High School Admissions Exam

Test Preparation Class @ The Learning Center Greg Smith, Instructor

Many Seattle area private and parochial high schools require standardized testing as a part of the admissions process. The two most frequently utilized exams are the ISEE and the SSAT.  Which schools utilize which exams is a "moving target" at present.  We will update you with the most current information we can as it becomes available, but our general recommendation is to confirm with each school your child may be applying to.  Some schools, for instance, are stating that they accept either exam, but be sure to ask the school if they have a preference.

General Information – to learn more about the ISEE or the SSAT.


Mondays, Wednesdays, Friday @ 7:30 AM beginning 9/5/2014 in The Learning Center (TLC)

Veteran test prep instructor Greg Smith is offering small group test coaching on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday mornings.  All study materials are provided.  Students may pre-register for 1, 2, or 3 sessions/week or attend on a drop-in basis.

Registration/Cost: $30 per day. To register, contact Greg Smith  via e-mail.  Let Greg know your preferred day of the week, the test or tests your child is preparing for, the projected test date, and the date you would like to begin in TLC.   Session are 45 minutes in length finishing at 8:15am giving students time to get to their first period class.  Once registered, Kristin Knopf in finance will contact you about billing.

Photocopies of preparation materials will be provided each session consistent with content covered that day.  Students will need a small three ring binder to keep track of these provided materials over time. In addition to materials available at www.iseetest.org and www.ssat.org there are third-party preparation materials published by the likes of Princeton Review and Kaplans, that cover questions for both the ISEE and SSAT exams.

Test prep class goals and levels of support can vary immensely.  Some students/families are looking for a few sessions to help gain basic familiarity with the exam and avoid the shock/surprise factor that can sometimes occur if a student is not familiar with standardized exams.  

Some are looking to gain testing skills that will allow the student to score at a level consistent with the vocabulary, reading skills and math knowledge currently possessed. 

Still others are looking for more intense prep focused on enhancing vocabulary, improving reading skills and learning additional math content as a way of improving a baseline ISEE/SSAT score. 

Regardless of personal goals, students need to be able to understand the technical/strategy issues associated with the ISEE or SSAT.

TLC standardized test prep will help students in the following ways...

1)  Billings does not utilize standardized exams during a student's 3 years here, so this is an opportunity to learn about and gain confidence with the nature of a standardized exam.

2)  Students will learn specific strategies for managing the ISEE or SSAT that can have a positive impact on scoring depending on student interest in practicing.  These are tried and true strategies that students will later find useful when preparing for college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT.

3) Techniques taught are not only consistent with standardized exams, they are consistent with the latest understanding of how the brain best problem solves and retains information.

While I recommend once-a-week sessions, students are welcome to attend multiple sessions during the week for reinforcement, and will be billed for each session attended.  Attending a minimum of seven sessions (seven weeks) is recommended.  Instruction will rotate through seven basic question types from the exams.  Attending for more than seven weeks means a student has the opportunity to hear and practice the material more than once thus providing an opportunity for greater depth of practice and understanding.  In other words, you can both repeat lessons within the week, but also repeat elements of the cycle over an extended period of time.  Students can begin any time they like.  The seven session rotation is structured such that students can "jump in" at any point in the cycle.

Students will be provided with practice opportunities between every session.  Students and families will make their own best choices about how extensively to take advantage of practice opportunities.  Of course, regular, consistent practice produces the best results.

If your child has diagnosed learning differences (dyslexia, dysgraphia, etc.), they may qualify for testing accommodations.  Testing agencies like the ERB (publishers of the ISEE exam) and public high schools designing 504/IEP plans require diagnoses to be confirmed inside of three years of either the testing date or plan implementation.  Out of date diagnoses are time-consuming and difficult to deal with at the last minute.

Don't hesitate to e-mail Greg if you have questions about the accommodation process for either testing or public high schools.