There are many reasons that a private school may be the best choice for your child. Some children flourish in programs that allow them to focus on language or arts programs that may not be offered in public middle or high schools in the area. For introverted students, the personalized attention and small classroom sizes may be crucial to their academic and social success.
However, gaining admission into some of the most competitive private school programs can be daunting. Many private schools rely on Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) scores for admission, and both parents and children can find these admission tests confusing and intimidating.
However, there are several steps you can take to help your child through the testing process and help optimize their performance on the exam.
Tips for Preparing for the ISEE Exam
Before you start preparing for the ISEE exam, you should make sure that this is the correct exam for the schools you are considering. Although the ISEE is geared towards private school admissions, some private schools use the SSAT test for admissions. The ISEE differs from the SSAT exam in some important aspects. For example, there is no guessing penalty for the ISEE exam, whereas there is one for the SSAT. The essay and vocabulary sections for these exams also differ significantly.
One of the first steps you should take is give your child a practice test in order to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses. A practice exam will also help your child know what to expect in advance of the actual testing process. If at possible, try to give the practice test to your child months before their actual testing date (six months would be ideal), so that there will be time to work on areas that need improvement.
Once you have determined the areas where your child needs to show improvement, plan out a strategy to help optimize their success in these areas. For some, tutoring many be your best option. Keep in mind that the best test-prep tutors are often booked full as fall testing dates approach, so the earlier you start making inquiries the better.
However, there are many ways you can also improve scores at home. For example, you can work with your child to learn 20 new vocabulary words each week. Have your child write a practice essay every week, and discuss the results together.
As the ISEE test date approaches, continue giving practice full-length ISEE exams every other week. The goal is to help your child feel more comfortable with the testing process, and help reduce testing anxiety.
How to Prepare for the Test Day
The day before the exam, you want to discourage them from pre-exam cramming. Instead, make sure they sleep well the night before the exam, and have a healthy meal the morning of the exam.
The day before the exam, you should also make sure you have all the tools and supplies necessary for the exam. This includes pens and pencils as well as snacks and water.
Finally, remind your child that their test scores are only one part of the application process and will in no way determine their success or happiness in life. Make sure your child knows they have your love and acceptance regardless of how well they perform on the test.