Going test-optional has been the recent trend in private schools, universities, and colleges nationwide for the past years. However, most schools still accept standardized test scores should the applicant choose to submit. If you are planning on taking the tests, it is recommended that you have practice tests to have a deeper knowledge of the subjects and develop test-taking techniques.
We strongly suggest that you submit your test scores if the school you are applying to will accept them. Added to your GPA, subject grades, and other requirements in your application portfolio, SSAT, ISEE, and HSPT scores for private high school applicants, and SAT or ACT scores for college applicants can add more value to your application and give admissions officers a different perspective to your higher-level education readiness.
However, the scores you submit should be impressive to give you leverage. To achieve high scores, it is advisable that you take the ISEE practice test, SSAT practice test, or HSPT practice test depending on the private school that you are applying to. Taking practice tests will make you familiar with the content and flow of the test as well as develop your test-taking mindset and techniques making you confident in taking the entrance exams.
If you are applying for college to a top university, you can take the SAT practice test and/or the ACT practice test. Both the SAT and ACT will showcase the aptitude and skills you have gained during your high school years and will be a good indicator of your college readiness.
A private school test preparation program is very rigorous and it is a good way for students to enrich themselves. It focuses on confidence-building and laying the foundation for future success. It is also a good way to make sure that they have covered all of the grade-level material during the school year to have better placement and better classes which would make a huge difference in their school performance. It allows them to learn valuable test-taking skills which could be very valuable throughout their academic career.
Both the ISEE and SSAT require students to write an essay, but it’s not graded. So why do you need to write it? A copy of the writing sample is sent to the admissions officers of the schools and will still be a differentiating factor in your application. It is a great way for schools to see how well you express yourself. and how you perform on a series of standard tasks. The essay is where you get to shine as an individual and strategically differentiate yourself from the other applicants. Schools look closely at your essay, so think of it as part of your application and take it seriously.
Both tests offer accommodations for students with learning differences through extended time to take the test, testing over multiple days, typing instead of hand-writing the optional essay, an assistant to read questions out loud, or a specific seating arrangement.
To decide which test to take, we recommend taking both diagnostic tests with us and speaking with a managing consultant for recommendations.
The duration of preparing for the ACT and SAT varies from 3 months or longer than a year depending on the students’ needs, where they are coming from, and what they hope to achieve with their scores. For students who need more focus and attention, taking test prep classes in a group setting might not be the best option because it will be difficult for the students to receive on-the-spot feedback and individualized attention.
Look for a college test prep program that is a one-on-one class and is highly individualized to cater to the specific needs of each student. One that places a lot of emphasis on establishing rapport between coaches and students would be the best choice. We believe that a child has the best chance to succeed if a good relationship exists between him/her and the coach.