Here’s the thing – the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) is often a necessary step required to help your child gain admission to a private school. However, it is important to remember that while it is a necessary step, it is never the only step. If your child does well in the exam, it does not mean immediate access to any private school.
While schools do take the ISEE into account in an application, they are also extremely interested in your student’s academic history, behavior, personality type, and how all of this fits in with the ethos of the school. Consider the test as a way for the schools to have one common standard with which to review their applicants. What follows is your student’s chance to shine as an individual. This being the case, it is important to plan ahead – not just for the test – but for whatever comes next.
The ISEE is taken by students entering grades 2 through 12, with most private schools beginning to request the ISEE test be taken by students entering grade 5 and above. If you are unsure whether the schools you are applying to require the ISEE, you must reach out to each school individually in order to confirm whether they require it, what their deadline for applications are, and where they require the test to be taken. Do not assume that all schools have the same processes and deadlines.
In terms of content, students should expect to see the following subtests - Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics Achievement - all of which are multiple choice. In grades 5 and above students must also write an essay. Most students require at least a few months of prep, as the test (especially the math), is particularly challenging. It is important to show confidence in your child’s ability, and give them time to prepare, working slowly and consistently. Cramming is never the answer – positive reinforcement, familiarity with the content, and with test-taking skills – these are the true keys to success.
If your student has a positive experience preparing for and taking the test, they will likely move in to the next stages of the application process carrying this confidence with them. Private schools are not only looking for students with high ISEE test scores, but what they could specifically contribute to the school as an interest. A student with interests, hobbies and skills, with a good attitude to learning (and to life) would be an ideal candidate. By ensuring that your student has plenty of time to prep for the test, it means that they themselves can ensure that other aspects of their life remain in balance, and can really sell themselves as an individual when it comes to any potential interviews, personal essays or school records.
Plan ahead, be prepared for the test, but more than anything be prepared to have faith in your student and allow them to be the best, most well-rounded candidate they can be.
Additional Notes –
Bright Kids can help your student prepare for the test with private tutoring lessons either in office, or at home. Give us a call at 646-434-1084 to find out more.
Erblearn.org is a fantastic resource for parents looking for more information on the test content, and what to expect on the day.