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Each year, the QCAA conducts the QCS Test — 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 QCS Test. More detailed information is available from our QCS Test publications.

What is the purpose of the test?

The QCS Test contributes information for the calculation of Overall Positions (OPs) and Field Positions (FPs), which are used to select 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 result on the QCS Test (from A to E) is reported on their Senior Statement or Statement of Results.

The Tertiary Entrance section provides information on how the QCS Test is used in the calculation of OPs and FPs.

What is tested?

The QCS Test does not test particular knowledge of specific Year 12 subjects. It tests the Common Curriculum Elements (CCEs), which are 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.

What is the format of the test?

The QCS Test consists of four papers: a Writing Task (of 600 words), a Short Response paper and two Multiple Choice papers. The results achieved for each of the four testpapers are combined into one grade, ranging from A (the highest grade) to E (the lowest).

Students 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.

Who is eligible to sit the test?

Year 12 students who are eligible for an OP must sit the test (see the Overall Positions (OPs) page for information on OP eligibility).

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).

Private-entry applications

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. Applications close 21 May. For more information email the QCAA or phone (07) 3864 0271.

Preparing for the test

The Common Curriculum Elements are generic skills that students work with across their subjects; therefore, the real preparation for the test goes on continuously and in every subject. The QCAA makes available a variety of test preparation resources, including Retrospectives and past testpapers (see QCS Test publications and QCS Test 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 updated: 12 February 2018

2018 QCS Test dates

2019 QCS Test dates

  • 3 & 4 September 2019

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