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!

Selective-Guide-the-selective-school-application-process Fixed Mobile Banners

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 2020, you can apply online between 8th October 2019 to 11th November 2019.

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 2021, here are some key dates to keep in mind:


8 October: Online Application opens for entry into Selective Schools in 2021
11 November: Application closes
6 December: Principals provide school assessment scores for entry in 2021

Late-February: Letter sent to parents regarding test location and further information
Thursday 12 March: Test Date for entry to Year 7 in 2021
Late-April: Last day to change Selective School choices for entry in 2021
Early-July: Release of results
Mid-July: Due date to accept/reject offers

Mid-January: Welcome letter from school for applicants enrolling in Year 7 in 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 HighReserve 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 HighUnsuccessful
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 2020.

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 19th December 2019.

If you wish to remain on the list after 19th December 2019, 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 2018 according to the table below:


Selective SchoolsLast offer on reserve list
James Ruse High50
North Sydney Boys High42
Sydney Girls High31
Baulkham Hills High32
North Sydney Girls High44
Sydney Boys High46
Hornsby Girls High30
Northern Beaches Secondary College43
Fort Street High38
Normanhurst Boys High45
St George Girls High32
Girraween High13
Sydney Technical High44
Penrith High26
Hurlstone Agricultural High45
Caringbah High44
Smith’s Hill28
Gosford High87
Merewether High35
Sefton High22

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!

© Matrix Education and, 2020. 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.


Get free study tips and resources delivered to your inbox.

Join 75,893 students who already have a head start.

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Read our cookies statement.

OK, I understand