High School Testing & Admissions

High School Admissions

Our educational counselors develop a customized plan for your student. We provide support with school selection, essays, interview preparation, and campus visits scheduling. Our team can help lower the stress and uncertainty with the admissions process.

High School Testing

The secondary school admissions process can be daunting and the test isan important component of the student’s admissions profile. The three most common secondary school tests, the SSAT, the ISEE, and the HSPT, are designed to aid the high school admissions officer’s selection process.

Our tutors work to help students and their families understand these tests, select the best test where possible, and maximize student performance. Students will work on verbal and math content, as well as develop a strategy for test day. Families should understand the admissions policies for each school.including which, if any, test is required.


The Secondary School Admissions Test is a 3 hour multiple choice exam The test includes 60 vocabulary based questions and a critical reading section . The two math sections include pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and other topics for functions and probability. A writing sample is also required. PrepMatters tutors help students improve content knowledge, and enable decision making strategies that help students navigate time constraints, incorrect answer penalties, and other test nuances.


ISEE is a 3 hour multiple choice test containing verbal, math, and reading sections, as well as a writing sample. However, the verbal contains sentence completions instead of the SSAT’s analogies. Similarly, some of the multiple choice math questions challenge students to think beyond the computing to understanding the true value of certain expressions. Because of the test format, we will focus onvocabulary and math. Since there is no incorrect answer penalty, we work with students to employ time management tactics for efficient decisions to be able to answer all of the questions.


The High School Placement Test is an admissions test offered to 8th graders in participating schools of the Archdiocese of Washington. Generally, the test questions are viewed as less difficult. However, students must move much more quickly in order to answer all of the questions in the limited time. Students are tested on grammar, critical reading, verbal skills, and math. At PrepMatters, we help students understand the best approach to answering questions in the given time and we bolster their content knowledge for the different sections.


The SSAT and ISEE are typically taken in October, November, and December of the year in which students are applying, usually 8th grade. The HSPT is usually taken one of the first two Saturdays in December for families new to the diocese. If they are already at a Catholic school, they may take the test earlier. Please check with your current school. The SSAT may be taken several times; the ISEE once per testing season; and the HSPT only once in eighth grade outside of extenuating circumstances.

Become familiar with the test content and process. and plan to take at least one practice test prior to test day.. Our tutors will help develop a game plan.

Students working with PrepMatters tutors receive vocabulary materials, a test workbook, and access to practice test material.

The SSAT is scored between 500 and 800 in each of its three sections for a total possible score of 1500-2400. The ISEE is scored in a range of 760 to 940 for each of its sections. Both also provide score percentiles which are useful in understanding how your student performs compared to actual recent test takers. The HSPT is scored on a range of 200 to 800. 

Students can begin working on their verbal and reading skills now by reading more on their own and working on vocabulary. Typically, a family should plan to work for 8-12 weeks to allow for missed weeks due to sports or other activities. this will also allow time for a few practice tests.

It is helpful to think of which school and environment will help your student be his or her best self in 3 or 4 years. Our Educational Planning Team is exceptional in guiding you to find the right community by discussing your student’s interests, strengths and challenges.

As of July, 2021, the SSAT and ISEE are available in At Home or paper test format. The HSPT is available in paper format.

Each of the testing agencies provides for students to take the test with accommodations. Usually, accommodations must be approved by the testing agency before a test is scheduled. Typical accommodations include extra time, a laptop for the writing sample, answer in book, 4 function calculator, a ruler to help with reading, and a reader. Please check with your child’s testing agency and school for additional information.

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