Below, you’ll find a summary of the SSAT/ISEE process, which can help you gain some familiarity with it, as you embark on this new journey with your child. Remember that we are available to you to help you craft the right SSAT/ISEE process for your child. Feel free to contact us about any question, no matter how small.
Determine when your child needs to take the test and plan a preparation schedule
The SSAT is typically administered eight times annually. The list of ISEE test dates corresponds to your location. The SSAT and ISEE are highly coachable, patterned, and predictable. We have found that a systematic tutoring program leads to dramatically superior outcomes.
We recommend a minimum of 12 sessions to cover the entirety of either test. Most of our students space these sessions out over the course of three months with a Comprehensive Package.
If your child has more time or you feel that he/she would benefit from additional preparation, you may choose the Planning Ahead Package, which includes 16 sessions. Generally, the Planning Ahead Package allows for additional focus on one or two sections and more extended coaching on practice exams.
Familiarize yourself with the format of the exam
The SSAT provides this summary of the test and ERB provides this overview of the ISEE. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the content and timing requirements, we recommend that you order either the free official SSAT materials or the free official ISEE materials.
Have your child establish a baseline on a practice test
Establishing a baseline score is an important first step in the process of studying for either exam. We highly recommend that your child take a full-length practice exam as a diagnostic. Practice exams can be found in the free preparation materials for both the ISEE and SSAT.
Students should take the diagnostic practice exam under timed conditions and complete it in one sitting. Because most students taking the SSAT/ISEE are not familiar with standardized tests, time management and sustained focus can be primary challenges. It can be helpful to have a parent or tutor proctor the exam to help with timing. Please contact us if we can help you in this regard. Students taking the lower-level test should give themselves 110 minutes to take a diagnostic test, while students taking the middle and upper-level tests should allow for 3 hours.
The student's score on this diagnostic exam is not particularly important. The correct and incorrect answers serve as a starting point for our tutors, allowing us to build a syllabus aimed at addressing your child’s weaknesses.
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Once you have a score from your child's diagnostic exam, we can advise you more specifically you on what kind of preparation program makes the most sense. The more information you can provide the better. If possible, please summarize your child's performance on each section of the exam, your goals for the test, your schedule, and any specific concerns you have about your child's preparation. One of our tutors would be happy to discuss a preparation schedule and budget that suits your needs.
Tutoring & Practice Testing
Once we’ve matched your child with a tutor, the real work begins! Your child will meet with his/her tutor regularly (ideally, once or twice per week), complete homework in between sessions, and take practice tests. Practice tests are the best way for your tutor to understand your child’s performance, and to gauge progress during the course of tutoring. Based on the results of your child’s practice tests, your tutor will adjust his or her approach, and make sure he/she is getting as much out of the process as possible.