Student taking a test

High School Admissions Tests: Comparison of SSAT, ISEE, HSPT, and BCA

As 8th grade students prepare for high school admissions, many are preparing for multiple tough tests. It can be difficult for students and parents to keep track of all the different tests and their different formats, sections, and registration information.

That’s why MEK Review is here to help you stay organized with our chart and walkthrough below.

This chart lists the most important information you need to know for:

    • Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT): A popular private school test
    • Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) – Another popular private school test
    • High School Placement Test (HSPT) – A popular parochial school test
    • Bergen County Academies Admission test (BCA) – Challenging admissions test for prestigious magnet school in Bergen County, New Jersey


Use this chart as a way to learn what to expect on each test, begin your test preparations, and refer to while navigating the complex high school admissions process.

General Admissions Test Information


General Information of SSAT/ISEE, HSPT, and BCA Tests


If you need to search for a test center location for the SSAT or the ISEE, here are the links you need:

If you need to register for the SSAT, ISEE, or BCA test, here are the links you need:

Test Details

Chart of SSAT/ISEE, HSPT, & BCA Details and Sections

Let’s quickly recap 3 key points that you can take away from these charts.

#1. The SSAT & ISEE admissions tests are the most similar.

The length, sections, format, and content of the SSAT and ISEE tests are very comparable, which is why students often prepare for both tests at the same time.

On  the other hand, the HSPT and the BCA are very different admissions tests as far as length, format, and even content are concerned. While our Dual Prep students still use key similarities to optimize their studying time when preparing for multiple tests, it is essential that a student spend individual time studying each test.

#2. The HSPT does not have set test dates and locations.

Unlike the SSAT, ISEE, and BCA admissions tests, the HSPT does not have a set date and location you can find online. Instead, any school that requires its prospective students to take the HSPT will set up an individual test date and location at their school. You must contact the school to find out and sign up.

#3. The BCA test is the shortest and asks the least number of questions.

The Bergen County Academy (BCA) admissions test by far asks the least number of questions and is under 2 hours.

However, don’t let this fool you. This doesn’t make the BCA admissions test easy! The math section is harder than all 3 of the other tests. Plus, BCA has very high expectations for the 45-minute literary analysis essay response.

It’s also important to note that BCA doesn’t release its scores. Additionally, unlike the other tests, it’s not standardized. That means there is no major company with a team of people creating the test, making sure it’s similar in content and difficulty to last year’s test(s), and selling the test, practice tests, and practice materials.

The BCA admissions test is created within the school and can vary more widely in content from year to year. Also, while BCA’s website does offer a free practice test for applicants, they do not release any other practice test material.

That’s why MEK Review provides parents and students the expert instruction and materials needed for BCA Prep.

Next Steps

Now that you see what each test requires, it’s time to begin preparation!

If your child must prepare for multiple admission tests, it’s crucial you start preparation right away to reduce stress and optimize results.

Check out our most popular courses for mastering HS admissions tests:

  • Summer Exam Prep 8 – Our key summer course for incoming 8th graders to build foundational knowledge for all 4 tests.
  • Fall H.S. Test Prep – Whether it’s BCA, HSPT, ISEE, SSAT, or Dual Prep, we’ve got you covered with intensive fall test training.
  • MEK Learning Circles – Get your 7th grader ahead of the curve by enrolling in MEK’s Critical Reading and Math Circles

Help your child ace high school admission tests!

Call 855-346-1410 or contact us here to sign up today.

We can’t wait to hear from you!


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