MLC: The Secret to High School Admissions Prep

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MLC: The Secret to High School Admissions Prep

At MEK, we believe that early preparation is the ultimate key to success. The earlier students start mastering test-taking skills and content knowledge necessary, the sooner they will be building the confidence to score in the 1% of admissions test takers later on. The first step toward successful High School Admissions is our MEK Learning Circles (MLC) Program. Our program provides challenging lessons that will give students the support, guidance, and practice to reach their academic and admissions goals.

How can our MLC program set your child up for success in the classroom and on tough High School Admissions Exams?

We asked MEK Directors and instructors how MLC sets students up for High School Admissions success, along with their best advice!

What is MLC?

MEK Learning Circles (MLC) is a three tiered program for middle school students in grades 4 through 8. MLC courses help students excel in the classroom, build crucial study and communication skills, and give students a head start on preparing for high school admissions tests, such as the SSAT, ISEE, and BCA exams. 

All lessons are taught by expert instructors and are aligned with the Common Core State Standards for New Jersey

What are the three tiers of MLC?

MLC-Standard is for students who are performing at grade-level but are looking to master essential skills in English and Math in order to be top of their class and boost their GPA.

MLC-Advanced is designed for high-achieving students who want a challenge beyond the classroom and are planning on applying to elite high schools.

MLC-Enriched is for struggling students who need help building classroom, study, and communications skills that will boost confidence and give them strategies for mastering essential core topics. 

Click here to read an in-depth overview of our MLC program and how it can benefit your child.

What programs are offered within MLC?

Our MLC Program has a variety of Math and English courses designed to help your child build the skills that lead to future success. Read our blogs to learn even more about our specific MLC courses!



BCA Prep Math vs. MLC Math


Elise Kim, Tutoring Program Coordinator & Math Teacher: The BCA Prep program sets high expectations for students. The best I can describe it is tough love. We don’t want to accept anything but the best from our students. It is their futures that are being built. We work with young minds at an age where some are not yet experienced with disciplining and dedicating themselves toward such a significant concrete goal. In this case, admission into top high schools. We teach students how to apply specific, proven strategies when encountering challenging question types, help them build test endurance through a strong mindset, and instill reliable study habits that we hope they will carry with them long after their time in the program is completed.

Pranav Gupta, Director of High School Admissions Test Prep & Subject Prep:  Our BCA Prep Program has three different parts. Summer Exam 8 is where students learn foundational skills that they’ll need for the exam. Phase I is when students begin their test training. Phase 2 is the final nine weeks during which students take an actual test in a simulated exam environment. We create a real testing experience in order to prepare them for the competitive nature of their actual test day. For some students, this might be the first big test event they’ve participated in, unless they’ve been a part of MAPC or math competition.

Do MLC ONS and MLC PSM help prepare students for High School Admissions Prep?

Binal Patel, Director of MEK Learning Circles: Yes, these programs provide students with the foundational math skills for BCA and High School Admissions Prep. If they have completed ONS and PSM 7 with MEK, they have the foundation skills needed for BCA Prep and Exam Prep 8 and can apply their skills and experience solving ratios and fractions to more challenging problems.

Standardized tests are predominantly word problem based. PSM helps students prepare for the tests by teaching students how to solve the types of word problems they will see on the SSAT, ISEE, HSPT, or BCA/BT admissions exams. 

When going over word problems, students break down the problem word by word and change the words into numerical expressions to understand it. They build logical reasoning skills and can predict what the next step of solving the problem will be.

BCA Prep in the MLC English Classroom


Jose Beltre, English Teacher: I make sure the essays students are writing tackle BCA prompts. In class, we work on using effective hooks in their introduction and using their thesis statement to make real world connections. Also, we focus on citing and analyzing evidence, then using the analysis of the evidence to connect back to the thesis statement in the intro. 

High School Admissions Advice from MLC Instructors



Jose Beltre: The advice I give to my students is to work with the texts you are given to the best of your ability. Use the text to help you create ideas, but don’t rely on it heavily. You need to find a happy balance between working the text and using strong evidence in your writing. Explain what the text means in your own words with flair and creativity.

And, of course, practice. Go through the writing process as diligently as possible. Make sure you are catching mistakes. 

The writing portion of the BCA exam is a 40 minute section that can make or break a students’ ability to join this prestigious public school. The repetition and practice may feel boring and monotonous. But if students use their study sessions the right way and master reading and writing skills, they’ll get a huge reward.

Malek Charchour, English Teacher: Make a habit of reading more challenging texts. Difficult language can be intimidating for students, but if they face those difficult texts, they will develop comprehension. The earlier that students begin reading harder texts, the better because they will start to naturally understand different styles of writing while building their vocabulary.


Rebekah Shore, Math Teacher: Every student, but especially younger students, need to be cognizant and reflective of their progress. Students should be looking at their scores and tracking their progress with each practice test they take. They need to track patterns within their scoring and recognize what’s creating those patterns. Then, they need to ask themselves whether or not they are improving and what’s causing their scores to go up or down. They can create a plan that addresses the answers to those questions.

For example, if a student is exhausted by the time they get to section four of the ISEE, that is what’s causing their score to be low. They need to think of ways to prevent that test fatigue from occurring. Do they need to take more little mental breaks throughout the first sections of the test? Students need to track and be reflective about their progress, especially younger students.

Rudy Tresvalles, Math Teacher: Students need to understand that their current skill level does not define them and that their passion and willingness to learn is what’s going to propel them to succeed in tough exam prep courses. 

If students are planning to take high school admissions exams like the SSAT, ISEE, or BCA exams, then they need to have confidence in their skills. This way they don’t second guess themselves when tackling tricky exam questions.

Next Steps

MEK’s expert instructors are excited to work with your child to build the academic skills that yield amazing results in the classroom and create a lifelong love of learning.

Interested in our MEK Learning Circles program?

Take the first step in the MLC registration process by signing up for our free, virtual MEK Learning Circles Evaluation Test. Our MLC Evaluation Test is taken from the comfort of your home computer through our Canvas platform at no cost to you! You’ll also receive our signature score report via email that details your child’s academic standing in core subject areas of English and Math and a free consultation for course recommendations and next steps with our MLC Program Director, Ms. Binal Patel.

MEK wants to make our amazing results your amazing results. Contact us today to get started!

Binal Patel

Binal is the Director of the MEK Learning Circles. Her many years of experience with students of all levels and extensive knowledge of Common Core State Standards makes her a powerful MLC leader. Her firm but patient manner yields high results among her students and helps her to reinforce the integrity of our MLC program among other teachers.


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