Each year, the QCAA conducts a common statewide test designed for Year 12 students. The test is also available to other eligible candidates.
This page provides a brief overview of the test. More detailed information is available from our QCS Test publications.
On this page:
- Purpose of the test
- What is tested?
- Format of the test
- Eligibility to sit the test
- Private-entry applications
- Preparing for the test
The QCS Test contributes information for the calculation of Overall Positions (OPs) and Field Positions (FPs), which are used to rank students for tertiary entrance.
A student's individual QCS Test result is not used on its own in the calculation of their OP — instead, group results are used as part of the statistical scaling processes. A student's individual result on the QCS Test (from A to E) is reported on the student's Senior Statement or Statement of Results.
The section on Tertiary Entrance provides information on how the QCS Test is used in the calculation of OPs and FPs.
The QCS Test does not test particular knowledge of specific Year 12 subjects. It tests the Common Curriculum Elements (CCEs), a set of generic skills identified in the Queensland senior curriculum.
The test assumes that candidates have basic levels of general knowledge and vocabulary and a Year 10 knowledge of mathematical operations.
The QCS Test consists of 4 papers — a Writing Task (of 600 words), a Short Response paper and two Multiple Choice papers. The results achieved for each of the 4 test papers are combined into one grade, ranging from A (the highest grade) to E (the lowest).
Those sitting the test are asked to respond to a variety of stimulus materials, such as prose passages, poetry, graphs, tables, maps, mathematical and scientific data, cartoons and artistic works.
Year 12 students who are eligible for an OP must sit the test (see OPs and FPs for information on eligibility for OPs).
Year 12 students who are ineligible for an OP may choose to sit the test.
People who are not Queensland Year 12 students and who want to sit the test may apply for private entry (see below).
To be eligible for private entry, candidates must not be in full-time schooling and must have either completed Year 12 or be at least 18 years of age in the year in which the test is taken. For more information email us or phone (07) 3864 0271.
The Common Curriculum Elements are generic skills that students work with across their subjects; therefore the real preparation for the test goes on all the time and in every subject. The QCAA also makes available a variety of test preparation resources, including Retrospectives and past testpapers (see QCS Test publications and Retrospectives and MC response sheets). Most schools provide some focused preparation for the test.
Those sitting the test should ensure that they have (and are able to use) all essential equipment; otherwise, they may not be able to respond to some items.
Last reviewed: 1 July 2014