Your Middle Schooler Can Ace High School Admissions (Here’s How)

Help your middle school student prepare for high school admissions tests with this summer course from Chicago’s Academic Approach.

Preparing to take high school admissions tests can be a challenging task for middle school students and their families. But there’s no reason for your child to take any high school admissions test without first getting to know the test’s format, understanding the content covered — and learning some valuable test-taking strategies, says Andrew Ferguson, Director of Client Services at Academic Approach, a Chicago-based academic tutoring and test prep company.

Academic Approach offers a way for your rising eighth grade student to prepare to take any high school admissions test. In Academic Approach’s Virtual Class for High School Admissions, your rising eighth grader can gain essential skills and a competitive edge and be ready to face their high school admissions test with confidence.

This class supports students no matter what high school admissions tests they plan to take: the Chicago Public Schools’ High School Admissions Exam (CPS Admissions Test), the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) or the High School Placement Test (HSPT).

“There are a few different types of high school admissions tests students can take while they are in middle school, but the differences are mostly superficial. Overall, the tests assess the same set of skills. Each test covers reading comprehension, math and English language skills,” says Ferguson.

Through four weekly 90-minute classes in this monthlong virtual course, students will tackle the key topics they’ll need to know, from critical reading and writing skills to math and logical reasoning.

And because the class is virtual, students can participate no matter where they are — or what other summer commitments they might have. This flexibility ensures that students can engage in coursework at a time that suits their individual needs and preferences.

Virtual test preparation builds test-taking skills

Your student will start the course with a practice exam. “This first test allows students to establish an understanding of what skills they need to focus on during the course. Then they’ll take a second test at the end of the course, which measures growth and lets students know what steps they need to take next,” explains Ferguson. “This is helpful for students and parents alike.”

The two practice exams provide a frame of reference for parents, says Carla Pedersen, Regional Director with Academic Approach. “It offers a broader understanding of what their student will encounter on these high school entrance exams and also gives them an idea of where their student is in terms of preparedness,” Pedersen says. “By the end of the virtual course, some students will be very prepared, and some may want to continue working on their skills. In general, students can expect to see an increase in their skills from the beginning to the end of the monthlong course.

The good news is that by using part of the summer to prepare, your child will still have additional time for any one-on-one test prep they might need before the exams are held in the fall of their eighth grade year. All students who attend Academic Approach’s Virtual Class for High School Admissions will receive 10% savings on any additional individualized test prep at Academic Approach they might wish to pursue, says Ferguson.

Virtual learning that is worth your child’s time

The Virtual Class for High School Admissions is an interactive and engaging class. “Ninety minutes is just the right amount of time for this age group to practice, learn content and gain some effective test-taking skills, then go on to enjoy all of the other summertime activities they love,” Pedersen says.

What makes this virtual course truly unique is the quality of the instructors. “Our middle school instructors are specially trained to work with this age group and understand how to meet their specific needs for attention and focus,” Ferguson says. “Our instructors know how to make sure the students are engaged and constantly busy. They are really good at what they do.”

Students will come away from the course saying how much they enjoyed the experience, says Ferguson — and they’ll be proud of the skills they’ve gained. “Most middle school students taking this class or working one-on-one with our tutors know they want to attend a specific school and that they need to put in the work to make it happen,” he says. “They are engaged in the process and want the end result.”

Learn more about Academic Approach and the Virtual Class for High School Admissions. Visit

Claire Charlton
Claire Charlton
An enthusiastic storyteller, Claire Charlton focuses on delivering top client service as a content editor for Chicago Parent. In her 20+ years of experience, she has written extensively on a variety of topics and is keen on new tech and podcast hosting. Claire has two grown kids and loves to read, run, camp, cycle and travel.


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