ACER Scholarship Format

ACER has been writing exam papers for over forty years.  They are the predominant company for scholarship exams. 

The types of ACER scholarship exams pertaining to Victoria are :

Primary School program (PSP) format. 

As the name suggests, this is testing of Primary school students in Years 3, 4 or 5 for scholarships which begin in years 4, 5 or 6. 

Alternative date tests (ADT) & Co-operative program test (CPT).  

The only difference between these exams is the timing.  An ADT exam is written for only one school.  So three ADT schools mean three exams.  The CPT test is one set of papers sat in late February and results are shared between specified schools.

ACER produce three levels of scholarship tests.  The level is dependent on the year level the student is in at the time of sitting the exam.  Please note that our descriptions are based on the Victorian school system.  The ADT exams are generally conducted from mid-February to mid-March each year.

ACER Primary School Program (PSP)

The format of this exam is as follows:

Written Expression

One piece of writing will invite the student to tell a true or an imaginary story.  Another piece will ask the student to give his/her opinion about something that is of interest to primary school children.  The time given for each paper is 20 minutes.


This paper has at least sixteen multiple choice questions which are word problems and four short answer questions with calculations.  The time given to complete this paper is 30 minutes.

Reading and Viewing

This comprises several short passages, a map, a poem or a chart followed by some multiple choice questions.  This paper is for 30 minutes.

ACER (ADT & CPT Formats)

The ACER SST & CSTP format is based on the year level the student is in at the time of taking the exam.  The formats are as follows:

Level 1 format
(Yr 6 for Yr 7 entry)
and (Yr 7 for Yr 8 entry)
Level 2 format
(Yr 8 for Yr 9 entry)
and (Yr 9 for Yr 10 entry)
Level 3 format
(Yr 10 for Yr 11 entry)
Creative writing piece
Persuasive writing piece
Mathematics paper
Humanities comprehension paper
Creative writing piece
Persuasive writing piece
Mathematics and science paper
Humanities comprehension paper 
Creative writing piece
Persuasive writing piece
Mathematics and science paper
Humanities comprehension paper

ACER Exam Papers

Creative Writing

The creative writing component looks at the students’ ability to present their thoughts and feelings through writing.  The content, structure and expression of the written piece will be assessed.  ACER gives 25 minutes.

Opinion Writing

This is where the students may be asked to outline or explain something.  They might be asked to express a point of view or present an argument.  What the child says and the way he / she says it will be assessed.  ACER gives students 25 minutes for this component.


This is to test mathematical abilities rather than mathematical knowledge.  It is widely different from school based maths.  Most of the 28 questions are worded problems.

Mathematics and Science

This format is for Level 2 and Level 3 ACER ADT and CPT exams.  The exam has 28 questions with half being mathematics based and half science based.  It measures mathematical and scientific abilities rather than knowledge.  They are worded problems.

Humanities Comprehension

This is a paper requiring inferential skills to interpret written text, maps, diagrams, graphs, cartoons or photographs for 40 minutes with forty questions.