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I have been looking for this story for years. I read it from an anthology around 1997, but the story could be older.
The story is about kids who are tested (I believe) and placed into job descriptions based on how they test. I don't believe the protagonist gets what he is looking for, but he ends up getting selected for a "game". In this game, there is a group of kids that go into a game world. Each of the kids contributes to the group based on a skill that they have. The world is simulated, but when one of them "dies", they wake up and try to figure out how to do it better the next time around. One of the kids has a photographic memory and starts to draw up maps of what he remembers. Another creates fishing gear with hair and a thorn (since they can only use what they find in the environment).
In the end, the game ends up being a trial run for sending the same group to a real planet to begin colonizing it.