Test Preparation Tips for the ISEE or SSAT

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Before you’ll be allowed to enroll your child in one of the better private academies, whether a boarding or non-residential school, it’s likely that the child will have to show that he or she can handle the work. They show this by taking and successfully passing a standardized test. For residential schools, this will likely be the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT), and for non-residential academies, it will probably be the Independent School Entrance Exams (ISEE). Either way, there are some steps that you and the child can take together to make sure that they do their best.

The ISEE is produced by ERB and administered by the individual schools.   Official site of the SSAT is HERE

Spend some time with your child in the weeks before the exam giving him / her several practice exams.

You should do them in this order: Before you ever begin any training with them, give them the test to see how they would likely score right now. After you’ve progressed a bit, give a mid-point check-up. And then, right before the actual exam, test them one last time. This does a few things. First, it shows you what areas the child might need to brush up on. Second, it acquaints the child with the format of the test itself, which makes it less likely that they he / she will freeze up on the test or take too long trying to understand what’s expected. And third, if the child shows improvement by the time you give the last practice test, this will boost his or her confidence.  See our Ultimate Guide to Test Preparation.

Even though vocabulary is a major part of both tests, don’t try to cram a bunch of new words into the child’s head in just a few weeks’ time.

Instead, study lists of word roots and prefixes and try to help the child learn what a word probably means based on these. This will often allow the child to decipher a word’s meaning even if he’s never seen it before. Preparing for Vocabulary Tests.   Also Make Flash Cards.  Vocabulary Practice Part 1 and Vocabulary Practice Part 2

Math is one area where studying can bring about incredible improvement.

Just rote memorization of the multiplication table and division facts can dramatically improve speed. And speed means a lot on the math portion of these exams. So work, work, work on the basics of math.   If you have to memorize – here is how.

Remember that the tests are largely multiple choice, and there are some very helpful strategies that help on multiple choice tests.

 For instance, if there are two answers that are very close to each other, chances are good that the correct response is one of these two. For instance, if a math question has these four possible answers — 5, 10, 100, 7, the answer is probably either 10 or 100, because the test-writers toss in an answer that looks like the real answer, to try to confuse the student. By knowing the answer is one of these two, the child has doubled his chances of getting it right.  More on Multiple Choice.

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  1. greg
    July 2, 2011

    thanks a lot. i was lost on how to help before i read this

  2. Beatrice
    July 6, 2011

    great points to help me prepare my girl. thanks

  3. Esther
    July 10, 2011

    our daughters problem is math. she is doing great with the rest, math is the problem.

  4. Dad3
    July 11, 2011

    i will take your advise and give my son the test now and see ow he scores.

  5. renuka
    January 31, 2018

    Great post! I am really impressed with your thoughts. Your blog is really helpful for my students. I came across this blog that shares preparation tips. I found them to be really useful.

  6. Anonymous
    October 30, 2018

    WHich is harder? ISEE or SSAT?

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