Selective High School

If your child is unusually gifted and has high academic potential, they may find that a contemporary classroom setup could be more stimulating. Selective high schools allow students to study with other children of a similar academic standard.

What Is Selective High School?

Two types of selective high schools are located throughout NSW, offering Year 7 placement.
  • Twenty-one are fully selective high schools, and four of them focus on the study of agriculture.
  • Twenty-five are partially selective high schools. In these institutions, one or two classes are selective, while the others are non-selective for local students. Students in the elective courses will focus on science, mathematics, and English.

How to Apply for Selective School

If you want to place your child in a selective school, you must prepare carefully and understand that this process is highly competitive. You may have to submit an application for a Year 7 entry more than a year in advance. In fact, you should start the application process in Term 4 of their Year 5 study.

To begin the process, you must complete and submit an application form online. Applications may only be made by the parent.

You can apply to 46 selective high schools regardless of where you live, as the process is not zoned. You can choose up to three schools and should list them by priority. Most schools are co-ed, but some are boys or girls only.

Once you have applied, you can only change your choice by written request until the due date, which is usually early in Term 2. Therefore, it is an excellent idea to Conduct research and make a firm decision ahead of the deadline for the application.

How to Prepare for the Selective School Exam

Your child must sit this exam on the specified date and prepare carefully. They will require a letter of authority, and you'll need to log in through your dedicated portal to request this. They must take this letter to the test center on the big day.

The selective high school placement test involves written and three multiple-choice tests in thinking, reading, and mathematical reasoning.

It is a good idea for your child to look at previous examples and be familiar with the test format and the types of questions they are likely to come across. They will be given an answer booklet and must color in the appropriate answer box for the multiple-choice questions.

On test day, students should:

  • arrive at the test site on time, ready for a long day ahead, and be prepared to last the day 
  • have a substantial snack with them to eat during the break between the two parts of the test 
  • not carry any electronic devices with them.


It's worth remembering that those who attend a selective school will typically go on to earn higher incomes in life and be presented with more opportunities. However, as you can see, preparing diligently and going through the application process quickly is essential. If your child needs help preparing for selective high school exam tests, contact a qualified and experienced tutor.