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What Type of Test Prep is Best for You?

There’s no question about it – preparing for a standardized test can take a lot of work. Whether students are preparing for middle, high school, or college entrance exams, it’s important to have a study plan. But how should they study? Students have several options: they can work with a private tutor, join small tutoring groups, enroll in a full-sized test prep class, or study independently. Which option is right for you? Read on to find out. PRIVATE TUTORING Private tutoring is an excellent option for many students. In a one-on-one setting, the curriculum is tailored specifically for each student and moves at a pace perfect for them. The tutor also learns about the students’ specific needs and can recommend strategies that work for them, identify exactly where they may be having trouble, and give targeted feedback. Private tutoring is typically the most efficient form of tutoring, and students move the most quickly through content when working one-on-one. To get started with a private tutor, you can email info@smartcitytutoring.com or submit an inquiry form.  SMALL-GROUP TUTORING Small-Group Tutoring can be an great option for students who are looking for a more collaborative environment. With small-group tutoring, students see many of the same benefits as with private tutoring – personalized attention, feedback, and targeted strategies – and students may enjoy working alongside peers who are going through the same process. The pace of the curriculum will be a little less targeted than private tutoring, but classes are also more affordable for families than private tutoring. Read more about our small-group options at our group tutoring page, or email info@smartcitytutoring.com for more information. TEST PREP CLASSES Test Prep Classes are a good option for students who are more independent. They still provide structure, which keeps students on track as they study, and teachers can guide students through some of the trickier content and introduce them to general test prep strategies. If the pace is too fast for students, they may need to do additional work on their own to keep up, and if it’s too slow, students may need to find additional work to keep them busy. They will also need to take the initiative to ask questions when they need extra clarification. Test prep options are often more affordable for families, and they give students the opportunity to interact with many peers preparing for the same exam. INDEPENDENT STUDY Students may also choose to prepare for standardized tests independently. This option works well for students who are very independent and self-motivated. If they choose to prepare independently, students should carefully select resources to use, such as online test prep accounts or test prep workbooks. They should be mindful that testing is not just about learning the content – there are many different test-taking strategies they should use that may not be clearly outlined in the resources they gather. Students also should make a well-organized plan to ensure they have enough time to learn everything ahead of their test. Students working independently may benefit from 1-3 sessions with a tutor to get started just to introduce strategies and help make a plan.

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Should Your Child Do Homework on Vacation or at Camp?

Over the summer, many New York City kids take the opportunity to leave the city for a bit and travel or go to camp. For students preparing for a standardized test in the fall, I talk to parents who ask, “What should my child be doing while they’re away?”  This question can be tricky. We often recommend that students use the summer to get ahead on test preparation when they don’t have other school work. However, this is the standard recommendation to students staying home – those traveling and at camp will certainly have other things to keep them busy! SOMETIMES A BREAK IS BETTER If your child is going away, our recommendation depends on how they’re doing. If your child got an early start with preparation, or if they’re already scoring reasonably well on their practice tests, it may be best to let your child take a break. Students work so hard throughout the school year, and a clean break from any academic work can help students refresh and avoid burnout come fall. Also, if your child is traveling or at camp, they’re building other important skills – either learning about new cultures, interacting with new peer groups, and problem solving in new settings. SOME STUDENTS SHOULD BRING A FEW TOOLS FOR PRACTICE However, if you feel your child needs a bit of extra support, there are some options for keeping up work over the summer. An easy way to get ahead is to use flashcards. A lot of admissions tests are vocabulary heavy, and students can use flashcards to easily learn new words while traveling or at camp. Students can also use flashcards for other things – memorizing important math formulas, figures of speech, rules, and more. They can also bring math worksheets – while it’s unlikely they will be diving into new, complicated learning while away, doing a problem here and there is an easy way to review math they learned in the spring. Finally, they can bring a journal – many standardized tests have writing components, and when students write in a journal, they practice organizing their thoughts, using grammar conventions and spelling, and adding details to their ideas. MAKE A CONCRETE PLAN If your child decides to do work over the summer, it’s very important to plan ahead. Once your child is in a new, exciting environment, the last thing they’ll want to do is pull out homework. Instead of relying on self-motivation in the moment, make a schedule they can stick to. It’s important to be concrete – you should think about when they will complete the work (where and what time of day), how much work they’ll aim to complete (either a set number of items or an amount of time), and how they will track their progress. It’s also important to set realistic goals – students are unlikely to do a full hour of work each day at camp, but 10 minutes might not feel so difficult, and those minutes will add up over the weeks. PLAN FOR WHEN THEY RETURN Regardless of what you decide to do over the summer, it’s important to have a plan for when you get back. Those last weeks of August can be a great time to get ahead with either private or group tutoring. Click here to learn more about our group tutoring options. To learn more about private tutoring options, email info@smartcitytutoring.com or submit an inquiry form.

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Does Your Child Deeply Understand Content?

Summer Group Tutoring Options Available Now!   After teaching and tutoring for the past decade, I’ve recently noticed some remarkable changes around the depth of knowledge some of my students demonstrate.   These days, I primarily tutor for the ISEE and SSAT tests, which means that year over year, I’m working with the same age groups on the same exact content—mostly fifth through eighth graders preparing for difficult standardized tests to get into the middle and high schools of their choice. In the past two years, I noticed that some students I work with struggle with content that previous students thoroughly grasped — especially in areas of foundational math, including fractions, decimals, and negative numbers. Other tutors I worked with noticed similar things—that many students, even those on grade level according to their schools, lacked a deep understanding of some foundational concepts necessary for grappling with more complex upper level work.  As I dug deeper, I realized that for many of these students, the skills they struggled with were those taught during the height of the COVID pandemic, in 2020 and 2021. Although they technically knew the skills—with some reminders, they could simplify a fraction or add negative numbers—they didn’t have a deep inherent understanding of the skills, and instead were just following the steps.  This is a tricky issue to address—after all, if a student can do a skill, how can you ascertain whether they are performing with a deep understanding of a concept that will serve them well in the future, or with merely a surface level understanding that will not fully support future growth? And how can we deepen their knowledge? And measure success? A good rule of thumb is this: if a student can easily recall how to do a skill, even if they haven’t used it in a long time, and if they can apply that skill to a new problem type, then they have a deep understanding of the concept. It’s like riding a bike—once you know how to do it, it’s impossible to forget, and even if you’re in a new environment you still know how to ride a bike. This depth of understanding becomes inherent when students are given many opportunities to use a concept and in many different formats. When learning fractions, for example, students need various opportunities to understand how fractions work using  physical manipulatives (cutting a piece of paper into fourths), drawings (filling in a circle half way), and in the abstract (adding fractions using only numerals and symbols). They should then be able to apply their knowledge to new formats, like solving word problems that ask them to manipulate fractions in new ways, or apply the concepts to everyday life. THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE During the pandemic, teachers, families, and students alike were figuring out how to navigate new technologies, new norms, and a whole new world. Unfortunately, this meant many curriculums were rushed to ensure students covered all the content needed for them to stay on grade level. There wasn’t the time or opportunity for students to deeply explore content they learned, as there once was. And once things returned to normal, schools needed to keep moving ahead – without added time to review and practice former skills. As a result, many students are showing gaps in foundational understanding.  So what should we do? SOLUTIONS Talk to Your Child’s Teacher Your child’s teacher works with your child daily and should have a thorough understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Ask teachers if there’s anything your child should continue to work on, or if there is something your child struggled with this year or was slow to understand, even if they seemed to pick it up eventually. A teacher may be able to point you in the right direction to build your child’s foundational skills.  Practice Old Skills Once you’ve identified a gap, the next thing to do is practice a concept! After reviewing the basics of any given skill, your child should be able to explain the concept back to you. Ask questions as if you were learning it for the first time. One of the best ways for a student to really understand something is to explain it, then try to explain it in a different way, and then finally, explain why it works. Another great way to practice is to do difficult word problems that require your child to apply a concept in a new format. Make the most of your free time While summer vacations are important breaks for students, they are also opportune times for your child to review missed material or strengthen skills. During the school year, adding remedial practice to your child’s already busy schedule can be daunting, but in summer months it can become much easier and more organic to a relaxed schedule. Make a plan to do a little work each week, so your child is learning while still getting a break. Enlist Support As I mentioned above, it can sometimes be difficult to even recognize gaps, let alone identify how to fill them. Even as a tutor, it sometimes takes me several sessions with a student to identify specific learning gaps. If you’re not sure where to get started, you might find it helpful to have your child work one-on-one with a tutor to identify and address learning gaps. Working with a tutor can support your child not only in identifying and addressing learning gaps, but will also ensure that your child stays on a schedule, chipping away at the work they need to do bit by bit. If your child is already working with a tutor for academics or test prep, ask the tutor if they’ve noticed any foundational gaps, and if so, ask them to work some foundational practice into their sessions! If you’re interested in exploring tutoring options, or if you have specific questions about your child’s needs, please submit an inquiry form, and we’ll reach out to you to make a plan.

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SSAT FAQ’s

Summer Group Tutoring Options Available Now! The Secondary School Admissions Test, more commonly referred to as the SSAT, is a standardized test used by independent day schools and boarding schools to evaluate students applying for admission. Read on to learn some of the most common questions we get about the SSAT. WHAT IS THE SSAT? The SSAT is an exam designed to evaluate a student’s scholastic aptitude. There are several levels: The Elementary Level Test (for application to grades 3 and 4), the Middle Level Test (for application to grades 5 to 7), and the Upper Level Test (for application to grades 8-11). The Middle and Upper Level SSAT tests have six sections: Writing Sample, Quantitative 1, Reading, Verbal, Quantitative 2, and Experimental. Students get a percentile score for the quantitative, reading, and verbal sections. The writing section is unscored, but sent to schools for review. The experimental section is only 15 minutes, and is used to test new questions for future SSATs. The experimental section is unscored. HOW IS THE SSAT SCORED? Students who take the test are given three scores out of 800 (one for verbal, one for reading, and one that averages the two math sections), and all three scores are added into a single, overall scaled score out of 2400. Each score is also converted to a percentile, so students can see how they did in comparison with other students who took the same version of the test. While the essay is unscored, it is important to note that the essays are sent to schools along with the score report and will be evaluated by admissions officers at each school. DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO TAKE THE SSAT? Most students applying to independent schools will take either the SSAT or the ISEE. Generally speaking, boarding schools prefer the SSAT, and day schools prefer the ISEE, but recently many schools have started accepting either test. Additionally, some schools are test-optional, but as many universities reinstate admissions testing requirements, there is a strong possibility that independent middle and high schools may choose to do the same. You can find information about requirements for the specific schools you’re applying to on their admissions websites. Overall, we strongly recommend that all students prepare for one of the tests as they begin their application process. For more information on the overall ISEE and SSAT timeline, read our blog post here. WHEN SHOULD I TAKE THE SSAT? The SSAT is offered approximately once a month throughout the year, and students are allowed to take as many tests as they’d like. In a standard application timeline, we recommend students begin testing as early as August to allow for subsequent testing if necessary. The latest students can take the test in order for scores to be submitted to schools on time is early January.  Please be mindful that some schools will not accept scores from tests taken before August 1st of the application year – to find out if your school will accept earlier scores, you can visit their admissions website or call their admissions office. HOW SHOULD MY CHILD PREPARE FOR THE SSAT? The first thing you should do to prepare for the SSAT is schedule a diagnostic test. Diagnostics are extremely important to get a sense of where your child is starting and to collect data so you can make a test prep plan tailored specifically to your child’s needs. For specifics about preparation, please read our post about preparing for the ISEE and SSAT here. To register for a diagnostic test, please email info@smartcitytutoring.com. Once you have diagnostic scores, you may choose to enlist the help of a tutor or a class to guide preparation. The SSAT includes a lot of new information for students, and the testing strategies may differ greatly from the tests they take in school. A class helps give general instruction and keeps students on a timeline. A small-group or one-on-one tutor can be even more impactful, as this structure allows the curriculum to move at a pace more tailored to a specific student or group of students, and allows for more individualized feedback.  To get started with a tutor, email info@smartcitytutoring.com or fill out our inquiry form. To learn more about our group tutoring options, visit our website’s group tutoring page. HOW CAN I REGISTER FOR THE SSAT? You can register for the SSAT by visiting the SSAT website.

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How to Prepare for SSAT and ISEE Testing

Summer Group Tutoring Options Available Now!   You know your child will be applying to a new school in the fall, and you know that’s going to include a myriad of tasks: interviews, application essays, school visits, and of course, standardized tests. While some schools have gone test-optional, many still require tests, and high test scores can still be beneficial even at test-optional schools. We know it can be confusing figuring out how to prepare, when to prepare, and even what test to take! If it all seems a bit overwhelming, have no fear: read on to learn the answers to all of your questions. MY CHILD IS APPLYING TO AN INDEPENDENT SCHOOL. WHAT TESTS SHOULD THEY BE PREPARING FOR? If your child is preparing for entrance into an independent school, your child will likely need to take either the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) or the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE). Generally speaking, day schools in New York prefer the ISEE, while boarding schools prefer the SSAT. That being said, many schools accept either one, and if you’re applying to a mix of boarding schools and day schools, you should pick one test. You can decide which to take by researching which test is required by the schools you’re applying to. If you find you can use either test, it may be beneficial to have your student take a practice of each test to see which feels more comfortable, or which they score higher on, and then put your efforts into preparing for that test. We do not recommend preparing for both tests at once if it can be avoided—while the tests are similar, there are a few key differences, and students tend to do better when they remain focused on one test at a time. To learn more about the ISEE, read our ISEE FAQ post here. To learn more about the SSAT, read our SSAT FAQ post here.  MY CHILD IS ALSO APPLYING TO A SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL. WHAT TESTS SHOULD THEY TAKE? If your child is preparing to apply to specialized high schools (such as Stuyvesant or Bronx Science), your child will need to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). If they’re applying to both public and private schools, they will need to take the SHSAT and one of the private school tests. While the tests are not exactly the same, there is some overlap in content between the SHSAT and the private school tests, and students should prepare for both simultaneously. IS TESTING REALLY NECESSARY? Admissions testing is currently required at some independent schools, but not all. Many schools went test-optional during COVID, and some remain so. However, with universities across the country reinstating admissions testing (read more on why here), there is a possibility independent middle and high schools will follow this trend. Additionally, even at schools where admissions testing is not required, high test scores can further strengthen an application, as it adds one more point of reference for schools deciding between many competitive candidates. We recommend that all students applying to private middle and high schools prepare for testing. WHEN AND HOW SHOULD I START PREPARATION? Testing timelines look different for each student, depending on their extracurricular activities, their school workload, and their summer plans. That said, all students can start by scheduling a diagnostic test to get a sense of their strengths, areas that need work, and to better know how much time they’ll need to prepare. Data from a diagnostic test is invaluable—it lets students know what they’ll need to focus on when they study, and how much time they should allot. We recommend taking a diagnostic in mid-spring ahead of admissions to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare.  To schedule a diagnostic test, email info@smartcitytutoring.com. After you have your test scores, one of our team members will follow up to help make a personalized plan for your child based on their scores. WHEN WILL MY CHILD TAKE THESE TESTS? Most students take their entrance tests in the fall and/or early winter. Students can only take the ISEE once per season, so most students take it once in the fall and once in the early winter. Students can take the SSATs as many times as they’d like, and it is generally offered about once a month, so most students take it two or more times in the fall and early winter. The SHSAT is only offered once a year on a specific date, typically in October or November—you can find this date on the DOE website when it is released. HOW MUCH TIME SHOULD THEY SPEND PREPARING? Preparation timelines vary widely. If a student does extremely well on a diagnostic test, they may only need a month or two of preparation ahead of their exam. If a student struggles greatly, they may need much more time to get comfortable with the material and testing strategies. When planning, families need to consider their summer plans and how much time a student has in their schedule during the school year. Some students are away all summer and need to prepare before and after travel; other students have demanding sports schedules and take advantage of free time in the summer to prepare. On average, students need 2-3 months to adequately prepare for these exams, but some may need more, depending on their starting point. DOES MY CHILD NEED A TUTOR OR A CLASS? While some students are able to prepare independently, most students benefit from a tutor or a class to guide preparation. There is a lot of information on the ISEE, SSAT, and SHSAT tests, and some of it exceeds the curriculum students see in school. A tutor or a class helps guide students through unfamiliar topics and keep them on schedule as they prepare. A tutor or teacher can also help diagnose issues students may have, and can help find a strategy that works for them. While classes are good options for some, one-on-one or small-group

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How to Prepare for Test Day

It’s December, and that means students everywhere are preparing to take all sorts of tests – standardized tests, like the ISEE and SSAT, and big midterms and finals ahead of the winter holidays. The weeks leading up to a big test may be stressful, but there’s plenty you can do to take control and make sure you’re as prepared as you possibly can be. IN THE WEEKS BEFORE THE TEST, YOU SHOULD… Study!  The number one way to ease any test anxiety is to be prepared. When you find out you have a big test coming up, make a plan, and organize your schedule to ensure you have enough time to adequately prepare (check out our blog post about making a plan here!). Typically, students should study a little bit each day so they don’t burn out, but in the 2-3 weeks before a major test, especially a standardized test, students may want to ramp up their studying by scheduling more study sessions, allotting more time, or taking a full-length practice test to ensure they’re on track. This is also a great time for students to reach out to teachers or tutors for extra support on any topics that they’re still struggling with – sometimes, just a meeting or two with an adult can help students understand very tricky topics. ONE WEEK BEFORE THE TEST, YOU SHOULD… Continue to study, be extra mindful about taking care of yourself, and make sure you’re logistically prepared!  At this point, you should be almost ready for the test – you’ve spent weeks or months preparing, and now it’s time to go over any last-minute things you may still need to cover, and review topics you may have learned a while ago to ensure they’re still fresh in your mind. You should also make sure that you’re taking care of yourself! In order to bring your most rested, prepared self to the test, you need to make sure your body and mind are rested and nourished – go to bed early, eat healthy foods, and try to get enough exercise each day. Finally, this is a great time to prepare for any test-day logistics – find out where your test is, what time you need to arrive, how you’ll get there, and exactly what you’ll need to bring. ONE DAY BEFORE THE TEST, YOU SHOULD… Do nothing! It may be tempting to try to cram a few last things in or do some emergency review, but you’ll actually benefit more from getting some rest. If you’ve followed your study plan and have put in the time you need, then the best thing you can do is try to relax, take your mind off the test, and go to bed early! ON TEST DAY, YOU SHOULD… Eat a good breakfast and arrive early for the test!  The last thing you want is to find yourself hungry during the test, so make sure you eat a nutritious breakfast (or lunch!) ahead of your test. Plan to arrive early if the test is somewhere unfamiliar so you’re not too stressed if you get caught in traffic or your train gets delayed. Finally, if you’re nervous when you get to the test, take some slow, deep breaths and remember: you got this! You’re prepared, and you’re going to do your best, which is all you can do. FINALLY, AFTER THE TEST… Celebrate!!  You’ve spent a lot of time preparing, and you should be proud of yourself for the effort you put in. Many students like to have a special treat waiting for them when they’re done with a test, especially one they’ve been working towards for a long time. Whatever that is for you, treat yourself – you deserve it!

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ISEE FAQ’S

Summer Group Tutoring Options Available Now!   The Independent School Entrance Exam, more commonly known as the ISEE, is a standardized test used by more than 1,200 independent schools around the world. Unlike the SAT or ACT, the ISEE is a test that many people hear of for the first time when they begin preparing to apply to Independent Schools. They’re left with lots of questions! What is the ISEE? What’s on it, anyway? When should I take it? Do I have to take it? We’ll answer all of these questions and more below! WHAT IS THE ISEE? The ISEE is a standardized test administered by the Educational Records Bureau that is designed to evaluate a student’s scholastic aptitude. There are several levels of the ISEE: Lower Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level, as well as the Primary ISEE tests (for information on the Primary ISEE, please see our blog post about it!). The Lower, Middle, and Upper Levels all contain five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Math Achievement and an Essay. The first four sections are scored, and the essay is sent to schools for review. HOW IS THE ISEE SCORED? AND WHAT DO THOSE SCORES MEAN? The ISEE is scored based on percentile—that means your score is based on how well other students performed when taking the same test. Percentiles are then translated into stanines, which are scaled 1-9, with 9 being the highest score. Although the essay is not scored, it is still very important – schools receive the essay along with scores, and will use this to evaluate how well students can write in an on-demand setting. Different schools have different expectations regarding scores. Some schools would like to see 8s and 9s, and some schools are fine with 5s and 6s. In order to find out what the expectations are at the schools you’re applying to, you can check in with a consultant or use a tool like Test Innovators to see how you’re performing compared to their expectations. DO I HAVE TO TAKE THE ISEE? Some schools require test scores, and some schools have made it optional. To know if you’ll need to test, you can visit the admissions websites of the specific schools you’re applying for. If you need a test, you’ll also need to decide whether you’d like to take the ISEE or the SSAT, which many schools accept instead. Some students prefer the ISEE, and others prefer the SSAT – students should determine which test works best for them specifically. WHAT’S ON THE ISEE? The ISEE has a Verbal Reasoning section, which includes vocabulary and language-based questions, Quantitative Reasoning and Math Achievement, which both test mathematical knowledge, and Reading Comprehension, which includes reading passages and targeted questions. There is also a broad essay question, which students need to answer in a well-organized, well-written essay. The content on the ISEE is often different from what students see in their school curriculum. The verbal and reading comprehension questions require the use of multiple-choice strategies and are often formatted in ways that aren’t tested in schools. The math content sometimes exceeds what students are exposed to in their school curriculums.  HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE ISEE? Since the ISEE tests topics that may not have been covered in school, we recommend scheduling a diagnostic test the spring or summer before you begin applications. The test will give you a good idea of your areas of strength and where you need to continue to improve. It’ll also help you understand how much time you’ll need to commit to preparation. Many students opt to work with a tutor or use an online curriculum to support their preparation. To learn how to make a comprehensive plan, visit our blog post about how to plan for an assessment. To learn more about tutoring options with SCT, please fill out an inquiry form on our website. WHEN SHOULD I TAKE THE ISEE? The ERB divides the year into three testing seasons, and permits students to take an ISEE once per testing season. Most students take their first ISEE in the Fall season, which spans from August 1st through November 30th. Many students then choose to take a second test in December, when the Winter season begins. Although the Winter season spans through March, most schools will need scores by early January at the latest for the standard application timeline. The Spring/Summer season spans from April through July – this season is most frequently used by students applying outside the standard application window.  SHOULD I TAKE THE ISEE ON A COMPUTER OR ON PAPER? Students may take the ISEE on paper or online. Each format has its pros and cons – some students prefer paper as it more closely mirrors content they see in school, and they can easily annotate the questions and readings. Some students also prefer writing the essay by hand. There are also students who prefer to take the test online, as they may find it easier to type the essay. HOW CAN I REGISTER FOR THE ISEE? You can register for the ISEE by visiting the ERB website. The website includes step-by-step instructions to register. Typically, registration for a certain season opens on the first day of that testing season. Students who get accommodations at school will need to apply for accommodations before registering. The ERB site has step-by-step instructions on how to apply for accommodations. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION? If you still have questions, you can visit the ERB website, or you can contact info@smartcitytutoring.com! We’re happy to help you understand the test and make a plan for preparation.

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What is the Primary ISEE?

The Independent School Entrance Exam, more commonly known as the ISEE, is used by independent schools around the world to evaluate students’ aptitude as they apply for admission. Many families are familiar with the Lower, Middle, and Upper level tests, but are surprised to learn that lower elementary school students may be asked to take a test, too! Students applying for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade take a Primary ISEE test, which varies in difficulty by grade.  WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT PRIMARY ISEE LEVELS? There are three versions of the Primary ISEE, which correlate to the grade students are applying for. Students applying to 2nd grade take the Primary 2, students applying to 3rd grade take the Primary 3, and students applying to 4th grade take the Primary 4. WHAT’S ON EACH TEST? The Primary 2 test is 53 minutes long and includes a 7-minute Auditory Comprehension section, a 20-minute Reading section, and a 26-minute Mathematics section. In the Auditory Comprehension section, students listen to a passage, then are asked six questions about the passage. The Reading section includes three passages, with six questions each. In both the Auditory and Reading sections, students may be asked a passage’s main idea, supporting ideas, details, organization, vocabulary, or tone. Finally, students answer 24 questions in the Mathematics section regarding age-appropriate algebraic concepts, data analysis and probability, geometric concepts, measurement, and number sense and operations. The Primary 3 test is 54 minutes long and includes a Reading section and a Mathematics section. In the Reading section, students read four passages and answer six questions for each. The questions may ask about a passage’s main idea, supporting ideas, details, organization, vocabulary, or tone. The Mathematics section asks 24 age-appropriate questions regarding algebraic concepts, data analysis and probability, geometric concepts, measurement, and number sense and operations. The Primary 4 test is 60 minutes long and includes a Reading section and a Mathematics section. In the Reading section, students read four passages and answer seven questions for each. The questions may ask about a passage’s main idea, supporting ideas, details, organization, vocabulary, or tone. The Mathematics section asks 28 age-appropriate questions regarding algebraic concepts, data analysis and probability, geometric concepts, measurement, and number sense and operations. The Primary 4 used to include a written component, but this was eliminated in 2021. HOW SHOULD I PREPARE? Generally, students are not expected to prepare for the Primary ISEEs. However, if a student is unfamiliar with the multiple-choice format, families may choose to do one or two practice tests to ensure students understand what the test is asking them to do. To view a sample test, families can visit the ERB website. If you believe your child needs more support, please complete the inquiry form on our homepage and we will contact you to discuss further options. WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION? If you still have questions, you can visit the ERB website, or you can contact info@smartcitytutoring.com! We’re happy to help you understand the test and make a plan for preparation.

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How to Make a Test Prep Roadmap

Preparing for an admissions assessment can be daunting. Whether you’re getting ready to apply for elementary school, middle school, high school, or college, the tests required for entrance are often long and challenging, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to learn all the content necessary. Fortunately, there are many tips and tricks to approaching preparation that can make studying less intimidating – and help you ace the test! GRAB A CALENDAR The first thing to do when preparing for an assessment is to determine WHEN to study. It’s important to give yourself enough time to prepare so you have the opportunity to explore all challenging areas of the assessment. The amount of time you’ll need will vary from test to test – to decide when to start, check in with a guidance counselor, a consultant, or explore online blogs (like this one!) to see what experts recommend. DETERMINE YOUR STRENGTHS AND AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT The best way to know what to work on is to take a diagnostic test. Diagnostic tests can be found online, in test-specific study books, or can be completed in a tutoring office. The results will tell you which areas of the test are looking great and which still need work. MAKE A STUDY PLAN – AND STICK TO IT! Use the results of your diagnostic test to create a concrete study plan. If there are certain topics or areas that really challenged you, make sure to allocate extra time to explore these topics. If you aced a certain area, you don’t need to spend too much time there! Once you determine how much work will need to be done, take out your calendar and block off dates and times for studying, ensuring that you allow enough time to cover any topics that need work. GATHER YOUR RESOURCES As you get ready to begin, make sure you have everything you need to prepare. Students often benefit from test-specific workbooks and online programs that include content and questions that mirror the test format. Students can also benefit from using external resources, such as Khan Academy, to help understand any topics that may not be thoroughly covered in the study programs. If students continue to struggle with certain topics, they may benefit from working with a tutor or other adult to help explain unfamiliar topics or give them feedback on their work. JUMP IN! Often, the hardest part of completing a big project is getting started! If you’ve put the work into making a study plan and gathering your resources, then all that’s left is to get started. Preparing for a standardized test can be a long process, but once you get started and begin seeing progress, you’ll feel more confident with each passing day. Remember, preparing for a standardized test may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! When you’re well-prepared and have a plan, you’ll feel more confident, calm, and ready to do your best.

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