by Regina, Master SHSAT Tutor
I've worked with a lot of students during my career as a tutor, and every one of them was unique. Some were extremely motivated to improve their schoolwork or get a higher score on that upcoming exam, and some, well, they needed extra encouragement. But there is one thing that all New York City kids have in common: they are all very busy! When students have so much going on both in and out of school -- academics, friendships, sports, community service, music lessons -- it sometimes becomes difficult to plan anything further in the future than next week.
However, getting an early start on just about any academic exercise, as painful as it may seem when the payoff is far away, greatly reduces the amount of stress that a student (and his or her entire family) will experience in the long run. That's why it makes sense to begin preparing for dreaded standardized tests long before your child is scheduled to take them. When the test is the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test
), timing is especially crucial. The SHSAT is administered in late October and early November, so it may seem as if starting to prepare in the spring is jumping the gun. But, if you think about it, for most students, summer is an inconvenient time to study, as they are frequently away on vacation or at camp. When they resume school in September, they are rightly focused on readjusting to their daily school routine. Beginning 8th
grade is difficult enough without having to prepare, in two short months, for a test that most students find somewhat daunting. Every point counts on this exam, and becoming acquainted with the unique types of questions
that don't appear on other standardized tests is vital. In addition, if there are content areas in which your child needs more than a brief review, having the extra prep time could mean the difference between a good result and a great one. Put another way, it might mean getting into the school of your choice versus getting into the school on the other end of the city.
Starting to learn the ins and outs of the SHSAT well before sitting down to take it will help students approach this high-stakes test with a strong command of the relevant material and a relaxed, focused attitude. October may seem a long way off, but as any parent knows, time has a way of taking flight. Getting a head start on the SHSAT is one way to prepare for a smooth trip, so to speak.
[Note: If you are reading this and October is right around the corner, don't panic. There is still time to familiarize yourself with the test and get in some good practice. Give us a call at (212) 928-5016 or send an email if you need help.]