If you want to send your child to a private secondary school, there is a good chance they will have to take either the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) beforehand. While these two entrance exams may look similar, there are important differences between them that you and your child should be aware of.
Knowing about those differences can help you choose the exam that is a better fit for your child. Below we will take a look at some differences between the ISEE and SSAT and how exam preparation courses can prepare your child for both tests.
While many schools around the country are now accepting both the ISEE and SSAT as part of their admissions process, there are some that prefer one test over the other. Schools in New England have traditionally required the SSAT over the ISEE, whereas schools in New York City tend to favor the ISEE. Again, this is changing and many schools now accept both. However, to be safe you should check which tests your child’s preferred schools require. Even if a school accepts both, calling their admissions office directly to find out if there is one test that they prefer is a good idea.
While both the ISEE and SSAT test for math, reading, and verbal skills, the ISEE generally focuses more on the math component and the SSAT on the reading and verbal components. For example, the SSAT tests reading comprehension using passages from fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, whereas the ISEE uses only non-fiction passages. The SSAT also uses analogies, which the ISEE does not.
On the other hand, the ISEE is more focused on math. For example, while the SSAT’s math component focuses only on problem solving, the ISEE includes questions that test both problem solving and quantitative comparison skills. As a result, if your child tends to excel in mathematics, they may be more comfortable with the ISEE. But if they are more creative or artistically inclined, then the SSAT may be a better fit. In any case, taking a SSAT prep course or ISEE exam preparation will help your child brush up on the areas where they need the most improvement so that they can excel on either test.
Another important difference between the ISEE and SSAT is that each one is scored differently, particularly in regards to unanswered questions. On the SSAT, each wrong answer results in a ¼ point deduction, whereas a wrong answer on the ISEE results in no deduction (or addition) of points.
So, if your child does not know the answer, it is best for them to leave the question blank on the SSAT rather than to guess. With the ISEE, however, because there is no guessing penalty, your child should fill in all the answers even if that means occasionally having to guess. In our exam preparation course, your child will learn advanced test-taking strategies and how to answer questions correctly even when they only have partial knowledge.
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