High School Entrance Exams (HSEE)

Test Prep Help For High School Entrance Exam

Get Into Your First-Choice High School With Test Prep Help

Many private and parochial schools require that students successfully pass an entrance exam in order to gain admission. The purpose of these tests is to determine a student’s academic capabilities and, in some cases, to determine placement in class levels. Scoring well on these tests can help your child gain entrance into the school of his or her choice, as well as set your child on the path to success with higher-level classes that will better prepare him or her for college and careers.

We offer test prep tutoring to improve scores on the following High School Entrance Exams

Getting Started with Test Prep Help for the SSAT, ISEE, HSPT, or COOP High School Entrance Exams

If your child is considering one of these exams or preparing to take one now, our individualized test prep program is the perfect way to get ready for the test. We begin by giving your student a full-length practice test that will pinpoint your child’s strengths and weaknesses and identify where we should concentrate when tailoring his or her tutoring plan. Based on the results of the full-length practice test, we will tailor a personalized learning plan targeted to meet your child’s unique needs and develop the skills and strategies necessary to score well on the test. Our program will give your child the tools for the test and for high school.

Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)

The Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT, is a standardized entrance exam taken by students in grades 5 through 11 who are seeking admission into independent schools. It is a four-section, multiple-choice exam administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board. The SSAT is designed to measure student ability. It is not an achievement test and does not focus on memorized information.

There are two levels of the SSAT, Upper and Lower. The Upper exam is used for admission into high school, and the Lower exam is used for admission into middle school.

Schools use SSAT scores to assess how well students might perform academically in their school settings. It is a common measurement of academic capabilities, separate from school records. For students in grades 7 through 11, the SSAT will predict how well these same students might score on their 12th grade SAT.

Common questions about the SSAT

Section Topics Number of Questions Section Time
Quantitative Math
  • Algebra
  • Computation
  • Geometry
  • Mathematical Concepts
  • 25
  • 30
Verbal
  • Synonyms
  • Analogies
  • 30
  • 30
  • (60 total)
  • 30
Reading Comprehension
  • 7 passages, typically argument or narrative style
  • 40
  • 40
Writing
  • 1 prompt, which will differ from test to test
  • 1
  • 25
Testing Level Current Student Grade Grade Student Entering
Upper
  • 8-11
  • 9-12
Lower
  • 5-7
  • 6-8

The SSAT is 2 hours and 35 minutes in length.

For additional information on SSAT test dates, locations, and registration, please visit www.ssat.org.

You can take the SSAT on all eight test dates within a calendar year.

Each SSAT multiple-choice question has five answer choices. Students receive one point for each correct answer. Students are penalized for incorrect answers, with a deduction of ¼ point from the student’s score for each incorrect answer. Students are not penalized for omitted answers. Speed in completing each SSAT section is not considered in scoring. Correct, incorrect, and omitted answers are tallied for each test section to produce a raw score. Raw scores are then converted into scaled scores, using a formula used to compensate for any differences in difficulty from test to test. The scales come from specific tables produced by the test maker. Once scores are converted to scale scores, they can be compared with the median scores of students of the same grade level across the country.

SSAT Writing Samples are not factored into the student’s score report. Instead, the Writing Samples are forwarded to the same schools that will receive the student’s SSAT score report. Admissions committees from each school will individually assess the applicant’s writing capabilities.

SSAT Score Reports are released to the schools, educational consultants, and education organizations that you select on your registration form. Scores remain active for one academic year. The scores required for admissions vary by school. Contact the schools directly for admissions information.

Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE)

The Independent School Entrance Exam, or ISEE, is a high school entrance exam taken by students in grades 4 through 12 seeking admission into private schools and non-Catholic religious schools throughout the United States. The ISEE is a four-section, multiple-choice exam administered by the Education Records Bureau. The test is designed and written by teachers, school administrators, and the Education Records Bureau. There are three levels of the ISEE: Upper, Middle, and Lower.

Many independent and non-Catholic religious affiliated schools consider your ISEE scores as part of their admission criteria. Schools also use ISEE scores to assess how well students might perform academically if admitted to their school. It is a common measurement of academic capabilities, separate from school records.

Common Questions about the ISEE

Upper Level Number of Questions Section Time
Verbal Reasoning
  • 40
  • 20
Quantitative Reasoning
  • 37
  • 35
Reading Comprehension
  • 36
  • 35
Mathematics Achievement
  • 47
  • 40
Essay
  • 1 prompt
  • 30
Middle Level Number of Questions Section Time
Verbal Reasoning
  • 40
  • 20
Quantitative Reasoning
  • 37
  • 35
Reading Comprehension
  • 36
  • 35
Mathematics Achievement
  • 47
  • 40
Essay
  • 1 prompt
  • 30
Lower Level Number of Questions Section Time
Verbal Reasoning
  • 34
  • 20
Quantitative Reasoning
  • 38
  • 35
Reading Comprehension
  • 25
  • 25
Mathematics Achievement
  • 30
  • 30
Essay
  • 1 prompt
  • 30
Testing Level Grade Student Entering
Upper
  • 9-12
Middle
  • 7-8
Lower
  • 5-6

Each of the Upper, Middle, and Lower exams takes 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Each school chooses their own test date. ISEE test dates, locations, and registration information can be found by visiting http://erblearn.org/parents/admission/isee/registration.

You may take the ISEE only once within any six-month period.

On all levels of the ISEE, the student receives one point for each multiple-choice question answered correctly. Students are not penalized for incorrect answers or for omitted answers. Speed in completing each ISEE section is not considered in scoring. Correct, incorrect, and omitted answers are tallied for each test section to produce a raw score. The total number of correct answers is the raw score.

Raw scores are then converted into scaled scores, using a formula used to compensate for any differences in difficulty from test to test. The ISEE is graded on a scale of 760 to 940. The scales are derived from specific tables produced by the test maker. Once scores are converted to scaled scores, they are compared with the scores of students of the same grade level across the country. This is done using a 3-year rolling pool of test-taker scores.

Program percentiles compare students with peer test-takers within the same age and grade group.

  • Scores between the 50th percentile and 74th percentile are considered to be "barely above average."
  • Scores at or above the 75th percentile are considered to be "very strong."

A student who always scored above the 50th percentile on other tests may place below the 50th percentile on the ISEE, and students who normally score above the 90th percentile on other tests may score barely above average on the ISEE. For example, parents are frequently surprised when they see a 75th percentile score for a child who scored at the 95th percentile last year on a test based on state or national norms. This difference is due to the high-achieving population of students taking the ISEE, which makes the ranking very competitive.

ISEE Essays are not scored and are therefore not factored into the score report. Instead, the Essays are forwarded to the same schools that will receive the ISEE score report. Admissions committees from each school will individually assess the applicant’s writing capabilities.

ISEE Score Reports are released to the schools, educational consultants, and education organizations that a student selects on the registration form. Scores remain active for one academic year. The scores required for admissions vary by school. Contact the schools directly for admissions information.

High School Placement Test (HSPT)

The High School Placement Test, or HSPT, is a high school entrance exam taken by students in grades 8 and 9 who are seeking admission to parochial high schools. The HSPT is a five-section, multiple-choice standardized exam. Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. (STS) created the test and publishes it. The HSPT is designed to measure student academic achievement and does not focus on memorized information. The HSPT contains 298 questions divided into five sections. Students have the choice of taking one optional section in Catholic Religion, Mechanical Aptitude, or Science. These optional sections may be required, depending on the schools to which the student is applying.

Schools use HSPT scores to assess how well a student might do academically in a high school setting. They also use the HSPT as a common measurement of a student’s academic capabilities, separate from school records.

Common Questions about the HSPT

Section Number of Questions Time Limit (minutes)
Verbal Skills
  • 60
  • 16
Quantitative Skills
  • 52
  • 30
Reading
  • 62
  • 25
Mathematics
  • 64
  • 45
Language
  • 60
  • 25

The HSPT is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes in length.

The HSPT is administered twice each year, once in the spring and once in the fall. HSPT test dates, locations, and registration information are handled through individual schools. You can find more information by visiting http://www.ststesting.com/hp_1.html.

The HSPT may be taken twice. However, the test-maker, STS, records if a student takes the test twice. The lower of the two scores is accepted.

Each HSPT multiple-choice question presents four or five answer choices. For each HSPT multiple-choice question that the student answers correctly, the student receives one point. There is no penalty for incorrect answers or for omitted answers. Student speed in completing each HSPT section is not considered in scoring. Correct, incorrect, and omitted answers are tallied for each test section to produce a raw score. The total number of questions answered correctly is the raw score.

Raw scores are then converted into scaled scores using a formula used to compensate for any differences in difficulty from test to test. The HSPT scaled scores range from 200 to 800. The scales come from specific tables produced by the test maker. Once scores are converted to scaled scores, they can be compared with the scores of students of the same grade level across the country. Scaled score performance is then rated as partially proficient, proficient, and advanced proficient, measured by percentiles ranging from 1 to 99.

HSPT Score Reports are released to the schools, educational consultants, and education organizations that the student selects on the registration form. Scores remain active for one academic year. The scores required for admissions vary by school. Contact the schools directly for admissions information.

Cooperative Admissions Examination Program (COOP)

The Cooperative Admissions Examination Program, or COOP, is a high school entrance exam taken by students in grade 8 seeking admission into Catholic high schools in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. Specifically, the COOP is used within the Archdiocese of Newark and Paterson. It is a seven-section, multiple-choice standardized exam administered by CTB/McGraw Hill in conjunction with an advisory committee from the sponsoring Catholic diocese. The COOP is an assessment designed to measure both student aptitude and achievement, and does not focus on memorized information.

Schools use COOP scores to assess how well students might perform academically in their high school settings and as a common measurement of students’ academic capabilities, separate from school records.

Common Questions about the COOP

Section Topics Number of Questions Section Time
Sequences
  • Recognition of spatial relationships, patterns, progressions, and combinations
  • 15-20
  • 15
Analogies
  • Ability to discern various types of relationships among picture pairs
  • 15-20
  • 17
Quantitative Reasoning
  • Quantitative aptitude and math conceptualization
  • 15-20
  • 15
Verbal Reasoning – Words
  • Deductive reasoning, categorization, and pattern recognition
  • 12-20
  • 15
Verbal Reasoning – Context
  • Ability to solve verbal problems by reasoning deductively
  • 8-20
  • 15
Mathematics
  • Mathematics concepts
  • 35-40
  • 5
Reading and Language Arts
  • Reading comprehension, language expression, and vocabulary
  • 45-50
  • 40

Although the COOP’s general test sections and topics typically remain the same each year, it often introduces new question styles or varies the number of questions from year to year. Calculators are not permitted on the COOP.

The COOP is approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes in length.

The COOP is administered twice a year, once in October and once in November. You can find COOP test dates, locations, and registration information by visiting www.coopexam.org.

You may take the COOP examination only once.

For each COOP multiple-choice question the student answers correctly, the student receives one point. There is no penalty for incorrect answers or for omitted answers. Speed in completing each COOP section is not considered in scoring. The total number of questions the student answers correctly determines the raw score. Raw scores are then converted into scaled scores using a formula used to compensate for any differences in difficulty from test to test. The scales come from specific tables produced by the test maker. Once scores are converted to scale scores, they can be compared with the median scores of students of the same grade level.

COOP scores compare student test performance with the performance of other students.

  • A score between the 50th and 74th percentiles is considered "good."
  • A score at or above the 75th percentile is considered a "very strong" score.

Raw scores for each section are determined by crediting one point for each question answered correctly. There is no deduction penalty for any question answered incorrectly, so it pays to answer as many questions as possible, even if a student guesses.

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