The SSAT is the most popular standardized test used by the top US boarding schools. To have a realistic chance of receiving an offer, Hong Kong students should be scoring in the top 90 percentile on their Upper Level SSAT taken in grade 8. The average SSAT score of Phillips Exeter Academy students is 94%. The Middle Level and Upper Level SSAT may be taken at the HKEAA in San Po Kong throughout the year. The Students should take the test when they feel they can achieve the required scores of their target schools. The Middle Level SSAT is for grades 5-7 and the Upper Level SSAT is for grades 8-11.

The ISEE is very similar to the SSAT, but is less popular in Hong Kong, mainly because registration procedure and testing locations change significantly almost every year. That being said, some schools like Hong Kong International School (HKIS) and Harvard-Westlake School (Los Angeles) use the ISEE exclusively. Both the ISEE and the SSAT test reading comprehension, vocabulary, mathematics, and writing. To test vocabulary, the SSAT uses analogies, while the ISEE uses in-context sentences. ISEE also uses data sufficiency questions to test math reasoning, while the SSAT does not.

The New Redesigned SAT, which replaced the old SAT in March 2016 focuses on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The questions in these English sections ask for meanings of words in context, command of evidence, analysis in History, Social Studies, Science, US Literature, and World Literature. To achieve a high score on the New SAT, students will need to able to determine explicit and implicit meanings, use analogical reasoning, cite textual evidence, determine central ideas and themes, summarize and understand relationships, and interpret words and phrases in context.

In addition, New SAT students will need to be tutored in analyzing word choice, text structure, point of view, purpose, arguments, multiple texts, and quantitative information. The Vocabulary on the New SAT will be more useful and relevant, eliminating many of the obsolete and obscure words.

Furthermore, the New SAT Essay shall be optional, however it is required by most of the top universities. The New SAT Essay is 50 minutes and asks students to read a passage and write a commentary supported by evidence, which explains how the author builds an persuasive argument.

The New SAT Math shall have calculator and non calculator sections, which shall ask students to solve systems of quadratic and higher-order equations and inequalities, create expressions, rearrange and interpret formulas, analyze relationships using ratios, proportions, percentages, units, and graphs, and summarize qualitative and quantitative data. Area, volume, angles, triangles, circle theorem, and trigonometric function questions shall also be tutored by for the New SAT Math.

For students who are stronger in Science than English, we recommend the ACT, instead of the SAT. They are both similar as they are both accepted by most American universities. The other major difference is the written essay. The ACT Essay asks candidates to analyze, develop, and evaluate the relationships among the three different perspectives presented. Whereas, the SAT Essay asks candidates to write a commentary that focuses on the language and literary devices used, which clearly favours candidates who are stronger in English.

SAT & SSAT Tutor

Mr Don Ho is the Principal of IST and has helped many students score above above 95 percentile on the SSAT and ISEE. These students went on to receive offers from Milton, Deerfield, Lawrenceville, St. Paul’s, Taft, Choate Rosemary Hall, Peddie, Groton, Exeter, Andover, and Hotchkiss. Two of these students achieved the top score of 99 percentile. Don is also able to provide helpful advice with the boarding school application process. Furthermore, many of these student have gone on to the best universities on the strength of outstanding SAT scores, in the top 98 percentile.

SAT & SSAT Tutor

Mr Daniel Chan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree (Hons.) in Chemistry from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and a Bachelor of Science Degree (Advanced) from the University of Sydney, Australia, majoring in Chemistry and Biochemistry.

As a student, Daniel achieved a perfect score of 800 on his SAT Chemistry, SAT Math, and the Mathematics section of the SAT Reasoning Test. Daniel has been tutoring with IST since March 2009.

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