Preparing for Admissions Tests

Updated June 10, 2016 |
Preparing for Admissions Tests
Don't leave admissions test preparation to the last minute. Adequate test preparation will give you the confidence to take the test and do as well as you can.
Preparing for the SSAT and ISEE which most private schools use as part of their admissions procedures requires some advance planning. You can't cram for these standardized admissions tests. Wny? Because you are being tested on your knowledge of subject materials which have been learned over many years. On the other hand there are certain things you can do to make sure you test as well as you possibly can.
1. Be familiar with the test format. This requires your actually taking several practice tests. Being familiar with a test format means that you will not waste time trying to understand the test instructions. Every minute is precious in a timed test. The SSAT offers some sample questions for your to review. Work these in a quiet area where you can focus on how the questions are asked. There is no substitute for practice. The more tests you work the more you will relax and be confident the day of the actual test.

2. Purchase a test preparation book. There are several commercial test preparation books.  The SSAT offers its own proprietary test preparation materials. It makes good sense to order both the commercial and SSAT materials. You can only boost your confidence by consistent practice using these test preparation materials. Will these materials improve your scores? Only understanding the test format and the material being tested will produce good results.

3. Understand the scoring. You will lose 1/4 point for incorrect answers or questions where you choose more than one answer. You receive no points for questions left unanswered. Regular test practice will help you understand how this works.

4. Take a practice test monthly. The most popular session of the SSAT takes place in early December. This is usually the latest test you can take in order to make the admissions deadlines of mid-January. A good plan is to schedule one monthly practice test beginning in September. Try to simulate test conditions as much as possible. Choose a quiet location in which to take the test. Time yourself according to the time limits imposed by the test. By the time you take the real thing you will have done three practice tests. Your confidence level will be high because you know what to expect.

5. Identify deficiencies as soon as possible. Take a practice test a year before the actual test. Review the scores with your teachers. Then get any extra help you need in order to correct whatever deficiencies you have. Hire a tutor if necessary. Too much is at stake.

As you can see, getting a head start on admissions testing will pay huge dividends when you actually take the test. Don't leave test preparation to the last minute.

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