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Here at Teacher Time To Go, we receive hundreds of requests for tutoring support each year.  During the year, there are always periods of time where we receive requests for a specific type of individualized support: Private School Entrance Exam Prep.

If your child is applying to a private school, they will most likely be required to complete an entrance exam so the school can evaluate their grade level proficiencies, specific content material and overall test taking.  We know how daunting this can be for children (and families) if they haven’t taken a standardized test before or if they are not familiar with the general format.

We wanted to break down what these tests are all about and compare the two primary test options that most private schools accept.  We hope that you find this post helpful if you are interested in having your child apply to private school.  The information below is compiled from multiple websites to deliver the most accurate and comprehensive overview.


The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is accepted by over 1,200 independent schools around the world and is available for students in Grades 2-12.  It is offered online, paper-based, and also has options for at home administration.   Students are allowed to take the ISEE once per testing season for a total of three times per school year.  A student’s testing level is determined by the grade to which the student is applying for, not a student’s current grade. The ISEE has four levels: primary (grades 2-4) lower (grades 5&6), middle (grades 7&8) and upper (grades 9-12). The ISEE offers multiple accommodations with required documentation. Price ranges from $125 – $250 depending on testing location and level. The length of the test is between 2.5 – 3 hours depending on the level.

There are five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Math Achievement, and the Essay.  Although the essay is not graded it is reviewed to see your child’s writing abilities.  The main highlight of this exam is that there are no penalties for incorrect answers which can be beneficial to many students.  Many suggest that if your child is more of a math mind, then ISEE might be a better fit.

Full overview is here for test dates, materials and FAQ.


The Secondary School Admissions Test. It is offered online, paper-based, and also has options for at home administration.   There are 3 levels for testing: Elementary (grades 3-4), Middle (grades 5-7) and Upper (grades 8-11). Price ranges from $110 – $250.  Students taking the SSAT have to contend with a guessing penalty: they get 1 point for each correct answer, get no points for questions left blank, and lose 1/4 point for each wrong answer. Many suggest that if your child is better with verbal/writing than the SSAT is the better fit. Additionally, the SSAT offers test dates every month throughout the year and you can take it as many times as you want!

Full overview is here for test dates, materials and FAQ.

How We Can Help

Here at TT2G, we can help in many ways. Our team will review which test is best for your child.  We will explain the general format of the test, familiarize your child with the content areas, teach test taking strategies, capitalize on strengths, attack weaknesses and provide support to alleviate test anxiety.

In regards to our timeline, we typically recommend 6-8 sessions and aim to start 2-3 months prior to the test date.  That way, we have some room to add on additional sessions if necessary without being pressed for time.  Our team will be with you and your child every step of the way!

We suggest that if you are still unsure of which test your child should take, it would be beneficial to have your child complete a diagnostic test for each of them to see what they do better with.  We’ll recommend study guides, resources and books when you begin your work with us!

Reach out today to see how we can best help and support!