Questions To Ask Yourself If Your Child Is Considering Sitting A Selective Schools Exam

Over the past few years, we have worked with countless students and parents to help them prepare for the Selective Schools Exam. Successfully gaining a place within a Selective School is obviously a once in a lifetime opportunity, and one that can have a phenomenal impact on the educational possibilities of the lucky students who are selected. That said, with all the pressure surrounding Selective Schools, it is often easy to forget that Selective Schools are, quite simply, not the best choice for every child. While Spectrum Tuition obviously encourages all of our students to strive for their potential, we also think it’s important that parents and students give serious consideration to the difficulties that come with applying for, and even receiving a place in, a Selective School. In that spirit, here are four questions you should ask yourself if your child is considering sitting a Selective Schools Exam.

 

Does My Child Thrive In Competitive Environments?

For a lot of students, attending a Selective School can come as a crude shock. When they start, most Selective School students are used to being top of their class, and have generally found their schoolwork easy. However, once they start attending a Selective School, they suddenly find themselves surrounded by other extremely talented and motivated students. As a result, Selective Schools are often very competitive environments. Some students respond well to such environments; competition motivates them to work harder. However, some students can be demotivated. It’s worth considering how your child responds to challenges before you sign them up for a Selective Schools Exam.

 

How Far Will My Child Have To Travel To Attend A Selective School?

The other things to consider is practicality. If your child does get selected to attend Melbourne High School, Suzanne Cory or Mac Rob, how far will they have to travel? This may sounds like a silly question, but an extra hour or two of commute time each day can have a dramatic impact on your child’s ability to do their homework, participate in extracurricular activities and get a good night’s sleep.

 

Is My Child Ready For The Pressure Of A Selective Schools Exam?

Finally, you should also consider whether your child is ready for the pressures of a Selective Schools Exam. Students who sit the Selective Schools Exam have to tackle one of the most complex and competitive challenges ever faced by a high school student. The exam requires students to write essays and narratives under extremely strict times limits, tackle complex logical problems, and demonstrate a familiarity with mathematical concepts that are often not taught until later years. While the exam presents an opportunity for talented and committed students, it can also be a very stressful obstacle.

This is not to say that we mean to discourage students from sitting the Selective Schools Exam; on the contrary, we at Spectrum Tuition believe that all students deserve the chance to pursue their goals. But we also think that it’s important for people to go into these exams as informed as possible about the challenges that lay ahead. If you would like to have a conversation about whether the Selective Schools Exam is right for your child, or if you would like to know more about how you can help your child prepare for this exam, feel free to email us at enquiries@spectrumtuition.com or call us free on 1800 668 177.

Why Strong Readers Are Not Necessarily Strong Writers

There is a very common misconception that students who read a lot will automatically become good writers. On the surface level, it makes sense. After all, reading extensively allows students to develop a large vocabulary, appreciate different perspectives and gain an understanding of how different texts are structured. As with any skill, the first step towards becoming proficient is to watch a professional at work.

On the other hand, nobody learns to drive a car by watching their mum drive; nobody learns how to shoot baskets by watching basketball on television; and nobody learns how to bake a perfect souffle by just reading recipe books. In all these situations, practise is the key. While this all seems obvious, to be a strong English student, people often forget the importance of practising writing. Like any skill, writing requires constant practise. Here are some skills that you can only get from practising writing…

1. Practising writing builds muscle memory

Students often forget that writing is not just a mental task; it is a physical one as well. When students sit their VCE exams, or if they sit a Selective Schools or Scholarship test, they are required to write long, well thought out essays or creative narratives under a strict time limit. Quite often, under these situations, students’ hands get tired before their brains do. Students who haven’t practised writing essays or narratives on a regular basis will find it hard to write quickly enough, or for long enough, to get all of their great ideas on the page. On the other hand, students who recognise that writing (like all tasks) needs practise, are much more likely to have the physical and mental skills they need to succeed.

2. Learning to read and learning to write are two completely different skills

Reading is obviously a wonderful skill for building imagination in students; but it is, in the end, largely a passive activity. When you are learning to read for the first time, you need to recognise the shapes of letters and words and decode them using your knowledge of sounds and phonics. Then when you have built up the required skills to read a story, you get to sit back and let the author take you on a journey.

When it’s your turn to do the writing, suddenly your job becomes a lot more difficult. How do you even start? What is the right word to use to communicate the right message? How can you grab and maintain your reader’s attention? How do you conclude in a satisfactory way? What about grammar/ spelling/ punctuation? You’re given an empty page that you’re supposed to fill with ideas. This can be incredibly stressful, and many students face writer’s block as a result. Learning specific writing skills and practising writing is a good way to get better at generating your own ideas, so you can succeed every time. The more you practise, the less intimidating the empty page will look, and the more techniques you will learn for generating ideas in order to become a successful writer.

3. Practising writing demystifies the art of writing

Have you ever read a great essay or a great story and thought, “How on Earth did they do that?” It’s a common experience, and it’s part of the fun of reading. When we read good writing, we’re not necessarily trying to figure out how the author is doing what they’re doing, we’re just enjoying their work. This is one of the reasons why it’s not enough to just read extensively if you want to learn to write well. Put simply: reading good writing doesn’t teach you how to be a good writer yourself. On the other hand, when you practise writing regularly, you start to notice the patterns, the little tricks that you can use again and again to make your writing successful. Practising writing allows you to look behind the curtain and seeing the mechanisms that make up a successful piece of writing.

Of course, practising is hard. And it’s not the kind of thing you can just do without guidance. That’s where we come in. If you or your child wants more guidance on how to practise their writing, feel free to email us at enquiries@spectrumtuition.com or call us on 1800 668 177 to book a free assessment. Alternatively, you can book online by clicking here.

If your child is preparing for a Scholarship or Selective Schools Exam, you might also want to check out our custom Writing Bundle. This bundle contains our best selling persuasive essay book and narrative book.  After reading these books your child will have the skills required to write a compelling and well structured narrative and persuasive essay!

The Power of “Yet”

I recently came across a TED talk by Carol S Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, that explained the profound potential of the simple word “yet”. This talk resounded with our beliefs regarding learning and education, so we thought we should share it with you, and explain some of the ways in which we, as tutors and you, as parents, can use these ideas to help our students reach their full potential.

What is the power of “yet”?

In her talk, Dweck distinguishes between two student mindsets that she has encountered in her research: “fixed” and “growth”. When students with a “fixed” mindset are faced with a difficult or unfamiliar problem that they can’t solve, they tend to take it as a judgement on their own intelligence. “Fixed” mindset students are happiest when they are getting answers right, when they are getting A’s on their tests, when they can easily answer questions. However, when faced with new ideas and concepts, they tend to get defensive. In various studies, Dweck has found that these students resort to cheating, deflection, and giving up when faced with difficult problems.

On the other hand, students with a “growth” mindset are those that view difficulties as opportunities for growth. Instead of looking at an unfamiliar problem and saying “I don’t know how to do this,” they say: “I don’t know how to do this yet.” Dweck has found that students who use this sort of language aren’t stuck in the present. They understand that they are always in a continual process of learning and developing. Saying “not yet” instead of “not” suggests the possibility for future growth.

Why is this important?

On a daily basis, we see the profound impact that these two mindsets can have on a student’s performance. In particular, a “fixed” mindset can cause difficulties for students transitioning from primary school to high school, students studying for a Select entry or Scholarship Exam, or students commencing their VCE. At these points of their education, students are going to be faced with a number of challenging concepts and difficult tasks. Often, at these times, students can become overwhelmed and go from getting straight A’s to suddenly getting C’s or D’s. This, in itself, is not the problem. What’s important is how they respond to these challenges. Do they give up, or do they use their limitations as motivation to learn more?

So, what can we do?

Obviously, students with “growth” mindsets are more likely to respond positively to challenges and, ultimately, to perform better than those with a “fixed” mindset. But what can we, as tutors, and you, as parents, do to ensure that your child develops a healthy and productive mindset? Here are some things to keep in mind…

1. Praise wisely

Students who are only praised for their successes are much more likely to develop “fixed” mindsets. According to Dweck’s findings, it’s much more productive to praise students for effort, strategy and progress. As tempting as it is to only reward good performance, make sure you primarily praise your child when they work hard, when they refuse to give up, when they try something new. This will teach them that there is more to education than just getting the answer right.

2. Use growth-based language

It’s also important to be mindful of the language that you and your child use. Try to avoid language that labels a student “good” or “bad” at something. Instead of saying “I’m bad at maths” or “I can’t write an essay,” say “I can’t do this particular question yet” or “I have a lot to learn about essay writing.” When giving feedback to students, aim to use language that is specific, goal-oriented, and suggests the potential for future learning.

3. Provide constant challenges

“Fixed” mindsets can also develop when naturally able students are not given sufficient challenges. This is something we see all the time; clever students are often allowed to drift through school, achieving high marks with relatively minimal effort. Unfortunately, these students rarely learn how to deal with challenges, and tend to give up when things may not be so easy anymore.

That is why it is important for students to work at or just above their level, to ensure that they are constantly challenged in order for them to grow and develop. If they find some sections difficult, use this as an opportunity to praise their effort, strategies and progress, because it is not that they can’t do it, they just can’t do it yet!

If you want to watch Carol S Dweck’s video it’s just below

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about how we can help your child develop a healthy and productive mindset towards their education or click here to book a free assessment.

The Mock Exam Bundle: A Great Way To Prepare For The Selective Schools Exam

In the final week before the selective schools test, we are giving you the opportunity to sit our full length selective schools mock exam in the comfort of your own home!

One of the best ways to feel more confident during the Selective Schools exam is to do as many practice questions in a similar style and difficulty level as those you will encounter on the actual test.

In previous years, students have stated that one of the most difficult aspects of the exam is answering the questions within the very limited time. By doing a full length test BEFORE the actual exam, you will better understand what the experience will be like so you know what to expect. To help you learn the most efficient technique to answering the questions, full solutions for each question is included PLUS access to our online workshop where we go over major problems and concepts students encountered during our mock exam.

In this package, we’ve bundled together:

  • Our full length 2.5 hour mock exam (including all six sections covered on the Victorian Selective Schools Exam);
  • An answer booklet containing FULLY worked solutions for each question
  • The answer booklet will also contain a sample analytical and creative essay based on the prompts; and
  • A recording of our mock exam workshop, run by our co-founder and selective schools exam expert, Thuy Pham. During the workshop, Thuy runs you through major areas of difficulty and common problems students encountered during the mock exam providing you with a general overview of each area covered (7 Videos in total and over 2.5 hours of content!).

TESTIMONIAL:

“We used both the classroom and private tuition options for our daughter in Maths and English as part of Selective testing preparation. We could not fault the consistent high standard of delivery by all the tutors especially Thuy who was incredibly supportive. Spectrum use excellent resources which they continue to review and update and they take the time to explain the best approach to what are many new areas for the students through practical advice. We were particularly impressed with the opportunity to undertake a mock exam prior with a feedback session and the post test follow up. Plus you could purchase additional resources through their online store. My daughter enjoyed it so much she has chosen to continue with extension classes. We would strongly recommend Spectrum for anyone seeking any type of tuition they get results.” R. Devlin, parent of student who was offered a place at a selective school in 2015.

Who Is This For?

This bundle is designed for Year 8 students sitting the Victorian Selective Schools entrance exam looking to gain entry into Melbourne High, MacRobertson Girls’. Suzanne Cory High or Nossal High.

This pack is specifically geared towards students who are looking to practice all the exam components to gauge their performance BEFORE the test day. We’ve found that many questions on these exams may be completely unfamiliar to students and this will cause a major loss of time if students are stuck on particular questions. It is therefore essential that students practice as many of these questions prior to the test day as possible to give them the best chance of achieving success. This, combined with our detailed answers and workshop videos tend to give students the extra edge and confidence they need prior to sitting the Victorian Selective Schools exam.

What Do You Receive In This Bundle?

This bundle includes:

  • 1 x full Selective Schools exam package (covering all 6 exam sections: numerical reasoning, verbal reasoning, mathematics, reading comprehension, narrative and analytical writing prompts)
  • 1 x FULLY worked solutions book containing all the sections covered in the mock exam
  • 2 x sample essays (one creative, one analytical) PLUS detailed instructions walking you through the process of writing winning essays within the very limited 15 minute timeframe.
  • 7 x videos from our Mock Exam workshop (over 2.5 hours of content) covering major problems uncovered during the mock exam this year. In these videos, we go through each area and discuss the most important topics as well as common errors that students made on the mock exam. We also do a review of the key skills students should be focusing in on prior to exam day.

Why You Should Purchase This Exam Package

This package will prove to be a great tool if your child hasn’t completed many (or any!) exam style questions or full length practice tests, and needs to become familiar with exam timing.

The detailed answers and video workshop will also provide further guidance on how to solve all the tricky questions presented in the exam paper in the most efficient way possible.

This package is also useful as it allows you to simulate a full exam to help you improve your timing during the real test. Numerous students have also used this pack as a diagnostic tool to guide their study in the crucial final weeks before the actual test.

** For our terms and conditions see here => https://spectrumlearning.com.au/terms-conditions/


Buy Now >>

mockexamhall

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 workshop, 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!