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Thread: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

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    Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    So recently my friend and I had a conversation on the MAIN differences between Selective schools (mainly the top 10-20 ones) and the comprehensive/semi-selective schools and what makes the Selective schools stand out so much academically. So I'd like to ask you guys on the main differences between Selective schools and the rest and why Selective schools do so well compared to others.

    So firstly, the obvious may be that only the best go to Selective schools (well at least the top 10 ones) since they did really well in the test and all. I never did the selective test, so I don't know much about it but I don't know if you can classify those who did it as the 'best', since I know many people who are in Selective schools who did a lot of coaching to get in (which is an advantage I'm sure). However, I'm sure there's other reasons for their success in Year 12 (how come they continue to do so well from Year 7-12?)

    My friend said that schools like Ruse and NSB tend to have teachers who don't teach from textbooks but rather make questions up on their own (mainly for Math) which tend to be way harder than the usual questions. Is this true? If so, do your exams tend to be way harder than any other normal school doing 5.3 Math?

    Apart from the competitiveness, what makes students from Selective schools do so well compared to the rest in the HSC? Is it the teachers? Is it the content taught? Do the schools make students do accelerated content i.e. Year 10 kids do Prelim stuff? What's the reasoning behind their success? I've heard 90% of Selective kids do coaching, how come?

    Not trying to cause a war or anything, just curious on the success behind Selective kids (mainly the top 10 ones). Looking forward to responses from you guys.
    Last edited by _Anonymous; 13 Aug 2017 at 8:15 PM.

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    What makes Real Madrid better than Sydney FC? Like Real Madrid, the top 10-20 selective schools attract all the best students. The schools themselves therefore have a more competitive and level appropriate environment. At a comprehensive school, teachers need to cater for 99+ ATAR calibre students all the way to kids that can barely read.

    To me, the answer is as simple as that.
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by enoilgam View Post
    What makes Real Madrid better than Sydney FC? Like Real Madrid, the top 10-20 selective schools attract all the best students. The schools themselves therefore have a more competitive and level appropriate environment. At a comprehensive school, teachers need to cater for 99+ ATAR calibre students all the way to kids that can barely read.

    To me, the answer is as simple as that.
    Yes, that's a simple way of thinking about it and it's the more obvious one as well. But once the schools attain these 'top' students, what is their style of teaching which makes them so much more successful than comprehensive style of teaching? Like you said, yes comprehensive schools have a broader range of students which teachers have to deal with in teaching, but most of these schools have a Gifted and Talented stream or something of that sorts I believe where they either put kids who perform well in a school test (not Selective style) or kids who do well in their reports in the same class. Now if we just focus on the G&T students of these Comprehensive schools and compare them with Selective students, I would assume both are striving to achieve that .95 or whatever, but it's usually the Selective kids who are more likely to get that .95.

    Clearly the style of teaching comes into play, and that's what I want to know the difference between. I don't think teachers who teach G&T kids in a comprehensive school would have too much of a difficulty to teach since most of the time the G&T kids are accelerated than the other kids academically and there wouldn't be a broad difference (like you mentioned from kids learning to read to kids capable of getting 99+ ATAR). Surely the Selective School teachers have a style of teaching for kids in their school which Comprehensive schools lack. And if that's the case, could the comprehensive G&T kids be able to cope with that style of teaching as well?

    Now if there isn't any difference (i.e. Math class in NSB would consist of textbook work similar to Math class in a comprehensive 5.3 class), then it's probably just the environment. But I doubt that's the case, but I'm probably wrong.

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    Surely the Selective School teachers have a style of teaching for kids in their school which Comprehensive schools lack. And if that's the case, could the comprehensive G&T kids be able to cope with that style of teaching as well?
    Well, in a way yes because a selective teacher can cater to students who are at a similar level.
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    The students are selected; but are the teachers? Of course those teachers who are not up to it would be under a lot of stress and would prefer not to stay.
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    And what do these Selective teachers teach that the Comprehensive teachers don't? Reverts back to my original question; do they make up questions on their own whilst teaching or do they follow the textbook and assign questions from the textbook (similar to comprehensive teachers)?

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    Yes, that's a simple way of thinking about it and it's the more obvious one as well. But once the schools attain these 'top' students, what is their style of teaching which makes them so much more successful than comprehensive style of teaching? Like you said, yes comprehensive schools have a broader range of students which teachers have to deal with in teaching, but most of these schools have a Gifted and Talented stream or something of that sorts I believe where they either put kids who perform well in a school test (not Selective style) or kids who do well in their reports in the same class. Now if we just focus on the G&T students of these Comprehensive schools and compare them with Selective students, I would assume both are striving to achieve that .95 or whatever, but it's usually the Selective kids who are more likely to get that .95.

    Clearly the style of teaching comes into play, and that's what I want to know the difference between. I don't think teachers who teach G&T kids in a comprehensive school would have too much of a difficulty to teach since most of the time the G&T kids are accelerated than the other kids academically and there wouldn't be a broad difference (like you mentioned from kids learning to read to kids capable of getting 99+ ATAR). Surely the Selective School teachers have a style of teaching for kids in their school which Comprehensive schools lack. And if that's the case, could the comprehensive G&T kids be able to cope with that style of teaching as well?

    Now if there isn't any difference (i.e. Math class in NSB would consist of textbook work similar to Math class in a comprehensive 5.3 class), then it's probably just the environment. But I doubt that's the case, but I'm probably wrong.
    Can confirm that this isn't exactly true. If you ask people from my own school (Baulkham Hills) or Ruse how instrumental their teacher's teaching style affected their ATARs they would probably reply with "not much" because they know their success is largely attributed to their OWN work. Yes I agree, most of teachers at selective schools aren't awful and know sufficient content but I don't feel it's entirely accurate to label them as miracle workers either especially if you take into account the overwhelming culture of tutoring colleges and private tutoring that exists in Selective Schools.

    However, being someone who was placed in my school's bottom maths class in Year 8 (bottom 30) I am able to share personal insight into the nuances I've ascertained between how selective schools like my own treat their very best students (top class students) as opposed to their bottom class students. From my own experience in bottom class, what you will find is that the teachers assigned to these classes are arguably more interactive (notice how I didn't say 'better' or 'knowledgeable') and will spend the energy and effort to physically drag you all the way back up from the dumps and put you in a position to catch up to the rest of the cohort. From my senior experience (Yr11-12) in the top maths class, my teacher was the Head of Maths and there was significantly less personal-training style of teaching that I had in yr8, instead we spent more time on harder and even extracurricular questions and the lessons were substantially more 'chill' as he knew we all went to private tuition outside school and had learnt all the content. This kind of system is thus deliberately designed to cater to what students of a particular ability need-ultimately this helpful but is at most a supplement because in the end it is up to you.
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    They attract the best students.
    Not just from the selective test, but every year from 7-10 or so all the best students from other schools leave and get into these top 10 schools. Sort of like a brain drain except for selective schools hahaha.

    I know teachers are important, but I really question their relevance when everyone in selective schools probably self teaches or has a half dozen tutors at their disposal, lol. Moreso the students I reckon
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    And what do these Selective teachers teach that the Comprehensive teachers don't? Reverts back to my original question; do they make up questions on their own whilst teaching or do they follow the textbook and assign questions from the textbook (similar to comprehensive teachers)?
    ummmm

    coming from a top 5 school

    a majority of my teachers aren't very good
    some of them expect everyone to already go tutoring, some just spam us with worksheets and hope we read the textbook at home (we don't), others just give us a set of notes to read and expect us to do homework from textbooks (most teachers don't even check up on our hw)

    plus our assessment tasks are quite questionable e.g. for english it's mostly hand in, our first in class task was trials and wow that was a mess for pretty much everyone

    in the end it all comes down to the students rather than the teachers: if the right amount/type of effort is put in then it doesn't really matter if you have a good/bad teacher, let alone a selective/comprehensive school

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    And what do these Selective teachers teach that the Comprehensive teachers don't? Reverts back to my original question; do they make up questions on their own whilst teaching or do they follow the textbook and assign questions from the textbook (similar to comprehensive teachers)?
    Maths homework wise, Ruse teachers don't really make up questions on their own. Sometimes, they consult the Fitzpatrick or Cambridge textbooks but mostly, they give us random printouts from an assortment of books. We do learn some materials in advance; for instance, we learnt polynomials in Year 9.

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew12678 View Post
    Can confirm that this isn't exactly true. If you ask people from my own school (Baulkham Hills) or Ruse how instrumental their teacher's teaching style affected their ATARs they would probably reply with "not much" because they know their success is largely attributed to their OWN work. Yes I agree, most of teachers at selective schools aren't awful and know sufficient content but I don't feel it's entirely accurate to label them as miracle workers either especially if you take into account the overwhelming culture of tutoring colleges and private tutoring that exists in Selective Schools.

    However, being someone who was placed in my school's bottom maths class in Year 8 (bottom 30) I am able to share personal insight into the nuances I've ascertained between how selective schools like my own treat their very best students (top class students) as opposed to their bottom class students. From my own experience in bottom class, what you will find is that the teachers assigned to these classes are arguably more interactive (notice how I didn't say 'better' or 'knowledgeable') and will spend the energy and effort to physically drag you all the way back up from the dumps and put you in a position to catch up to the rest of the cohort. From my senior experience (Yr11-12) in the top maths class, my teacher was the Head of Maths and there was significantly less personal-training style of teaching that I had in yr8, instead we spent more time on harder and even extracurricular questions and the lessons were substantially more 'chill' as he knew we all went to private tuition outside school and had learnt all the content. This kind of system is thus deliberately designed to cater to what students of a particular ability need-ultimately this helpful but is at most a supplement because in the end it is up to you.
    Did you guys still go over the new topics in class or did your teacher know everyone went to tutoring centres so he decided to instead give you hard questions every lesson? And what were the hard questions from (you mentioned extracurricular, so is that AMC style questions he found online)?

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by worldno17 View Post
    Maths homework wise, Ruse teachers don't really make up questions on their own. Sometimes, they consult the Fitzpatrick or Cambridge textbooks but mostly, they give us random printouts from an assortment of books. We do learn some materials in advance; for instance, we learnt polynomials in Year 9.
    Right, but the printouts they give you; do you find them easy? What I'm trying to get is what level of difficulty the content they teach at Ruse is like. Are you currently doing Prelim content in Year 10 since you guys do learn content a Year advanced? Regardless, do your teachers print notes and hand them each lesson and assign you tasks (i.e. your teacher expects you to already know the content) to complete each period or do you guys still learn Year 10 5.3 content in class and write notes down and then get assigned H/W?

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by 30june2016 View Post
    ummmm

    coming from a top 5 school

    a majority of my teachers aren't very good
    some of them expect everyone to already go tutoring, some just spam us with worksheets and hope we read the textbook at home (we don't), others just give us a set of notes to read and expect us to do homework from textbooks (most teachers don't even check up on our hw)

    plus our assessment tasks are quite questionable e.g. for english it's mostly hand in, our first in class task was trials and wow that was a mess for pretty much everyone

    in the end it all comes down to the students rather than the teachers: if the right amount/type of effort is put in then it doesn't really matter if you have a good/bad teacher, let alone a selective/comprehensive school

    asdfghjkl;
    Sounds brutal for kids who don't do any tutoring at all. So to survive in a top 5 Selective school you need to do Coaching all the time? If that's the case, where do all the students go to do coaching? Is it the mainstream ones like Matrix/Talent 100 or do they go to other places which are better?

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    Sounds brutal for kids who don't do any tutoring at all. So to survive in a top 5 Selective school you need to do Coaching all the time? If that's the case, where do all the students go to do coaching? Is it the mainstream ones like Matrix/Talent 100 or do they go to other places which are better?
    idk man depends on the school

    I guess the people who don't go coaching get pressured by the kids who do go coaching, so they put in the extra effort to stay on top of everything and be at the same level as everyone else.

    Also, people mostly go to mainstream ones or ex-students from the school who did well in their HSC.

    A few go to smaller ones, or private tutors.

    but tbh

    tutoring takes up too much time ( i spend like 10 hours a week at tutoring + 30 mins travel time or more) I could be spending that time idk learning stuff myself, or procrastinating
    correlation does not imply causation

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by 30june2016 View Post
    idk man depends on the school

    I guess the people who don't go coaching get pressured by the kids who do go coaching, so they put in the extra effort to stay on top of everything and be at the same level as everyone else.

    Also, people mostly go to mainstream ones or ex-students from the school who did well in their HSC.

    A few go to smaller ones, or private tutors.

    but tbh

    tutoring takes up too much time ( i spend like 10 hours a week at tutoring + 30 mins travel time or more) I could be spending that time idk learning stuff myself, or procrastinating
    So basically top 5 selective school students only learn content from tutors? I thought the main point of kids going to a 'selective school' was so that they could get 'top-notch' teachers and get amazing teaching so that they could outperform comprehensive students. But if they all do coaching, then if everyone in comprehensive schools did coaching, they'd probs be filled with high ATAR students as well.

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    So basically top 5 selective school students only learn content from tutors? I thought the main point of kids going to a 'selective school' was so that they could get 'top-notch' teachers and get amazing teaching so that they could outperform comprehensive students. But if they all do coaching, then if everyone in comprehensive schools did coaching, they'd probs be filled with high ATAR students as well.
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    But once the schools attain these 'top' students, what is their style of teaching which makes them so much more successful than comprehensive style of teaching?
    They teach students to the standards of a Band 6.

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    I would assume both are striving to achieve that .95 or whatever, but it's usually the Selective kids who are more likely to get that .95.
    Nurture vs nature. 99.95 well implies the student was first or very highly ranked. That tends to be the individual's effort (nature), but certainly there is the need to be in an environment that promotes the maximisation of marks in highly competitive and rigorous examinations (nurture). The student in the normal school, even if in the gifted and talented class, has little competition and their perspective can be severely skewed as to their abilities and achievements.

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    Now if there isn't any difference (i.e. Math class in NSB would consist of textbook work similar to Math class in a comprehensive 5.3 class), then it's probably just the environment. But I doubt that's the case, but I'm probably wrong.
    Even if the textbook work is similar, the selective school, on average, would probably learn and understand the content at a much faster pace than the normal school, on average. That's more time available to be spent on questions and more opportunities to ask questions.

    I think another point that should be raised is that a lot of students do have an Asian background, and as stereotypical as it is, focus on education is ingrained long before the students even set foot in a selective school. There is clearly a disproportionate number of students with an Asian heritage compared to the population of NSW, and this is by no coincidence. The A+ memes for Asians, whilst not completely accurate, is still a valid viewpoint, that study is important and you should aim for and be the top of your class. Now have everyone in your school think this and then you will see how competitive it is.

    What you should do is obtain past papers from those selective schools and compare them to your school or a non-selective school. You will definitely see the level of examination is geared towards gaining those extra percentages when it comes to the HSC.

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Only difference between Selective high schools and normal high schools are that in selective high schools lots of people care about their learning and want to do well (I guess this is done through being brought up by parents in a strict environment and being surrounded by peers of a similar mindset?) as opposed to "normal" high schools where u get some students who care and some who don't

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    Did you guys still go over the new topics in class or did your teacher know everyone went to tutoring centres so he decided to instead give you hard questions every lesson? And what were the hard questions from (you mentioned extracurricular, so is that AMC style questions he found online)?
    We still had to go through the topics because otherwise that's against policy. He would just stop sometimes and go like- "oh there's this theorem you learn at university called L' Hopitale's which can be used to explain this easier..." and we didn't really go through AMC questions just his handpicked questions from ancient HSCs which were significantly harder and more abstract
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by D94 View Post
    They teach students to the standards of a Band 6.


    Nurture vs nature. 99.95 well implies the student was first or very highly ranked. That tends to be the individual's effort (nature), but certainly there is the need to be in an environment that promotes the maximisation of marks in highly competitive and rigorous examinations (nurture). The student in the normal school, even if in the gifted and talented class, has little competition and their perspective can be severely skewed as to their abilities and achievements.



    Even if the textbook work is similar, the selective school, on average, would probably learn and understand the content at a much faster pace than the normal school, on average. That's more time available to be spent on questions and more opportunities to ask questions.

    I think another point that should be raised is that a lot of students do have an Asian background, and as stereotypical as it is, focus on education is ingrained long before the students even set foot in a selective school. There is clearly a disproportionate number of students with an Asian heritage compared to the population of NSW, and this is by no coincidence. The A+ memes for Asians, whilst not completely accurate, is still a valid viewpoint, that study is important and you should aim for and be the top of your class. Now have everyone in your school think this and then you will see how competitive it is.

    What you should do is obtain past papers from those selective schools and compare them to your school or a non-selective school. You will definitely see the level of examination is geared towards gaining those extra percentages when it comes to the HSC.

    Hahaha if only you saw my ranks. Cracked top 5 for only one of my subjects XD
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    Sounds brutal for kids who don't do any tutoring at all. So to survive in a top 5 Selective school you need to do Coaching all the time? If that's the case, where do all the students go to do coaching? Is it the mainstream ones like Matrix/Talent 100 or do they go to other places which are better?
    Those aren't really mainstream at Selective Schools. SS kids usually flock to more niche places like Du, Truongs, Zhangs etc. Furthermore some schools have their only unique places of choice eg. Sigma Science, Shiyamlie for Baulko

    And yes tutoring culture is brutal for other students but honestly the best strategy is 'if you can't beat them join them'
    Last edited by andrew12678; 14 Aug 2017 at 12:07 AM.
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew12678 View Post
    Hahaha if only you saw my ranks. Cracked top 5 for only one of my subjects XD
    Sure, but what were the ATARs of your peers who were ranked above you? Even if you were outside of the top 5 or 10 or 20, your actual mark was effectively first.

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by D94 View Post
    Sure, but what were the ATARs of your peers who were ranked above you? Even if you were outside of the top 5 or 10 or 20, your actual mark was effectively first.
    Without a doubt my cohort could have attained 10+ 99.95s. The end result was 5 99.95s, 3 99.90s. If there were such things as overall ranks I probably would have been around 12th. The major thing which prevented 10+ .95s was just post-trials slump/let off by some of the people in better positions than myself because even my internals would have been enough for 99.95 without my external contribution.
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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by D94 View Post
    They teach students to the standards of a Band 6.


    Nurture vs nature. 99.95 well implies the student was first or very highly ranked. That tends to be the individual's effort (nature), but certainly there is the need to be in an environment that promotes the maximisation of marks in highly competitive and rigorous examinations (nurture). The student in the normal school, even if in the gifted and talented class, has little competition and their perspective can be severely skewed as to their abilities and achievements.



    Even if the textbook work is similar, the selective school, on average, would probably learn and understand the content at a much faster pace than the normal school, on average. That's more time available to be spent on questions and more opportunities to ask questions.

    I think another point that should be raised is that a lot of students do have an Asian background, and as stereotypical as it is, focus on education is ingrained long before the students even set foot in a selective school. There is clearly a disproportionate number of students with an Asian heritage compared to the population of NSW, and this is by no coincidence. The A+ memes for Asians, whilst not completely accurate, is still a valid viewpoint, that study is important and you should aim for and be the top of your class. Now have everyone in your school think this and then you will see how competitive it is.

    What you should do is obtain past papers from those selective schools and compare them to your school or a non-selective school. You will definitely see the level of examination is geared towards gaining those extra percentages when it comes to the HSC.
    What is the style of teaching that gets them Band 6's more often than a student in a comprehensive school? What's being taught there which isn't being taught in a comprehensive school (narrow it down to G&T class)? For example, several different G&T stream students I know from various schools tell me they finish a section of a topic each lesson (hence they do an exercise for homework after each lesson). What's the difference in Selective schools; do they do several different sections of a topic in each lesson and do several different exercises for homework?

    I agree with you on the Asian background bit (G&T streams in comprehensive schools also tend to be 95% Asian in my experience) since it does make a very competitive environment. However, whilst the G&T streams are competitive, the rest of the other classes are not which probably is why ranks decrease since the HSC counts the overall students sitting the HSC. Whilst in Selective schools, the whole school is competitive.

    I had a look at the Ruse Year 10 half-yearly and compared it to ours and I could see there was a significant difference in difficulty (mainly since the content they tested on were stuff we haven't learnt yet which lead me to assume they probs do several different sections of a topic in a day or they probs did a lot of it in Year 9). But I then compared our half-yearly with Sydney Tech's and there wasn't too much of a change in difficulty (some questions there seemed harder and also had some content we haven't learnt yet), but it wasn't as hard as Ruse's test (but I can't make an assumption based on 1 test).

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    Re: Difference between Selective HS and the rest

    Quote Originally Posted by _Anonymous View Post
    What is the style of teaching that gets them Band 6's more often than a student in a comprehensive school? What's being taught there which isn't being taught in a comprehensive school (narrow it down to G&T class)? For example, several different G&T stream students I know from various schools tell me they finish a section of a topic each lesson (hence they do an exercise for homework after each lesson). What's the difference in Selective schools; do they do several different sections of a topic in each lesson and do several different exercises for homework?

    I agree with you on the Asian background bit (G&T streams in comprehensive schools also tend to be 95% Asian in my experience) since it does make a very competitive environment. However, whilst the G&T streams are competitive, the rest of the other classes are not which probably is why ranks decrease since the HSC counts the overall students sitting the HSC. Whilst in Selective schools, the whole school is competitive.

    I had a look at the Ruse Year 10 half-yearly and compared it to ours and I could see there was a significant difference in difficulty (mainly since the content they tested on were stuff we haven't learnt yet which lead me to assume they probs do several different sections of a topic in a day or they probs did a lot of it in Year 9). But I then compared our half-yearly with Sydney Tech's and there wasn't too much of a change in difficulty (some questions there seemed harder and also had some content we haven't learnt yet), but it wasn't as hard as Ruse's test (but I can't make an assumption based on 1 test).
    Yes not all selective schools would produce really difficult exams, some schools deliberately make the exams a bit easier compared to other schools so that the gap between each student is extremely low, thus when your internal marks are calculated after the HSC, the students would attain similar marks despite the difference in rankings.

    Heard about this from an NSB a few years ago lol.
    “Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the real sharp ones learn from the mistakes of others.”
    ― Brandon Mull

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