ISEE/SSAT

Is Your Child Applying to a Private School?

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ABOUT THE ISEE AND SSAT

Many private elementary and secondary schools in the Seattle metropolitan area require applicants to submit scores for the Independent Schools Entrance Exam (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT).

Nearly all independent schools in the Seattle metropolitan area now accept both the SSAT and the ISEE, so many students will only need to take one of these two exams. However, there are a few schools--Lakeside, Overlake, and Eastside Prep--that have indicated they prefer the SSAT, even though they are willing to accept the ISEE. If your child is applying to enter the 6th grade, and is not considering any of these three schools, then we recommend preparing for the Lower Level ISEE, as the content of this exam is generally easier than what is found on the Middle Level SSAT. But if your child is applying to enter 4th or 5th grade, then we recommend preparing for the Elementary Level SSAT, since this exam is generally easier than the Lower Level ISEE.

For a list of which area schools require which exams, click here.

Scores on these exams, along with a number of other factors, are considered in the admissions process. By themselves, high scores do not guarantee admission, but low test scores can sometimes be sufficient grounds for rejecting a student's application for admission - particularly at some of the most competitive schools.

We provide customized individual tutoring for all levels of both the SSAT and the ISEE. In addition, we offer small group courses for students applying to 6th grade (covering both the Middle Level SSAT and the Lower Level ISEE) and to 9th grade (covering the Upper Level of both the SSAT and the ISEE). Click here to view our current course offerings.

Our ISEE and SSAT tutors and group instructors are qualified and have plenty of experience working with school-age children. It is important to us that students are comfortable and confident during their sessions, and we take care to match each student with the right tutor for his or her needs and personality.

Sandweiss Test Prep realizes parents may have many questions before deciding upon which test to take and how test results fit into one's academic plan. Please call us if you need further information.

Both the ISEE and SSAT are offered at three different levels, depending on the grade to which you are applying. Both exams feature sections testing vocabulary, mathematics, and reading comprehension skills, and both exams include an unscored essay that is sent directly to the schools.  Preparing for one exam will help prepare your child for the other exam, but there are important differences, as outlined below:

SSAT

  • · Elementary Level for applicants to grades 4-5
  • · Middle Level for applicants to grades 6-8
  • · Upper Level for applicants to grades 9-12
  • · Verbal Section includes synonyms and analogies
  • · All math questions are in multiple choice format
  • · Quarter-point deduction for incorrect answers (middle and upper levels only)
  • · Five answer choices to choose from
  • · Can be taken more than once in an application cycle

ISEE

  • · Lower Level for applicants to grades 4-6
  • · Middle Level for applicants to grades 7-8
  • · Upper Level for applicants to grades 9-12
  • · Verbal Section includes synonyms and sentence completions
  • · Some math questions are in quantitative comparison format (middle/upper levels)
  • · No penalty for incorrect answers
  • · Four answer choices to choose from
  • · Can now be taken more than once in an application cycle

 

WHEN TO TAKE THE TEST

Both the ISEE and the SSAT are offered on multiple dates throughout the fall and early winter. The SSAT is offered on only one test date per month from October through February, while the ISEE is generally offered two or three times per month during the same time period.  You should generally allow one to three months for the preparation process, depending on diagnostic results, admissions goals, and scheduling availability, as well as on whether your student is preparing for one or both exams.

WE HELP YOUR CHILD PREPARE

Initial Diagnostic Test

Prior to beginning a course or private tutoring, we recommend that your child take an initial diagnostic test for either the SSAT or the ISEE.  If you already know that your child needs to take both exams, diagnostic testing can help to identify which test should be taken first. The diagnostic results will indicate whether your child will be better served in a class setting or through private tutoring, and the results will also be broken down and analyzed by question type in order to provide you with a better understanding of your child’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

Register for an ISEE or SSAT diagnostic test.

Class Lessons
Performing well on the SSAT or ISEE requires knowledge of fundamental verbal and quantitative concepts, as well as a thorough understanding of proven test-taking strategies. Our lessons provide both content review and section management techniques designed to enable your child to maximize his or her performance.

Practice Tests
Completing each week’s homework assignment is important, but it’s not enough to adequately prepare your child for test day. We provide proctored practice exams that mimic the pace and setting of the real ISEE and SSAT. We then review the practice exams in a private tutoring session of 30-60 minutes in duration, depending on the results. We also analyze the results by specific question type so that we can better evaluate your child’s progress and make the necessary adjustments in his or her preparation strategy.

COURSE FEATURES

Given the considerable degree to which the content of the SSAT and ISEE overlap, and given the fact that many students are applying to a range of schools with different testing requirements or preferences, our courses are designed to prepare students for either test. We regularly offer two courses: one for current fifth-graders preparing for the Lower Level ISEE and/or the Middle Level SSAT, and one for current eighth-graders preparing for the Upper Level ISEE and/or SSAT. We can also offer a Middle Level course for current sixth and seventh-graders if there is sufficient demand. For Elementary Level SSAT students, we offer customized private tutoring.

Middle Level SSAT - and - Lower Level ISEE Course Features:

 

  • · Five 90 minute class lessons
  • · Up to three full-length practice tests administered after the final lesson
  • · Three hours of private tutoring to review the tests (2-3, 60-90 minute appointments scheduled at your convenience)
  • · Small group lessons combined with individual instruction
  • · Class size limited to 6-8 students

Upper Level SSAT and ISEE Course Features:

  • · Five 90-minute class lessons
  • · Up to three full-length practice tests scheduled after the lessons
  • · Three hours of private tutoring to review the tests (2-3, 60-90 minute appointments scheduled at your convenience)
  • · Small group lessons combined with individual instruction
  • · Class size limited to 10-12 students

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