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What Is the Higher Ability Selection Test (HAST)?

Looking to get into accelerated learning programs in secondary school? To do so, you’ll need to take the HAST test. Learn about it here.

Did you know that up to 10% of Australian students are considered gifted and talented?

Many naturally talented students go unnoticed in the Australian school system's general courses.

Does your student seem to be ahead of their peers? How can you be sure that your child is receiving a challenging education and living up to their fullest potential?

Keep reading to learn more about the HAST test and how it can jumpstart your gifted child's secondary school education.

What Is the HAST Test?

HAST stands for the Higher Ability Assessment Test. The HAST test assesses primary and secondary school students who wish to enter a selected learning program. The faculty will consider the exam results and the student's academic performance record.

If the student satisfies all qualifications, faculty may admit them into High Performing and Gifted Education Programs, also known as Enrichment Programs. These programs offer a more challenging and accelerated course load than general programs.

Who Should Take the HAST?

Students who are academically ahead of their peers or deemed "gifted" should consider taking the HAST exam.

It can be hard to define a gifted student. Gifted and talented students may exhibit some of the following traits:

  • Above-average characteristics compared to same-age peers
  • Unique learning behaviours
  • High achievements in grade level
  • Individual needs, strengths, and academic abilities
  • Strong interest or skill in a specific area, such as mathematics
  • More likely to have a learning disability

Placing these students into High Performing and Gifted Education Programs allows them to take advantage of natural skills. These classes will encourage students to learn to their greatest potential.

Depending on the school district, students can take the HAST as early as grade year four. Students most often take the HAST during the summer after their sixth year. Taking the HAST at this time permits a simple transition into accelerated learning programs in secondary school.

Students taking the HAST should express a keen interest in joining an Enrichment Program. The course work and expectations for students in these programs are rigorous. Many schools expect students to remain within the top 10% of their academic cohorts while maintaining a rich extracurricular life.

HAST Test Content

Test-makers designed the HAST to be more challenging than typical high school tests. This is to assess students' abilities accurately. The HAST consists of four tests: reading comprehension, mathematics, abstract reasoning and written expression.

Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension test will consist of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions. Students will have about 40-45 minutes to complete the test, which focuses on various literary texts, poems, and vocabulary words.

Mathematical Reasoning

The Mathematical Reasoning portion will focus on mathematical problems, including algebra and equations. There will be approximately 30 multiple choice questions with 40 minutes for completion. Calculators are not required for the exam, but testing and school rules may allow them.

Abstract Reasoning

The Abstract Reasoning test will assess students' abilities to think logically and recognise patterns. There will be approximately 30 multiple choice questions with 30-40 minutes for completion. Questions may be in the form of word problems or visual puzzles.

Written Expression

The Written Expression portion contains two writing tasks: a creative and a discursive prompt. Faculty may ask students to complete both or just one of the written prompts. Students will have approximately 25 minutes to complete each written piece.

HAST Test 2022 Registration

Individual schools will decide if and when to administer HAST tests. Most schools will open registration for the HAST a few months before the test date. Depending on your school, the test may occur as early as May or as late as August.

You will need to register for the HAST before you take it. Schools may require a testing or application fee for High Performing and Gifted Education Programs. Contact your school or use our Find Your School tool for more information!

HAST Test Preparation

It is highly recommended to take several HAST test practise exams before the actual test date.

NotesEdu is here to help. Our industry-leading HAST practice test packs are designed to give your student the best competitive advantage. Each test question is based on real exam-style questions, and our online exams are timed to give your student an authentic experience.

Reports and answer solutions are also provided in our test packs, ensuring you will be able to help your student learn and prepare. Practice tests will help your child master the exam content and build their test-taking confidence.  

Here are some other tips and techniques to prepare for test day:

  • Avoid staying up to study the night before the exam
  • Go to bed as early as possible
  • Eat a healthy, filling breakfast
  • Wear comfortable clothing
  • Bring a jumper for cold rooms

Lastly, take a deep breath! Deep breathing lets more oxygen enter your bloodstream, helping you to relax and think clearly.

HAST Scoring

Scores will reflect the number of correct multiple-choice answers. Faculty will assess the written portion for thought, content, organization, expression, style, and language mechanics.

A strong score on the HAST test may not be enough to guarantee a place in accelerating learning courses. Schools will usually only accept students with the highest HAST scores. Some may also request NAPLAN scores, awards, and proof of extracurricular activities.

Practice Makes Perfect

Before taking the HAST, the most important thing to remember is to practice, practice, practice! Familiarise yourself or your student with the test materials. This will result in improved confidence and higher test scores.

NotesEdu is Australia's leading online exam preparation platform. Check out our HAST test preparation packs to help your student achieve their dreams!

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