High School Entrance Exams

What’s the deal?

High School Entrance Exams (HSEEs) are a suite of exams used for determining admittance to certain institutions and placement within their respective curricula. Like the ACT and SAT, these tests can be abstruse to the uninitiated; not knowing what you don’t know is an uncomfortable feeling. 

At Academic Approach, the standardization stops with the test—our first step is to begin a complete profile of your student, gathering useful information like favorite school subjects, academic strengths, preferred types of instruction, and hobbies. We use this data and your input to customize a program design proposal and ultimately match your student with one of our expert tutors.

Our Approach

It would be convenient to be able to share an example of an “average” program with you, but we can’t—different students require different approaches. However, we can offer some insight into the fundamentals of our curriculum. 

Once we’ve gotten in touch, we’ll invite your student to take a complementary diagnostic exam for each HSEE they wish to pursue. At your convenience, one of our Program Directors will schedule a time to review the results with you.

After we’ve reviewed the diagnostic results and you’ve accepted our tutor recommendation, your student’s program begins by scheduling your student’s first session directly with your tutor.

About Our Curriculum


Our inventory of targeted homework and assessment materials is comprised of no fewer than three full-length practice tests for each HSEE category, as well as hundreds of practice problems in formats varying from short quizzes to timed practice sections.


The material covered by each HSEE overlaps significantly—we take advantage of this. We synthesize subject matter and question types from across the spectrum of HSEEs to ensure that our students gain exactly the proficiencies they desire, whether that’s specific to one exam or broadened to allow the student the option of taking other types of exams.


Roughly 83% of the material on HSEEs will be encountered again on the ACT and SAT, and 100% of it will be encountered during high school. We sculpt our programs to support your student with the future in mind, teaching essential material they’ll draw on throughout the coming years. We hope to provide them such a complete extracurricular education that they’ll consider returning to us when it’s time to think about college admissions exams.


We organize our lessons through a method we call “Scaffolding:” the ordering of subjects such that every lesson builds on the accumulated knowledge of previous work. This is the most effective method to ensure skill retention, as it supports the understanding of key concepts within context. Our students leave their lessons having added more proverbial bricks to their towers, building upon an ever-growing base of knowledge.


Despite the diverse formats of the HSEEs, all tests cover similar foundational aspects of high school academia. Students will be tested on the general topics of Math, Language, Reading, and Writing. We’ve broken those down into 64 discrete lesson subjects, each with their own key skill assessments and practice sections.

An Overview of the Exams

Independent Schools Entrance Exam

Secondary School Admission Test

Selective Enrollment Exam
No acronym for this one!

NYC Specialized High School Entrance Exam

Every Student is Different

We know our students; each one is unique, and each one requires a different approach, especially during these unprecedented times. That is why our ACT, SAT, and Middle School test prep is customized to each student and school partner.

We improve your students’ standardized testing by tailoring our research-based, expert instruction and curriculum to your needs, and we can get started with you right away.