The test

HAST-P is written by ACER educational test developers and panelled by peer group subject experts. The tests are subsequently revised and re-drafted and then trial tested extensively on groups of students similar to the final candidate intake. An IRT Rasch analysis procedure is used to analyse candidates’ responses to items of varying difficulty and discrimination. The test development process ensures that the final test results are statistically reliable with good discrimination between stronger and weaker students.

Mathematical reasoning test

(multiple choice – 30 minutes)

This test measures mathematical ability, in contrast to a test of school achievement in mathematics. Consequently, the material used for the questions in this test is selected from a wide variety of sources, and may differ from standard school-based curriculum materials.

Candidates must apply logical and strategic thinking to work through the questions in the test. The tasks are presented as numbers, text, diagrams, graphs and tables. Subject areas include number, measurement, space, time, logical relations and problem solving.

The test consists of 25 multiple-choice questions within a 30 minute timeframe.

Reading comprehension test

(multiple choice – 30 minutes)

This test measures how well students can understand and interpret ideas in language. The test asks students to look at written and visual material and answer questions on it. There are 25 multiple-choice questions in this 30 minute test.

Abstract reasoning test

(multiple choice – 30 minutes)

This test assesses a candidate’s ability to use abstract reasoning skills in order to recognise relationships and to perceive ideas at an abstract level. These types of skills are widely applicable across the curriculum and are related to successful academic outcomes.

Candidates are required to identify a pattern shown in a sequence of diagrams. The pattern may need to be continued or completed. The diagrams comprising the pattern may have a number of elements (size, shape, shading, orientation) that need to be considered when deciphering the pattern.

In responding to the items, pattern recognition, hypothesising and evaluation of evidence are important.

The test contains no language content which is particularly useful for NESB students who are able to demonstrate skills without proficiency in English.

Students are given 30 minutes to answer the 30 multiple-choice questions.

Writing test

(Writing task – 30 minutes)

This test is concerned with student’s ability to express their thoughts and feelings in writing.

Written Expression is generally a creative task and prompts narrative or personal/narrative writing. The stimulus is usually visual. Students are expected to respond to the stimulus in the way that is most interesting to them, and which best displays their ability to write and express themself.

This test assesses a candidate’s ability to express thoughts and feelings in written English. Assessment is based on thought and content, structure and organisation, expression, style and the mechanics of the candidate’s response. The test provides a measure of generative and creative thinking in addition to language competency.