The official website, unfortunately, doesn’t tell much about how the NUS High Selection Test / DSA is like, in particular the format of the exam.
However, from online sources from students who took the test, we can have a glimpse of what the NUS High Selection Test (DSA) is like.
Disclaimer: I have not taken the NUS High Selection Test (DSA) before, and I am only listing down suggested format of the tests based on the online sources. I have taken the GEP Selection Test (both round 1 and round 2) though, at Primary 3.
This is a highly reliable blog post by the sister of Lim Jeck, a highly skilled Math Olympiad Participant who has achieved perfect score at IMO. From the blog post, we can tell that:
- The Math Paper is 1 and a half hours.
- Math Paper is “ok” (easier than NMOS) Do take note that the blogger is very good at math, so “easy” is subjective.
- Math Paper has 7 pages, inclusive of cover page and last page.
- 23 Non-MCQ questions, where you have to shade the integer answer. (Do bring a pencil!)
- “The first few Math questions are easy, like P6 Math questions. One of the easiest Math questions is, the average of 3 numbers is given, you add another 2 numbers and you get another given average, you have to find the sum of the 2 numbers added. There are varying marks for different questions. I think the harder questions carry 4 marks.”
(Again, easy is subjective, what is easy for a Olympiad Gold Medalist may not be easy at all)
- “Total marks for Maths and Science are 55 and 30 respectively.For Maths, max of answer shades is 4, so max answer may be 9999. Maths questions carry 1 mark, 2 marks, 3 marks and 4 marks. Think Q23 (last qn) is a 4-mark question.”
(We can assume that due to the format of this test, all answers are integers!)
Read more at http://wwwdontmesswith6a.blogspot.sg/2011/06/nus-high-selection-test.html to get an idea of the original post and how the Science NUS High DSA (supposedly more difficult than the Math NUS High DSA) is like.
To deal with difficult NUS High DSA problems (last few questions of the Selection Test), most likely the student has to be trained in Math Olympiad. A book like The Art of Problem Solving Volume 1: The Basics AND Basics Solution Manual (2 Volume Set would be ideal in beginning the journey in Math Olympiad. Note that Math Olympiad is nothing like normal school math, and even a fresh university graduate in a math-related major say Engineering/Accounting would have great problems solving a Primary 6 Math Olympiad question, if he doesn’t have the necessary Math Olympiad background!
If you are also interested in preparing for GEP (Primary 3 or Secondary 1 intake), do check out my most popular page on Recommended Books for GEP.
Other blogs with info on the NUS High DSA Selection Test:
Update (2016): Check out this Pattern Recognition (Visual Discrimination) book that is a guided tutorial for training for GEP / DSA Tests!