Entrance Exams Middle School & High School

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Maggie Lage_on11_sqBy Maggie Lage

If you are thinking of sending your child to a private, parochial, or competitive middle school or high school, it’s important to note that some schools require a standardized entrance exam to determine admission. Test scores are usually only one piece of the overall student profile that a school considers when looking at applicants, but understanding and preparing for any tests can help your student have the best advantage.

Here is a summary of some of the tests your child might encounter.

High School Placement Test (HSPT)

The HSPT is used for admissions, scholarship selection, and course placement. The test is administered to eighth graders seeking ninth grade placement in private and competitive high schools.  The standard test covers verbal skills, quantitative skills, reading, mathematics, and language skills. A customized version of the test is used by many Catholic schools and can include sections on religious knowledge, mechanical aptitude, and scientific knowledge. Learn more at www.ststesting.com.

Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE)

This test is required by many private and competitive magnet schools as part of the admissions process. There are three levels of the test for candidates entering grades 5-6, 7-8, and 9-12. All levels of the exam have five parts: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics, and a 30-minute essay. The essay is not graded, but it is photocopied and sent to the school as a writing sample. There is an ISEE for primary levels (grades 2-4) as well.  The primary level ISEE is a computer-based test for students entering second grade that specifically focuses on areas of auditory reading comprehension and mathematics. The writing prompt is used the same way the other grade levels’ prompts are used.  Students entering the third or fourth grade are tested in reading comprehension and mathematics, with the essay being used the same way as the other levels. The ISEE is administered by the Educational Records Bureau.  Learn more at www.erblearn.org.

Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)

The SSAT is also used by some private and competitive high schools to help rank applicants. There are three levels of the test: elementary (students currently in grades three and four); middle (for students currently in grades five through seven); and upper (for students currently in grades eight through eleven). The test consists of two parts: a brief essay and a section with multiple choice questions in math, verbal, and reading comprehension. As with the ISEE, the essay is not scored, but provided to the school as a writing sample.
Learn more at www.ssat.org.

As a parent, what can you do to prepare for a competitive middle school or high school?
Call Huntington of course! Huntington offers individualized instruction, utilizing test materials specific to each entrance exam, proven teaching methods, and specially trained teachers. Working one-to-one with our students, the program features personalized study plans and full-length practice tests. We also offer comprehensive strategies for every question type and section of the entrance exam so that our students can confidently tackle every question. Learn more at www.newark.huntingtonhelps.com or contact Maggie Lage, Executive Director, at 302-737-1150.


Founded in 1977, Huntington Learning Center has offered supplemental education services longer than any other provider. Parents often contact Huntington when they receive a particularly alarming report card or other communication saying their child is falling behind. Many also reach out to Huntington because they are concerned their child may have poor study skills, or difficulty in performing to grade level in reading and math.

Hear what parents are saying about Huntington

I just wanted to thank you for working with me and my family from the beginning to help me get the tutoring I needed for the SATs. You were always so willing and beyond flexible to help meet my personal needs. I truly appreciate all of the hard work you did to put me with a WONDERFUL teacher and help me boost my scores in order to help me achieve my dreams!

We wish to thank you and everyone at Huntington. The devotion and patience shown has been wonderful. Maggie, we will never forget how you went beyond the call of duty to help us.

Maggie Lage is the Executive Director of the Huntington Learning Center in Newark

34 Liberty Plaza | Kirkwood Highway | Newark, DE 19711

For more information or to schedule a consultation at the Newark location

call 302-737-1150 or visit www.newark.huntingtonlearning.com

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