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Opportunity Class

Opportunity Classes | The complete OC Test Guide

Written by Shefali Sundram

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Opportunity Classes in NSW, are government primary school classes for the academically gifted Year 5 and Year 6 students with high potential.

These classes bring together students who possess similar learning abilities along with that they are provided with specially trained teachers who help them grow to the fullest of their potential.  

Parents typically apply for Opportunity Classes when their children are in Year 4. Students who are placed attend the opportunity class full-time in Years 5 and 6 at a primary school that has an opportunity class.

There is no option to apply only for Year 6 placement.

Opportunity Class is a two-year program of placement. Students who obtain a place in an opportunity class will typically leave their previous school to attend the school with an opportunity class.

Academically brilliant children who are placed in an Opportunity Class can benefit from the experience and move forward in their preparation for the subsequent Selective School Placement test.

Which Schools Offer Opportunity Classes?

In NSW, 77 primary schools provide opportunity classes. The 77 NSW primary schools providing opportunity classes in 2023 offer 1840 placements for Year 5 opportunity classes.

The majority of schools provide 15 or 30 OC placements. For 2023 Artarmon and Woollarah public schools each provided 60 OC placements, while Aurora College provided 100 virtual OC placements (remote and online).

Is it beneficial to apply for the Opportunity Classes?

Yes, it is extremely beneficial to apply for OC classes. Students are trained to work in a high-achieving setting through these classes. The schedule they have and the problems that they tackle daily help them to be prepared for their future. 

Taking the OC test in itself is a terrific learning experience, even if you are unsure that the OC stream is appropriate for your child.

This will enable students to gain a better understanding of testing circumstances and prepare for future exams like the Selective Test and any private education scholarship test.

Whether or not an Opportunity Class is suitable for your child’s education will depend on many factors. However, younger children could experience too much stress from this demanding academic atmosphere.

Additionally, not all institutions offer OC streams, so students who want to register in an OC class may need to apply to another school.

What do students and parents need to know regarding Opportunity Classes?

Here’s a quick summary of the things you need to know about the OC test:

  • The OC test is taken by Year 4 students for a place in academically selective Year 5 Opportunity Classes. Opportunity Class is a two-year curriculum comprising of Year 5 and Year 6
  • The OC test is a written multiple choice type of exam that awards a place in an academically selective class at one of 77 NSW public schools.
  • The OC test is divided into three sections:
    • Reading
    • Mathematical skills
    • Thinking skills 
  • You should apply for admission to an opportunity class when your child is in Year 4. Stay in the loop and find out about the application procedure, including the requirements and requesting disability accommodations.
  • Apply for the OC placement through the application form on the NSW Government Public School Website. Do not forget to pick two primary OC schools in the application process.
  • OC Test is normally held in July every year. The OC test for 2024 entry is on 27 July 2023.
  • The selection process is based on the academic merit of the OC placement test.
  • Refer to the NSW government website for advice for studying, past-year test samples, and what to carry on test day.

Who can apply for Opportunity Classes?

  • All Students of NSW studying in Year 4 and meeting the residency criteria are eligible to apply
  • Residency specifications for students applying for OC classes are as below:
    • By the beginning of the school year of enrollment, a student’s household must be residing in NSW.  
    • To enroll in an opportunity class, a pupil must be an Australian citizen, a naturalized citizen of Australia, or a New Zealand citizen.
    • Except for students on the reserve list, your child will be eligible to take the OC test only when they are in Year 4. 
  • Note: There are no direct entries to opportunity classes in Year 6.

How to apply and what steps to follow to gain admission in the OC classes?

1. Submission of an Online Application Form

The first step is for parents to apply online via the NSW Government Public School Website.

The applications are open for a two-week window, which is usually in the first half of May. This application must be completed the year before admission, i.e. when their child is in Year 4.

On the application, parents can select up to two primary schools that offer opportunity classes.

2. Include Supporting Materials

You must include the necessary support materials with your child’s application. In addition, the school principal at your child’s current school will automatically provide the school’s scores in Mathematics and English.

3. Post application

Parents will be notified of the date of the upcoming placement test and the location once their application has been received and processed.

For students in Year 4, this exam will be held in July.

The exam is frequently held close to the child’s current school, at a government high school.

4. Notification of the result

After the tests have been scored, parents are notified in October. If your child is chosen, he or she will be offered a position at the school on their list.

Some students may have been put on a waiting list, while others may be told they have been rejected.

Please keep in mind that all students were first scored and then listed based on their academic merit. This is determined by combining primary school Math and English assessment scores, as well as the Opportunity Class Placement Test results. 

When do you apply for OC?

The exact application date varies from year to year. Usually, applications open at the end of the first school term. It is important to regularly check the OC application process page to make sure you don’t miss out on any important updates.

Quick Guide to gain admission to Opportunity Classes

Crucial dates for the 2024 Opportunity Class: 

  • Start of OC applications: April 2023.
  • Last date for submitting the OC application:  May 2023.
  • Date of the OC test: July 27, 2023

How to choose the right school to go to for OC classes?

It’s very important to choose the right school to go to for OC classes and you might get confused regarding the same. Here are the key aspects which you should consider while making a decision:

  • School Rankings

School rankings by the government are an important factor that one should consider as it determines the quality of education.

Schools that have a higher ranking will be in higher demand and would have higher entry scores. It might be a safe option for you to apply to the top-ranking primary education schools since they rank around the same top numbers each year.

  • Distance 

Traveling long distances can be a major headache. Thus it is good if the school you choose is nearby as it would save you the trouble of traveling long distances. 

  • Your ward’s academic capabilities

To choose an appropriate school it is important to keep in mind the rankings of the schools that you are looking at and if your child can match the entry score of your selected school. 

Your child’s opinion is important as well since it’s their last two years of primary schooling and they should have a say in which school they want to go to.

However bear in mind their decision might be influenced by their friends, extracurricular activities, or some other reason. It’s therefore important to make a practical decision here.

What is the OC selection process?

The selection process is conducted in an extremely fair and just manner. The students are adequately judged on their academic merit based on their OC placement test.

The Equity Placement Model addresses unplanned obstacles to entry for students from low socioeconomic advantaged backgrounds, Aboriginal students, remote and rural areas students, and students with disabilities to promote fair and equal opportunities for all potentially high and gifted students.

If a student is absent from a test for a genuine reason, an alternate solution is given in which you need to provide evidence of intellectual qualifications to evaluate the student. The selection panel will then use this rank to make placement decisions.

What is the OC Placement Test?

The OC Placement Test is a paper-based exam that awards a place (out of 1840) in academically selective classes at one of 77 NSW public schools.

The test starts at 9 a.m. sharp, so make sure you arrive on time or a little early to be on the safer side. Nothing is more stressful than scrambling into an exam hall with only seconds to spare.

What is the structure of the OC Placement Test?

The OC evaluation is a one-day paper-based exam that lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes.

There are 90 questions in total. 

The OC test is separated into three sections:

  • Reading Skills
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Thinking Skills

All three tests contain only multiple-choice questions, and the OC test does not include a writing section.

The three OC test segments are as follows:

Test SectionQuestionsTest Duration
Reading Skills2530 minutes
Mathematical Reasoning3540 minutes
Thinking Skills3030 minutes
Structure of OC Placement Test

Getting an OC placement offer

Your OC placement results will be one of the following options:

  • You have been offered a spot at one of the two schools you specified.
  • You have been waitlisted for one or both of your preferred schools.
  • Both of your school selections were unsuccessful.

If your child has received an offer for Opportunity Class placement, you should reply to the placement offer before the deadline.

If you haven’t received any offer letter, your child would have been added to the OC reserve list for the schools of their choice. If this is the scenario, keep in mind that this list will be active until at least the end of Term 1 of Year 6.

Reading Skills in OC test

The OC Placement Test Reading test is to assess students’ ability to think critically in verbal ability. Students are supposed to read a variety of texts and answer related questions on the Reading test.

This section of the test assesses comprehension ability by having students read a passage and then answer questions that test their understanding of the passage.

Let us look at the key aspects of the OC Reading Test:

Format of the OC Reading Test

On the day of the OC test, the first test is the OC Reading test. Students are given 30 minutes in which they will receive a Reading question paper containing 25 multiple-choice questions. In the Reading test, students can expect to read 4-5 longer passages.

Key skills needed to pass the OC Reading test

1. You must possess the ability to understand the information before you.

2. You should be able to guess the meanings of words and phrases.

3. You need to understand a text’s literal and inferred meaning. 

How to Get Your Child Ready for the OC Reading Exam?

Your child’s foundational English skills play a role in order to crack this section.

You should prepare your child for the kind of questions that are likely to appear in the exam.

Begin by having your child complete the sample Reading paper available on the NSW Department of Education website. The more exercise you get, the better.

Read our Detailed Guide on OC Reading Test for in-depth coverage of OC Reading Exam

Mathematical Reasoning in OC Test

In the OC test, the Mathematical Reasoning section evaluates students’ critical thinking abilities in problem-solving with questions drawn from a variety of mathematical content areas.

The OC Mathematical Reasoning test requires students to apply their mathematical knowledge and skills to difficulties from a variety of math content areas.

Format of the OC Mathematical Reasoning section

There are 35 multiple-choice questions to solve in 40 minutes on the day of the OC Mathematical Reasoning test.

The Mathematical Reasoning test includes, but is not limited to, the following question types:

  • Number Sequences and Patterns
  • Measurement Issues
  • Numerical Puzzles
  • Combinations of Worded Puzzles

How to Achieve Success on the OC Mathematical Reasoning Exam

Here’s our 3-step guide to prepare your child for the OC Mathematical Reasoning Exam

Step 1: Establish a solid foundation in Math.

It is essential to have a good foundation in math as it will guide you to solve the questions without difficulty. Your child might find it difficult to solve Worded Puzzles question type if they lack the necessary knowledge and skills in Year 3 and 4 Mathematics.

Step 2: Learn the techniques for the five types of questions in the Mathematical Reasoning test.

Students have just over 1.1 minutes per question to answer 35 questions in 40 minutes. Students must be able to identify the type of questions and apply the right technique to solve the question if they want to finish in time.

Step 3: Practice under exam conditions

You should have mock tests for your child under time-constrained conditions, this would help them to work under pressure. Your child finds the right balance between speed and accuracy for the Mathematical Reasoning Test if you follow this. 

Read our Detailed Guide on OC Mathematical Reasoning Test for in-depth coverage of OC Mathematical Reasoning Exam

Thinking Skills in the OC Test

The OC Placement Test’s Thinking Skills section is intended to assess students’ critical thinking abilities.

In this section, students are supposed to identify patterns to solve visual, numerical, crosswords, and puzzles covering a wide range of topics on the Thinking Skills test.

Students are given 30 minutes for the OC Thinking Skills test and have to answer 30 multiple-choice questions in it.

Types of Questions in the Thinking Skills Exam

The Thinking Skills test questions can be classified as Spatial Reasoning or Logical Reasoning.

There are nine different types of questions in Spatial Reasoning and four different types of questions in Logical Reasoning.

Spatial Reasoning

These questions involve shapes and visual pattern recognition. Spatial Reasoning is similar to Nonverbal Reasoning. However, Spatial Reasoning questions emphasize the ability to visualize various arrangements of the same image or shape.

Some examples of question types are:

  • Shape folding and cutting
  • Recognizing symmetries and shapes that fit together Recognizing shape nets
  • Obtaining top, side, and three-dimensional views of shapes
  • Recognizing unusual shapes in a spatial arrangement
  • Recognizing visual patterns
  • Recognizing shape reflections or rotations

Logical Reasoning

Logical Reasoning is all about using logic to solve, deduce, and draw conclusions based on any given set of rules.

Some examples of question types are:

  • Logic games
  • Syllogisms
  • Identifying logical errors
  • Identifying the most persuasive argument

How to Pass the Thinking Skills Test Despite Its Difficulty

The Thinking Skills test measures students’ critical thinking abilities across a variety of topics. We discovered that tackling the following basic areas of weakness can help you improve your ability to answer Thinking Skills questions:

1. Solving verbal problems

Students with poor reading and writing skills might find it a bit hard with the Logical Fallacies and Strongest Argument sections. If students struggle with this component, they should begin by improving their vocabulary and comprehension skills.

2. Illustration

Spatial Reasoning questions are more difficult for students who struggle with mental deception and visualizing shapes. When practicing, drawing diagrams, and using physical models can often help students improve their visualization skills.

3. Pattern recognition

If your child is weaker at pattern recognition and completing sequences, they might find the Non-verbal Reasoning sections more difficult. Try to point out everyday patterns and sequences to expand the scope of your child’s experience with pattern recognition.

Read our Detailed Guide on OC Thinking Skills Test for in-depth coverage of OC Thinking Skills Exam

Tips to Help You in the OC Examination

  • Step 1: Establish a solid foundation in English and Math.
    Your child will struggle with the questions in the Reading and Thinking Skills tests if they do not have the necessary knowledge and skills in Year 3 and 4 English. 
  • Step 2: Learn the techniques for the 13 types of questions in the Thinking Skills test.
    Students have approximately 60 seconds to answer each question with 30 minutes allotted to answer 30 questions. It is critical to complete the OC Thinking Skills exam precisely and quickly.
  • Step 3: Strike a balance between speed and accuracy.
    Practice is the only sure way to do this. Get your kid used to exam circumstances by having him or her try small batches of questions within a similar time limit regularly.
  • For example, your child could attempt 10 Critical Thinking practice questions in under 10 minutes, to get them all correct.

Conclusion

It might get overwhelming to prepare but structured test preparation is essential to crack the OC Test. The key to success is to practice and keep yourself up to date with the updates regarding the OC application form.

If your child has doubts and needs tutoring you can check out Wiingy, which offers a variety of specialized tutors who can help your ward. They offer various courses in Math, English, Coding, and many other subjects which will help gain knowledge and expand your learning arena. 

FAQs

How long is the OC Placement Test? 

The OC evaluation is a one-day paper-based exam that lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes.

How do you pass the OC test? 

To prepare for the OC test you should begin by reviewing the topics briefly and explore your strengths and weaknesses. Create a timetable that you can follow and maintain notes, the key to success is to remain consistent throughout the preparation. Do everything step by step and make sure to practice through the sample papers.

Written by

Shefali Sundram

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