Exam Prep 8: Math for High School Admissions
As students enter 7th grade, it’s time for them to start preparing their high school admissions plan. And the world of high school admissions can quickly become intimidating between preparing for tough admissions exams, completing applications, and writing essays.
Public education curricula, which focus on the Common Core objectives, often don’t cover all of the math skills students need to succeed on admissions tests.
So, we interviewed several of our expert Exam Prep and MLC Directors for their insight and advice on how students can prepare.
Keep reading to find out more about our Exam Prep 8 program, what skills 7th graders need to succeed, and how MEK builds student confidence in their math skills!
MEK’s Exam Prep 8 Program
MEK’s Exam Prep 8 program, offered in the Spring and Summer, helps 7th graders develop effective test-taking skills and strategies so they can ace their high school admissions tests in 8th grade. This comprehensive course covers SSAT, ISEE, HSPT, and BCA admissions exam preparation.
Our experienced teachers focus on helping students understand the process of approaching problems rather than just focusing on getting the right answer. Exam Prep 8 curriculum covers the topics and skill sets which all major high school admissions tests have in common so students have the core knowledge and strategies they need to succeed no matter which test they are taking.
Engaging group courses foster camaraderie and competition that keeps students motivated. Plus, students develop mastery of mathematical concepts, cultivate good study habits, and practice time management. Thus, students who take the course have a greater chance of getting into their target schools.
What mathematical concepts do 7th graders need to master in order to succeed in Exam Prep 8?
Mr. Tony Kim, Director of Exam Prep Math
To succeed in Exam Prep 8, 7th graders need a strong foundation in Algebra and Geometry.
Mr. Pranav Gupta, Director of High School Admissions Test Prep & Subject Prep
It is critical that students are comfortable with ratios, proportions, percentages, Algebra I, and Algebra II.
Ms. Binal Patel, Director of MEK Learning Circles
To succeed in exam prep and future challenging high school courses, students need good numbers sense and calculation skills.
How does MEK’s Exam Prep 8 program help students prepare for high school admissions?
TK: In Exam Prep 8, as well as MEK’s other high school admissions prep courses, teachers focus on ratios/proportions, number sense, and how to visualize the relationship between numbers. Visualization is important for students to grasp so they can understand graphs and variables in future math courses as well as on the admissions tests.
When students learn a higher level of math, starting from Algebra II, they see variables for the first time and struggle as a result. They need to understand where the variables come from. Graphs are also difficult for students to understand because of the relationship between numbers and visualizing the relationships, such as ratios and proportions. Students won’t be intimidated by visualizations after MEK because they’ve faced the graph and possess the foundational skills. This gives students confidence.
PG: The Exam Prep 8 curriculum provides students with longhand homework, not multiple choice. This format requires students to write down each step for each problem. Teachers grade the homework using a rubric which gives 3 points for effort, 3 for organization, 3 for strategy, and only 1 for the right answer. In public schools, students often learn to focus on the correct answer. At MEK, we teach them the importance of the process to get to the answer, helping them better understand each step.
How do MEK Exam Prep teachers help students stay motivated?
PG: It’s important for students to keep their goals in mind. For 7th graders, BCA Prep is a year away and so students might think it’s still far in the future. However, in Exam Prep 8, teachers constantly discuss students’ goals of getting into BCA/BT and other magnet or private high schools. By helping students continually work toward their high school admissions goals, they are able to stay motivated in and out of class.
BP: The first step is for students to focus in class during their 90-minute lectures. If they do so and also consistently practice for 90 minutes outside of class, they will see their grades improve in class. This progress helps students gain the motivation they need to keep up their studying.
How do MEK Exam Prep teachers help students build confidence in math for high school admissions exams?
TK: Having the mindset of “I can do it” is critical. If students don’t think they are capable of solving equations and problems, they will struggle more in class.
It is also important for students to understand the equation or problem and break out of the public school method of rote memorization. MEK teachers focus on teaching students why and how a method works, not just what the method is. When students understand how a problem works, they will be more confident approaching it.
PG: Students who see progress in their grades and academic performance will feel more confident. At MEK, the homework students receive covers different types of problems in the school curriculum, giving them confidence that they are equipped to tackle any problem they will come across in the classroom. In Exam Prep 8 and other High School Admissions programs at MEK, teachers cultivate group dynamics to encourage competition.
BP: MEK gives students in-class assignments right after students learn about a topic, enabling them to practice the concepts they learned right away and receive immediate feedback. When they complete the assignments, they’re independently applying their knowledge, which builds their confidence. The Exam Prep 8 program teaches students topics before they learn them at school so they are already familiar when they encounter these topics in the classroom.
Preparing for high school admissions tests is not just about skill, but also about having the right mindset. And this Spring, we want our amazing results to be your amazing results!
You’ll receive our signature detailed score report that breaks down where your child stands on specific subject areas and question types, a plan to improve areas of weakness, and our expert recommendations for the next steps on your child’s high school admissions journey.