SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) and ISEE Tips-Learn How to Excel on the High School Admission by Amy Wells - HTML preview

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SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) and ISEE Tips-Learn How To Excel on the High School Admission Exams


Amy Wells

Table of Contents


Applying To Private Schools...............................................................................................4

SSAT & ISEE Exams........................................................................................................11

Test Prep Tips:...................................................................................................................15

SSAT Study Guide - Essential Preparation for the SSAT.................................................17

SSAT Vocabulary - Easy Ways to Increase the Score on the SSAT by Strengthening Vocabulary Skills...............................................................................................................19

What You Need for a Successful ISEE Prep.....................................................................21

ISEE Test: Preparation Is The Key For Private School Admission...................................23


If you are reading this report, I am going to assume that you are looking to get into a private school and/or pass your SSAT and ISEE exams.

It’s no secret that getting into a good private school will give you the best chance of getting into the top colleges afterwards. The truth is, the public school system just doesn’t cut it anymore. That is why so many families today are trying to get their kids into private school.

And that’s why it’s so tough. The competition is fierce. More people than ever are applying to private schools. That means that YOUR child has to be at the top of the class as far as grades and passing the entrance exams.

This report will help your child get an edge in this very competitive world that we live in today. With this information, your child will have the best chance of passing the SSAT and ISEE and getting into the private school of their choice.

So without further delay, let’s get right to it.

Applying To Private Schools

As with everything in life, especially when it comes to red tape, there is a certain procedure you need to follow when applying to a private school. Failure to follow that procedure to the letter can seriously affect your chances of getting into the private school of your choice.

So the first goal of this report is to make sure you understand the procedure and everything involved. That way, if nothing else, you’ll know that you’ve done all that you could to give your child the best chance of getting into a private school.


Here is the general timeline you should follow when applying to a private school:


 Research schools.

 Contact two to six schools for more information and applications.

 Register for the SSAT or other required admission tests.


 Submit your school applications and request financial aid forms (if applicable).

 Verify that teacher evaluations, other letters of recommendation, and current school transcripts have been sent to the school(s) to which you are applying.

 Visit each school for a tour and an interview.

 Check to make sure that schools have received all necessary information.


 Schools notify parents of admission decision.

 Schools notify parents of financial aid decision (where applicable).

 Parents reply to schools regarding matriculation.

School Types

What type of school do you prefer? This is important because if the school you’re applying to doesn’t match your likes, your child won’t have the school experience that he or she is looking for.

Student Body

 Do you prefer a single-sex or coed school?

 Do you prefer a large (>500), mid-size (250-500) or small (<250) student body?

 Do you prefer a school with a student body drawn from an international, national, regional or local population?

 Do you want to attend a school with all grade levels or only secondary school levels?

 Do you prefer a student body that is culturally diverse?

 Are you more interested in a school where the majority of students attend as day students or as boarding students?

Campus Life

 Do you prefer on-campus living, or living at home?

 Would you prefer a campus with many activities or a more leisurely setting?

 Would you prefer campus relationships between students and teachers to be casual or formal?

 Would you prefer a very disciplined campus environment or one that allows more autonomy?

 What is the daily class and activity schedule and how does it fit with your needs?

 What kinds of campus social activities are offered?

 Does the school have a religious affiliation? How much are religious activities a part of school life?

 What is the school calendar and how does it fit with your family’s needs?


 What is the student/faculty ratio and average class size?

 What is the percentage of graduates that attend college and where?

 Does the school offer special programs of interest to you (i.e., English as a Second Language, Learning Differences programs, Post-Graduate year)?

 What is the nature of the curriculum?

 How stringent are the grading standards?

 Does the school have a particular strength in a specific academic department?

 What student progress reports are given to parents and how frequently?

 Are academic tutors and special instructors available and supported?


 Are you interested in a school with an extensive athletic program?

 Does the school have theater, art, or music programs?

 What kinds of intramural sports, community service, or other school activities are offered?

 Is after-school tutoring available?

School Facilities and Resources

 Are classroom and library facilities adequate, crowded, commodious?

 What computer and laboratory facilities are available at the school?

 Does the school have a counseling/evaluation program?

 Do recreation and athletic resources meet your expectations?

 Does the school have theater, art, or music resources?

 Is the physical plant well-maintained and modern?

 What is the nature and extent of security and supervision on campus?

 Are the school’s surrounding areas safe?

 Does the school’s food service meet your dietary needs?

 Does the school provide transportation for academic, athletic and other events?

Tuition and Financial Aid

 What are the costs of tuition, room, board, and books?

 Are there additional fees for activities and services?

 What travel costs are involved?

 What is the payment schedule required by the school?

 What financial resources are offered by the school?

 What forms are required to receive financial aid and what percentage of students receive financial aid?

Research Schools

The next thing you want to do is actually research schools.

I recommend going to the following sites:

Any information that you’re looking for on the school you’re interested in, you’ll find it at these sites.

Review School Materials

The next thing you want to do is to go over all the school materials for the school of your choice. Yes, you will be given access to this material. All you have to do is ask for it.

This way, you’ll be able to see if the material the school uses meets up with YOUR expectations.

School Facilities

Here are some questions you should ask about school facilities.

 Are library, recreation and athletic facilities described in sufficient detail to give you an idea about their contribution to the school’s program?

 Does the school have theater, music, studio, and other art resources?

 What computer and laboratory facilities are available at the school?

 Does the school support student publications?

 Does the school sponsor social and other events?

 How does the school relate to the surrounding community?

 Does the school provide opportunities for or require student service in the community?

Rules and Regulations

It is important that you are absolutely clear about the rules and regulations of the school BEFORE you apply.

You want to specifically ask about dress codes and curfews.

Failure to comply with these could lead to serious problems.

Housing and Food

In regard to housing and food, you want to ask the following questions:

 Do the majority of students live in large dormitories or small houses?

 Are there suites (several bedrooms grouped around a central living room) or are most accommodations traditional doubles (two students sharing one room)?

 How is housing allocated? Is there a lottery system or priority by grade?

 What security and safety procedures are in place?

 How are the students supervised? Remember, in most instances, the housing arrangements will be the first long-term, out-of-home living experience for a student.

 What types of food services are offered?

 How flexible are food service hours, locations and the like?

 Do you have any special dietary requirements and can the school accommodate them?

School Visit

Finally, you want to actually visit the school. They say a painting is worth a thousand words. There is no better way to get a feel for the school than to actually go there.

Schedule a visit and make sure you take a complete tour.

Don’t leave anything out.

The Interview

This is probably the most CRITICAL part. Be prepared to answer the following questions:

 The campus tour: What were you particularly interested in? What did the tour to do alter or confirm your expectations?

 Current or past school experience: Describe your special areas of interest or expertise. Be prepared to discuss your academic interests and what you expect to gain from your schoolexperience.

 Your special interests and activities.

 Why that particular school interests you.

 Your future goals and plans.

In the next section we will tackle the issue of exams.


Okay, so you have your school all picked out. But there’s still one problem…getting accepted. Towards that end, the SSAT and ISEE exams are critical.

What Is The SSAT?

The SSAT stands for Secondary School Admission Test. It’s a multiple choice test for students grades 5 to 11.

The test consists of verbal, quantitative (math) and reading comprehension sections. The verbal questions test your vocabulary, verbal reasoning, and ability to relate ideas logically. The quantitative (math) questions test your ability to solve problems involving arithmetic, elementary algebra and geometry and concepts. The reading comprehension section tests your ability to understand what you read.

The test is broken down into two levels (5-7) and (8-11).

Here is the fee schedule for the 2010 – 2011 academic year.

$116 SSAT : National Test

USA, Canada, Am. Samoa, Guam,Puerto Rico, Saipan, USVI $225 SSAT : International Test

All other test locations (outside of USA, Canada, or the territories listed above)

$146 Late Registration - USA/Canada (online only) Standard Fee + $30 Late Fee

$255 Late Registration - International (online only) Standard Fee + $30 Late Fee

$176 Standby Registration - USA/Canada (online only) Standard Fee + $60 Standby Fee

$285 Standby Registration - International (online only) Standard Fee + $60 Standby Fee

$ 35 Change of Test Date and/or Center FREE Add or Cancel Score Report - Online Access your account online at

$ 25 Add or Cancel Score Report - Mail, Fax, Email Per transaction, add/cancel up to 10 reports for a single registration

$ 20 E-Mail Score Reporting to Home

$ 35 FedEx Score Reporting to Home

To find out a testing location near you, go to:

What Is The ISEE?

The ISEE stands for Independent School Entrance Exam.

This exam has been in existence since 1989.

Here are the advantages of using the ISEE.

 Schools may select their own test dates.

 A student may only take the ISEE once within a six month period.

 Rapid turnaround of ISEE scores – available online to test site schools at no charge.

 The ISEE is given by a consortia of schools in cities throughout the country where schools have joined together to use a common entrance exam. Families may register for a large group test online or by mail for $89, or by fax/phone for an additional fee.

 The ISEE is given at individual school test sites, either open or closed, at a wide variety of schools throughout the country and abroad, on a number of test dates.

 The ISEE pays the test site school staff to administer large group testing.

 The ISEE is given at the ERB office in New York City and at offices in other parts of the country and abroad.

 Arrangements for testing with accommodations may be made with the ISEE Associate Director, Chandler Hopkins, at 1-800-989-3721, ext. 9813. There will be no indication on score reports of testing with accommodations.

 Updated preparation guides available online free of charge.

 Distribution of fee waivers to all ISEE test site schools to distribute to families in need.

The problem with both these exams is that nobody really prepares you for taking them.

You need to give yourself the best chance of passing so you can get into the school of your choice.

Here are some tips:

 Don’t leave your studying for the last minute.

Cramming for exams doesn’t work. You need to do a little bit each day until you’ve sufficiently prepared yourself. In other words, there are no shortcuts.

 Take as many practice exams as you can. This will be the best preparation that you can do.

 Practice to the clock because the real exams are timed.

The last thing you want to do is run out of time on the exam.

 Try your best to duplicate the test environment. That means working in a room with no distractions. That means no TV and turn off your cell phone.

 Repeat your practice test at least 2 or 3 times. The more you practice, the better.

 Memorize the test format and structure from the practice exams. This will make you more familiar with it when it comes time to actually take the test.

 Make sure you know, in advance, what material is going to be covered. You don’t want to be surprised by anything on the test.

 Learn as many variations of the questions that will be asked. They won’t be exactly the same as on the practice exam.

 The areas that you are weakest in, make sure you go over them a few extra times. It’s easy to fall into the trap of taking the questions you know well and leaving the ones you don’t.

If you’re looking for some great study materials and practice exams, I strongly recommend this site:

Your child’s education is one of the most important things in his or her life.

Don’t leave it to chance. Good luck!

Test Prep Tips:

SSAT Preparation - Easy Tips To Increase Private School Admission Success

One of the keys to admission in today's competitive private schools is doing well on the standardized test. The SSAT, or the ISEE, are the two tests private schools use when considering admission. Because the majority of private school applicants are declined, it is essential that your child does well on the SSAT if you want them to attend private school.

The Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT, is primarily multiple-choice with: verbal and reading comprehension sections, math sections and an essay portion. Schools look at the average scores, and usually have a cut-off when considering admission. One thing that can make the exam difficult is that the SSAT is skill- based, not knowledge-based. This means that your child will not be able to do very well by simply memorizing facts and figures. Instead, the tests will evaluate the students writing math, reading and verbal abilities.

This test requires focused and specialized preparation. While there many specific tools and strategies for the different areas of the SSAT, becoming familiar with the test by reviewing the practice questions is a good start. In addition, taking the practice exam in a timed environment is much

better than doing the questions at a relaxed pace. Your child's test-taking anxiety will be reduced when they've had a chance to practice under time constraints before the day of the exam.

Taking the practice tests will also give you and your child valuable information about their areas of weakness.

Identifying these areas ahead of time will give your student more time to increase their skill set in the areas they need help with.

Learning specific test taking strategies, particularly in the areas your child struggles with, is where utilizing SSAT

preparation really comes into play. Instead of getting an expensive private tutor, there are several online resources that can provide extensive preparation assistance at a reasonable price, many of these have videos and interactive components which are essential in helping your child achieve success with the SSAT exam.

SSAT Study Guide - Essential Preparation for the SSAT

Once you've made the decision of private school attendance for your child, it is now time to move forward and prepare them to excel on the admission tests. An SSAT study guide is essential. Because of the competitive nature of private school admission, your child must do above average on the SSAT or the ISEE exam in order to stay competitive with so many other students applying. These standardized exams required specialized preparation and focus.

There are several SSAT study guide options you should be aware of when choosing the best one for your child. The first place to start is with the official guide offered at the official SSAT website. This will give an overview of the types of questions being asked for each section. In addition, practice exams are offered, and as part of preparation, your child should take the practice exams under the suggested time constraints.

In addition to the official guide, there also a number of SSAT

study guide books available. Popular publishers include Princeton Review and Kaplan. For the most part, these books offer similar types of information. You'll find practice questions, study tips, and practice exams.

Novels that incorporate vocabulary commonly used on standardized tests have also become a popular option to help your child enrich their vocabulary. Possessing a strong vocabulary is essential to doing well on the vocabulary, reading comprehension, and even the writing portions of the SSAT. While these specialty novels are an option, a better one would be to encourage your child to read a wide range of material, especially novels than naturally incorporate a strong vocabulary.

The options outlined above will likely offer limited success.

The problem with purely text-based preparation is that many students learn better when more of their senses and their mind are being engaged. Additional methods of preparation should also be incorporated into your child's study regimen. Often, parents look to private tutoring in order to help their child study at his or her maximum potential. However, private tutors are expensive, can be difficult to schedule regularly, and most tutors do not specialize in SSAT or ISEE test preparation.

One of the most effective solutions, both in terms of costs and preparation, is to have your child access an interactive online SSAT study and preparation course. This type of course offers interactive questions, video tutorials, and techniques that will help them do well specifically on the SSAT or ISEE.

SSAT Vocabulary - Easy Ways to Increase the Score on the SSAT by Strengthening Vocabulary Skills If you want your child to do well on the SSAT, it is essential that they spend time working with, and improving their vocabulary skills. Two sections of the exam deal in part with the vocabulary, and this is an essential area to focus on.

The verbal section focuses on synonyms and analogies. As you can imagine, doing well on this section relies predominantly on vocabulary knowledge. The other section is reading comprehension, which involves reading passages and answering questions. Vocabulary is also essential to doing well in this section.

Fortunately, with some determination and focus, your child will be able to do better on this part of the exam. However, you must start exam preparations early. Cramming or memorizing are not the keys to success on the SSAT.

An easy way to increase your child's vocabulary skills, is to make sure they are reading a wide range of material. They should be reading books, and other types of information, that are not only at their reading level, but even above. If they like reading a particular type of genre, such as adventure, try to get them some more material that is slightly advanced from what they already read and liked. Do not underestimate the power of on-going reading to greatly increase their vocabulary level in reading comprehension score.

It is also important that your child goes into the exam armed with specific strategies. For example, there are several strategies you can practice with your child that will help them in the vocabulary portions of the test. While they

may not be able to preview the specific content, they can always increase their skills.

Many students, when looking at possible answers, will often panic if they don't know what a word means. The best way to deal with this is to have your child practice using what they know. This means focusing on the word or parts of a word that they already familiar with.

This is a great way to rule out incorrect answers. The student knows one of the words is a potential answer, and if it does not fit into the question, they have already increased the chances of choosing the right answer.

Another way to apply this strategy is to have study and preparation in prefixes and suffixes. Once a student recognizes some of the common ones, even if they don't know the root word, they will be able to select or exclude the some of the answer choices.

While taking the SSAT can be overwhelming, there are a number of practical tips that can easily improve your child's score. The key is to start ahead of time. Using an online preparation service will give you