We recommend that 7th graders begin prepping for standardized high school entrance tests—the ISEE and the SSAT—in the spring. For students this age, summer is often filled with many activities, and although there is some time for test prep in July and August, spring of 7th grade is the last solid stretch of time kids have before the very busy 8th grade fall.

These tests are chock full of vocabulary, so there is a lot of study required to come up to speed on that, and for almost all of the kids we meet, math work in the content area (remediation or review) is essential. Therefore, kids who don’t start until the fall spend their time working on these areas and don’t spend enough time with the test itself, working on time management, test strategy, etc. Spring work, focused on vocab and math content, is therefore the best approach to preparing for these exams.

If tutoring doesn’t make sense for your family, and you will be taking classes in the fall, it is still a very good idea to begin a steady, organized vocabulary study program.