judgement. I had my sights set on starting Year 7 at Manly Selective and though I tried my darndest to prepare I missed out on entry. But this piece of advice I am about to give you is by far more important than my placement failure. I kept applying myself, I kept working hard for top grades, I kept doing extracurricular activities, and when I tried the test again… success! I moved to Manly Selective for year 10 onwards, graduated in 2016, and I am about to graduate university as a High School English and History teacher.

What do I think sets a student apart from the others as one deserving of a place in a Selective School? They must be passionate about their learning. They must love to be challenged and thrive when a little bit of pressure is applied. They should not only be critical thinkers but also creative ones who can see ideas and possibilities where others cannot. Most importantly, they need to be determined to push themselves. There are many things you can do to increase your child’s likelihood of acceptance. Teach them to be resilient, to be intrinsically motivated, to take pride in the skills that set them apart from the rest. Enrol them in extracurricular activities if you can and encourage them to pursue leadership opportunities in their primary school. Teach them some time management skills and encourage them to see failure not as something detrimental, but as something they can use to spur them on to improve.

At Alchemy we know just how challenging this process can be. Many of our talented tutors, including myself, have passed through selective schools and are eager to pass on our knowledge to your children to guide them towards promising futures. We are committed to helping our students develop the skills that allow them to tackle the entry exams and we hope we can help your children experience the high level of education and support they deserve.

Maddy Arthur

Maddy Arthur

Maddy is a writer, Alchemy tutor and former selective school student. She attended Manly Selective so knows the highs and lows of selective schooling intimately and is now committed to helping students perform at their best. She is currently studying to be an English teacher at University.