Part 4: Calculation of Entry Scores for Selective Schools in NSW

Confused about how they calculate the score for the Selective Test? Read our tips and tricks to find out how you can maximise your points!

A lot of parents aren’t sure about the calculation of entry scores for Selective Schools. In this article, we will explain how the process works.


Note: The scoring details for the new test for selective school placement in 2022 has not been confirmed. They will be released here and we will update you when this occurs.

See below for how entry scores were calculated for placement in 2021 and prior.


Calculation of entry scores for Selective Schools

The most important thing to know regarding how the score is calculated is that it’s all about your child’s ranking. The maximum score a student can get is 300 although this is extremely rare. The top score is usually around 280/300. To get into James Ruse in 2020 for example, a student needed to achieve a minimum score of 246/300.

Here is an example of what a student who made it to James Ruse in 2018 might have scored in each component of their assessments:


Sample Student from James RuseScaled school assessment scoreScaled test markTotal

  • 2/3 Reading
  • 1/3 Writing
GANo School Score83/10083/100


Note that if your child is the only one from their school who will sit the Selective Test, 100% of their entry score is based on the Selective Test and their school marks will NOT be used. We will explain why further below.


How will the marks from school be used for the final entry score for Selective Schools?

Your child’s teacher will provide a score out of 100 for English and Maths, usually based on how your child performed in Years 4 and 5.

Now, you may think this is an unfair calculation.

What if a teacher is overly generous or what if a teacher is a bit more conservative with giving a high score? Well, the scores are adjusted through a process of moderation according to how the students did during the Selective School Test.

Here’s an example of how the Maths score is calculated in a school where:

  • The average Selective School Test Maths mark was 65 (scaled) and
  • The teacher gave an average score of 83 in Maths.


Sample StudentsRaw School Mark for MathsScaled School Mark for MathsRaw Test Mark for MathsScaled Test Mark for MathsTotal Mark for Maths
Sansa96 (Top 16%)7924/40 (Top 16%)7275.5
Jon83 (Average Score)6517/40 (Average Mark)6062.5
Cercei70 (Bottom 16%)5110/40 (Bottom 16%)4849.5


Keep in mind that the above candidates are only examples. Their score may be adjusted upon the selection committee’s discretion based on criteria such as:

  • Whether the student is Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander
  • Whether the student spent less than 4 years learning English as a second language
  • Illness/misadventure

Unfortunately, the NSW Department of Education does not release raw scores (except for 2018 Maths); so, it is hard to tell what your child needs to achieve in a sample test to get their desired mark.


How will the marks from the test be used for the final score?

As you may have noticed from the above table, the mark used for the final test score is NOT the raw mark.

Rather, the scaled mark is used which is based solely on ranking. The average student will receive a score of 60/100. If a student wished to score 84/100 (average score to get into James Ruse), they would need to be in the top 5%.


What does this mean for my child?

The way the entry scores for Selective Schools are calculated can be very confusing. However, here are the main takeaways on how you can best increase your child’s final score:


  • The school does not give a mark for GA which means ⅓ of the final mark comes from the GA test. Another thing to note is that GA is NOT taught in primary school. This means to do well in the Selective School test, your child should do lots of practice GA tests under timed-conditions at home. There are sample GA tests you can find online and in bookstores.


  • Since your child’s school will determine ⅓ of the final Selective School score, your child’s Year 5 NAPLAN results matter. The school will often base their mark of your child’s performance on the Year 5 NAPLAN test. To ensure your child is maximising their school marks, encourage them to sit a couple of NAPLAN practice tests.


  • Don’t freak out if your child gets 50% in a Maths sample test and think your child has no chance on getting into a Selective School. Remember that the raw score is NOT used to calculate the final score. Rather, they are adjusted according to rank.



What happens if my child didn’t get an offer?

So what happens if my child doesn’t make it to a Selective School first go? Well, if they are still determined to get into their dream school, they can try again in Years 7-11 for entry into Years 8-12. Read our next section to find out more!

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