Our daughter has been attending a middle school for kids with dyslexia so as we looked ahead to high school, we knew we’d be looking at both private and public school options. Well, private high school means taking the ISEE.
What is the ISEE? It’s the Independent School Entrance Exam. As I learned more about this test, I saw that it wasn’t something to be treated like the SAT or the ACT. It’s just a test that allows a school to assess the academic level of the student who is applying. All I wanted was for my daughter to do her best. There was no score that we were hoping she would get.
Working for a tutoring company, and being a program manager by profession, I know that doing your best involves preparation. So to prepare, we planned ahead. Most school applications are due in December and January. Applications typically have a fee so we only wanted to apply to schools we knew we wanted to attend so that meant we needed to visit schools and attend open houses. Those visits usually happen in October and November. September is a crazy month with back to school. So, we needed to get an ISEE test date chosen AND we needed to be prepared. Summer was the best time for that preparation.
Since I work at Varsity Tutors, they were the obvious choice. In the early summer, we arranged to have a tutor assigned to us. Before the tutor started, I had a chance to talk with him on the phone. He had a book he recommended. And he suggested we plan on 2 sessions to focus on just test preparation in general and then 2 sessions each for the 3 different sections of the test. We set up a time to meet each week and he gave my daughter assignments to do between each session.
With summer camps, vacations and all the things that summer brings, it was great to get this organized as we headed into the summer. And when Fall hit, we knew we were ready to focus on school visits and the typical demands of the 8th grade. For the test itself, if you have a child on a 504 plan you can get an accommodation for extra time on the test but you need to remember to ask for it.
We’re now looking ahead to high school and ended up deciding that a public school was the best choice for our daughter and our family. Was our time and money spent on ISEE prep a waste? I don’t think so. Test taking strategies are valuable to any teen, especially in high school. Even as the tutor focused on the test specific material, there continued to be a lot of discussion on test taking strategies in general.
Time well spent!