5 Easy Tips to Prep for the ISEE Exam School Test Like a Pro

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If you're a BPS 6th grade student and you have registered for the ISEE test—also known as the exam school test—this Thursday, Nov. 7 is the big day! The ISEE exam will be administered in your 6th grader's BPS school that day. For all other previously registered 8th and 9th grade students at BPS schools, as well as all non-BPS 6th, 8th, and 9th graders, your test date is this Saturday, Nov. 9 at your assigned testing location.

While the two hour-long test might seem like a daunting task, there's plenty you can do to prepare yourself for the test. Remember, the ISEE counts for 50 percent of your admission score to one of Boston's three exam schools; the other 50 percent of your score based on your grade point average (GPA).

Read on for five things you can do to prepare for the ISEE exam this week.

1. Review the official ISEE preparation guide.

The  Educational Records Bureau (ERB) is the company that produces the ISEE exam. They offer comprehensive preparation guides for each version of the ISEE at no cost to test takers.

2. Take an ISEE practice test online.

ERB also provides an interactive practice test online for each level of the ISEE, again at no cost to test takers. Head here to the What to Expect on the ISEE interactive website and fill out your grade information to launch the appropriate leveled practice test online.

3. Get ahead of any test anxiety.

It's perfectly normal to be nervous about taking a test, especially one that is as long and is comprised of as many sections as the ISEE. From being confident to making sure you get a good night's sleep the night before, there are several things you can do both before and during your exam to set yourself up for success. This article, "Coping with test anxiety" from MassGeneral for Children offers lots of great techniques and tips to help you deal with any test anxiety you may have.

4. Bring the required materials with you to your testing location the morning of the test.

According to the BPS website, each student taking the ISEE exam needs to bring the following items with them to their test:

  1. ISEE Test Admission Ticket (Most students should receive this at their school this week; home-schooled and METCO students will receive the test ticket at the home address.)
  2. Student Identification
  3. Residency Verification Receipt (not required for current BPS students)
  4. Five sharpened No. 2 pencils
  5. Eraser

Examples of acceptable student identification include:

  • Passport with a recent photo of the child
  • Green card with a recent photo of the child
  • BPS One Card or School ID
  • Social Security Card
  • Report Card from the previous school year
  • Progress Report from the current school year
  • Birth Certificate

If you can, pack these items the night before so you're not rushing the morning of the test trying to gather all these items together.

5. Don't forget to eat breakfast!

As noted above, the ISEE exam takes about two hours, 10 minutes to complete, along with several administrative tasks before the exam actually starts. There are also two breaks during the test, each lasting about five to 10 minutes. Make sure to get to school and/or your testing location early, if you can. With a long morning of testing ahead of you, it's important to eat a nutritious, filling breakfast to fuel your body and mind. 

From all of us at Boston School Finder: good luck this week!

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