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The NAPLAN Test – What It Is and How to Prepare

Nov 8, 2022

NAPLAN stands for National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, run by ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority). It is an Australian government program designed to assess all Australian students’ literacy and numeracy skills in years 3, 5, 7, and 9. In 2008, the Australian Government formulated the NAPLAN idea. And in 2010, the actual test formats started. 

It is a series of tests focused on a student’s fundamental abilities/skills. The purpose of NAPLAN is to provide an accurate picture of students’ literacy and numeracy skills at these levels so that teachers can identify strengths and weaknesses in their teaching practices and which area of a particular student to focus more on. 



  • By comparing student performance to national criteria, schools can assess how well their teaching approaches succeed. As a result, it enables schools to raise the bar for teaching standards. 
  • The students can reflect on their performance, allowing them to identify their strengths and shortcomings in fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. 

 What is the Structure of the NAPLAN Test? 

Along with the regular school curriculum, NAPLAN focuses on teaching and improving fundamental skills needed for a student’s everyday life. The test divides into four components – reading, writing, language conventions, and numeracy. The test will be held on school days for 2-3 days, involving 4-5 sets of tests basis the grade. 

Grade wise – NAPLAN test format: 

Grade of Student Reading Writing Language Convention 


Grade 3 45 Minutes 40 Minutes 40 Minutes 45 Minutes 
Grade 5 50 Minutes 40 Minutes 40 Minutes 50 Minutes 
Grade 7 65 Minutes 40 Minutes 45 Minutes 60 Minutes 
Grade 9 65 Minutes 40 Minutes 45 Minutes 60 Minutes 

The NAPLAN Sections – What do they Focus on? 

Reading: This section tests a student’s ability to read and, in turn, comprehend a given text. Students face various texts, including stories, essays, and articles from magazines and newspapers, along with questions to go along with each text style. 


Writing: This assessment examines students’ ability to write a brief, focused original text. Students are typically required to write an essay on a topic that is either persuasive or narrative. Each student receives a lined writing booklet with space for planning and a “writing stimulus.” 

Language convention: The assessment test for language conventions aims to evaluate how precise the student is in grammar, punctuation, and spelling. The test can be in multiple-choice format or fill-in-the-blank, or it can be the inclusion in both. 


Numeracy: This test’s objective is to gauge how well the students can use algebra, statistics, geometry, probability, and measurement to solve problems. The math portion of the NAPLAN exam is planned considering the student’s academic program. Later, a scientific calculator will be necessary for grade 7 & 9 students. 

What do NAPLAN Result Findings Include?

Test results are announced to every school participating in NAPLAN via integrated ” SMART ” software. Reports include every finding like: 

  • Individual child results and growth in comparison to last grade’s NAPLAN. 
  • Performance trend of the school 
  • Result of the school compared to other school’s performance 

What are the Best Ways to Prepare for the NAPLAN? 

It is a question that most parents/students are asking themselves. The answer to this question depends on what kind of NAPLAN test your child will take. Preparing for the NAPLAN test can be daunting for both students and parents, especially preparing kids for the NAPLAN test years 3 and 5 because there is a significant amount of intellectual growth in kids at this age. In general, they develop more important academic skills during these grades. 

However, you may take a few quick steps to help your child succeed. 


1.Understanding the NAPLAN test format grade-wise: 

 Make sure your kid is familiar with the examination format, the time allotted, and the different sections and topics covered. Encourage your child to attempt these tests under timed conditions to understand what to expect on test day. 

  • Format and NAPLAN test practice years 3 and 5:

Grade Level Reading Writing Language Convention Numeracy 
Years 3 & 7 
  • Three testlets  
  • 2-3 stimulus /testlet  
  • 13 items/testlet 
1 of 2 tasks Narrative or Persuasive Spelling: 15 audio /10 Proofreading Grammar & Punctuation: 25 items – one testlet – determined by reading Grade 3: 36 non-calculator questions 



Grade 5: 42 non-calculators 

 Numeracy test questions for year 3 were 35 until 2017, which is increased to 36 now. The same for the year five students increased from 40 to 42. 

Check this complete section-wise syllabus guide curated for NAPLAN test practice year 3 and NAPLAN test practice year 5.

  • Format and NAPLAN test practice years 7 and 9: 

Grade Level Reading Writing Language Convention Numeracy 
Years 7 & 9 
  • Three testlets  
  • 2-4 stimulus /testlet  
  • 16 items/testlet 
1 of 2 tasks Narrative or Persuasive Spelling: 15 audio /10 Proofreading Grammar & Punctuation: 25 items – one testlet – determined by reading 8 non-calculator, 40 calculators allowed 

For year 7 and 9 students, numeracy test questions have now been reduced from 64 to 48. In which, 8 questions are basic mathematics, which should be completed without a calculator. For the remaining 40 questions, students can use calculators. This source will allow you to learn more about the NAPLAN test practice year 7 and NAPLAN test practice year 9 syllabus and exam formats. 

2. Make a Proper Learning Plan:  

Jumping onto every topic at a time doesn’t help and instead creates more pressure. Divide topics into parts, and study one at a time. Besides the test papers and syllabus, engage in more conversation with your children. Encourage them to read and write things daily, maybe about their “Day in school.” That gives them more practice than any other test paper.

3. NAPLAN Pre-practices:

One of the primary issues with students that take the NAPLAN examinations is that they have no idea what these assessments include. The students get anxious and make mistakes because these assessments have a different format and flow of questions than the typical curriculum papers. 

To avoid this, students can go through the NAPLAN practice test papers, available in plenty of numbers over the internet and on the NAPLAN site itself. ACARA also has copies of the previous year’s papers, which students can use to practice. 

4. Create a Line of Communication with the School and the Teachers:  

Besides taking numerous targeted tests, talk to your teachers regarding study materials and gain more knowledge about NAPLAN assessments. This increases the likelihood of passing the test. 

It’s crucial to remember that NAPLAN is not a conventional pass/fail test. Instead, test results are presented as band ranges for that particular grade, showing how well students fared compared to predetermined national standards. 

Finally, The NAPLAN test is just one measure of student achievement and is not worth getting stressed about. Just start the practice well from the beginning.

What is NAPLAN Test


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