Q: Why start a year before the test preparing for the ISEE?
A: Much of the material on the ISEE exam will be new material for your child. There is a great deal of information that your child needs to cover, and feel comfortable with, in order to do well on the test. The more preparation your child has for the test, the better they will do. They will also feel less of the pressure and stress associated with trying to prepare for a test in a short time frame.
Q: What is the formula for acceptance to the Boston exam schools?
A: The formula the Boston Public Schools uses for acceptance to the exam schools for 7th grade is a 50/50 weighting - 50% is the student’s performance on the test, and the other 50% is from the student’s grades from 5th grade, and the first two semesters of 6th grade.
Q: How do I know what my child needs in terms of test prep services?
A: The beauty of our program is that we insist on a diagnostic test prior to the start of tutoring, so that at the end of this session you will have an idea of how your child scored on the practice test, and what they need to work on. After the diagnostic test, the math and verbal programs are designed to focus on the areas where your child needs assistance in learning the material. We strive to tailor the material to meet the student’s individual needs.
Q: What are the benefits for my child in attending this program?
A: Your child will be taught a system for increasing their skills in a way that is manageable. They will be able to retain the information they learn using several methods to help them remember the content. They will feel more confident about their ability to do well on the test, and experience less anxiety about the test. In addition to the verbal sections of the test, the math problems on the test are very advanced, and include topics several years ahead of the student’s current grade. Even students who participate in extracurricular math programs need help with the math on the ISEE.
Q: What can I expect from Boston ISEE Prep?
A: You can expect that your child will receive personal attention to help them address their specific needs. Regular attendance in the program will help them increase their skills, reduce their stress, and build their confidence. While no program can guarantee your child admission to an exam school or private school, dedication to test preparation and attendance at a test prep program can greatly increase your child’s chances. The big difference between us and everyone else is that we actually teach the material. Short term programs are just teaching students how to guess. The best way to get the questions correct is to know the answer!
Q: When should I enroll my child?
A: You should enroll your child as soon as possible (ideally a year before they will take the test)! We start taking reservations in the fall for the test the following year. By January, the program is usually full. Last year many parents called us in September desperate for slots, and we unfortunately had to tell them we were full. Please do not let this happen to you and your child! Plan in advance so you are guaranteed a space for your child.
Choosing an ISEE Test Prep Program Important Questions for Parents to Ask:
We have found over the years that not all ISEE test prep programs are the same, and many do give students enough support to do well on the test. We have created a list of questions for parents to use in helping to evaluate an ISEE test prep program.
1. How well do you know the test? How many years have you been teaching the test material?
We have found in the past that some parents took their children to tutors who had little to no experience with the ISEE and as a result their children did not get everything they needed to do well on the test. These parents often come to us the year after their child did not get into an exam or private school, and they look to us to help them try again. We have been teaching this test to students for over 17 years, and every year we learn more and more about the test, and how best to teach the material. We have a very high success rate - over 90% of our students have been accepted to one (or both) of their top two schools.
2. What materials do you use to teach the test material?
Again, we have found many different approaches to teaching the test material. We use two of the test prep books on the market, as well as proprietary lesson plans developed by people with degrees in mathematics from MIT. Our verbal lesson plans incorporate Latin and Greek roots to help students decipher words they are unfamiliar with on the test. Our lesson plans have been road tested and they have stood the test of time. They are comprehensive and easy to understand and they teach the material, not just the tricks of the test. We have found some students who came to us after having attended other programs who had been taught material that was not even on the test!
3. Do you actually teach the material, or just tell students when they get something wrong?
This is a HUGE distinction between our program and most other programs. Many large group programs do not have the time or resources to teach the actual test material, they spend more time teaching students tricks and short cuts, but not the actual test material. Students know when they get problems wrong, but often have no idea why they got the problem wrong. This is obviously not going to do them any good on the test. Our focus is on teaching the material - the best way to get a question correct is to know the answer.
4. Who are your instructors, how are they trained, and how experienced are the with the test?
Our instructors are all highly skilled education professionals. All of our instructors have college degrees, most have master’s degrees, and several are pursuing PhDs. They all have teaching experience ranging from middle school to college. We do not hire high school or college students to teach our classes. We are one of the only test prep programs in the area that teaches ISEE prep 12 months a year. So the material is always fresh in our instructor’s minds. We do not hire seasonal workers to teach the test for a few months of the year. Our instructors are with us for an average of at least 3 years, and many have been with us much longer. We train our tutors on our methods and our curriculum, so that they are experts on the ISEE.
5. What is your success rate, and do you follow up with each student to see how he or she scored on the test?
We are the ONLY program in the area that can boast of a success rate of over 90%. We follow up with all our students and families to get the results of their test scores and see which school(s) they were admitted to. This data also helps us track trends from year to year and adjust our methods as necessary.
6. What ongoing support do you offer parents through the process of application to exam and private schools? Do you have children that have attended the exam schools or a private school?
At Boston Tutoring Center we have visited over 50 private schools in the area, toured the schools, met with admissions directors, and talked with parents and students about the schools. We have detailed admission statistics and financial aid data, and we can provide information on what schools have to offer and what they are looking for in an applicant. We have children that have attended exam and private schools. We are available to help you as you navigate the process and discuss important dos and don’ts with you throughout the admissions cycle. No other test prep program in the area has such extensive knowledge of the exam and private schools in the Boston area. Admissions directors tell us that we are the only test prep program that takes the time to meet with them and visit their schools.
7. How does your program help students get ready for an exam or private school?
We teach students math, reading comprehension, vocabulary and writing skills to help them do well on the test, and in the process help them strengthen their skills so that they are prepared for the rigorous programs they are applying to. We also talk to them about study skills, time management skills, and the importance of speaking up if they do not understand something. These are all skills that will help prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead in their new school. Parents report to us that their children are well prepared for the exam and private schools, and have an easier time adjusting than their peers who did not attend our program.
8. Will your program help my child do well in school this year?
Again, because we teach the material, and not just the tricks of the test, parents report that students can take the knowledge they learn in our program and apply it to the work they are currently doing in school. We have heard of students being moved up to honors math classes, winning awards for their writing, and gaining praise from their teachers for their vocabulary - all as a result of the work we have done with them in the program.
9. Do you have references and testimonials you can share with me?
We have hundreds of satisfied clients who continue to refer business to us. We would be glad to provide you with references and testimonials from the many happy families that have used our services over the years.
10. How important is it for my child to get a good score on the test?
For the exam schools it is crucial that students do well on the test, as the test counts for 50% of the formula for admissions. Private schools also look very hard at test scores. The ISEE is an equalizer in helping to compare the skill sets of students coming from varied elementary school programs. Many private schools also use the results of the test to award merit-based financial aid. We have had students awarded thousands of dollars in scholarship money to attend private schools based on how well they scored on the ISEE.