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  • Writer's pictureBright Kids

Stanford-Binet for HCES Admissions - Can you prep?

Updated: Sep 13, 2020

To prep or not to prep -- that is the question! Every year, hundreds of parents can’t help noticing the elephant in the room regarding test prep for New York City’s Hunter College Elementary School’s famous first round admissions exam. In the school’s official admissions procedures description, they state,

“HCES strongly discourages exposing children to the Stanford-Binet V prior to the formal administration of the exam for the purpose of admission to HCES. Testers are required to inform the Director of Admissions if there is evidence that a child has had previous experience with the exam or specific exam activities. HCES reserves the right to disqualify any child from competition for admission if there is evidence that testing for HCES is not the child’s first experience with the exam, and the testing fee will not be refunded.”

The key phrases to consider in this clause are “exposing children to the [SB5],” and “previous experience with the exam or… activities.” While there are companies where actual Stanford Binet materials are used, be wary of this, most qualified and experienced test prep centers purposefully do not use actual Stanford Binet materials. Students can effectively prepare for the test using materials that require the same standards and levels of difficulty without using the test itself. This means that parents and students can honestly say that they have never been exposed to or had any previous experience with the exam.

Most importantly, the activities on the Stanford-Binet pretty closely resemble what is taught in preschools and kindergartens. There are patterns, analogies and vocabulary. There is verbal expression, math and quantitative reasoning. However, without exposure to such materials, it is impossible to to succeed on this test. So the question is regardless of what a parent does, preschools technically prepare kids for this test as they are teaching them foundational skills that are on the test.

So back to the original question of “should parents prepare their child to take the HCES exam?” If HCES is a top priority for your family, you should know that the competition is extremely fierce, and working through some test prep will only work to your advantage. Due to the nature of this type of exam, the range of information and skills needed to do well is very broad.

At Bright Kids, we focus on core foundational skills that are critical for students to excel. Students can begin with our Foundations Skill Builder program which focuses on areas such as numbers, letter, and shape recognition, patterns and series, verbal reasoning skills, position direction, and more. These are all essential classroom skills which contribute to the test prep learning process. Once these skills have been mastered, students can then move on to our Stanford Binet Bootcamp, where they will apply these skills more specifically to the Stanford-Binet exam. This can include vocabulary, visual spatial activities, basic math, and more.

To practice these core skills, you can purchase our Stanford-Binet materials here. You can also get more information on Hunter College Elementary School admissions here or by reaching out to our account managers via email at

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