Essay Competitions For High School Students Australia News

Academic competitions offer students numerous personal and academic benefits. You are given the opportunity to discover a new talent or skill, to exhibit existing ones to wider audiences, and to push yourself beyond imagined limits. Additionally, you may expand your network by meeting other like-minded students from competing schools and connecting with industry professionals.

Consult the tables below for some academic competitions that you may be interested in. To apply for any of the following competitions, please consult your school as most competitions listed require registrations to be made through the school.



CompetitionApplicable GradesDescriptionEvent DateFinal Registration Date
Legacy Junior Public Speaking Award7 – 8This competition aims to enhance students’ public speaking skills and the appreciation of the ideals of Legacy. Students are asked to prepare a 5-minute speech on topics relating to Legacy ideals, and present a 2-minute impromptu speech on a common topic.July- AugustLate March
The Whitlam Institute ‘What Matters?’ Competition7 – 12Students are asked to write a 400-600 word literary response to the question ‘What matters?’. To enter, students submit a response and signed entry form (available when the competition opens) by mail or email.Late JanuaryEarly May
ICAS (Writing)7 – 12This competition assesses a student’s ability to write an extended response for a given task in 30 minutes. In 2016, students are asked to write one or two stages of a narrative and marked against the following criteria: Genre, Textual Grammar, Syntax/Punctuation and Spelling. Each student receives a performance report and a certificate.13 June- 17 June16 May
ICAS (English)7 – 12This competition assesses a student’s reading and language skills in a range of contexts. Students are asked to read texts that cover a variety of topics and are presented in various formats. For those in Years 7 & 8, the exam is 55 minutes long and comprises of 55 multiple choice questions.For those in Years 9 – 12, the exam is an hour long and comprises of 60 multiple choice questions. Each student receives a performance report and certificate.2 August21 June


CompetitionApplicable GradesDescriptionEvent DateFinal Registration Date
Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians(MCYA)7 – 10This is a multi-stage program that encourages the development of Mathematics problem-solving skills and interest in Mathematics. The first stage, ‘Challenge’, asks students to work in groups of 2-3 to solve 6 problems. The second stage, ‘Enrichment’, lasts for 16 weeks and asks students to solve a varying number of problems. The final stage is the Australian Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad, a 4-hour examination.Early MarchEarly May
ICAS (Mathematics)7 – 12This competition assesses a student’s Mathematical skills in 5 strands: Algebra and Patterns, Chance and Data, Measures and Units, Number and Arithmetic, Space and Geometry. The test will comprise of 35 multiple choice questions and 5 free response questions.16 August21 June
Australian Mathematics Competition7 – 12This competition asks students to solve 30 problems (of progressive difficulty) in 75 minutes. Students receive a performance report and a certificate/medal.Top students from this competition will also be invited to join the Australian Mathematical Olympiad Committee Invitational Program, which provides extra-enrichment opportunities and can lead to participation in the International Mathematical Olympiad.28 JulyEarly May


CompetitionApplicable GradesDescriptionEvent DateFinal Registration Date
USYD Gifted & Talented Discovery Program7 – 9Students have the opportunity to participate in a 3-day workshop, in which they will enjoy academic stimulation in the areas of Biology, Physics and Chemistry. To be eligible, students must sit an entrance exam and score within the top 10-15% of their cohort.The exam is 40 minutes in duration and consists of multiple choice questions that are designed to test one’s problem-solving abilities in the respective Science strands. All participants receive a performance report.Early NovemberLate October
Rio Tinto Big Science Competition7 – 12In this competition, students are asked to complete 30 multiple choice questions within 50 minutes. These questions are on contemporary Science issues and are based on the new Australian Science Curriculum. This competition allows students to discover their talent for Science, and also encourages the development of critical thinking and problem solving skills. All participants receive a certificate and performance report.18-25 May20 April (Paper version).
ICAS Science7 – 12This competition assesses a student’s skill in the areas of data interpretation and application and higher order skills such as problem-solving. The paper will cover content incorporating the fields of Earth Sciences, Astronomy, Physics, Biology, Ecology and Chemistry. The exam is 1 hour in duration, and comprises of 45 multiple choice questions. All participants receive a performance report and certificate.31 May3 May
Australian National Chemistry Quiz7 – 12This quiz comprises of 30 multiple choice questions to be answered in 60 minutes. The questions will test a student’s fundamental Chemistry knowledge and applications in modern society. Students receive a detailed report providing feedback on their performance, and a certificate or plaque in accordance with their performance.21 July7 June
Australian Brain Bee Challenge 10This competition aims to encourage further learning about the brain and its functions and the neuroscience field. Students may complete up to 4 rounds. In Round 1, students are asked to study a book and use that knowledge to complete an online quiz, comprising of 30 multiple choice questions.Round 2 involves participating in 2 rounds of live questioning. In Round 3, 8 students will compete in 4 challenges over 2 days. Round 4 will see students competing at an international level.14-20 March7 March
Australian Science Olympiad Exams10 – 12Each one of the four Science exams (Biology, Chemistry, Earth and Environmental Science and Physics) is 2 hours in duration and held on separate days. Students are tested on their knowledge of scientific concepts and its application in modern contexts. All students receive a certificate.Top performing Year 10 and Year 11 students in these exams will be invited to join the Australian Science Olympiad summer school, which can lead to an invitation to attend the International Science Olympiads.3-10 August20 July
NSW Schools Titration Competition11 – 12This competition is open to any NSW student currently enrolled in Year 11/12 Chemistry. Students are asked to form groups of 3 and travel to a specific test venue, where they will be asked to determine the concentration of an acid by applying titration techniques, within 90 minutes.Each participant receives a certificate depending on their team score. A team with outstanding performance may be invited to compete in the National Competition.12-13 JuneVaries according to school. Usually in May.


CompetitionApplicable GradesDescriptionEvent DateFinal Registration Date
Da Vinci Decathlon 5 – 10Students work in groups of 8 to complete a series of challenging academic tasks (written and practical) in a given time-frame.  These activities are from the following disciplines: Engineering, Maths, Code breaking, Art & Poetry, Science and English. The winning team will be invited to participate in the State Final, and the winning team at the State level will be invited to participate in the National Decathlon.24 – 26 MayVaries according to school. Usually in April.
Tournament of the minds7 – 12Students work in teams of 7 to solve demanding problems from a specific discipline. Teams are required to work on long term challenges lasting 6 weeks, without obtaining the assistance from others, as well as take part in a spontaneous challenge on the day.The tournament will assist students in developing diverse skills and the discipline to work collaboratively in a challenging environment.21, 27 & 28 AugustEarly May

Please note that the information above is subject to change without prior notice by competition organisers. Matrix Education bears no responsibility for any inaccurate or outdated information. Please refer to each website for the most up-to-date information.

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2017-18 Student Contest Calendar

Ongoing | Weekly all School Year, Starting Sept. 7

Our Current Events Conversation is an opportunity for teenagers to tell us what they’re reading, watching or listening to in The New York Times and why. We will honor our favorite student comments weekly.

• Description of the Feature

• Find the latest spot for your students to post.

Editorial Cartoon Contest | Sept. 14-Oct. 17, 2017

Draw an editorial cartoon on a topic you care about.

• 2017 Contest and Rules

• Related Lesson Plan

• 2017 Winners

Review Contest | Oct. 12-Nov. 14, 2017

Review a book, movie, restaurant, album, theatrical production, video game, dance, TV show, art exhibit or any other kind of work The Times critiques.

2017 Contest and Rules

Related Lesson Plan

2017 Winners

New Contest:Media Literacy Student Challenge | Explore Your Relationship With News | Nov. 2-Dec. 22, 2017

This contest will invite students to analyze their personal relationships with news — however they define and consume it — then produce creative visual or written reflections about what they discover.

• 2017 Contest and Rules

• Related Lesson Plan

• 2017-18 Winners

New Contest:Connect What You’re Studying in School With the World Today | Dec. 7, 2017-Jan. 16, 2018

What does the Civil War — or evolution, or Shakespeare or “The Bluest Eye” — have to do with with your life and the lives of those around you? Why should you remember it once you’ve turned in that paper or taken that test? What relevance does it have today? What parallels do you see between it and something happening in the news or in our culture?

In this contest, we invite students to address those questions by matching something they are studying in schoolto anything they like that was published in The Times in 2017 or 2018, and tell us why they made the connection.

• 2017 Rules and Submission Form

• Related Lesson Plan

• 2018 Winners

Vocabulary Video Contest | Jan. 18-Feb. 23, 2018

Produce a 15-second video about the meaning of one of our Words of the Day.

• 2018 Rules

• 2017 Winners

Editorial Contest | Feb. 28-April 5, 2018

Write an editorial on an issue that matters to you.

• 2018 Rules

• Related Lesson Plan

• 2017 Winners

Found Poetry Contest | April 4-May 4, 2018

Create a poem composed from words and phrases found in Times articles.

• 2017 Rules

• Related Lesson Plan

• 2017 Winners

New Contest:Podcast Challenge | April 26-May 25, 2018

Update | Create a podcast of five minutes or less that is inspired by one of our thousand-plus Student Opinion questions. That question should just be your starting point. As long as you address the question somehow, your podcast can be in whatever format you think works best. For example, it can be structured as a one-person narration, a conversation between two or more people, or a series of interviews. It can be for educational or entertainment purposes, and can showcase reporting, a personal story or an opinion. Stay tuned for our coming contest announcement and related lesson plan that will help you think through these open-ended choices and, for now, enjoy looking through our Student Opinion questions for inspiration. Stay tuned, and, in the meantime, if you have ideas or thoughts, please let us know at

Summer Reading Contest | June 15-Aug. 24, 2018

We ask, “What interested you most in The Times this week?” each Friday for 10 weeks.

2017 Rules

• Past Winners

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