Part 2: The Selective School Application Process and Test Results

When should I apply for a Selective School? What does the Reserve List mean? We will answer all your questions here!

In this article, we will explain what the selective school application process is. We’ll give you all the links for your application, important dates, and explain the different lists for candidates.

What is the Selective School application process?

To sit the test in March 2021, you can apply online between 13th October 2020 to 17th November 2020.

To register your child, here are the important steps you need to follow:

  1. Fill out the application form online.
  2. Choose up to 3 Selective Schools ranked according to your preference.
  3. Submit the form.
  4. Check your email for a confirmation.

For students wishing to enter a Selective School in 2022, here are some key dates to keep in mind:



13 October: Online Application opens for entry into Selective Schools in 2022
17 November: Application closes
4 December: Principals provide school assessment scores for entry in 2022


25 February: Letter sent to parents regarding test location and further information
Thursday 11 March: Test Date for entry to Year 7 in 2022
18 March: Illness/misadventure requests due
25 April: Last day to change Selective School choices for entry in 2022
2 July: Release of results
9 July: Appeals due
Mid-July: Due date to accept/reject offers


Mid-January: Welcome letter from school for applicants enrolling in Year 7 in 2022

The dates for 2023 applications will be released in the second half of 2021.


Getting Your Results

The outcome of your child’s result is usually released in early July and a response form must be returned within 2 weeks.

If you are also thinking of enrolling your child to a private school where they usually require an application fee to be paid in June, this can be a huge inconvenience. However, you can get early advice in June by applying here.

There are four possible outcomes your child will receive:

  1. Offer
  2. Offer with higher choice reserve/s
  3. Reserve
  4. Unsuccessful

Usually, parents have trouble understanding what the second and third outcome means. If you are unsure, read on!

Selective Test Outcome: Reserve List

1. Offer with higher choice reserve

You may receive an offer as well as being placed on the reserve list. It may look something like this:


Applicant 1

High School Applied in Preferential OrderOutcome
James Ruse Agricultural High SchoolReserve List: 30
Sydney Boys HighOffer
Normanhurst Boys HighNot Applicable

This table shows that Applicant 1 has received an offer for Sydney Boys but is on the reserve list for James Ruse.

A common question that gets asked is, if I accept Sydney Boys, will I forfeit my position on the reserve list for James Ruse? The simple answer is no – you can accept the offer to Sydney Boys and opt to remain on the reserve list for James Ruse. If 30 students reject their offer to James Ruse, then Applicant 1 would have a spot at their first preference! Offers to those on the reserve list are usually made in early August.


2. Reserve List Only

If your child is placed only on the reserve list, it may look something like this:


Applicant 2

High School Applied in Preferential OrderOutcome
James Ruse Agricultural High SchooolUnsuccessful
Sydney Boys HighReserve List: 40
Normanhurst Boys HighReserve List: 10

This table shows that Applicant 2 has not received any offers but is on the reserve list for Sydney Boys and Normanhurst Boys.

Let’s pretend Applicant 2 was NOT made an offer in early August to either Normanhurst Boys or Sydney Boys. They can still remain on the reserve list until Term 1 2022.

You may be wondering, well what happens if Applicant 2 was made an offer to Normanhurst Boys in early August but NOT Sydney Boys? You can still remain on the reserve list until 3PM 15th December 2021.

If you wish to remain on the list after 15th December 2021, you must reject the offer to Normanhurst Boys. This can be a bit of a gamble. Read on to find out how likely your child is to be offered a place if they are on the reserve list.


Likelihood of offer on Reserve List

For Applicant 2 in the above example, they may be wondering if they have a legitimate chance of being offered a place at Sydney Boys. Since they are 40th on the reserve list, they would have received a place in 2021 according to the table below:


Selective SchoolsLast offer on reserve list
James Ruse High43
North Sydney Boys High42
Sydney Girls High42
Baulkham Hills High21
North Sydney Girls High50
Sydney Boys High42
Hornsby Girls High27
Northern Beaches Secondary College30
Fort Street High60
Normanhurst Boys High27
St George Girls High43
Girraween High11
Sydney Technical High42
Penrith High27
Hurlstone Agricultural High46
Caringbah High36
Smith’s Hill15
Gosford High74
Merewether High27
Sefton High31

Keep in mind these numbers will change year to year.


Preparing for the Selective Schools test

Now that you understand how all the essentials work, read on to find out what is the Selective Test and how you can help your child to ace it!

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