If a student wants or has what it takes to get admitted to one of the independent schools in the United States, then help them prepare for taking the ISEE in Orinda or where the test is offered near you.

ISEE stands for Independent School Entrance Examination, an entrance examination used by several top private schools in the country. The Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT, has similarities to the ISEE. But once your child has chosen the ISEE, there are ways to support him/her as he/she is preparing for the exam.

1. Help your child to feel comfortable and at ease
Most children who take the ISEE are middle school students and may not be very familiar with standardized exams. Nor are they prepared for the demands (as well as the stress) associated with taking the tests, for that matter. So the best way to begin in preparing is to make sure that he/she should not feel worried about the test.

The great news is that for the ISEE there is no penalty for wrong answers. The essay is one of the greatest sources of stress and worry, even though it’s not scored. But you have to assure them that the ISEE can be easily aced as long as they have prepared well for it.

2. Begin practicing early
Even if your child feels more comfortable with math than reading (or vice versa) it’s still better to prepare for every section of the test as early as possible. Running through a few sections ahead of time is still better than cramming a few days before the date of the exam.

While some of the questions on the exam may sound familiar, many test items will appear odd at first. The Quantitative Comparison section, for one, will look quite strange at first glance. But your child need not worry because the ISEE is not designed to make them rack their brains. Your child only needs to be familiar with some of the segments so that they won’t have to waste their minutes come exam day focusing just on the instructions.

3. Have your child practice using timed tests
If your child has practiced on the practice book on their own time, they might start to assume, “oh, this ISEE is going to be easy.” This is not far from the truth, as most questions are relatively easy indeed! But when you put them in a more realistic exam environment by conducting timed practice tests, and see if they still won’t break a sweat, start to feel nervous, or skip other test items in a hurry.

As with all other standardized tests, the ISEE has a time limit. There are 160 questions on the Middle and Upper levels that should be answered within two hours, while there are 127 on the Lower Level in the same time limit. You and your student should make a schedule for a timed test practice to help them find out which pace will work for them (and make them feel more comfortable on the actual test day).

Remind your child that the ISEE is not like usual tests for school, so there’s no reason for them to cram the night before the test date. With early and proper preparation, as well as propping your child’s confidence, you can be sure that they will do well on the ISEE in Orinda, and pass the test with high marks.