What’s the difference between the SSAT and ISEE? Here’s your private school exam primer!

sat testing

     Thinking about independent or boarding schools, or switching from one private school to another? You need to think about and prepare for the SSAT or ISEE. What’s the difference between these two exams, and when should your child start studying? Both standardized test companies offer tests ranging from the elementary, middle and upper grades. Many schools accept either test. But contact the admissions office of each school to confirm they accept the test you prefer.

     The two tests are similar in duration and content, requiring that students master verbal reasoning, vocabulary, quantitative reasoning, math and reading. Both also demand writing samples, which they send unscored with the test results directly to the schools where your child applies.

    Some differences in content seem subtle, but can be significant for your child. Just like with the SATs and ACTs, we can advise your family on which test to take based on the kind of learner your student is. She is welcome to take each test at our midtown test center to compare. Our free diagnostic tests can help determine which test makes more sense for your child’s strengths. For example, the SSAT reports scores on two verbal and one quantitative test, while the ISEE score is comprised of 50% verbal and 50% math scores. So students strong in math sometimes prefer the ISEE, while language-oriented students sometimes opt for the SSAT. One key difference is the type of verbal questions.

     Both the SSAT and ISEE have synonyms; but they differ in that the SSAT has analogies, whereas the ISEE makes students complete sentences. These two similar standardized tests score quite differently, though. The SSAT gives 1 point for each correct answer and deducts one-quarter point for each wrong answer. But the ISEE does not penalize for wrong answers. There’s no harm in guessing. This is where tutoring can really help: learning to strategize the overall test and learning the essential process of eliminating clearly wrong answers in multiple choice and then guessing among the best options.

     Another contrast: students can take the SSAT multiple times throughout the year, including February 11, March 4, April 22, June 10 of 2017; the ISEE limits students to testing once every six months, or only once during each admissions’ cycle. Psychologically, this puts more pressure on students taking the ISEE, if they have no recourse to retake the test and improve scores. Make sure you register for these tests well in advance as the test sites fill up quickly. Registering any later than a month in advance may cost you a late registration fee.

    Our tutors have scored exceptionally well on standardized tests during their own school years. Subsequently, they are trained to teach the content and strategies for all the standardized tests. We also emphasize sensitivity to the emotional needs and learning differences of each of our students. The big question everyone asks: how much time will my child need for (ISEE or SSAT) test prep? This is, of course, relative to each student. How diligent a studier is she? What’s his baseline score? Ivy Tutors offers free mock tests to our clients at our test center. We highly recommend an early evaluation test to establish a baseline and then at least one more test later in the process to chart progress and establish a comfort level with the test-talking process. If the practice test results come close to the goal score, we suggest about a month of light review, say 1000 problems. Otherwise, if there is a large gap between the first diagnostic test and the target score, we recommend anywhere up to 4 months with 3,000 practice problems.

For more information please contact Ivy Tutors Network www.ivyleaguetutors.net  richard@ivytutorsnetwork.com 800-476-0596

For more test information contact the SSAT or the Educational Records Bureau directly. SSATB www.ssat.org or call 609-683-4440   ISEE www.erblearn.org or call 800-989-3721

 

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Visiting Colleges: A National Journey

collegeahead

It seems at this point in my college process, I think of the states not by name, but by what colleges I’ve visited. So instead of Ohio, Maryland, Vermont, Massachusettes and California; its Oberlin, Kenyon, Johns Hopkins, Goucher, Middlebury, University of Vermont, Wheaton, Pitzer and Occidental to name only a few. Continue reading

Entering the Common App: The College Admissions Process

graduation

Well, it has finally begun. After three years of college being no more than a hypothetical for me, the common app has finally kickstarted the very real college admissions process. It’s somewhat terrifying to go into a virtual pen with hundreds of thousands of other students armed only with a few numbers, a list of activities, and a 650-word essay that is supposed to define who I am as a person.

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The SAT and Me: A tutoring Experience

Who knew three letters could engender (SAT word guys) so much fear in 11th graders nationwide? The SAT, bane of almost every junior in high school’s existence; the monster under our beds, and the test emphasized by almost everyone as one of the most important days of your school career. And as I soon learned, a completely learnable test.

SAT test

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SAT Tips to Ace Reading Comprehension

The SAT is all about confidence. Whether you’re learning tricks, memorizing vocabulary, or taking weekly practice exams, SAT/ACT preparation is about getting to know the exam and gaining confidence in your skills. Over the next few months, we’ll be revealing some of our top tutor tips, so stay tuned!

Reading Comprehension 101 – Underlining

sat reading tips

Reading comprehension questions on the SAT follow the same order as the events in the passage. While reading the passage, try to underline important details, key points, main ideas, and significant descriptions. When you get stuck on a question, underline key words in the answer choices you are deciding between, then go back to the part of the passage that relates to the question and look at what you underlined. Do you see matching words in the underlined area of the passage and anything you underlined in the answer choices? Or do you see synonyms? If so, you have a high contender for the right answer! Underlining helps you stay focused on what’s important in the passage. Matching underlined text between the passage and the answer choices lets you eliminate distractors and work with answer choices that relate directly to the passage.

What’s that sound? Ivy League Tutors Network joins Twitter.

It seems Ivy League Tutors is stumbling into the new age of social media. That’s right, we have a twitter account. If you’re ever looking for some interesting education related articles, news about ILTN, or pictures of our mascot Fifi the bowl cat, check in at http://twitter.com/Ivytutorsnet for all the latest.

Ivy League Tutors Network's mascot

Of all the comfortable places in our office where Fifi could get her daily 20 hours of sleep, she prefers this mixing bowl. We think it is the cutest thing. Stay tuned for more about Fifi-the-bowl-cat’s work day!

Making the Switch: My Private to Public School Transition; the SHSAT Journey

shsat journey

I had been in a private school setting all my life. Since the age of 5 I was situated at a K-12 manhattan private school where the teachers were called by their first names, where creative writing was a department by itself, and where classes were as small as 8 students to a teacher. I hadn’t considered — or even thought about — any kind of schooling other than the education I had received for nine years. But soon the benign elementary years fell to the more vicious middle school era, and after a few years in an environment where I felt increasingly isolated, I decided to look for other education options.

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Now Offering SAT, ACT, AP, Regents Mock Testing

 

sat testing

Practice makes perfect. Just ask the guy who scored a 2400 on the SAT for his number one SAT study tip and he will tell you, “Practice under test-day conditions.” While it sounds obvious to you, your 11th grader might be surprised by the importance of this SAT prep strategy. A Saturday morning spent in a classroom in July sounds like cruel and unusual punishment to most 17-year-olds. When everyone else is bragging about the top-secret, killer SAT strategies handed down from “the guy who invented the SAT,” it may seem like learning tricks is way more important than wasting all that time on practice tests.

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