Every parent wishes there was some magic pill when it comes to middle and high school entrance exams. I’d love to tell you that we’d discovered it, but alas…we are still on the hunt.
However, after over a decade of test-prep experience, we have discovered a very simple and incredibly effective part of the test prep program that isn’t always given enough attention (or is sometimes skipped entirely).
Let’s introduce you to one of our students.
Why Smart Students Fail Their ISEE / HSPT Exams
Will was a conscientious and friendly student, attentive in class and doing well in school. Fortunately, instead of relying on his grades or state test scores as indicators of his ability on the ISEE test, his parents registered him for one of our full-length proctored practice tests.
No sweat for Will…until exam day…
It came as quite a shock when he scored 22% (8/37) on the Quantitative Reasoning section and lower than 50% on the Verbal and Math sections. It was a real wake-up call to be faced with those time limits and test-level questions that could make even the most studious 8th grader’s head spin.
Thank goodness he had taken that test!! –Will’s parents were able to take immediate action after seeing his initial scores.
Free ISEE / HSPT Practice Exam: Click here to register for a free in-person proctored practice exam in the Pasadena area, to set up your child for success without the confusion of researching alternate ineffective options.
With the help of a workshop and some very focused private tutoring (completely guided by his progress on the proctored tests he continued to take that season), Will raised that Quantitative Reasoning score from 22% to 70% (in addition to raising his Verbal Reasoning from 45% to 85% and Math Achievement from 43% to 83%).
He was thrilled to be accepted to every school that he applied to, and his parents were relieved and grateful that they had addressed his needs right away.
Do you see the “magic pill” in the story?
It may sound simple, but proctored practice tests have immense value in a test prep curriculum, at the beginning, middle, and end of any student’s preparation. We recommend taking at least 2 or 3 tests in an ACTUAL TEST SETTING, not just at home. Read on to hear the specific benefits of these tests!
The Many Benefits of Practice Tests
1) Exposure to Content / Format
In one 3-hour test, the student will see the majority of problem types that he or she will see on the actual exam.
This is the quickest way to expose a student to both the skills that will be tested and the tricky way in which those skills are tested, which, as discussed in previous newsletters, can be almost cruel.
2) Assessing progress
How do you know where your child stands unless you have a structured way to assess performance?
While no practice test will replicate the actual test exactly and cannot be expected to give a completely accurate score, taking multiple practice tests will certainly give you an idea of where your student is on track and where he or she needs some extra attention.
3) Adjusting to logistics
Time limits and bubble sheets may seem like last minute details, but these seemingly small factors can have an enormous negative impact if not navigated correctly.
Giving your student a chance to adjust to the testing environment, instructions and rules, and even the order of the sections can be a major advantage as they approach exam day.
4) Directing future preparation
Now that your child has taken the practice test, do the benefits stop there?
–Not even close!
Once taken, scored practice tests provide perfect material for tutoring sessions or independent study. One of the most effective ways to prepare, particularly in the weeks just before the test, is to correct missed questions on mock tests and then practice with similar problems to fill in the gaps in content and build strategies to attack these types of problems.
5) Emotional factors
Is your child cool as a cucumber UNTIL 8:45AM on exam day, when he may as well be a frozen vegetable? Test anxiety is an incredibly common phenomenon, particularly on such a high-stakes test.
Practicing in conditions as close to the testing environment as possible will allow any range of emotions to come up before test day, so that your child won’t be blindsided by unexpected jitters on the big day.
Also, having these issues come up ahead of time allows space to introduce techniques and strategies for coping with these feelings.
Free Proctored Practice ISEE Test & HSPT Test in Pasadena, Fall 2017
At Unlocking Potential, we believe that practice makes perfect…or at least improvement! Mock exams are an essential part of our curriculum, and we offer scoring and score interpretation for families who want to get the most value out of these tests.
So if you haven’t already, click here to register for a free in-person proctored practice exam in the Pasadena area, to set up your child for success without the confusion of researching alternate ineffective options.
After taking the test, we can help guide you to the most efficient preparation pathway. Our class instructors and tutors can utilize the practice tests as tools to increase the effectiveness of their sessions and focus on the areas that need the most attention.
What About Test Anxiety?
What can be done about test anxiety? In all of our preparation courses and tutoring sessions, we introduce strategies for dealing with test anxiety and other emotional or attitudinal factors that may be impacting performance or a child’s ability to effectively access the knowledge that he or she has learned
Keep on the lookout in future newsletters for tips on reducing test-day stress!
Are you having your own version of test anxiety, and you’re not even the one taking the test?? Go ahead and click here to get started with that free proctored test, so that we can help guide you and your student through this needlessly stressful period of life. Maybe we will even throw in a couple relaxation exercises for you.
Jenni and Erin