I've just been to a meeting at my son's school where the Secondary School Allocation System was explained to us. (This happens in Primary 5). There are 2 Stages to this process. Stage 1 is where the parents and student make a choice of any 2 secondary schools (Any local and some DSS) in Hong Kong. 30% of school places are reserved for this stage. However, it is important to choose within the student's banding range in order to have a chance of being accepted. A form has to be completed in around October of P6 for this stage. The allocation at this stage will be based on the student's academic performance in P5 summer and P6 autumn school exams. The school may want to interview the student during this process. Conduct reports may also play an important role at this stage.

Those who don't get in at Stage 1 go into Central Allocation where 3 factors are considered: The school net of residence, the student's academic results compared to all HK students and the student's academic results compared to the school net's students. Of course Band 1 students are likely to get the pickings of the best schools

Central Allocation has 2 further stages, Stage 2 being where 3 schools are applied for anywhere in HK. 10% of places left are reserved for this stage and again Band 1 students get the pickings by computer with Band 2 allocated next and Band 3 last. The last stage, Stage 3 is where up to 30 schools are chosen and the places again are allocated by computer with Band 1 students chosen first and Band 3 last.

Academic results are calculated by first multiplying the exam results by 9 for Chinese, English and Maths, 6 for General Studies, 2 for RE (if offered), 3 for Art and 2 for Music. These results are then added together and then divided by 40 to get a percentage result, which is used to work out the student's banding. The percentage of students able to obtain their first choice of school is, however based on the previous P6 students' HKAT results, meaning that some primary schools are better to go for based on the percentage of first choice secondary allocation.