Test Innovators Blog

The ISEE Essay Section: What To Expect

  • Posted By: Geoff Dennis
  • December 4, 2017
A student writing an essay, likely the ISEE's essay section.

About the ISEE Essay Section

Did you make it through the ISEE’s four multiple-choice sections? You’re not quite done yet!

The fifth and final section on the ISEE is an essay section. Students are given 30 minutes to write an essay in response to a single prompt. Although the essay is not graded, as we’ll discuss below, it is still a critical part of the test.

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Greater Los Angeles' Most Competitive Schools of 2017

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • November 27, 2017
A sample of a few of Los Angeles' most competitive schools.

Test Innovators has helped over 65,000 students prepare for the standardized tests required for admission to the most competitive independent schools in the country since 2012. Every year we review our data to determine that year's most competitive schools. Below is our list of the 10 most competitive schools in the Greater LA area, based on the number of students who stated their intention to apply in 2017.

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New York's Most Competitive Schools of 2017

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • November 23, 2017
A collage of three of New York's most competitive schools of 2017.

Test Innovators has helped more than 65,000 students prepare for the standardized tests required for admission to the most competitive independent schools in the country. Below is our updated list of the 15 most competitive schools in New York, based on the number of students who stated their intention to apply in 2017.

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SSAT Essay Topics

  • Posted By: Erin Lynch
  • November 21, 2017
A blank notebook on which a student can practice their SSAT essay.

Understanding the SSAT Writing Sample

For the first section of the SSAT, you will have 25 minutes to produce a sample of your best writing. For the writing sample, you will choose from two prompts: one is a creative prompt in the form of a partial sentence. The other is a question that provides the starting point for a more traditional essay. You should choose the topic that is most interesting to you, and that you feel confident writing!

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The 25 Most Competitive Middle Schools of 2017

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • November 16, 2017
A collage of three of the most competitive middle schools of 2017.

Since 2012, Test Innovators has helped more than 65,000 students prepare for the SSAT and the ISEE, the admissions tests required for applications to the most competitive independent schools in the country. Every year we review our data from thousands of test-takers to find out the schools that students are most interested in applying to.

This year's results have arrived! Below is a list of the top 25 most sought-after middle schools, based on the number of students who stated their intention to apply in 2017. Read More


STUMPERS: The Hardest SSAT Verbal Question

  • Posted By: Geoff Dennis
  • November 15, 2017
A collage of many road signs with question marks on them symbolizing the questions on the SSAT.

The SSAT’s analogies are one of the very hardest parts of the test, especially for first-time test takers. To perform well on the analogies section, students not only must be adept at finding relationships between concepts, but also must have a solid mastery of above-grade-level vocabulary.

The Test Innovators platform gathers and provides data on how many students answer each question correctly, and we were curious to see which SSAT Upper Level verbal question stumped the greatest percentage of students.

First, check out this question – can you answer it correctly?

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All About The Character Skills Snapshot

  • Posted By: Annie van Hees
  • November 12, 2017
A student who may be taking the Character Skills Snapshots for admissions this year.

Applying for a school that requires the Character Skills Snapshot for admissions? We have the 5 W’s (and the H) of the newly developed Character Skills Snapshot.

The Who

The Character Skills Snapshot (CSS) is a tool developed by The Enrollment Management Association, the same company that creates the SSAT. Students in grades 6 through 12 take the CSS for admission to participating independent schools. Check with your prospective schools to see if they require the CSS.

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A Tale of Paper & Diagnostics: Timed Paper Test Mode

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • November 8, 2017

Test Innovators has yet another test prep innovation that we’re excited to share with you – Timed Paper Test Mode.

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Test Innovators launches the ACT!

  • Posted By: Test Innovators
  • November 3, 2017
A screenshot of Test Innovators' ACT platform.

If you haven't heard yet, Test Innovators has officially launched ACT prep!

The ACT is the most widely used standardized test required for college admissions in the United States, and it's now available on the Test Innovators platform.

It's easy to get started – go to testinnovators.com/act to take a Test Innovators online practice test or grade an Official ACT Guide Red Book exam on the platform for free.

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ISEE Tricks

  • Posted By: Annie van Hees
  • October 31, 2017

For Halloween, we decided to offer up some of our best test taking tricks! We have devoured the brains of our expert tutors, and here are a few to get started with! One per section, and there are more where these came from - just ask!

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