Selective School Reading Comprehension Test

What NOT to do in A Selective School Reading Comprehension Test

Did you know that each year selective school exam markers see the same mistakes over and over again? Many students are unaware they’re even making mistakes! Selective School Reading Comprehension Test is far more advanced than NAPLAN, designed to find the top few percent of gifted students. For the best results for your child, it’s crucial that they are aware of the most common mistakes students make in a selective school reading comprehension test.

While it’s impossible to avoid all mistakes made in a test under time pressure, being aware of common errors can greatly increase students’ chances of success.

Using Prior Knowledge

A major mistake when answering questions is using knowledge you already have. While it may seem like an advantage, it’s always best to find the answer in the text itself. Selective school exam comprehension test does not require outside information, and all required information can be found in the test itself. Always consult both the question and the passage when answering each question to avoid losing valuable points.

Not Reading the Question Carefully

This is a common mistake affecting students in general. With the strict time limit and difficult task, students often glance at the question quickly and don’t really unpack what it means, leading to the wrong answer. When answering, try highlighting the key words of a question to easily find the main idea and what information it’s requiring.

Slow Reading

When answering questions, a lot of students read through the passage several times to gain the main idea. While this is a viable strategy, very often it leads to precious minutes being wasted. Many selective school exams only allow 1 minute per question, so if you’re going to read, practise speed reading and utilising practise tests available at to avoid going slow in the real test.

Additionally, be careful of too much underlining or circling in texts and questions. Only take note of essential information; don’t highlight the whole question or text!

Attempt All Answers

Too many times, students leave answers blank by either starting with the easiest questions first – and forgetting the other questions – or skipping questions if they are running out of time (or appear too hard). A blank question equals zero marks, but a guess may end up successful. Use the elimination strategy of crossing out the options that are not correct can narrow down the options for better guessing. It’s always important to fill out each answer, no matter the time limits or the question’s difficulty.

Choosing an ‘Obvious’ Answer

Remember that selective school reading questions test language ability, logical thinking ability, problem solving and ability to interpret difficult texts. Often when students answer an ‘easy’ question, they pick the most obvious answer, based on what they see. This can lead to poor understanding and a bad outcome overall. In fact, students should be more careful when the question seems easy as it can often be a trick question.

To avoid this, consult the question carefully and consider what the text is trying to say, rather than the answer that first seems applicable.

Being aware of common mistakes in the test helps the student not to make them. Try focusing on building strategies to avoid these mistakes for more confidence and comprehension ability in the future. Of course, more practice of such tests often lead to greater confidence and overall outcome.