Mon | Feb 24, 2020

How to prepare for GSAT

Published:Sunday | February 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Girl studying

The Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) had its first sitting in 1999, becoming the new terminal assessment for primary school students wishing to transition to a secondary school of their choice.

On average, 40, 000 students sit the examination each year. Of this number, at least 70 per cent of the cohort gets placed in a school they selected.

A common perception is that preparation for the examination begins in grade six, but this is certainly not the case. The GSAT examination is administered in grade six, over two days. However the skills needed to function in this as well as other examinations must be developed over time. By exposing students to develop good study habits, and an appreciation for academic work as a necessary part of human growth, we would have started our students on the path to accepting learning as an everyday activity.




Good study habits are not synonymous with hours of study at one sitting. It is more of an incremental undertaking, where we encourage students to review classwork, complete homework; provide support to students who struggle with complex topics, and important, show students that we believe in them and in their abilities. And this must be taking place throughout the entire year, not just when exams are fast approaching, as well as being supported simultaneously by the home-school environment.

According to Eric Schaps (2013), quoting Leffert, Benson, & Roehlkepartain (1997), students are more likely to perform well academically when they benefit from:

- A caring school climate

- Parental involvement in schooling

- Clear rules and consequences in the school and family

- High expectations from teachers and parents.

Similarly, Bourne et al (2013) in The Psychology of the Grade Six Achievement Test (G.S.A.T) in Jamaica found that parental involvement was positively correlated with academic performance.

It is also useful to bear in mind that all tests that make up the assessment (GSAT) sample the Revised Primary Curriculum (RPC). Consequently, any student who has benefited from full exposure to its content should not have any challenges in giving a good account of themselves on these tests.

The Ministry of Education is aware that there is a feeling of apprehension about the Grade Six Achievement Test; however, this is largely attributable to the students' preference for a particular school versus the availability of spaces at that school. It has very little to do with the tests themselves.

For many students, the Communication Task appears to be the most challenging component of the examination. But it need not be so. Here are a few tips that will be helpful as the examination draws closer.


Communication Task


Task 1

1. Read the prompt carefully, at least twice.

2. Read each question carefully before responding to them.

Task 2

1. Read the question carefully before responding to it.

2. Plan your response before writing it (jot down points).

3. Do a quick check to see if your planned response is addressing the question asked.

4. Make a concerted effort to express your ideas clearly and well.

5. After completing your response, read over to check for errors.


Before the Examination


1. Gather materials needed for the examination (pencils, erasers, etc) before the day arrives.

2. Pray for confidence on the night before the examination.

3. On the morning of the examination, be sure to eat breakfast before leaving home.

4. Get to the location at least 30 minutes before the examination and do nothing but RELAX!

5. Be calm when you get to the examination room. Pretend you are in your regular classroom.

- Courtesy: Ministry of Education, Youth and Information