Selective entry high schools

​​Selective entry high schools are for high-achieving students in years 9 to 12.

These schools accept students through a competitive entrance exam. Some enrolments are also made based on equity consideration or at the discretion of the school principal.

Students must be in their second year of secondary school to apply to sit the entrance exam. This is usually year 8.

Each year, applications open mid-February and close early May. The exam is held on the Saturday following the Queen's birthday public holiday.

The schools

There are four selective entry high schools in Victoria:

Only contact the schools if you have specific questions about their courses or programs. For all other questions contact the Department.


At selective entry high schools:

There are a limited number of places. A maximum of 5% of Year 8 students from any one school can be accepted across the four selective entry high schools.

Apply to sit the exam

Your child must be:

  • in their second year of secondary school. This is usually year 8.
  • an Australian citizen or holding a visa for permanent resident status.

Use the online application form to apply. The application fee is $120. Applications are free for low-income or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

When you apply you can list up to three school preferences. Put your most preferred school as number one.

Only list schools you're prepared to accept and would like your child to go to. You should also think about how far you live from each school and how your child will get there.

Read the selective entry information pack (docx - 2.47mb) before you apply.

Sitting the exam

Your child sits one exam to apply to the schools in your chosen preferences. Their results will determine if they’re offered a place for the next school year.

The exam includes five tests:

  • Verbal reasoning (multiple-choice, 30 minutes)
  • Numerical reasoning (multiple-choice, 30 minutes)
  • Persuasive or creative writing (writing task, 30 minutes)
  • Reading comprehension (multiple-choice, 30 minutes)
  • Mathematics (multiple-choice, 30 minutes).

The entire exam takes about three hours. There is usually one 15-minute break.

Before each multiple-choice test, the administrator will go through three practice examples. This is to make sure that students know what to expect.

The exam is designed to be challenging. It’s common for students to not finish the entire exam.

If you live interstate or overseas there are options to sit the exam remotely. Contact us for more information.

How to prepare for the exam

  • Go through the practice tests.
  • Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep.
  • Don't place unnecessary pressure on your child. It may create anxiety and affect their results.
  • Try to be as calm as possible before the exam to help your child relax.
  • Remember that the entrance exam is quite demanding. It's designed to challenge students. Make sure you and your child have realistic expectations of their results.

It's common for students to only answer half the questions correctly, and to not finish the whole exam. Let your child know so they don't panic if they run out of time.

What to bring to the exam

You'll receive an information pack in the week before the exam. The pack includes student identification numbers, transport and venue information.

Your child should bring these items to the examination:

  • The exam ID number from the information pack
  • Photo ID
  • Two 2B or 4B pencils, a sharpener and an eraser. A blue or black biro is optional for the writing tasks.
  • A snack and drink for the break.

You child is not allowed to bring these items to the exam:

  • Mobile phones
  • Digital watches
  • Pencil cases
  • Rulers
  • Scrap paper
  • Calculators
  • Dictionaries
  • Bags

What to expect on exam day

Your child should:

  • arrive on time
  • go to the toilet before the exam starts
  • listen carefully to instructions
  • use a 2B or 4B pencil for the multi-choice sections
  • colour in the answer circles fully and dark enough for the scanning process
  • use the back of the answer sheets for any working-out (don’t write in the test booklets)
  • read test questions as they are written and don’t make assumptions based on prior knowledge
  • be aware that all the information needed to answer a question is in the question
  • answer as many questions as possible in the allocated time
  • try not to leave any blank answers. If they aren’t sure, choose the answer that fits best – they won’t lose marks for incorrect answers
  • check they are answering the question in the right spot on the answer sheet. The spots are marked with question numbers
  • be aware that if they cheat they need to leave and will not have their results scored.

We recommend your child goes through the practice tests before the exam. Their teachers may be able to set up a test environment so your child can feel what it's like to sit in an exam.

Exam results and offers

After the exam we'll give you a report on how your child's score compares to other students. We do not release individual exam results.

Eligible students are offered places based on their exam results.

If your child is offered a place:

  1. We will send you an email with the offer details.
  2. You must accept or decline the offer by the deadline, by following the instructions in the email.
  3. You'll receive an email to confirm your decision. Contact us​ if you haven't received it within 24 hours of accepting or declining the offer.

If your child qualifies for more than one school, you will only be offered your highest preference. You cannot choose from your preferences or transfer an offer.

If we don't hear back about an offer before the deadline or if the offer is declined, it will go to another student. This means offers may continue until late November.

Your child's enrolment isn't final until it's processed by the school. Once your child starts school they cannot transfer to another selective entry high school.

Equity consideration

Equity consideration helps to ensure that all students have access to the same opportunities.

Up to 10% of places at each selective entry high school are filled through the equity consideration category. You can apply for equity consideration if:

  • you have a Commonwealth health care card or pension card, and qualify for income support benefits
  • your child is Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

To apply, enter these numbers into the online application form:

  • The primary cardholder's Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN).
  • Your child's Centrelink Customer Reference Number.

If you apply for equity consideration it does not reduce your child’s chance of being offered a place at a selective entry high school.

Principal's discretion

Up to 5% of enrolments can be at the principal's discretion.

Each selective entry high school will contact students and invite them to apply. This invitation is not an offer of a place.

Applicants are then short-listed and interviewed by the principal.

Special consideration

Complete the selective entry illness / misadventure form (doc - 67kb) if your child was not able to attend the exam. This could be due to illness, an accident or other misadventure.

Complete the selective entry special consideration form (doc - 92kb) if your child's performance during the exam may have been affected. This could be due to illness, injury or personal trauma on the day of the exam.