Q&A with Founder Candice Lapin: When to Study for the ERB and the ISEE

Our founder, Candice Lapin, is an expert on standardized testing. With the ERB and ISEE coming up, it’s time to start getting organized for those tests. For more information on these important exams, check out Candice’s article on the major differences between the two.

What are the ERB and ISEE? Fill us in!

The ERB is a standardized test that schools provide to their students to test the efficacy of their teachers and curriculum.  It tests how well the students are learning at grade level. 

The ISEE is the most popular Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) that is administered in the US to students in the 6th grade for Middle School entrance.  

It is offered Fall, Winter and Spring but many schools require their applications by January so Spring is often too late.  

What is your advice for parents as their child studies for the ERB?

One of the most important tips we give parents is that the ERB tests at grade level.  But what most parents don’t know is that private Middle schools look at the ERB as a strong indicator of performance.  So if your student is not a strong test taker it is really helpful to get them a little bit of help before that test is administered in April / May.  

What is your best advice for students as they study?

I really like to advise parents to start the process early so that children aren’t overwhelmed and they can integrate what they are being taught slowly as they would in a classroom.  Cramming can create a lot of anxiety so we encourage parents to do weekly appointments slowly working through information. 

Why is it important to prepare early for the ISEE?

A lot of parents don’t realize that the ISEE is really testing 7 and 8th grade levels of math, reading and vocabulary.  They haven’t seen a lot of this math so its very overwhelming and downright intimidating.  

Combine that with natural competition on campus and you could have a really awful first semester in 6th grade if your student/child is feeling under prepared. 

We encourage families to start early, in some cases as early as January of the second semester of 5th grade so that kids have enough time to learn 6th and 7th grade math with more ease and more time to integrate the information.  There is just no way to cram this math into a few months.  

Are there any programs you’d recommend that help prepare students for these tests?

I would encourage parents to call our office to have their child take a diagnostic of the ISEE / a practice test to see where their child has natural strengths and weaknesses.  We help guide so many parents through that process.