Test Innovators Blog

A student balancing on an airplane wing after learning to fly a plane through Randolph-Macon Academy's flight program.

Some schools are breaking barriers with their alternative models for education, unique programs and projects, forward-thinking, and innovation. If you haven't considered non-traditional programs, these schools may be worth exploring.

Here are seven of our favorites:

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SSAT or ISEE?

  • Posted By: Edan Shahar
  • December 30, 2017
SSAT vs. ISEE
We are often asked about the differences between the ISEE and SSAT. We’ve put together a definitive guide to help families decide which test to take if they are given the option. 1. The most important question is whether the school(s) to which you are applying accept either or both of the tests. If you aren’t certain, call each school’s admissions office. Don’t study for the wrong test! 2. If you can take either, is the ISEE or SSAT best for you? Read More

How to Prepare for the ISEE in a Week or Less

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • December 27, 2017
A person holding a small analog stand-up clock, likely considering the amount of time they have left to take the ISEE.

We’ll start off by saying this: we do not endorse postponing your preparation to the last minute if you have the option to start earlier. At Test Innovators, we recommend starting your preparation at least six to eight months prior to your test date. This gives you ample time to become familiar with the content and structure of the test well ahead of your test date, and to figure out what specifically you may need to work on to improve your scores.

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How to Retake the SSAT Like a Pro

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • December 27, 2017
A student carrying books and a backpack who is ready to ace their retake of the SSAT.

Retaking the SSAT can seem like a real pain. You’ve already taken the nearly three-hour test once — is it really worth it to give up a Saturday morning and countless nights studying just to take the same test again?

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What is a Good Score on the SSAT?

  • Posted By: Michael Eisen
  • December 11, 2017
A school that an SSAT test taker may be applying for admission to.

What is a good score on the SSAT? That's a question we get asked a lot here at Test Innovators. Maybe you just got your score report back, or perhaps you've just taken a practice test and wonder whether or not your scores are acceptable.

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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