What Does It Take To Gain Entry To A Selective School? The Results Might Surprise You!

One of the most common questions we receive from parents and students regarding the Victorian Selective Schools exam is:

“What marks do I need to gain entry?” or “How many superiors do I need?”

The answer to these types of questions is complex. In previous years, different combinations have resulted in students gaining entry to the selective school of their choice. In this video, we will discuss some of these results to give you an insight to what different students achieved when they received their offers. We also describe how these students used the results after sitting our mock exam to help them focus their study in the few short weeks leading up to the actual exam.

In the video, we’ll share a short case study of 3 students who attended classes at Spectrum Tuition, completed our annual mock exam and then subsequently gained entry into a selective school. If you would like to have a go at this mock exam and watch the accompanying workshop video which offers tips and outlines common mistakes, please click here. Full worked solutions for every question is also included with this mock exam package.

The important thing to note about the above video is that there is no set formula on how many ‘superiors’ you need to gain entry to a Selective School. Having said this, it is unlikely that you will be offered a place if you score a ‘low’ in any of the tests.

If you have any questions please feel free to add them below in the comments and we’ll endeavour to answer them.

Spectrum Tuition Victorian Selective Schools Mock Exam 2016: Open For Enrolments

Want to practice your exam taking skills under realistic test conditions before the actual selective schools exam? Then this is what you’ve been waiting for!

Our 2016 Victorian selective schools mock exam is now open for enrollments.

We will be holding our 2016 selective schools mock exam for students sitting the Victorian Selective Schools Exam on Sunday 15th May (mock exam) and Sunday 22nd May (workshop).

Why Sit Our Mock Exam?

Are you worried your child isn’t ‘exam ready?’ Do you want to know how they’ll perform under realistic time constraints and exam conditions? If so, you’ll want to enrol in our mock exam programme.

Our mock exam is aimed at helping students get a realistic sense of how they’ll perform under the intense pressure of a 3-hour exam. We then follow up with a 4-hour workshop that’ll go through the most common problems student had with the mock exam questions.

To ensure that students get the maximum value from the workshop we limit our intake to 45 students.  We don’t fill out the hall with hundreds of students and then run a generic workshop. We tailor our program based on the data generated from the actual mock exam.

How Does It Work?

The exam will begin at 9am and will be held at Footscray North Primary School (map). The exam will be held in the school hall.

We will then hold a 4 HOUR interactive workshop the very next Sunday outlining the most common errors and provide tips on how to improve your performance on exam day. We also encourage parents of students who have sat the mock exam to sit in on the workship, so that they can fully understand what their child needs to do to prepare in the last few weeks before the exam.

Places are strictly limited to 45 places – so register today to secure your spot.

This is your only chance for your child to sit a full-length exam in a similar style and format as the actual test BEFORE the day AND get feedback on your performance!

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Register by 11th April and get $50 off! 7 hours of test preparation normally $225, now just $175!



7 Things I’ve Learnt About Education Over The Past 14 years Running Spectrum Tuition

‘Education is the best weapon you can use to change the world’ – Nelson Mandela.

It’s a bit hard to believe that Spectrum Tuition is heading into its 15th year. Over the years, we have been helping both students who struggle to keep up with their classmates as well as students who are so bright that their mainstream schools struggle to keep up with them. As a result, I have been given a unique insight into how to best cater to students from these two extremes as well as gain a wider understanding of how the education system works from the inside.

With the school year fast approaching and as a parent to a child who is about to start school this year, I thought it’d be a good time to share the most significant learnings I’ve developed over the time I’ve been running Spectrum Tuition. This is so that you too are equipped with the knowledge to make more informed decisions for your children.

Here are 7 of the most important lessons I have learnt about educating mainstream students from my experience running Spectrum Tuition.

1. Students should be grouped based on ability, rather than age.

Most topics at school are based on a series of skills that if learnt in the correct sequence will lead to success.

If your child is finding a specific topic difficult, it is rare that this is the only topic they are having problems with at school. A student who is having problems with fractions or algebra is most likely also having problems with multiplication or division. If a child is struggling with spelling or reading, it’s because they don’t have a strong enough handle on phonics. Most topics at school build on from earlier topics.

We do not recommend placing children into classes that may be beyond their ability level before they have built a strong enough foundation in earlier topics because they will constantly feel like they need to catch up. Children develop and mature differently and to ensure that they achieve high results at school, they need to be taught at a level where they can engage with the material as well as provide enough of a challenge to give them the best opportunity to shine.

This is why at Spectrum Tuition, our number one priority when new parents enquire about classes is to book in for a free, no obligation assessment where we thoroughly assess students’ existing abilities in writing, grammar/ punctuation, reading comprehension and mathematics across several year levels in order to pin-point exactly what your child’s level is in order to tailor a plan to best meet their specific needs.

Selective Schools Mock Exam 2015

Thanks for your interest in our mock exam. Enrolments for our 2015 mock exam have now closed. If you’re interested in signing up for the 2016 mock exam please provide your details below and you’ll be the first to know about our next mock exam. 

We will be having a selective schools mock exam for students sitting the Victorian Selective Schools’ Exam on Saturday 30th May. The exam will begin at 9am and will be held at Footscray North Primary School (map). The exam will be held in the school hall.

We will have a 4 HOUR interactive workshop the very next day outlining the most common errors and providing tips on how to improve your performance on the day. We also encourage parents of students who have sat the mock exam to sit in so that they can fully understand what their child needs to do to prepare in the last few weeks before the exam. Places are strictly limited so register today to secure your spot.

This is your only chance for your child to sit a full-length exam in a similar style and format as the actual test BEFORE the day AND get feedback on your performance!

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! Register by 11th April and get $25 off! 7 hours of test preparation normally $175, now just $150!



The Two Ingredients Your Child Needs To Improve Their Chances Of Winning A Scholarship Or Gaining Entry To A Selective School.

Exam season is upon us and many students are preparing for scholarships and selective schools exams. With only a few short weeks to go before a number of select entry and scholarship exams take place, I thought I’d provide some last minute advice and offer you a free gift.

There are two main factors that contribute to success on a select entry or scholarship exam: content knowledge and timing.

One cannot exist without the other.

Your child may answer all questions quickly and within the timeframe, however if they don’t know HOW to answer the questions, this will unlikely lead to success.

Similarly, if your child understands how to do the questions, but takes significantly longer than one minute to answer each item, or doesn’t have a refined test taking ability, a majority of the questions will remain unanswered.

This will also unlikely lead to success.

This is why we have produced our exam packs.

We have carefully dissected countless sample exams to determine the most common types of questions your child is likely to encounter. In addition to this, we have formulated the most efficient method to answer each question and have come up with step by step solutions, written in a simple way just as though your child were sitting beside us in a tutoring session.

The sum of our work is presented in our popular exam packs

Over the past 14 years, we have made it our mission to prepare students for these types of exams. We believe that hard work should be rewarded and every child should get the opportunity to attend a top school, if they so desire. We also keep our materials updated by speaking to students who sit these exams each year and strive to make them as close as possible to the actual exams.

SEALP Exam Packs In Our New Book Store!

Our new online bookstore, Spectrum Learning is now officially open for business! This digital bookstore is a place where you can purchase materials geared towards helping your child prepare for the selective entry accelerated learning program (SEALP or ALP) exam in May and the selective schools exam (for entry into Melbourne High, The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High, Nossal High School and Suzanne Cory High School) in June. We also have many more titles planned for release over the next few months.

All materials available on the site are provided as digital books. This means that as soon as your payment is confirmed (which only takes a few minutes) you’ll be able to download your book and start studying.


To coincide with the launch of our new store, we are also launching our SEALP exam packs. This is one exam pack that many parents have been asking about and we’re happy to have it available for purchase. These exam packs have been specifically designed for the upcoming SEALP and ALP exams. We’re offering two exam packs (a Basic and an Advanced package) at launch. Both provide great value for money. Here is what you receive with each package.

Basic Package – $49 (Can be purchased HERE)

Our basic pack includes:

  • 1 x Numerical Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 1 x Verbal Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 1 x Mathematical Reasoning Exam Sections; and
  • 1 x Reading Comprehension Exam Sections.
  • 1 x Writing Prompts
  • Basic Answers

Advanced Package – $149 (Can be purchased HERE)

Our advanced package includes:

  • 3 x Numerical Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 3 x Verbal Reasoning Exam Sections;
  • 3 x Mathematical Reasoning Exam Sections; and
  • 3 x Reading Comprehension Exam Sections.
  • 3 x Writing Prompts
  • FULLY WORKED answers to all sections (not including the writing prompts).

In total, you receive 3 FULL exams with FULLY WORKED answers.

All packages are delivered as digital books (PDFs) and can be downloaded for immediate use. So what are you waiting for? Come check us out!


How To Get The Most Out Of Practice Tests

If your child is preparing for a Selective Schools or Scholarship exam, then they may be using the summer holidays as a chance to have a go at some practice tests. Practice tests can be a great way for students to study and assess their abilities before a big exam. They are a great way of showing students what it takes to achieve success on their actual exam. However, if not taken properly, practice tests may not be as effective as you might think. Today, I give you my tips for how your child can get the most out of their practice tests these holidays.

1. Before the Test

There’s no point just jumping straight into a practice test without preparing; if you do, you’re unlikely to get the most out of it. Before completing a practice test, you should have a clear idea of what the test will cover. It may be a good idea to have a list of all the areas covered on the test, and make a note of which areas you are confident in and which you are not. A practice test is a great way to consolidate your study, but it should not be used as a means of study on its own.

2. During the Test

As much as possible, you should try to take practice tests under proper test conditions. Give yourself an appropriate timeframe, limit yourself to the allowed resources (don’t use a dictionary calculator if you’re not allowed one on the actual test) and try to take the test as seriously as possible. If you think you know the answer to a question, try to show your working so that you can remember it and check it later. If you are unsure of the answer to a question, don’t just guess; make a note beside that question so you will know to look over it later.

3. After the Test

This is the most important part of a practice test. Too many students just correct their practice test, look at their score and shrug. Good students analyse their results. By going over your practice test closely, you can figure out the following things.

-Whether you have improved since your last test

-Which areas you are confident with

-Which areas you need to focus on in the future

-What common mistakes you are making

-Whether or not you are able to work within a time limit

It is a good idea to spend some time after every test analysing your performance. Identify areas that you need to focus on in the future and make a plan for how you can do so. When you sit your next practice test, you can see whether you have improved in these areas, and plan from there.

Spectrum Tuition offers a range of practice test packs for students sitting Scholarship or Selective Schools exams. To find out more, check out our website or call us free on 1800 668 177.

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Everything You Need To Know About The SEAL Program

When I say SEAL, you may be thinking of the cute animal that swims in the sea. I am talking about the Select Entry Accelerated Learning program, an initiative run by the Victorian Education Department to ensure that talented, gifted and motivated students are given the best possible chance to achieve excellent in their education. The program runs for years 7-10 and allows advanced students a chance to work at a more advanced pace and level. If you think your child is talented, motivated, and is not currently being adequately challenged by their school work, then I recommend you read on as I answer some frequently asked questions about the SEAL program.

What does the SEAL program involve?

The SEAL program allows gifted students in a variety of Victorian public schools to progress through more advanced course work at a faster pace than they would have otherwise been able to. The program is perfect for students who are not feeling challenged by the level of the rest of their class, and are looking for a greater challenge.

Student enrolled in a SEAL program usually complete the years 7-10 of their high school education in 3 years. This leaves them with more options for how they wish to complete their final VCE years. Some students finish their VCE in the next two years, while others use the extra year to complete a wider range of VCE and university extension subjects. In the end, this extra year will ultimately give students a far greater chance of achieving the high ATAR score that they desire.

Would the SEAL program help my child?

The SEAL program is designed for students entering high school who are hard working, dedicated, experienced, creative and who have a high level of maturity and the ability to work and learn independently. If you think this may be your child, then have a go at answering the following questions.

Is your child at the top of their class at school?

Did your child perform above average on their NAPLAN test?

Are you concerned that your child is being held back by the pace of their class?

Does your child ever complain that their schoolwork is too easy?

Is your child able to work hard on their homework without being nagged?

Is your child constantly motivated to achieve?

Will your child be commencing secondary school in 2015?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, then your child may just be the perfect candidate for the SEAL program. A SEAL program could provide your child with the challenge that they need, as well as giving the best possible support in achieving their goals.

Which schools offer a SEAL program?

When choosing high schools for your child, it is worth checking whether they have a SEAL program. There are currently 36 schools in Victoria that offer the SEAL program, located in both metropolitan and rural areas of the state.

Balwyn HS Emerald SC
McGuire College Wodonga Middle Years College
Bellarine SC Fairhills HS
Mill Park SC Trafalgar HS
Belmont HS Gladstone Park SC
Mordialloc College University HS
Box Hill HS Horsham College
Mount Clear SC Wangaratta HS
Brighton SC Keilor Downs College
Mount Erin SC Warrnambool College
Brunswick SC Koo Wee Rup SC
Reservoir District SC Werribee SC
Buckley Park College Lilydale HS
Rosebud SC Westall SC
Dandenong HS Lyndale SC
Sale College Williamstown HS
Gleneagles SC Matthew Flinders Girls HS
Staughton College Emerald SC

Each school has different entry requirements for the program, so it’s best to deal with things on a case-by-case basis. Decide which schools are close to you and interest you, and then check their website for information of their SEAL program. This will let you know what the school offers, and how and when your child should apply.

What are the entry requirements?

Students that wish to be accepted for a SEAL program usually have to sit a series of tests and interviews. Though the exact details vary from school to school, most school use testing companies, such as Edutest to provide their tests. These tests are designed to assess a range of abilities such as reading comprehension, mathematics skills, written expression, verbal and numerical reasoning.

Quite often, students are asked to answer questions that they have never faced before. They may be challenged with unfamiliar words, complex scenarios or advanced mathematical principles. The point of these tests is to identify which students are truly able to excel under challenging conditions. The tests usually take place in the middle of the year. Most of the tests for 2014 entry will have already been completed, but if your child is entering high school in 2015, then now is the time to start researching, planning and preparing.

How can I find out more?

If you want to find out more about SEAL programs, there a number of resources you can use. The website for the Department of Education is a good place to go for all the official guidelines and information on the program.

If you want specific information about entry requirements and test dates, these can be found by checking the website of the school that you’re interested in. If you want to talk to someone one-on-one, you can also call the SEAL coordinator at each school. Here is a convenient list of their contact details.

If you want any advice or information about what your options are, whether your child would benefit from a SEAL program, and how you can prepare your child for the entrance test, we’re here to help. We provide a range of classes that give students all the skills they will be tested on, including essay and narrative writing, mathematics skills and advanced numerical and verbal reasoning. Find more information on our website here or call us for free on 1800 668 177.


Selective Exam Practice Papers Now Available For Purchase

The Victorian selective schools entrance examination for 2013 is just around the corner and it is an exam that your child must prepare for in order to improve their chances of success. How much preparation your child receives depends on many factors such as your child’s attitude to study, expertise and economic factors, however, to give you perspective, it is becoming common practice for parents to help their children prepare several years in advance to not only maximise their chances of gaining a place at one of these top schools, but to ease anxiety in the days leading up to and on the actual day of the exam.

While many people are of the view that preparation gives students an unfair advantage and students should be selected based on their natural ability, schools vary widely and the order that one school chooses to present topics to students may differ widely from the next. The test will contain items that will test knowledge that will be beyond the Year 8 curriculum, so while your child may be the top student in their class, they may not have the requisite knowledge to pass the exam.

If your child will be sitting these examinations in a few week’s time and has not prepared for the task at hand, there are several things you should do:

  1. Sign up to our free 5 part selective schools success course
  2. Have your child complete the practice exams published by Edutest to determine what gaps exist
  3. Sign up to our mock exam to give your child an opportunity to sit a full length test BEFORE the day.
  4. Have your child complete additional practice papers to familiarise themselves with the format and to cover the widest range of questions that are likely to appear on the actual test. There are some freely available tests which we have linked to here

If you would like more practice tests that cover similar topics and is formatted like the actual test that your child will encounter on the actual exam, the following exam packs are available for purchase:

Package 1: Basic $49

In this package, you will receive one full length test plus basic answers for each of the following areas:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Verbal reasoning
  3. Mathematics
  4. Numerical reasoning
  5. Narrative prompt
  6. Persuasive prompt

This package is suited to students who just want a bit of extra practice and who may already be familiar with many aspects of the exam and can work backwards to determine the correct answer based on the basic answer given.

Package 2: Advanced $149

In this package, you will receive three full length tests plus full worked solutions and explanations for each question for each of the following areas:

  1. Reading comprehension
  2. Verbal reasoning
  3. Mathematics
  4. Numerical reasoning
  5. Narrative prompt
  6. Persuasive prompt

This package is suited to students who are quite confident with their essay writing skills but would like more opportunities to practice multiple choice questions in order to get exposure to a wide range of questions and improve their timing. Full solutions will effectively support their study.

Package 3: Ultimate $199

In this package, you will receive everything in the Advanced package plus:

Correction and feedback for 4 essays via email.

This package is suited to students who may be confident with essay skills but would like to receive feedback on 2 essays initially then use that feedback to make improvements on the two remaining essays to be submitted.


To purchase additional exams, please click here