What’s the best way to get ready for both the SHSAT and the ISEE?

February 27, 2020
Category: Perspectives

There’s a lot to do if you’re thinking about both Specialized High Schools and private schools. The good news is that the process is completely manageable.

What are these tests?

In order to receive an invitation to one of the Specialized High Schools, 8th graders need to take the SHSAT. This presents 7th-grade common core aligned questions in novel and challenging formats, and is taken in October of 8th grade.

As part of your family’s private school application, your child will need to take the Upper Level ISEE. This exam covers 8-11th grade content, and presents questions in exam-specific formats. Your child can take the exam once per testing window. We recommend taking the test once in November, and once in December.

Conduct a Self-Assessment

The key to success on these exams is content mastery and confidence. To achieve this, reflect on what your family’s academic goals are. Then, think about where you’re starting from.

  • Goal Scores
    • What kind of scores do I need for my goal schools?
    • Does my child need to score all 9’s on the ISEE, or will 6’s do?
    • Does my child need an 800 on the SHSAT in order to get into the school of his or her choice? (The answer is: no!)
  • Readiness
    • Is my child ready to take a rigorous, timed exam like the SHSAT or ISEE?
    • How does my son do on standardized tests?
    • Is my daughter at or above grade level?
    • How has my child performed on practice SHSATs or ISEEs?
  • Learning Style
    • How does my child learn?
    • Does she do homework diligently as it’s assigned, and study for tests in advance? Does he cram the night before?
    • Does my child need a highly structured environment (like a class), or does my child do better in a more individualized setting?

Create a Plan

Once you have an idea about what your goals are and where you’re starting, it’s time to frame a plan. Use the answers from your self-assessment to help.

  • Research enrichment options and pursue a course of study.
  • Prioritize the test for your goal school.
    • Keeping options open and putting equal weight on public and private? Prioritize the ISEE, as it covers content from grades 8-11, and has a more complicated format. Think about joining an ISEE class, and supplementing that learning with SHSAT tutoring.
  • Attend an open house or schedule a tour.
    • As a bonus, make a day of it, and test out the commute!

Not sure where to begin? Want to have a discussion about these with an experienced educator? Send us an email at [email protected] and we’ll get something on the books. Or, visit our tutoring and class pages to learn more about how we can help.