Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

What if I have more than one student?2020-06-15T22:52:37-07:00

If you have more than one student in your family who wants to take one of our ISEE practice tests, you must create a different account for each student. Also, each account must have a unique email address attached to it. You cannot use the same email address for multiple accounts.

Are there accommodations available for students with a service plan, IEP or a recent evaluation that specifically outlines the accommodations needed?2020-05-27T21:53:39-07:00

Yes, every testing site offers extended time to students with a documented need. Other accommodations vary according to the testing site. When a student registers for the HSPT, there will be a yes or no question asking whether a student needs extra accommodations. If indicated yes, the testing site will be in contact with you regarding how to best send documentation to them for review.

What is the difference between HSPT and ISEE?2020-05-27T21:54:03-07:00

Both the HSPT and the ISEE are nationally administered standardized tests that help private schools evaluate candidates. Below is a chart summarizing the differences:

Length approximately 3 hours approximately 3 hours
Sections 5 test sections 5 test sections
Areas Tested Verbal Skills, Quantitative Skills, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics, and Language Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Math Achievement, and Essay
Verbal Skills (HSPT) / Verbal Reasoning (ISEE) Synonyms, antonyms, vocabulary, analogies, verbal logic Vocabulary, sentence completion
Quantitative Skills (HSPT)/Quantitative Reasoning (ISEE) Number manipulation, Comparison questions (geometric/non-geometric), Patterns/sequences

Topics covered: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry
Word problems, Number manipulation, Patterns/sequences

Topics covered: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry
Reading Comprehension Reading comprehension passages, central meaning (vocabulary is tested as well) Reading comprehension passages, central meaning (vocabulary not tested)
Mathematics (HSPT)/Math Achievement (ISEE) Problem solving, Mathematical concepts, arithmetic, basic algebra and geometry Problem solving, Mathematical concepts, word problems, arithmetic, basic algebra and geometry
Language Grammar, Punctuation Not included
Essay Not included Last section 30 minutes
Score Each correct answer is worth one point; the raw score is converted to a score on a scale of 200-800 (like on the SAT). Each section receives a stanine (scored out of 9)
How is the HSPT used in the admissions process?2020-05-27T21:51:43-07:00

The HSPT is an assessment tool used by the high schools for admissions, scholarship selection and course placement. Each high school has its own guidelines for evaluating applicants for admission, including performance on the HSPT. The Students should contact the admissions department of their schools of choice with any questions regarding the school’s admissions process.

When can I take the ACT?2020-05-27T01:38:56-07:00
When should I take the test?2020-05-27T01:38:20-07:00

Pick a test date that is at least two months ahead of the application deadlines of all the colleges and scholarship agencies you might want to apply to. Scores for the ACT (No Writing) are normally reported within 3–8 weeks after the test date. If you take the ACT Plus Writing, scores will be reported only after all of your scores are available, including Writing, normally within 5–8 weeks after the test date.

What is the difference between SAT and ACT?2020-05-27T01:37:40-07:00
  • The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.
  • The ACT has up to 5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test. The SAT has only 3 components: Critical Reasoning, Mathematics, and a required Writing Test.
  • The College Board introduced a new version of the SAT in 2005, with a mandatory writing test. ACT continues to offer its well-established test, plus an optional writing test. You take the ACT Writing Test only if required by the college(s) you’re applying to.
  • The SAT has a correction for guessing. That is, they take off for wrong answers. The ACT is scored based on the number of correct answers with no penalty for guessing.
Where can I take the SAT?2020-06-30T21:29:17-07:00
How do I register for the ISEE?2020-05-27T01:34:17-07:00

The fall/winter test dates for the ISEE are typically released in August. Once the dates are available, you can register here. The ERB charges a $95 registration fee for the ISEE test.

Tips for Test Day2020-05-27T01:11:08-07:00
  • Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
  • Provide your child with a nourishing morning meal.
  • Your school may provide a list of requirements for test day.
Can students receive accommodations?2020-05-27T01:07:42-07:00

In general, ERB does not proscribe the accommodations that a school may provide to a student on the CTP. These decisions are left to the discretion of the school. Schools are typically advised to follow any existing accommodation protocol that a student may receive for other in-class assignments or tests. Schools should follow a student’s 504 plan (where available) or IEP plan, where applicable, for guidance on what accommodations to provide.

What is the purpose of the ERB (CTP)?2020-05-27T01:06:31-07:00

The purpose of ERB is to assess student growth and performance at the time of testing. This enables the school to identify strengths and weaknesses at an individual and group level. The ERB is considered a “low stakes” assessment, intended to help teachers and administrators make decisions about curriculum and classroom instruction.

Where do I take the ERB (CTP)?2020-05-27T01:05:40-07:00

The ERB is administered by your student’s school and your school makes all decisions about test schedules, testing options, and reports. Families should direct any questions they have about the ERB to their school.

How do I view my missed questions and answer explanations? All I see is pie charts.2020-05-08T22:02:26-07:00

Click on the button labeled “Details”. It’s on the bottom right under the “Actions” heading and to the left of the trashcan icon.

What if I only want to take a specific section of the practice test again, and not all the sections?2020-05-08T22:01:41-07:00

If you only want to take a specific section of a test again, say Reading Comprehension (the third section), without taking the two test sections in front of it, just “skip through” them. What this means is you can take the sections without answering any of the questions. Just start the section, scroll to the bottom without answering any questions and click finish. Your score for the section(s) you “skip through” will be zero because you didn’t answer any of the questions, but that’s okay since you only wanted to re-take the Reading Comprehension test section.

Can I take a Practice Test more than once?2020-05-08T22:01:12-07:00

Yes, you can. After finishing a practice test, click on the Blue button “Take Practice Test Again”. You must complete all five sections of the Practice Test in order to take the test again.

I finished one section of the test, but how do I move on and take the next section of the test?2020-05-08T22:00:19-07:00

Begin the next section of the test by clicking the rectangular, orange “Continue Practice Test #1” button. It is located on the bottom left below the first Verbal Reasoning score.

Do I have to take the entire 2.5 hour test (all five sections) in one sitting?2020-05-08T21:59:51-07:00

It is recommended that you take the entire test in one sitting to simulate taking the actual ISEE test. It builds your stamina and confidence. However, the practice test system does allow you to take just one section of the test at a time. For example, if you take the first section of the test, Verbal Reasoning, you may return later at any time and continue with the next section, Quantitative Reasoning.

How do I start a test?2020-05-08T21:59:23-07:00

Once you are logged in, select the “Practice Test” tab in the navigation. On that page, you will see a blue “Take Practice Test” button. Click that to start your test.

If I test multiple times during the year, which scores are reported?2020-05-08T21:01:29-07:00

SSAT will send official score reports only to those schools you designate. However, if you test multiple times within a current test year, your official school score reports will indicate that you have multiple scores on file.

How often may my student take the SSAT?2020-05-08T21:01:02-07:00

A student may test on any or all of the eight nationally-scheduled SSAT administrations.

How do I register for a test date?2020-05-08T21:00:36-07:00

You can register for one of the SSAT test dates you see below on their web site here: https://www.ssat.org/ssat/test/test-reg-online.html. The SSAT charges a $116 registration fee to take the test.

How much does it cost?2022-07-13T17:45:09-07:00

$450 per session.

How long is the session?2020-05-08T19:21:08-07:00

Each session is 90 minutes.

My student has such a great personality, will that be stifled by interview coaching?2020-05-08T19:20:26-07:00

The great thing about students is that they all have unique ideas, talents, and personalities. Our goal is to help your student emphasize what makes them unique, not turn them into robots.

Do you know all the interview questions each and every school asks?2020-05-08T19:19:30-07:00

No. Nor is it our goal to. The goal is to help students learn how to answer any question while presenting their best self in an interview setting. (But we do know a lot of them because of students’ feedback after their interviews).

When should we schedule the session(s)?2020-05-08T19:18:38-07:00

If you are planning on having only one interview coaching session, schedule it 1-3 days before the school interview so the information stays fresh in your student’s mind. If you are applying to multiple schools, you may want to schedule the session before the interview that is most important to you. If you are planning on having multiple interview coaching sessions, you can get started now.

How many sessions should we have?2020-05-08T19:17:45-07:00

This depends on your student. Some parents request multiple sessions, while others feel one will be enough. Give us a call and we can help you decide.

Where does the session take place?2022-07-13T17:47:01-07:00

The session can take place in your home, at our office, or via Zoom.

What is covered in the interview coaching session?2020-05-08T19:16:09-07:00

There are two mock interviews recorded on video, one at the beginning and one at the end of the session. We discuss Body Language, Interview Rules and how to Answer Specific Questions. Ultimately the session is about learning how to have a conversation in an interview setting instead of a traditional Q & A.

Does my student need to be able to memorize answers?2020-05-08T19:15:15-07:00

No. The interview coaching session isn’t about memorizing questions and scripted answers. It’s about learning how to answer any question while presenting your best self. It’s about learning how to have a conversation with an adult in a high-pressure situation. It’s about building confidence and decreasing stress.

Free ISEE Prep materials from the makers of the ISEE2020-05-08T18:51:08-07:00

The ERB provides “What to Expect” preparation materials at no cost when downloaded from their website. If you would rather have it in book form, you can buy it for $20. These materials offer parents and students the opportunity to review the types of questions presented on each level of the ISEE test, but are not meant to be training for exam strategies or “shortcuts.”

When should we start tutoring?2020-05-27T00:06:11-07:00

Your program start date depends upon the test date you select and which of our ISEE programs you choose. Generally speaking, our families usually begin instruction between July and early September.

How often may my child take the ISEE?2020-05-08T18:49:31-07:00

Students can take the ISEE during three testing windows – Fall (August–November); Winter (December–March); and Spring/Summer (April–July). Students may take the test only once per window, or up to a maximum of 3 times in a 12-month admission cycle.

How much time do I have to complete the SAT?2020-05-08T18:44:02-07:00

The total testing time for the SAT is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Can I bring something to eat or drink during the test?2020-05-08T18:43:36-07:00

Although for security reasons, neither food nor drinks can be opened or consumed in the test room, you are encouraged to bring snacks in a book bag on test day. These snacks are easily stowed under desks or chairs in the test room and can be consumed outside of the test room during breaks.

Can I find out more detailed information about my results?2020-05-08T18:43:06-07:00

All students have access to a free, more detailed online score report that is accessible via collegeboard.com. Via this online report, each student can access a copy of their essay.

For certain test dates, the Question-and-Answer Service (QAS) is available for a fee. You can see the actual questions and correct answers, as well as whether you answered correctly, incorrectly, or omitted the question. QAS includes information on question types and levels of difficulty. You will have access to a copy of your essay via your free online score report.

For all other test dates, Student Answer Service (SAS) is available. SAS does not provide the actual questions, but it does send you a list of question types and difficulty levels, along with a description of how you answered the questions. Again, you will have access to a copy of your essay via your online score report. Check registration materials or collegeboard.com to determine whether your test date is eligible for QAS or SAS.

What will I be asked to write about in the essay?2020-05-08T18:42:33-07:00

The essay question will ask you to develop a point of view on an issue and support it with examples from your studies and experience. You can answer the question successfully in many different ways. You won’t have to have any prior knowledge about the topic to write an effective essay. However, you will have to answer the essay assignment directly.

What about students with disabilities?2020-05-08T18:41:55-07:00

Students with disabilities, whose documentation has been validated by the College Board, will receive testing accommodations. Students with disabilities that necessitate the use of a computer for writing will be able to do so for the essay portion of the writing section.

Is the SAT Subject Test in Writing still offered?2020-05-08T18:41:07-07:00

Because the SAT Reasoning Test now includes a writing section, the Subject Test in Writing is no longer offered. The last administration of the Subject Test in Writing was January 2005.

What are the similarities and differences between the SAT and the PSAT/NMSQT?2020-05-08T18:40:34-07:00

Both the SAT and the PSAT/NMSQT measure critical reading, writing, and math reasoning skills. The PSAT/NMSQT contains actual SAT questions, but it is designed to be slightly easier than the SAT. The PSAT/NMSQT is two hours and 10 minutes, whereas the SAT takes three hours and forty-five minutes. The SAT is used for college admission, but PSAT/NMSQT scores are not sent to colleges. The PSAT/NMSQT Score Report gives you personalized feedback on areas in which you could improve, along with specific advice on how to improve. Taking the PSAT/NMSQT gives you a chance to qualify for scholarship and recognition programs and is the best practice for the SAT.

Is it true that you get a 200 on the SAT just for signing your name?2020-05-08T18:40:00-07:00

Theoretically speaking, if you just sign your name and don’t complete the answer sheet, you would get a score of 200. That’s because we don’t report scores that are lower than 200. In reality, if we received an answer sheet with no answers, it would be considered an automatic request to cancel scores and no scores would be reported.

Are some SAT tests more difficult than other ones?2020-05-08T18:39:31-07:00

All editions of the SAT are developed using the same test specifications. Even if there are tiny differences in difficulty from test to test, a statistical process called “equating” ensures that a score for a test taken on one date or at one place is equivalent to a score for a test taken on another date or in another place. The rumors that the SAT in one month, say in October, is easier, are false.

Are all SAT questions multiple-choice?2020-05-08T18:38:56-07:00

All of the SAT is multiple-choice except for the 25-minute written essay and 10 student-produced response math questions, which ask you to fill in or “grid-in” your own answers using a special section of the answer sheet.

What’s the difference between the SAT and Subject Tests?2020-05-08T18:38:25-07:00

The SAT measures the critical thinking skills you’ll need for academic success in college. It assesses how well you analyze and solve problems. SAT scores are used for college admission purposes because the test predicts college success. The Subject Tests are one-hour, primarily multiple-choice tests in specific subjects. Subject Tests measure knowledge or skills in a particular subject and your ability to apply that knowledge.

How many times can you take the test?2020-05-08T18:37:42-07:00

You can take the test as many times as you want. Your score report shows your current test score, in addition to scores for up to six SAT and six Subject Test administrations.

What test should I take first, the SAT or the Subject Tests?2020-05-08T18:37:09-07:00

Most students take the SAT in the spring of their junior year and again in the fall of their senior year of high school. Most students who take Subject Tests take them toward the end of their junior year or at the beginning of their senior year. Because Subject Tests are directly related to course work, it’s helpful to take tests such as World History, Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject, even as a freshman or sophomore, while the material is still fresh in your mind. You’ll do better on other tests like languages after at least two years of study.

Which test should I take?2020-05-08T18:36:26-07:00

To find out which test(s) you should take, contact the colleges you are interested in attending to determine admissions requirements and deadlines. Most colleges require the SAT for admission and many other schools require both the SAT and Subject Tests for admission purposes or placement. Additionally, some colleges require specific Subject Tests while others allow you to choose which tests you take. It’s best to check directly with the college admissions offices.

What do my SAT scores tell college admission staff about me?2020-05-08T18:35:08-07:00

Your SAT scores can tell admission staff how you compare with other students who took the test. That’s because all scores are reported on the 200-to-800 scale. For example, if your scores are about 500 on each section, which is the mean (average) score, college admission staff would know you scored about as well as half of the students who took the test.

The SAT is the best independent, standardized measure of a student’s college readiness. It is standardized across all students, schools, and states, providing a common and objective scale for comparison. High school grades are a very useful indicator of how students perform in college, yet there is great variation in grading standards and course rigor within and across high schools.

Remember, too, that the SAT is only one of a number of factors that colleges consider when making admission decisions. Other factors, like your high school record, essays, recommendations, interviews, and extracurricular activities, also play a role in admission decisions.

Can the SAT really show how well I’ll do in my first year of college?2020-05-08T18:34:22-07:00

No test can accurately predict with 100 percent certainty what your grades will be in college. That’s because many factors, including personal motivation, influence your college grades.

However, college admissions offices use SAT scores to help estimate how well students are likely to do at a particular college. For example, a college looks at the SAT scores, high school grade-point average (GPA), and college grades of its freshman class. A college may find that students who scored between 450 and 550 on the SAT and maintained a “B” average in high school are the students who perform well at that school. Knowing your SAT scores and high school GPA helps the college make a decision about how likely it is that you’ll succeed in college.

Why does the SAT have the kinds of questions that it does?2020-05-27T01:14:51-07:00

The SAT was designed with questions that reflect or show your reasoning abilities, not just the amount of information you’ve accumulated during school. As an example, many math items can be answered by using complex equations, but they can also be answered correctly if you can reason through the problem. Reading passages don’t just test that you can read but require extended reasoning in order to answer the questions related to the passage. This means that you have to be able to make inferences, assumptions, and interpretations based on the passage provided, in order to understand what the author is trying to say.

Why don’t the questions on the SAT ask about the things I’m learning in my high school courses?2020-05-27T01:15:40-07:00

The SAT Reasoning Test is a measure of the critical thinking skills you’ll need for academic success in college. The SAT assesses how well you analyze and solve problems—skills that you develop over years of schooling and in your outside reading and study. The test is designed to allow you to demonstrate your abilities in these areas regardless of the particular type of instruction you’ve received or textbooks you’ve used.

These important abilities—understanding and analyzing written material, drawing inferences, differentiating shades of meaning, drawing conclusions, and solving math problems—are necessary for success in college and life in general. This doesn’t mean that the SAT is irrelevant to your course work, however; the SAT is closely aligned with the type of skills being taught in the classroom and necessary for college success.

Who comes up with questions on the SAT or Subject Tests?2020-05-27T01:14:13-07:00

Test development committees comprised of educators and subject-matter experts determine the test specifications and the types of questions that are asked, including topics and areas that should be covered. Internal test developers write the questions, which are then submitted to another test committee, made up of high school and college faculty and administrators, which reviews the test questions and makes recommendations for improving them, if needed. Some test questions are also submitted by high school and college teachers from around the country.

Will colleges see my essay? How will they use the writing score?2020-05-27T01:13:24-07:00

A college will be able to view and print a copy of your essay only if you sent an official score report to that college.

Different colleges will use your writing score in different ways. Writing scores may be used for admissions decisions and possibly for placement in English Composition or related courses. However, for the first few years, some schools may choose to use writing scores for research purposes only, and not for decisions about admissions or placement.

Why can’t I have more time to take the SAT?2020-05-08T18:25:22-07:00

Much effort is made to ensure that most students are given enough time to attempt every question on the test. But even if more time were given, not all students would be able to answer all the questions.

Studies are done to find out whether most students have enough time to attempt to answer all the questions in each test section. These studies show that time limits are appropriate if all students taking the test answer 75 percent of the questions in each section and if 80 percent reach the last question in the section. Based on studies like these, the time limits are appropriate for the majority of students.

Students with Disabilities may request extended time for taking the SAT.

What do the initials “SAT” mean?2020-05-07T20:15:51-07:00

Originally, SAT was an abbreviation for the Scholastic Aptitude Test. In 1993, the test was renamed the SAT I: Reasoning Test. At the same time, the former Achievement Tests were renamed the SAT II: Subject Tests. In 2004, the numerals “I” and “II” were dropped and the tests are now named the SAT Reasoning Test (or just SAT) and SAT Subject Tests. SAT is a simple and recognizable way of referring to the SAT Reasoning Test.

What if the tutor is not a good fit?2020-07-22T22:35:01-07:00

All of our tutors are highly trained and our process pairs the right student with the right tutor. If for some reason the tutor is not a good fit, we will work to make an instructor match that fits your student’s needs and personality.

How long are tutoring sessions?2020-05-27T00:01:23-07:00

Tutoring sessions range from 60-90 minutes.

What do SAT scores look like?2020-05-27T01:12:51-07:00

The SAT has three scores, each on a scale of 200 to 800. Your score will include writing (W 200-800), mathematics (M 200-800), and critical reading (CR 200-800).

Your math and critical reading scores on the new SAT can be compared to the math and verbal scores on the old test. This is something colleges need for consistency in admissions requirements. However, the SAT writing score is completely new.

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