Managing Anxiety on ISEE and SSAT Tests

One of the most important things to know about the ISEE and SSAT Tests is that there will be content that your child has never seen before, especially in the math sections. It is important that parents understand that this test may be very difficult for your children, even if your child is normally a good student. You need to be prepared to support your child through the stress of learning brand-new content during this process.

As we work with your child, we want to be positive about their progress. Managing anxiety on ISEE and SSAT Tests can be helped by reminding them that this is a very difficult test for everybody.

We show them the bigger picture by reminding them that the content and skills they’re learning for this test will help them with their regular school work, so they see a larger context for motivation.

We address anxiety by reminding them to pause, close their eyes, and take a breath whenever they get overwhelmed. Confidence is the most important indicator of performing well on this test, so we build your child up and emphasize how much improvement they are making and how proud of them we are for all of their work.

Private schools use the test scores for about ⅓ of their admission decision.They typically consider grades, scores, and extracurriculars/recommendations all equally. This test is not the end of the world, and will not be the only indicator of their ability to get into a good school. Schools are looking for well-rounded students, so the test is just one part of the application.

Private schools are looking for test results that are consistent across the different sections, which means that it’s better to have similar math/verbal/reading scores than to have much higher scores in one section than another. This is why it’s important to customize our instruction to focus on the areas that need the most improvement.

Taking practice tests is an important part of the preparation process and reduces anxiety on test day. We recommend having students take a full practice test after the first or second tutoring session, because we don’t want the student to be overwhelmed by the content too early. We make sure students time themselves or have a parent time them. We want students to take the test all in one sitting (bathroom breaks are okay), or in two sittings, but not to split it up into too many sections. They need to build their endurance, because the test is nearly 3 hours long and is quite exhausting for students. Our goal is to prepare them every step of the way.

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