Category: Test Prep

After the Tests: Lessons from the SSAT, ISEE, & HSPT

Congratulations on making it through the middle school testing season! You can finally file, recycle, or burn all of your study materials. Hopefully, the experience turned out to be more pleasant or productive than you originally expected. At the least, you can say that it’s behind you.  As you return to your regularly scheduled school […]

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6 Common Questions About High School Admissions Testing

Recently, one of our most experienced SSAT tutors, Kate Kula, sat down with Katy Dunn, Director of Educational Planning, to discuss the most common questions they hear about private high school testing. Here’s the highlights of their conversation, with Kate interviewing Katy: 1. Should I submit the highest overall SSAT percentile score or the highest […]

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What Can We Learn From Our SSAT or ISEE?

The SSAT & ISEE Differ From Schoolwork When working with families on the SSAT and the ISEE, I make a clear distinction between academic success generally and success on standardized tests. There are several reasons for this. Nobody, especially not 11-to-14-year-olds, should feel that their value is measured by bubbling in the correct circles on […]

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Effective SSAT & ISEE Homework Habits

Effective homework for the SSAT and ISEE means working smarter, not working harder. While breezing through half a box of flashcards in a week may give you a fleeting sense of accomplishment, try remembering those words in two weeks. Now, try remembering them in two months, when it’s time to sit for your first official […]

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ACT English Section: What You Need to Know

ACT English Overview I often tell students I’m working with that the ACT and the SAT are bad tests. Why? I’ve been working with them for over 15 years and still can’t tell you what they really measure. It’s certainly not “intelligence” or IQ, there’s little correlation between test scores and grades, and test scores […]

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ACT Science Section: What You Need to Know

ACT Science Overview Before discussing how to tackle science strategy, I want to note a few things about what skills the ACT science section tests. I’ll often introduce the science section as a “science” section, with a tongue-in-cheek eye roll and obvious air quotes. On the whole, it does not test whether we remember topics […]

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What Role Do Scores Play in High School Admissions?

As fall takes a firm position in our lives and the winter holidays loom on the horizon, our students are visiting schools (in person or remotely) and preparing for the next round of standardized tests. Clearly, we want our students to maximize their scores and to give themselves as many options as possible. We want […]

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The PSAT is Done – Now it’s Time to Check Out the ACT

Originally published November 7, 2019 Congratulations on making it through the PSAT! I’m hoping you feel really good about it – and not just because it’s over! If you don’t, however, you certainly don’t need to stress, because colleges will never see those scores. But good, bad, or otherwise, you’ll be waiting until December for […]

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Why Do Test Scores Go Up and Down? (Consistency is Hard)

I often deemphasize the score from individual practice tests, and I worry that this makes parents suspicious. “Like jazz, it’s about all the mistakes they didn’t make!”  Here are some actual reasons your child’s score could vary from test-to-test — all of which address the challenges to being consistent: First, students will leave practice one […]

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The Right Test, On the Right Day, In the Right Way

Standardized testing is a long, drawn-out experience, one that can be stressful to navigate. It’s helpful to determine the right test to take and, from there, to focus the investment of time and energy into that test. Although families are balancing ever-changing schedules, current school needs, and the expectations of potential schools, it is also […]

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