If the exam is more about your ability to think than how much you know, why do so many people worry about and study for this exam? Why do people do STAT preparation programs?

Well, an understanding of the kinds of questions you will be asked is very helpful. It is part of a sound overall preparation strategy.

This might sound surprising, so let’s look at an example. Let’s look at a racing car driver like Mark Weber. Every time he’s racing, Weber is tested on his driving skills. It’s his superior driving ability that sets him apart from his competitors. No matter what the race track, conditions, or situation, it his driving ability that is tested.

Yet, before every race he gets to know the race track intimately. He learns every turn, every curve and straight. It helps him because he knows what to expect, knows where and how to apply his skill.

In this same way, you as a STAT test candidate are being tested on your thinking ability (instead of driving skill). No matter what the questions or context, it is your ability to think and reason that sets you apart from the other candidates.

Also in the same way, knowing the context or the concepts that will be used to test your thinking is helpful. So instead of studying the race track, it will help you to sample questions that will be used in the STAT test. After doing so you will understand the stimulus material and questions more quickly. You will not be frightened by the graphs, equations and tables. You will be faster at answering the questions and you have a greater chance at succeeding.

As you go through an ACER practice paper, you’ll notice that some units will have 2 questions while others can have up to 5. So does it matter which you do first – the one with 2 questions or the unit with 5? Does it make a difference? It does when it comes to timing.

Let’s talk about that now. Timing is the thing separating an average score from an outstanding score. A person who can work through the material quickly and give themselves enough time to understand and answer all the question will do better than a person who runs out of time, rushes through some questions and guesses the rest.

The makers of this exam have to separate the best students from the rest. There are so many people who do this exam, but only a limited few can be accepted. So ACER make the exam harder by making sure you have to work quickly to finish the exam. That way they get the best candidates.

If it wasn’t for this time restriction, I believe that most people could get most of the questions correct. Just imagine sitting, relaxed with a cup of tea, casually reading through the questions, taking your time to answer them.  You could re-read the stimulus, rethink your answers, confirm them, and be sure that what you did was correct. You could see past the scary exterior of the questions and get to the point of what they are asking – like we did earlier.

Almost anyone can answer the questions in the science section, but only the top performers can do it in the given time. Your challenge is to learn to answer the questions faster than you need to, or find ways to increase the time you have to answer the questions.

We show you exactly how to do this in our manual and part of the MCQ STAT preparation program.

All the best in the New Year – especially with your STAT test preparation and results!


Steven, Tom and the Uniready Team

So far we’ve concentrated on how to make your essay seem impressive on the surface and how to grab the reader’s immediate attention. But style is not everything, your essay still needs some substance. The essay needs to have a backbone of quality ideas and thoughts.

The next essential key to writing killer STAT essays is the need to write about non –common ideas.

ACER state that the most important factor in your essay is the complexity and sophistication of your discussion of the theme.

This is where a person with poor or average writing skills can level the playing field for themselves. They can compete with people who have strong writing skills. That’s because more emphasis is given to the thought and content of the essay than to control of language such as your organisation and expressions.

The best approach is to have it all – the organisation and control of language as well as the thought and content of the essay. But the most important factor is the ideas you create out of the theme.

You can use the quotations to give you ideas about the theme. Our essay writing program has many more techniques which you can learn and apply quickly.

In developing an interesting thesis for the essay you don’t want it to be so unusual that’s it’s a freaky and weird. You just don’t want it to be standard. So not the first thing that comes to mind because there are 5000 other people writing that same essay who will also write about the first thing that comes to mind.

You can approach the essay section in one of two ways. You could come up with an idea for the essay which is common, but very well written. For example, for the essay one prompt’s we talked about earlier, the theme was peace. A common idea to write about there would be that peace was never won by dropping bombs. It’s what first comes to mind when you read the quotations. And from what we’ve seen it’s a popular topic for that essay. So it will not impress the examiners. Unless it’s extremely well written so that it stands out for the 600 other essays your marker reads.

The other option is to come up with a unique idea, a twist, or a perspective that the examiner would not expect. One that fits into the theme and makes for a good essay even if it’s not written extremely well. The examiners are looking for your ideas, thoughts and perspectives first, and your ability to write second.

Let’s be honest, a doctor doesn’t need to be able to write a magnificent piece of literature in order to help his patients. But the doctor does need to be able to think outside the square, see other people’s perspective, understand the world and the people within it. And only then to express it adequately.

So use the technique I mentioned earlier when you practice your essays, or get our essay program and try the one’s we have there.

Let’s imagine for a second that you are a STAT marker. You’re sitting in a room with 10 others and you have two boxes of essays to get through today. Imagine you accidentally pick up and open two different people’s essays simultaneously.

You briefly pause to think about which you want to read first. One of them looks like a chicken walked all over it with ink on it’s feet. The handwriting is terrible and you can barley read it. Plus each essay is only one page long. The second person’s essay is neatly written, impressively long and easy to read.

Which essay would immediately impress you more? The second one, right?

In the heat of the moment we tend to forget that there’s a person who will have to decipher our essay once it’s written. We rush to finish the paper as fast as possible we don’t thinking about how it looks. The tricky thing is that it’s often easier to read your own writing then it is to read someone else’s.

It’s important to make sure you write neatly. So that another person can read it. People often over look this, but if the examiner can’t read it, then they can’t mark it. And they might not give you the benefit of the doubt. They have hundreds of essays to grade in a day. If it’s neat and easy to read, they will feel better about your essay.

In terms of the length of your essay – it’s true that quality is more important than the quantity of page. It’s also true that a long essay is more impressive than a short one… because it gives the perception that the write knows what they’re talking about and has a lot to say on the topic. As long as it’s not at the cost of the quality of your essay.

Let’s say you have a great essay but you naturally have small writing or you just say what you need to in 1 page. What do you do then? You can leave it as it is, or make it easier to read by using bigger hand writing. It’s easier to read big writing then small print and it will take up more room in the exam booklet.

Practice writing big enough to fit only 5-6 words per line.

So the bottom line is that bigger is better – it makes an impact. Unless you are really an outstanding writer. If you don’t write long essays, use big hand writing. Plus it’s more legible.

It seems simple, but it works.

Now that we’ve made a positive impact before the marker’s even started reading our essay, it’s time to blow the marker away with the first paragraph…better still, the first line.

Merry Christmas from Steven, Tom and the Uniready Team!

We wish you and your family all the best.

Kind Regards,


Who here would like to get into the minds of the STAT essay markers and write the kind of essays they love to read?

Who here wants to write STAT essays like a seasoned professional, without being a seasoned professional?

If that sounds like you then you’re in the right place.

If a high school attempts to write a STAT essay using the same approach as they do for standard high school essays, they will be shocked by how low their score will be.

The essay section is the easiest place on the STAT to lose marks and also to gain marks. And most people don’t even prepare for this section…. or don’t do it properly. But if you are one of the people who know what the STAT essay section is about and prepare for it properly, you have a huge advantage. It’s my belief that out of the whole exam, the essay section is the easiest place to increase your score. Forget the science section, the essays are where making a few simple adjustments to your writing can increase you overall STAT score very quickly.

The worst part is that most people don’t know this. It’s not like the mcq where you can easily find out if you are doing it right. There are no answers in the back to see if you answered the question correctly– you can’t do that in the essays. So there is no way for a person to know if they are doing it right or wrong. And if they Do need to improve – how do they do it?

The next few blog posts will talk about some things you can begin doing right now to start improving your STAT essays not matter what you’re current level of writing ability.

I’ll start by quickly explaining just how the STAT essay section works….

You have 1 hour to write two whole essays from start to finish. There are no specific questions to answer in the essays. Instead, each essay has 5 quotations and you are asked to write about the common theme of those quotations. For example, the theme might be education, war, love, friendship or technology.

The two essays are not the same. The way they vary is that the theme of the first essay is often one which calls for an analytical or argumentative essay. For example, censorship or war. They encourage you to make a particular stand one way or another.

The second essay contains themes which are difficult for argue for or against. For example, laughter or self-discovery. You can’t really argue for or against them. So it’s more about exploring your views on the theme. It’s a less formal essay than the first so a different writing approach is needed.

For more on this please refer to our essay writing program or the complete UniReady program.

During the actual exam, once all the papers have been handed out, the adjudicators allow you to begin the reading time.  You have 5 minutes to read the essay prompts, and you can’t write anything. But really it only takes about 30 seconds to read the 10 lines of quotations. So that leaves you with 4 and a half minutes of not being able to write. The question is, what do you do with that time?

This brings us to the first essential key to writing a killer STAT essay.

How to use the reading time and the first 10 minutes to increase your essay score.

You can give yourself an extra 10 minutes of writing time here. If you use this time effectively it will mean that the reading time is used to your advantage and it allows you to write non-stop without having to think of new ideas.

While others go to the toilet and re-arrange their pens, as soon as the examiners say we can open the booklet and start reading, we’re getting down to business.

The goal here is to familiarise yourself with the quotations and begin the planning process.

So in the reading time, I suggest candidates first read the quotations for both essays and identify the theme of each. Then go back to the first essay. This will be the argumentative one. It will have a socio-cultural theme. While reading the individual quotations, ideas will start coming to you but you can’t write yet. So make a mental note. Then move onto the second essay. This is the more informal essay. The theme will be more personal or social.

When reading time finishes don’t start the essays yet. This is the planning stage. I would spend the first 5-7 up to even 10 minutes planning both essays. You get space at the front of the answer booklet to write down your plan. Make a note of some of your ideas for each essay. Put them into a structure that you can refer back to when you’re writing. This way you will know exactly what you are writing about next. It will stop you from running out of ideas as you go.

Once you have both essays planned, you should be at 5-7 minutes into writing time. At this point you can start writing your first STAT essay.

In the last post we talked about the first step to build the foundations for a great stat test result. Now let’s move onto step two.

1)      Accurately identify where you are NOW – do a practice STAT test.

This is like using a sat nav. The sat nav needs to know your destination and where you are right now. That way it can show you the best route from start to finish. Step one determined your destination, now we need to figure out our current location.

This process will show you where most improvement is needed. It means identifying your strengths and weakness on all aspects of the STAT test. So how good are you at the verbal components? How good are you at writing STAT essays within the specified time? And how good are you at the quantitative questions?

It would also help to identify if there are any weaknesses in your general exam skills. So things like timing – can you finish the section within the given time? Or do you struggle to answer the question being asked? Or do you have problems controlling your nerves?

The best way to do all this is to do a practice STAT test.

If you have never done the STAT test before – then welcome! After reading this please get one of the half ACER practice exams. Let’s  find out where you stand. Schedule in a time to do half a paper. I don’t expect anyone to sit through a WHOLE exam at this stage. But you can do half of one.

Sit the ACER practice test under exam conditions, ideally in a quiet place where you’ll be left alone for the whole time. Please be strict with yourself in terms of simulating exam conditions, as well as being kind in your evaluation.

Once you are done you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses. This is a simple process that we explain in our manual.

A great score is 70% or more for each section. But, at this stage you may find that you achieve 30-40%. Some of people will be pleased with their score. However most may be disappointed. That’s OK. You’re the majority of people and it’s only the beginning of your preparation.

After sitting the practice STAT test, you can identify which section was your strongest and which needs the most attention. This will also hopefully be a motivation to excel in your preparation.

With that said, if you have not sat a STAT test before, please get an ACER practice paper after the webinar, schedule in a date and place where you will do the test within the next week.

2)      Follow a system/strategy that will get you to where you want to be.

So now that the sat nav is loaded with your current location and your destination, you need a vehicle to get you there. What kind of vehicle can you take to get you to your STAT test destination?

Well, there are three main ways and they all work well if done properly:

1)      First is to study on your own.

2)      The second possible vehicle is to do a home study program. This involves ordering the material and working your way through it.

3)      The third is to attend a live study course.

All of these techniques work and depending on your study style and preferences you might chose one over the others. And that’s fine.

But if we look at it more closely, just like cars, not all the above methods are equal.

Option 1, doing it on your own, leaves too many gaps and possible ways to go wrong. Someone who does this might spend too much time of one thing and not enough on another. It becomes overwhelming when you collect all that material and attempt to crunch through it yourself. But if that’s your preferred study style then I’m happy to support you.

If you want to take the guess work out of the process and eliminate a lot of the uncertainty in your preparation. Then get a home study pack or attend a live course. Both work well and are great options.

There are live courses held all around the country where you can attend for a few weeks and work through some of the material. They can however be expensive, time consuming and sometimes inconvenient. People have to work so it can be hard to make the classes.

The best option for many is a home study program. That way you can prepare for the stat test when you have the time. It’s self paced so you can go faster or slower when you’re ready. It’s often also cheaper because there are no classrooms to book.

Our programs are all home study and downloadable so you can begin instantly, wherever you are. They cover everything you need to know to prepare yourself for this important exam. If you want to find out more please go to the link on the right.

If you want to get into university soon or if you want to take the worry out of doing that, then this will be an exciting blog post. The way it stands at the moment, 70% of people who do the STAT will not get into university next year. My aim is to make sure that you are in the 30% who do get the right STAT score which allows you to get in.

So how do you get started in your stat preparation to make sure you get a great result?

Most people start by panicking. They flick through some practice questions or have heard stories from friends about how hard university can be. Then they put it off for a while, worrying as the time until the exam ticks away.

I don’t blame them. It can be intimidating to do this kind of exam especially if it’s been a while since you’ve done any kind of study. There is a lot riding on this one exam so it can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be a big deal or a big problem. There are three simple steps to follow which will build the foundations for a top STAT test score. Here they are…

The three broad steps that need to be taken to begin your STAT preparation:

1. Decide on WHERE you want to be and WHY you want to be there.

2. Accurately identify where you are NOW.

3. Follow a system/strategy that will get you to where you want to be.

To often people just jump into their STAT preparation and begin anywhere. They’re not too sure where they want to go, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, what they need to work on or what they shouldn’t waste their time with. So it’s no surprise that when exam day comes along some people leave feeling like they been hit by a truck – slowly… over hours (it’s a long exam).

Here are the three steps in more detail.

1)      Decide on WHERE you want to be and WHY you want to be there.

The part which asks you to identify ‘where’ you want to be, pretty much asks “which university do you want to go to?” And then, “what is the required STAT score for that university?”

You can start by looking at the top three university’s you would consider attending. Then find out, what is the highest STAT score you need to get in? As well as any other criteria needed for admission. There might be work experience or academic requirements which need to be fulfilled for you to be considered by some universities.

The part that asks you ‘why’ you want to be there focuses on your reasons for going to university. What positive change are you trying to make in your life by going to university? What pain are you trying to get away from? It might be that you are sick of your current situation and want to change your future prospects. Or that you want to make more money to look after your family. Or that you want to achieve your dream. Whatever it is for you, it needs to be clear because that will motivate you to do the work.

If you want a step-by-step process on how to do all this, we cover it in more detail in our ‘Step-by-step’ Manual which comes with the STAT Multiple-Choice and the combined STAT Multiple-Choice & STAT Written English on our website http://www.uniready.info.

Steps 2 and 3 will be covered in the next blog post. For now either do the first step yourself or get some guidance with it by getting one of our programs. See you soon!

Hello! Welcome to the Uniready Blog about the STAT Test.

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Good luck with the study!

Steven Harris