Welcome to the third part of MEK’s Exam Guide series, during which we are covering all of the major exams we offer in order to provide a better understanding of each test’s components, their scoring system, and some general expectations. Our last two posts covered the two main college standardized tests, the SAT and the ACT. In today’s article, we are going to shift focus and cover the Bergen County Academies (BCA) entrance exam, a high school admissions test to one of the top ranking schools in the nation. The BCA exam also serves as the entrance exam for their sister school, Bergen County Technical High School (BT), for which students can choose to simultaneously apply to or apply for separately. If you’d like to read more about BCA as a school and exactly what they offer students, please take a look at their website here!
Please note that this exam is DIFFERENT from the one for the Academies at Englewood, which takes place in mid to late November.
General BCA Exam Information
The BCA Exam is the primary component of the first phase in BCA’s application process. Included alongside the test is an online application students must complete before the given deadline. Detailed application rules can be found on the school’s website (linked above) but in general, the student must be in the 8th grade and live in Bergen County, NJ.
When it comes to the exam itself, there are two components: the English test and the Math test. Neither section allows for the use of a calculator or cell phone. Specifics of each test are as follows:
- English Test – 45 minutes, 1 passage and 1 essay response
- Math Test – 60 minutes, 40 multiple choice questions
Afterwards, selected students will move onto the second phase of the application process. This is the interview stage, where students are provided individual interviews with teams of teachers. Some specific academies are required to participate in more relevant activities such as auditions or portfolio presentations.
The Differences Between Each BCA Section
The English Test
During the English component, students are provided with 45 minutes to read a passage and write an essay response. This essay is then scored on multiple different criteria in order to gauge their comprehension and writing ability. There are six basic criteria, and they are as follows:
The Math Test
During the Math component, students must answer a combination of basic math questions and word problems during the provided 60 minutes. The school states that in general, students who take algebra or geometry in middle school will fare better on this part of the exam than those who haven’t. Thus, while there isn’t a specific metric on the types of questions covered in the exam, it is advisable for students to practice and develop their basic algebra and geometry skills prior to the test date.
How You Can Begin to Prepare for the BCA Exam
While BCA doesn’t provide much detail about their application process, they do provide a sample test each year. If you would like to access this sample exam, please visit the BCA website here and navigate to their “Apply Now!” section.
For some students, completing regular school assignments and taking the practice exam might be enough preparation. However, for many students, additional prep is highly beneficial as a means for additional practice and insight into their strengths and weaknesses. MEK has been a long-standing expert on the BCA application process and offers a program for all students. The MEK BCA Prep course is only offered in the fall and is divided into two phases.
- Phase 1 focuses on teaching students test-taking strategies while helping identify their old habits and identifying patterns of mistakes
- Phase 2 is focused on intensive test training to push students out of comfort zones and excel
Throughout the course MEK provides students with weekly practice exams, homework assignments, and expert lectures from our fantastic teaching team. MEK also provides expert application essay help, along with interview training from admissions counselors.
If you’d like to learn more about the MEK BCA Prep Course, please check out our program page here. If you have any other questions or concerns, give us a call at +1 (855) 346-1410 or contact us today.