See you next week at the IECA 2020 Fall Conference
Knowledge Is Power
No matter what test you’re preparing for, the first step in any successful prep program is understanding the rules of the game. Or, as a wise man (Kendrick Lamar? Pretty sure it was Kendrick) once said, “Know your enemy.”
Fortunately, we’ve been around the block a few times, so we know a few things — almost 40 years’ worth of things, in fact. And because you’re our favorite, we want you to be able to know things, too. So if you have questions about the test, from scoring to accommodations to fundamental strategies, you can find the answers here. And if you don’t see the information you’re looking for, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll fill in the gap just as soon as we can.
“How many times should I take the ACT/SAT? Why can’t I just do it once and be done? How far apart should my test dates be spaced?” These are, by far, some of the most common questions I receive from concerned students and parents at the beginning of the test preparation process. And each question is valid and deserves a thoughtful response.
It is essential to know that what the test makers claim about the test and what the test actually entails are fundamentally different things. Taking the ACT or SAT does not simply require the knowledge of content that you receive in school—you also have to train for the strategies inherent to the tests themselves. That’s why test prep works!
For many families, the process of applying for admission to independent, private, and boarding schools can be intimidating. Not only does each individual school have its own set of admissions policies and procedures, but many include a requirement to submit standardized test scores, too. This often puts parents in the unfortunate position of having to tackle the standardized test preparation process for the first time in an unfamiliar context.
Most schools require the completion of one or the other of the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) and the Secondary School Admissions Exam (SSAT). However, some accept scores from either test, so it is important that you check with each school to which you are considering applying as you begin this process. The tests are in many ways similar to one another, but there are some important differences to consider.
The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is created by the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)and is used for admission to law schools throughout the United States. As the LSAT is the most difficult of all the standardized tests used for graduate admissions, preparation tends to be extensive, often lasting six or more months and involving numerous practice tests. Most students test two or three times, with the dates scheduled far in advance.
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) was created by the Graduate Management Admission Council and is used by business schools throughout the United States for admissions. Much like the GRE, the GMAT involves material students often have not seen since high school, so preparation typically requires a mix of tutoring and extensive self-study. Testing is done on individually scheduled dates at private testing centers and using a computer system that adapts the test to each student’s individual performance. This question-adaptive computer interface is one of the most unique aspects of the GMAT, and it means that practicing the process of taking the test is just as important as mastering the content that is tested. Inspirica’s approach to tutoring the GMAT begins with this fact, and your tutor will ensure that you go into test day having had ample experience with the mechanics of taking the test.
The Graduate Record Examination General Test, or GRE General Test, is a standardized-test created by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the firm behind the previous versions of the SAT. As a central component of the graduate school application process, this test is taken by students who have either completed or are close to completing their undergraduate degrees. It is required by nearly every graduate program in the United States as part of their application processes, and it is also often accepted by business and law schools in place of either the GMAT or LSAT. Students interested in pursuing advanced degrees should therefore expect to prepare for and take this test, which is often thought of as the “big brother” of the SAT: a 3-hour and 45-minute challenge that tests your algebra, geometry, data analysis, vocabulary, and advanced reading comprehension skills. Unlike the SAT, however, the GRE is typically administered via computer, so Inspirica’s approach to the test includes a mix of content, structure, and strategy, preparing you for the variety of complex tasks you will face on test day.
The SAT Subject Tests are a collection of twenty hour-long, subject-specific tests that focus on subjects traditionally offered to students in high schools throughout the United States. The results of these tests are used in the college application process in a variety of ways, with many schools requiring the submission of two different SAT Subject tests along with their application. These tests are therefore best understood as an opportunity for each student to demonstrate his or her skills in specific subjects in order to differentiate themselves from the competition. Preparation for the SAT Subject Tests is typically done over the course of four to six weeks and involves two full-length mock tests, and most students take each Subject Test no more than twice.
The Independent School Entrance Exam is used for admission to private elementary and secondary schools throughout the United States. There are four levels of the test – Primary, Lower, Middle, and Upper – each used in the admissions processes for students of different grade levels. Each level of the test is taken by students representing a range of ages, with the Middle Level test taken by students applying into grades 7 and 8 the most common. Inspirica’s approach to the ISEE starts with the fact that a student’s experience with the test will vary significantly depending on their age, which means that the optimal course of preparation will vary as well. Your tutor will help determine the best way for your child to prepare and then use that plan to ensure that your child is in the best possible position going into test day.
The Secondary School Admissions Test is used for admission to private elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the United States. There are three levels of the test – Elementary, Middle, and Upper – each corresponding to one of the aforementioned three admissions processes. Each level of the test is taken by students across a range of ages, with the most common being the Upper Level taken by students applying into grades 9-12. Inspirica’s approach to the SSAT starts with the fact that a student’s experience with the test will vary significantly depending on their age, which means that the optimal course of preparation will vary as well. Your tutor will help determine the best way for your child to prepare and then use that plan to ensure that your child is in the best possible position going into test day.