Complete Overview of USA School Admission Tests

If studying in the USA is your dream, you've come to the right place.

Choosing a great school for your kid is one of the biggest decision a young family faces. It's crucial to understand the subtleties of school admission test framework. As regards assessing your skills and achievements, there's more to it than just the standardised tests. School admission standardised tests for students vary in their scope and purpose. Before you apply to your dream school, get to know the school admission tests.

With this comprehensive overview, you'll learn about:

  1. Why admission tests are important;

  2. What you can expect of entrance tests;

  3. Who should take the entrance exams;

  4. Characterization of exam types;

  5. How to prepare;

Only once you know your way around the types of exams can you come up with a preparation plan. In the US, you'll find over 100 standardized tests used for the school admission process. We'll cover some of the most important entrance exams and answer your questions.

Getting your mind (and pen) ready for the test is barely possible to do on your own. With the help of a private tutor, you can polish your abilities to rock the admission tests. Using humanity's greatest achievement - the Internet - ClassRx gives you a helping hand to make you a leader in the STEM field. No matter where you live, online education is at your fingertips. Let's begin.

Why Should You Take an Admission Test?

As some studies show, basic standardized tests are one of the main factors that schools take into consideration during the admissions process. The exam system has been a part of public debate for years now. Some point out to their dependence on parental education or income, accusing them of bias. Still, they're of considerable importance despite voices of protest. Results from entrance exams can give schools (especially private, independent and/or Catholic schools) an overview of student's quantitative and qualitative abilities.

When deciding whether to take an entrance test, there's one more thing to consider. Not every entrance test is location-based or subject-specific, each school has its own set of criteria. Also, sitting an school admission test helps you to understand your academic level and helps the school to decide your kid's candidature.

Online private tutors can give a student a major head start when taking a school admission test. Not every school grants its pupils preparation to various entrance exams, and 1-to-1 teaching is no match for basic classes at school. W​hat is more, online tutoring breaks with every preconception about education. Because of the Internet, you can educate yourself and do your best at admission exams wherever you are. You no longer have to be an Oxford student to be taught by an Oxford scholar.

So which skills do standardized admission tests assess?

What Can You Expect?

Each of the basic standardized tests, regardless of their level, assess student's skills in the same fields. They might have different names, but by and large, it's all about these:

Verbal Reasoning

Test student's reasoning abilities and vocabulary level, often consisting of two parts: sentence completion and synonyms. This section assesses one's logical thinking skills and command of the English language. Combination of rich vocabulary, grammar abilities, and logical thinking is the key to these types of test questions.

Quantitative Reasoning

Students have to understand geometry and algebra to master problem-solving tasks. Merged, tasks of this type require students to put their mathematics skills into solving real-life problems.

Reading Comprehension

This type of exam tests comprehension of written text. With questions to each excerpt, the exam focuses on the logical understanding of passages.

Mathematics Achievement

It provides specific information on a student's mathematics abilities. As we all know, to master maths, one needs guidance. Professional teachers give students the ability to excel in this subject.


This form of academic assessment isn't commonplace; only some admission tests entail essay writing. Students are given time to give a sample of their writing on a randomly picked topic. Though this last part isn't scored, its photocopy is sent directly to the institution one is applying for, as is the case with ISEE (Independent School Entrance Examination)

The number of entrance test sections varies. It's anything between 3 and 7. Nonetheless, all of them examine student's skills in one of the areas above (or a combination of them).

Is an Entrance Exam for Me?

Many great schools require their prospective students to sit an admission test. Some tests are location-specific, others are more general. Your level of education is also essential when making up your mind. In the US, there are over 100 standardized tests. How to choose the right one? To get rid of your doubts, we've prepared short descriptions for the most important test. Here's our guide:

Exam Types and Characterization

ISEE - Independent School Entrance Examination

This exam is used by a myriad of private schools. Independent middle and high schools use it to assess a student's capabilities in a range of subjects. It's worth noting that it's possible to take the test only once in six months. Students get to choose from 3 examining periods: Fall, Winter, and Spring/Summer. Most of the examination takes place in autumn and at the beginning of winter.

SSAT - Secondary School Admission Test

You can take the SSAT at every level of education since this exam is accepted by private elementary, middle, and high schools. It comprises four parts, and you can send it to hundreds of schools. You can take the test all year long since there are as many as eight exam dates during the school year.

HSPT - High School Placement Test

To register for the HSPT, reach out directly to the institution you're applying to. The High School Placement Test assesses 8th graders' abilities so that their dream Catholic schools get the gist of their overall skills. The dates depend on the schools and dioceses, so you should contact directly the institution you wish to apply for.

COOP- Cooperative Admissions Examination Program

The Cooperative Admissions Examination Program is used by Catholic high schools to check pupil's general abilities. One may also expect questions testing critical thinking and reasoning. More often than not is the distribution of scholarships based on the COOP's results. This test can be taken once a year in November, and it's divided into seven parts.

SHSAT - Specialized High School Admissions Test

Specifically for 8th and 9th graders, the SHSAT checks student's capabilities in maths and ELA (i.a. English Language Arts: writing, reading, and verbal reasoning). The Specialized High School Admissions Test is used by 8 out of 9 Specialized High Schools in New York City. You can take the COOP once a year in November.

TACHS - Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools

8th​ graders wanting to apply to Catholic high schools can take the TACHS in November, putting their reading, maths, and language skills to a test. To get more specific information, check out the official TACHS website.

What's So Scary?

It's usually private (or independent) schools that require admission tests. The entrance exams for high schools are the beginning of young people's academic route. Their results will decide about their future. What some students find intimidating is the admission exams' length. Tests will take up to 3 hours to complete, yet primary-level exams are a bit shorter. Between sections, students have breaks to chat and refill their batteries.

Though these are standardized tests, each student has different needs and abilities. Online private tutors can help students, providing systematic preparation plan and quality learning.

I​f you want to study in the USA, obligatory classes may not be enough. The basic standardized tests and entrance exams don't only check one's knowledge since they aim at skills. To become a student of one of the best US private high schools, preparation is crucial.

All of this might seem like information overload - both for parents and students. For this reason, ClassRx offers comprehensive preparation for students wishing to do their best at entrance exams.


School admission tests in the USA are used by high schools to get a general outlook on student's abilities. They check the pupil's language skills, logical thinking, and reasoning. The exam system also gives the school authorities an outline of prospective students and future alumni. There are different types of exams, some of which being:

  1. ISEE - Independent School Entrance Examination

  2. SSAT - Secondary School Admission Test

  3. HSPT - High School Placement Test

  4. COOP - Cooperative Admissions Examination Program

  5. SHSAT - Specialized High School Admissions Test

  6. TACHS - Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools

These tests are available for students on different levels, yet are very similar in their form. To study in the USA, one has to start their academic route as early as in middle school. To make sure your knowledge and skills are sufficient to score high on these exams, thorough preparation must be in place.

Some might fear the length of the exams and their general structure. Even choosing just the right entrance test is a challenge sometimes. A​s a form of getting ready for the basic standardized tests, online teaching with private tutors has a plethora of benefits, as testimonies tell. Entering the exam with self-confidence is a massive head start. At the same time, a friendly student-teacher relationship is a crucial factor when building confidence. We at ClassRx are on a mission of bringing out the best in the kids.

T​the topic of USA school admission tests is a complex one. If there's anything else you'd like us to cover, please do let us know in the comments. Would you like to learn more about average scores for exams? How about payments, or specific test dates?

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