The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) and the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) are the two most prolific standardized admissions exams used in U.S private schools today. Though your child may have done well in elementary school, passing these standardized tests are par for the course for entry to private schools. You may argue that your child’s teachers in elementary all love him or her, and that she gets good grades, but like anything in life, this a totally new facet of your child’s development. These kinds of tests are essential, as admissions staff do not have the luxury of prior knowledge and awareness of what your child may have picked up or not in his or her primary schooling. Standardized test results set an objective benchmark of your child’s abilities against all other applicants. For this reason are they necessary.
The Secondary School Aptitude Test (SSAT) and Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) are just two in an assortment of assessment tools which admissions use in evaluating your child. What makes a private school test useful is that it shows how you child compares to other applicants, which may come from anywhere across the nation. Though they do give an adequate projection of your child’s academic capability, they don’t, however, address other factors like goals, personality and other interests and so forth.
The SSAT is administered at two levels: the Lower Level encompasses students in 5th-7th grades while the Upper Level embraces the 8th-11th grades. The ISEE on the other hand is given at the Middle Level or the 6th-8th grades and the Upper Level or the 9th-12th grades. It also includes a Lower Level for the 4th and 5th grades. You need to apply personally, as the school you apply to will not do this for you. Be mindful of the registration deadline as well. The test is divided into multiple sections. The Verbal primarily covers reading comprehension and vocabulary. Mathematics on the other hand deals with basic topics such as algebra, geometry and basic arithmetic. An essay portion is also included in the SSAT. Wrong answers are penalized by subtracting a quarter point for each wrong answer from the total correct answers.A distracting feature of the SSAT is that your child will be penalized for wrong answers. A quarter of a point will be deducted for an incorrect answer. Questions with no answer will not be credited either way.
Test preparation is essential for any private school test. It is imperative that any child looking to apply must practice taking the SSAT or the ISEE, depending on the requirements of their prospective school. This article suggests applying in a test prep program to further your child’s chances in getting accepted. It goes without saying that the field is quite competitive, you must give your child every edge available to ensure success, short of cheating of course. Test preparation programs are one such edge. Feel free to search on such services, and determine for yourself if they are indeed necessary. But then again, for our kids, we have to do everything that it takes.