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5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam

Looking at Selective School admittance? Read this article for 5 effective tips to prepare your Year 4 child for the Selective School Exam.

Your child is in Year 4 and has recently completed their Opportunity Class (OC) Exams. The Selective School exams loom in the distance. You want them to enter a selective or semi-selective school. But how should you start preparing? In this early prep guide, we give you 5 effective tips that you can use to help ease your Year 4 child into productive study and set them on the path to acing the Selective School exams.

If you are looking for more information about the selective school test and application process, read our Selective School guide.

5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam

  1. Get to know your child’s academic performance
  2. Build foundational skills
  3. Introduce your child to a reading program
  4. Practise, practise, practise!
  5. Balance is everything

1. Get to know your child’s academic performance

The first course of action in preparing your child for the Selective School exams should be to get a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Don’t worry, because a lot of this information can already be found in their school report cards. The school report card is something that your child brings back every school term or at the end of the school year. Different schools may issue school reports at different intervals.

standard report card 5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam

A typical report card

Most school reports follow a standard template. The report will be categorised into subjects taught in class. For each subject, take a look at their overall achievement. Below that you will find a table containing information about the areas of learning covered in that subject, and how well your child has performed within each. As you read through your child’s report, you should be thinking:

  • What subjects does my child have high overall achievement in?
  • What subjects do they struggle with? This can be identified by a lower overall achievement.

If they do have low overall achievement, take a look at the areas of learning to identify what parts they are struggling in. For example, if they are underperforming in Mathematics, then taking a closer look at their areas of learning may reveal that they are struggling with Statistics and Probability.

Doing some research into your child’s academic history will be very helpful in helping them prepare for the Selective School exams.

Don’t be afraid to ask your child about what they find difficult in school.

Report cards are definitely useful, but they often don’t paint the full picture. Ask them what subject they feel the least confident about in tests or exams. Your Year 4 child’s preparation for the Selective School exam should be tailored to them and their experience.

kid studying 5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam


Now you have a fairly thorough understanding of your Year 4 child’s performance. What next? Well, now you can now go about addressing these strengths and weaknesses in order to prepare them for the Selective School exam.


2. Build foundational skills

It is important to practise all subjects in preparation for the Selective School exam. However, you should definitely consider allocating more time towards areas that your Year 4 child finds more challenging. This will help build up their confidence in these subjects.


If your child finds English challenging, then consider helping them build their reading comprehension skills.

Whenever your child reads a book, have them read it aloud to help build fluency. After they have finished reading a story, engage in a discussion with them about it. This helps your child process the themes and ideas of the book and rephrase it in their own words, a key skill of reading comprehension.

english book 5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam


If your child is struggling in Maths, then firstly try to identify what area they have difficulty with. For example, if they find algebra challenging, then take the time to go over fundamental concepts such as multiplication or division, before addressing these more complex concepts.


Often, a student’s difficulty with a subject can be traced back to a lack of foundational knowledge in that subject. Calculation-based subjects such as Maths require constant practice and repetition, so ensure that your child does their worksheets and homework!

Remember to be patient with your child. The entire point of starting Selective School exam preparations this early is so that you can take your time. Their skill in a subject may not improve in a day, but persistent effort will definitely pay off!

3. Introduce your child to a reading program

One often overlooked form of Selective School exam preparation is reading! Introduce your Year 4 child to a reading program to improve their writing and reading comprehension. The ability to write well is perhaps the most versatile skill that a student can have. This is because most subjects require some form of written communication. You can find other benefits of reading in our article discussing 5 reasons students should read books.

reading book 5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam


Implementing a reading program will introduce your Year 4 child to more books.It is beneficial to start preparations early to help build your Year 4 child’s confidence in writing and reading.

This will help expand their vocabulary and familiarise them with good prose.

How do you do this? Once a week, you can also set a task for your child to write a creative piece of writing of 300-500 words. You can allow your child to write about whatever they want, or provide your child with prompts around the house to help them get started. When they write, encourage your child to try and emulate the different styles of authors that they enjoy reading.

When your child has finished their creative piece, take the time to look over their work. At a Year 4 level, you want to ensure that they grasp the basics of writing, such as:

  • Cause and effect. Does their narrative flow? Do events flow into each other with some semblance of logic?
  • Description. You want to see some descriptive language. Look out for techniques other than adjectives that help create an image in your head, such as simile or metaphors.
  • Grammar and punctuation. In Year 4, your child should be able to competently spell most words and construct sentences of varying length.

If your child appears to be lacking in any of the above areas, or you notice something for yourself, then follow these steps to provide effective feedback to your child.

Finally, providing your Year 4 child with a book where they can jot down the definition of new words will help expand their vocabulary and increase their proficiency in writing. Encourage your child to revise the contents of this book throughout the year. The more your child reads – and reads in a critical and engaged manner – the better it will prepare your year 4 child for the Selective School exam


4. Practise, practise, practise!

Ease your Year 4 child into the habit of doing practice worksheets that are appropriate for their current school level. Get them to complete these sheets under mock exam conditions (no calculator, no distractions, time limit).

Working under pressure will help your child to start thinking more efficiently!

It is important that your child understands the importance of discipline when undertaking the Selective School exam. The exam is a timed gauntlet with separate sections and subjects and must be completed without any assistance from a teacher, parent or device.

Students must pace themselves in order to complete each section before the allocated time period expires. Timed practice is essential to prepare your year 4 child for the Selective School exam and its

While these mock exams may not be at the level of difficulty of the Selective Trial test, you and your child should still treat them as such. To help your child turn on their exam mindset, consider creating a dedicated study space for them. Try to separate them from any possible distractions such as household noises, the television and electronics.

Here is a quick step-by-step process to help you get started:

  1. Find a quiet part of your house where your child can study.
  2. Ensure that this location is not nearby any electronics such as a TV or a gaming console.
  3. Set up the necessary furniture (chair, desk, lamp, timer clock) as well as stationery.
  4. Set a timer for your child to complete the assignment. The allocated time will vary depending on the task. Some maths workbooks may have tests inside them, with a recommended time allocation. Otherwise, you may have to measure it by eye. In cases like these, make sure you adjust the allotted time depending on how quickly or slowly your Year 4 child finishes the exercise.
another kid studying 5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam

5. Balance is everything

It is important to have a balanced lifestyle, even when your Year 4 child is busy preparing for the Selective School tests. Remember that your child is still developing emotionally and physically. Children especially should not be cooped up at a desk all day at home, especially when school can already be so mentally draining.

It is important that you allow your child some time to relax and unwind each day and ensure that they get enough exercise so that they remain healthy and happy. Signing them up for an extracurricular sport of their choice can be a good idea (like basketball or soccer). You can also take them to the park to play around and relax. Kick a ball, or throw a frisbee!

kid with foot on soccer ball 5 Tips To Prepare Your Year 4 Child For The Selective School Exam


So, there you go. 5 tips to prepare your Year 4 child for the Selective School exam. By following these steps, your child will surely be on the path to excelling in the exam!Allow them to pursue a hobby on the weekends. This will provide stress relief for your child and also gives them an avenue to develop other non-academic skills. Painting or gardening are good ideas for hobbies that are not too expensive. Remember, a healthy child is a happy child. And a happy child will be more engaged at school!

If you’re looking for more help with your child’s academic progress, check out our Year 4 course.

Written by Sunny Kim


© Matrix Education and, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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