About High School Entrance Exams
Prep for Private High School
Overcoming one more hurdle to getting into the right school
Is your child applying for a private high school?
Not only did you have to worry as a parent that your child was performing well in school. You now need to consider the entrance exam for that school.
Because grading at private, public and public charter elementary and middle schools vary so much from one school to another, high school admissions officers need a “standardized” tape measure, such as the ISEE or HSPT, to see who measures up to the school’s expectations for academic success. These tests are distinct and different from the tests that schools may use to track student performance.
They are also, in general, much tougher tests, scaled against students from competitive schools, rather than from public schools. Students who perform above average on the test used by the public school system suddenly discover that they are just average on these tests.
ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) is used by most private schools in the Los Angeles area, while most local Catholic High Schools ask for the HSPT
( High School Placement Test). Each of these tests is designed to evaluate a student’s academic aptitude and ability, and they supplement the grades and recommendations from the current school.
For your child to do well you must be sure that he or she has worked on developing key skills in these areas:
Verbal Reasoning-vocabulary in context, verbal logic.
Math- computation, problem solving, knowledge of math concepts
Reading Comprehension- determine the key concept of a text, draw conclusions and inferences, find details.
Writing- create a coherent, clear essay, with good choice of vocabulary, clean sentence structure, and proper usage without any advance knowledge of the topic required for the essay.
The HSPT also includes questions on analogies, synonyms and antonyms as well as language usage.
So while you may have relied on teachers grades ( whether A’s & B’s or 3’s & 4s) to know how well your child has done, these tests look for skills that your child may not have learned in the classroom.
Go online to the website for sample ISEE test questions. Have your child do some of them and see how well he or she does. If it looks like a struggle, and you have your hopes pinned on getting into a private school, get your child help. To find sample questions and more information on test dates and locations, go to: http://erblearn.org/parents/admission
We are ready to help your child master either test.
What Is the ISEE?
What Is the ISEE?
The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is an admission test developed by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) and is prominent as the admissions exam of choice for many Los Angeles area schools at the middle and high school levels.
We focus on the Upper Level exam, which is designed for students seeking admission to grades 9 and above. The exam covers the following areas:
Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, and an Essay. The first four sections of the test are multiple choice, scored on a scale that correlates to percentile standing of the child compared to other students at that grade level. The essay is not scored by the ISEE but sent as is to the school the student is seeking to enter.
The manner in which the problems are stated are very different than the format on other standardized tests and than the kind of assignments your child has done at school. For that reason, it is vital that your child have exposure to the kind of thinking that these tests measure.
What Types of Questions Are on the ISEE?
Tests of Reasoning Ability
• Verbal Reasoning section has two categories: vocabulary and sentence completion. Each vocabulary item features a word followed by four answer choices. Each sentence completion item consists of a sentence with one or two blank spaces followed by four answer choices.
• Quantitative Reasoning section consists of word problems and quantitative comparisons. Some word problems depend, not on higher computation, but on the ability to reason what the question is seeking and then determine the correct answer. Quantitative comparisons call for a comparison of two quantities and then to make a determination whether they are equal, if one or the other is greater, or if there is insufficient information to make a comparison.
Tests of Ability in Curriculum Based Concepts :
• Reading Comprehension section consists of six passages followed by a series of questions.Subject areas include arts, contemporary life, history, and science.
• Mathematics Achievement section presents problems and expects the student to identify and solve it. The solution may require several steps in calculations.
The Essay is written by the student in response to a writing “prompt” or topic to prompt a student to write an informed essay on a particular topic. The essay is not scored but sent on to the school designated to receive it along with the rest of the test scores.
What is the HSPT?
The HSPT ( High School Placement Test) is favored by Catholic High Schools in the Los Angeles area. It is designed for students entering the 9th grade.
This 4 section, multiple -choice standardized exam is designed to measure a student's academic achievement. The questions cover a much greater variety of categories and includes elements that your child may never have been exposed to.
This section covers synonyms and antonyms, analogies, verbal logic and verbal classifications
Series, comparisons, and numbers manipulations
The key elements of reading comprehension skills and vocabulary
Mathematical concepts and problem solving
Rules of capitalization, punctuation, spelling, usage and composition.