Test Innovators Blog

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


ACT Timing: Why is Time Management so Important on the ACT?

  • Posted By: Hannah Grandine
  • November 15, 2017
An ACT bubble sheet with a pencil lying on top of it.

The ACT, like many standardized tests, is designed in order for colleges to be able to clearly see the academic differences between the one million and a half students who take the same test each year. In order to have a standard for doing so, the test must be designed to result in a variation of scores.

A common technique to design a test like this is to not only have complicated questions, but also an unforgiving time limit, making it difficult for any student to answer all of the questions correctly in the amount of time they are given.

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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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