High School Entrance Exams

With every year that the college admissions race becomes more fierce and intimidating, the beginning of the “fast track” seems to push back further, starting kids younger and younger. Once it seemed that students could save all their energy for their junior and senior years; now, the pressure bears down upon students as early as in eighth grade to get into the “right” high school. We understand the stress and, rather than encourage hysteria, we’d like to make the process easier on students who will be encountering competitive standardized tests for the first time: the high school entrance exams.

At the Study Hut, we offer preparation courses for four predominant high school entrance exams: the High School Placement Test (HSPT), the Cooperative (COOP) Admissions Examination Program Exam, the Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools (TACHS), and the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE). We can also help prepare students for other, school-specific high school entrance exams, but this is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on how much information a school will release about its admissions test.

As with all our tutoring, test prep sessions are one-on-one, invariably proving more effective for students than classroom courses. The advantage is obvious: we don’t have to appeal to a common denominator of personality or academic ability; nor do we have to diffuse our energy across a group of students (ask a teacher — it’s exhausting). Rather, each student has the luxury of coaching which is tailored precisely to how he or she learns and what he or she needs the most help with.

Test Prep: High School Entrance Exams

Test Prep: High School Entrance Exams

We start each student with a diagnostic test – a full length retired test that matches what he or she will encounter on test day – and work from there, analyzing the results to find out not only which subjects need the most work, but also which types of questions. Understanding material and taking a test — that is, applying one’s mind to such an exercise — are two different skills, and we teach them in tandem. Once we’ve determined which targets a student needs to aim at most intently, we work with him or her to develop a kind of “itinerary” for the course. Based on factors such as how many sessions we will have, how long each session will run, and how much time he or she must set aside for homework, sports, et cetera, we set a plan for the course. This is as much an exercise in discipline as in test prep, as it means the student will have to set and keep a schedule with us, as well as finish homework for the course alongside his or her schoolwork. Quite rigorous — quite the balancing act for a middle-school student! Yet most of the students who come to their sessions with zeal to match our own have gone on to score well on the high school entrance exams and attend the high schools of their choice.

So if you have (or are) a student preparing to apply to competitive high schools, don’t put off getting help in your test prep. Of course, the longer we have to help you prepare, the better; but whether the test date is months or weeks away, we can help by teaching skills and organizing study time to make sure a student’s score comes as close as possible to matching his or her ability.