Groza Learning Center

Why An Academic Coach Will Help Your Child Succeed

Parents are experiencing the negative impact learning disruptions over the past few years have caused for their children. In addition to seeing our students struggle with grade level skills, there are significant gaps in learning and subject matter that are causing children to feel frustrated or challenged at school.  

If you want your child to improve as a student, to help them build the foundational skills that will help them become a more effective and efficient student, one option you have is to hire an academic coach.

An academic coach is someone who specializes in teaching students’ effective methods of studying, time management, note-taking skills and executive functioning that are fundamental to a student’s lifelong academic success.

Your child will benefit greatly from working with an academic coach because they can get assistance with a wide range of tasks that are related to their learning process and learning style. Because of this, they are great for people who need help with more general things, like getting organized or making learning materials.

We’ve made a list of how an academic coach will help your child succeed.

Make a personalized learning strategy

Individual learning styles vary from one student to the next. Everyone is unique in their set of abilities, their way of thinking, and their capacity for new knowledge. It is possible that a student would benefit more from a program that offers tutoring in multiple subjects than one that focuses solely on one.

One possible solution to a student’s difficulties in geometry is to give them additional algebraic practice. Individualized instruction is the focus of an academic coach’s efforts.

An individualized approach means tailoring the lesson plan to meet the needs of each student who may have different learning styles and skill levels.

Use a flexible method of teaching

Teachers and professors must move on to the next topic by a certain date, even if not all their students have fully grasped the previous one. Academic coaches can pinpoint students’ knowledge gaps. It is their role to fill in the learning gaps.

The first step for an academic coach is to understand where the student is falling behind.  A good academic coach will spend time observing how well students are understanding the material and how much time they are spending on it. They will use this information to create a plan to help their students get back on track.

The coach’s job is not only to assist with understanding course materials but also with improving study habits and time management skills. Academic coaches provide an extra layer of support for students who are struggling with grades or other issues that may be affecting their ability to succeed academically.

Bridge of communication to everyone involved

The educational community is in an age of transition. Students are expected to know how to use various online portals and resources, and many educators use school email to communicate vital information to students. In addition, students are expected to keep track of other important dates, such as the date by which they must submit their college applications and take significant exams. That’s a lot of work!

Luckily, there is an easy way to streamline and organize the process: hire an academic coach.

An academic coach will help your student manage all the tasks associated with their education. They’ll help keep track of deadlines and organize information so that it’s easy to access what they need most.

Make certain that students are the priority

Academic coaches help students achieve academic success by getting to know your child’s unique needs and then providing support, guidance, and development. Academic coaches ensure that the student is organized at all times and help them focus on their studies by helping them develop strategies to overcome challenges such as procrastination and time management. This helps build confidence in students, who will no longer feel alone in their struggles with schoolwork, studying and exams.

Our Academic Coaches Can Help

At Groza Learning Center, we understand how hard it is for student’s today to keep their head above water, when they are drowning in homework, extracurricular activities, athletic programs, and social pressures.  

At Groza, we want to make sure your student has everything they need to succeed in class, school, and life.  That’s why we have hand-picked academic coaches who will teach your students how to stay on task by creating new ways of thinking, habits, and routines that directly impact schoolwork and day-to-day living.

Groza’s signature Academic Management program has been proven to be very effective in helping children learn autonomy, sound decision-making, and executive functioning skills at a high level. It is second to none with its comprehensive accountability component that helps kids stay on track.  

Our Academic Coaches are experts who have been hand selected to provide the absolute best result for your child.  

Your child’s K-12 years are incredibly important to their academic development and their overall development in life. Contact Groza Learning Center to learn more about our Academic Management program online, in-center, or in-home.  Parents have trusted us for over 20 years!


As you know, the HSPT can only be taken one time, which means preparation is key to help your child achieve their desired scores.  A trusted and knowledgeable educator guiding your child through this process is simply invaluable.

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is an important step for 8th graders seeking admission to parochial high schools. Schools make admissions decisions, curriculum placement, and determine scholarship awards based on the HSPT exam results.

Unlike other standardized admissions tests, the HSPT can only be taken one time. So as a parent, how can you help prepare your child for a successful testing experience? Let’s dive in and learn more about the HSPT test.

What to Expect on the HSPT?

The HSPT requires students to demonstrate mastery of several areas in English and math. It has 5 sections which include: language, math, reading comprehension, numerical reasoning, and verbal reasoning. The test includes a total of 298 questions to be completed in 2 hours and 23 minutes. Which means 29 seconds per question.  

What can be most challenging about this test is that it contains questions such as analogies and statistics which might not have been introduced yet in school, such as analogies, basic statistics questions or inference questions in the reading.

The language part of the test includes a grammar section and an essay section. In the grammar section you will be asked to identify parts of speech, punctuation rules, and sentence structure; in the essay section you will be asked to write an essay about a topic given by the test.

The math part of the test includes a pre-algebra section and an algebra section. In the pre-algebra section, you will be asked to solve multiple choice problems that require you to use simple arithmetic operations like addition and subtraction; in the algebra section you will be asked to solve problems using more advanced operations such as factoring expressions into their simplest form.

The reading comprehension part of the test includes three different sections: informational texts with short answers; literary short stories with long answers; and literary non-fiction essays with long answers. In all three sections you will read passages from different genres (informational text).

Analogy, synonym, logic, verbal classification, and antonym questions all appear on the Verbal Skills section of standardized tests. Analogies between words are a great way to test a student’s comprehension of concepts (a tree limb is like a human arm; both are parts of a whole). The definitions of the possible responses are included in the Synonym and Antonym questions to ensure that the student has a thorough understanding of the material. In a verbal classification task, students are given a set of options and asked to choose the one that does not fit in with the set. To answer a logical reasoning question, students are given a set of three statements and asked to determine whether the third statement is true, false, or uncertain based on the accuracy of the initial two statements.

Number series, geometric comparison, non-geometric comparison, and number manipulation questions make up the Quantitative Skills section. A student’s ability to recognize patterns in a sequence of numbers, letters, and/or symbols is put to the test by number series questions. Students are asked to determine the relationship between three different shapes or numbers in both geometric and non-geometric comparison questions. Number manipulation questions require students to use a variety of mathematical procedures to arrive at a solution.

Getting Ready for the HSPT

We think all test takers should be as prepared as possible to ensure they feel confident going into the test day.  Here are some options:

∙ Find out if your school has an HSPT test-prep program and what resources they can provide.
∙ Purchase HSPT Workbook and work through it.
∙ Take an HSPT prep course with an experienced instructor.
∙ Private one-on-one tutoring is a great option for students with irregular schedules (such as busy athletes) or for students who do best with the full attention of a tutor. 
∙ Groza experienced tutors and teachers can evaluate your student’s needs and build a plan unique to your student needs to help them achieve their goal score.

HSPT Test-Taking Tips from an Award-Winning Test Prep Groza Learning Center

In order to keep up with the pace of the test, students should avoid getting stuck on any one question and work at a steady but rapid pace. A student should bubble in an answer even if she is unsure of it or if she anticipates that it will take her a long time to solve a problem. She could probably answer five easier questions in the time it takes her to answer just one difficult one. If you do not know the answer, it is okay to guess since there is no penalty for giving the wrong one.

∙ Be sure to read and follow all test-taking instructions.
∙ Read each question carefully, but do not linger too long on anyone.
∙ Choose the most appropriate option and attempt to respond to as many questions as possible.
∙ Rather than subtracting points for wrong answers, the total number of correct responses is used to determine a student’s final grade.
∙ Watch that you are marking the correct response on the answer sheet.
∙ If you have time, go back over your test answers after you have finished the exam.

If your teen requires any sort of accommodation in order to take the HSPT exam, please get in touch with your admissions office immediately.

How Does the HSPT Scoring System Work?

The HSPT exam consists of different subtests. The test derives a raw score by adding up the number of correct answers in each subtest. There is no negative marking. The raw score in each subtest is then converted into a standard score. Each student’s standard score is compared to test results from a national sample of students. Based on this, a national percentile ranking (NPR) is derived for each subtest. The national percentile ranking indicates what percentage of students in the sample scored less than you.

As you know, the HSPT can only be taken one time, which means preparation is key to help your child achieve their desired scores.  A trusted and knowledgeable educator guiding your child through this process is simply invaluable.

With over 20 years’ experience and 95% of Groza Learning Center students getting accepted into the top three schools of their choice, Groza’s award-winning program will be your student’s personal guide to achieving their academic dreams.  The HSPT program is offered online, in-home, and in the beautiful facility in Los Angeles.

At Groza Learning Center we know how dedicated you are to your child’s success.  That’s why we have created an individual test prep tutoring program that will ensure your child is prepared for the HSPT.  

Our unique approach starts with an HSPT practice test to identify exactly what your child needs and then building a unique program to help them reach their goal. Your student will be armed with the skills and strategies required to address the challenges presented by this fast-paced test.   If your child is preparing for HSPT click here to schedule a practice test today.

Tips for Conquering Multiple-Choice Tests

multiple choice test

Multiple choice questions are used in numerous standardized tests, including the SAT, the ACT, HSPT, PSAT, ISEE, SSAT, MAP, and many others. And so are a good number of the exams taken in middle school, high school, and college. If you know how to approach tests with multiple choice questions in the right way, you will be well on your way to getting better marks.

It is important that you know how to approach these questions because they are a very common type of test question on several different types of exams. These types of questions can be tricky if you do not know how to approach them in the right way because they require more than just regurgitating what you have read or heard about a topic or subject. You need to be able to analyze and interpret information given to you within those questions so that you can come up with an answer based on what has been given to you rather than simply guessing or selecting one answer out of five choices just because it sounds right or familiar.

That’s why preparing for a multiple-choice test is so important: if you know what kinds of answers might be on a test before taking it, then you’ll be able to focus more on what matters instead of worrying about what doesn’t matter at all!

Here are 10 tips for conquering multiple-choice tests:

1. Read Your Options Carefully

What words should you watch out for when reading a question? The first thing to remember is that “always” and “never” are not always what they seem. These words can be tricky in a question because they don’t always mean what you think they mean. For example, when it says that something will never change, does that mean that it will never change ever? Or does it just mean that it won’t change right now?

2. Eliminate the Obvious

Look at each answer choice and ask yourself whether it could possibly be correct. If not, eliminate it immediately. If you have to put the answers in order from most to least correct, you’re doing it wrong. Even if you’re not sure which one is right, don’t pick it just because you like it more than the others. The only thing that matters is what’s on the test—not what YOU think would be fair or reasonable or even possible.

3. Get a Clue from the Question

When you’re trying to figure out an answer to a question, it’s important to remember that you’re always going to have more than one choice. So, don’t be afraid to try out different combinations of answers—you’ll probably find that the one that works best for you is the one that includes a strategy from the information given in the question (and where).

4. Check the Keywords

It is essential that you put emphasis on these words: “not” and “always,” because these words can alter the meaning of a question and, as a result, the answer. Make sure you do not overlook these important phrases by highlighting them for yourself.

5. Answer In Your Mind First

If the question is not too long, or if the answer is just a number or a single word, you should give it a shot at being answered in your head first. In this manner, none of the answer questions will be able to throw you off. For the purpose of providing an answer to the question “What is an adolescent?” for instance, you might want to first consider the definition before looking at the various options for an answer.

6. Is it All or None?

Be aware of the situations in which you should select “None of the above” or “All of the above.” If you are confident that at least one of the answer choices is correct, you should avoid selecting “None of the above,” and if you are confident that all of the answer choices are correct, you should avoid selecting “All of the above.” On the other hand, if you are aware that at least two of the other three to four choices are accurate, then the answer “All of the above” could be an appropriate response.

 7. Instinct Might be Right

Research has shown that following one’s first instinct is, most of the time, the best course of action. Nevertheless, if you do remember something that leads you to conclude that your initial response was incorrect, you should adjust it.

8. Leave What You Don’t Know

You can skip over questions you do not know the answer to and come back to them later. When there are multiple-choice questions on an exam, each one typically counts for the same number of points. As a result of this, devoting additional time to certain questions might not improve your overall grade very much.

9. Remember Related Information

If you can not remember the answer to the question itself, try to remember the information that is relevant to it. For instance, if you find that you are unable to recall the response to the question “What is the largest planet?” You might want to consider the smallest planet, as it is the one that is the least complicated to keep in your head. You can think of other planets in the solar system.

10. The Power of Intelligent Guessing

If you truly do not know the answer, then at least make an educated guess! The vast majority of standardized tests, such as the SAT and the ACT, do not include any sort of penalty for guessing.

Your child is about to take a big test, and you want them to be ready. They need to feel confident, prepared, and calm—that’s where Groza Learning Center comes in!

Groza provides individualized test preparation and tutoring services to ensure your child is prepared for the road ahead. With our test preparation, your child will: learn test-prep tricks and strategies that work. Reduce the test anxiety and stress that comes from taking important tests. Practice with mock tests and be prepared.

We know that when it comes to your child’s future success, it’s important to focus on what matters most: their education. That’s why we offer a wide range of learning options including tutoring services, summer camps and workshops that cater to different ages and skill levels so you can find the right fit for your family!

5 Ways To Assess If Your Tutor Is Right For Your Child

Right tutor

 How to Find the Right Tutor for Your Child

Finding the right tutor can be an overwhelming experience. There are tons of seemingly well-qualified options out there. But with so many choices, it can be hard to find the tutor who will make learning a joy for your child and help them succeed. 

Groza Learning Center offers tutoring, k-12th grade private 1:1 homeschool, reading academy, and other educational services to help students achieve their best. We’ve been in the business for over 20 years making learning fun, easy, and accessible. So you might say we know a thing or two about what makes a great tutor.

That’s why Groza is sharing our insights into what to look out for when selecting a tutor.

5 Ways to Assess If Your Tutor is Right for Your Child

The best tutors don’t just teach kids the subject matter—they teach them to be excited about learning. At Groza, we listen to your story, your goals, and your child’s unique needs before recommending a tutor. Read on to learn five ways to assess if your tutor is right for your child.

1. Your child’s tutor communicates with you

As a parent, you play an important role in your child’s academic success. The best tutors will keep you in the loop with regular updates on your child’s progress.

Groza instructors provide a detailed update after each class so that everyone is on the same page. You’ll never miss a beat about your child’s progress.

2.  Your child’s tutor makes difficult concepts seem simple

The best tutors aren’t just subject matter experts—they teach concepts to your child in a learning style tailored to them. They engage your child so that learning becomes rewarding.

Groza hires instructors because they are not only subject experts, but they also love what they do and make lessons engaging and memorable. With a Groza tutor, your child will love learning even the most difficult subjects.

3.  Your child’s tutor listens to your child

By hearing and listening to your child, a great tutor can help them discover how they learn best. This makes the tutor-student relationship strong and the subject more interesting and fun for your student.

We identify your child’s unique learning style and teach them in the way that suits them best. Groza instructors are trained to work with children with learning differences as well as those who are gifted. We tailor each lesson to meet each individual child’s needs.

4.  The tutor teaches your student to become an independent learner

Working with a tutor can be extremely beneficial for a child. However, the goal of tutoring should be gaining the skills your child needs to eventually not need the tutor. The right tutor will equip them with the tools to succeed in all stages of their education and beyond.

Groza’s team helps students fall in love with learning and become self-efficient, confident learners. The team is focused on the goal of inspiring your child to discover their confidence, achieve their academic goals and do their very best.

5.  Your child’s tutor is knowledgeable

This one may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s difficult to know if a tutor has the credentials they say they do. Most tutors represent themselves honestly, but some may say they teach a subject but are actually winging it.

At Groza, we vet each of our instructors through a rigorous selection process. We verify credentials, run background checks, and check references. So you can be confident your tutor will provide incredible value to your child’s education. 

Groza Undertands Your Child’s Needs

Your child is unique. So don’t settle for a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, give them a learning experience that meets their individual needs.We want to see every child succeed! That’s why Groza commits to providing quality tutoring services. We guide both students and parents every step of the way. For more information or to find the right tutor for your child, visit or call 310-454-3731.

Timeline For Private School Admissions

Private School Admission

When should you start applying to private schools? When is the best time to visit campus? Does it matter when you hit “submit” on your application? In this year-long private school admissions timeline, we will walk you through everything you need to do and when you need to do it, from finding the right school to enroll.

Admission to private schools is a lengthy process that includes tours, interviews, essays, and more. Families can, however, make sense of the process by planning ahead and using the admissions timeline provided below. By August of the year prior to matriculation, you should begin your search for a private school and begin the admissions process. You will have plenty of time to research the private schools that catch your eye, as well as ample opportunity to submit applications that reflect your best efforts.

If you are looking for a private school for your child, this monthly schedule can help you keep track of the admissions process. Consult directly with the schools you are considering to ensure that your application is complete and sent in on schedule.

Let’s take a look at what applicants need to do month by month. The table below shows the Timeline preview for applying to Private Schools.

AugustStart researching schools
SeptemberRemember deadlines
OctoberAttend school fairs
NovemberFill out application forms
DecemberRequest transcripts
JanuaryCheck deadlines again
FebruaryFinish applications
MarchPrepare for admissions
AprilDecide which school is right for you
May-JuneComplete course registration
July-SeptemberAttend orientation

Some students are already starting to think about the private school admissions process, and we wanted to update our readers on the timeline so they can be prepared.

Whether you’re a student, or the parent of a student who is beginning to consider private schools, it’s important to know what kinds of deadlines you will be facing as you apply for admission.

At Groza, we’ve been working with families for years on everything from writing essays to building their resumes and filling out applications, and we have learned that being informed about the process from the very beginning is one of the best ways to ensure success in admissions.

To help you understand this process better, we have provided more detailed timeline information below.

AUGUST (the year prior to enrolling)

Begin by making a list of your preferences for a private school, such as the type of music or athletics you prefer, or whether you prefer a day or boarding school. It is important to keep an open mind at this stage of your search, even if you have some definite preferences so that you can get a feel for what is out there for you.

Start looking into colleges and universities. A simple Google search can yield some unexpected results. Private School Review and Niche could also serve as good starting points. Talk to people in your social circle who have attended or worked in a private school: current parents or students, those who have worked in a private school, and even friends of friends!

Determine which schools you would like to learn more about by requesting information from them. Learn about what it is like to attend a private school. You can get a feel for a school’s culture through videos, social media, student publications, and blogs.


Examine your options, including the SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test) or ISEE (Independent School Entrance Examination). Groza Learning Center offers an award-winning SSAT and ISEE test prep program. While the pandemic led some private schools to temporarily waive tests, it is still a good idea to take one if you are applying to one of your preferred schools. If you want, you can also choose which schools can see your test results.

Do not miss a deadline or step in the application process by keeping track of everything. Consider the fact that most private school application deadlines fall in January or February of the year you intend to enroll.

As you get to know each private school a little better, keep a journal of your observations. If you are faced with a decision between two or more acceptances later in the admissions process, these notes will come in handy. Make a spreadsheet to keep track of all the deadlines, admissions points of contact, and other application requirements for each school you are interested in.


To get the most out of your time at college fairs and admissions events in your area, go to them!

Attend as many open houses and information sessions as possible at the schools you have narrowed your search to. There may be panels with current students and teachers; samples of classes; and Q&A sessions at these events. Virtual events have made it easier than ever to attend at least one event for every school of interest.

It is worth searching for admissions fairs. You can find a list of fairs on websites like Private School Review, as well as through regional organizations and simple online search.

You can get a feel for what it is like to be a student at a private school by taking a virtual tour. They may not be able to convey the full personality of an institution, even in 360-degree tours. The only downside is that they are low-impact, low-stress, and low-cost.

Tours in person Focus on your top choices and know that schools have rethought the visit experience to make it more secure and enjoyable for everyone.

Take any standardized tests that may be required by your school. Registering for the SSAT or ISEE gives you the option of specifying which schools will receive your scores, and you can also choose to send additional scores at a later time. You may retake either test as many times as you like. If you test in October or November, you will have plenty of time to decide if retesting in December or January makes sense. You can avoid late fees by registering at least three weeks in advance of your preferred test date.


If necessary, prepare application essays in advance. Students’ motivations, backgrounds, and goals for attending a particular college or university will be explored through a variety of prompts and short-answer questions.

Fill out the application form thoroughly, paying attention to every detail. It is also a good idea to share the application form and final essay drafts with a trusted editor who can review them from a different perspective.

You also might consider to begin the process of applying for financial aid.

Reach out to teachers in your core classes, who may be able to write a recommendation letter on your behalf. Make sure to include a due date and general instructions for submitting the recommendation.


Transcripts should be requested from the current school you are attending. If the Ravenna platform is used by the schools to which you are applying, you can complete and submit one transcript request form to your current school for multiple schools. Send them to the private schools you are interested in attending.

Visit schools and interview days, if appropriate. Preparing students for their future at the university and giving admissions officers a real feel for their personality and interests is an important part of the application process.


Now it the time to apply. There are still a few days left to submit your applications and supporting materials—transcripts, recommendations, writing samples, etc.—before their deadlines, so do not delay. Do not forget to factor in the deadlines for application and financial aid forms. Other products, such as the SSAT’s Standard Application Online (SAO), may also be used by some schools. Find out what the application requirements are for each school you are considering.

If you have not already, send school officials a copy of your standardized test results. If you took the test more than once, you can send your results from both the SSAT and ISEE electronically to any school of your choice. Sending standardized test scores is easier when you use school codes.

The people who have assisted you in your college admissions process, such as recommendation writers and interviewers, should be thanked. If necessary, contact recommendation writers.

Visiting the schools on your short list for open houses and other admissions events should not end anytime soon.


When applying for financial aid, use the previous year’s tax forms if necessary.

Do not delay in submitting any applications that have February or rolling deadlines. If you have applied to multiple schools, you can check your Ravenna account to see if they have all of the information they need. If you have any additional questions about your application, feel free to contact the admissions office.


Admissions and financial aid decisions are typically made public on or around March 10 each year. Depending on the outcome of your application, do you already know where you will be going or are you relying on another visit? If you have not already, now is the time to seriously consider this issue.

Attend events that allow you to revisit the schools on your list with a new set of eyes and a new perspective. A great time to meet people who might be future classmates is during the first week of school.

If you have been placed on a waitlist, be sure to follow any instructions given to you as part of the waitlist decision. And if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the admissions office.


Using notes and research as necessary, reflect on your options.

Consider your family’s needs before making a decision about your child’s education. Take advantage of their offer of admission, complete the enrollment forms, and send in your deposit. Most private schools in New England have a decision deadline in mid-April, which is usually the case.

Complete the financial aid procedure, if any steps remain.


Registration for the course is complete. If your new school offers any courses specifically for first-year students, now is the time to refresh your memory on the academic catalog and course offerings.

Attend orientation events for new students and their families. This type of event separates itself from orientation by fostering connections with the incoming class and making you feel like a part of the school’s community. Students at Groza Learning Center are given placement tests at these events in order to determine which math and language classes they will be taking in the fall.


There are many forms and other requirements that must be completed before the start of the school year.

Students are required to attend the multi-day new student orientation to help them get ready for the upcoming school year. 


Sending your kid to a private school can be a confusing process. There’s so much to do, and it all starts with taking tests.

At Groza Learning Center, we want to help you every step of the way. Here are some of the things you might be wondering about the application process for private schools.

The first step is to understand how test prep works. At Groza, we specialize in test prep like HSPT, ISEE, SSAT, and other exams that will get your kids into private schools. In fact, 97% of our students get accepted into their top three schools. We have years of experience working with students just like yours, and we know exactly what they’ll need to pass their tests, no matter where they are in their educational journey!

One thing that makes us unique is our student-centered approach. You might be wondering: what does that mean? It means that we take each child’s learning style and knowledge into account when we’re helping them prepare for their exams. Each program is unique and build specifically for YOUR child.  This, allows your child to have the best shot at passing their tests with high marks and show of their knowledge to the admissions at the private school of their choice!

Contact us and allow us to open the doors for your child. 

Timeline For College Admission

College School Admission

Applying to college can be stressful and overwhelming. That’s why Groza Learning Center is here to help you every step of the way.

If you’re wondering how to get into the school of your dreams, we have all the answers! We know that the application process can be intimidating and confusing, so we’ve broken it down in a way that makes it easy for you to follow.

From choosing an essay topic, studying for standardized tests, and making sure you take the right classes in high school, our comprehensive guide will give you everything you need to succeed.

It’s a big deal to be applying to college. We get it—you have so many questions.

  • Is there a place for extracurricular activities and standardized tests?
  • What kind of essay should you write for your college application?
  • How do you pay for college once you have been accepted?

You’re not the first person to ask these questions, and we can help answer them. A great place to start is by looking at our list of tasks that must be completed during the college application process. If you are missing something from this list, review each of the sections below and see what you can do to get up to speed. 

Take a look at the timeline below as a guide! Keep in mind that each school has its own unique requirements, so make sure to check with them before you apply so you know exactly what information you need to submit.


College is a big decision, and the application process is stressful, especially when you’re not sure what to expect. 

When you’re applying to college, there are a lot of moving pieces. It’s easy to get overwhelmed about what you need to do and when, which can result in putting off important tasks. We’ve created a more detailed timeline to help you keep track of everything.


September to November

For National Merit Scholarship eligibility purposes, take the PSAT as an underclassman in your junior year. If your child does well on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), he or she may qualify to be named a National Merit Scholar, an honor recognized by colleges and associated with a sizeable grant. You can give your child a competitive advantage by having access to the best PSAT instructors available.

At the beginning of junior year, begin preparing for the SAT and/or ACT. The best way to determine which test is right for you is to take a full-length practice exam for each. In many cases, students take their test of choice twice or three times, with the final test taking place in the fall of their senior year. Groza Learning Center has excellent SAT preparation materials for you to peruse. Practice tests are an excellent way to identify areas of strength and weakness and establish an initial score performance level for Groza SAT preparation. It is clear from our in-depth score report and test analysis which content areas need to be addressed and prioritized for a subsequent review.

You won’t know what you want in a school if you don’t know what’s out there. Learn more about the colleges, universities, and other higher-education institutions that are available to you—and make sure to study more than just rankings. Prepare for college by doing research online, attending college fairs, talking to admissions representatives, and asking friends who are already in school about their experiences at various institutions. During your junior and senior years, keep up this practice.

Go visit local colleges! Take time in the fall of your junior year to visit local colleges. Even if these aren’t schools you want to attend, this will provide you with an initial sense of setting foot on campus for the first time as a new student, joining clubs and organizations once you get there, and taking classes. You’ll probably find that it’s not nearly as bad or as scary as you thought it would be.

December to February

In the winter of junior year, take the SAT and/or ACT for the first time. Plan to take the SAT or ACT again in the spring of your junior or fall of your senior year. As a general rule, students perform better on their second attempt.

You should take the SAT Subject Tests. While you can take most of these tests at any time during high school, it’s best to take them as soon as possible after you’ve taken the relevant class. For example, if you want to show off your mastery of chemistry and take the Chemistry Subject Test, it makes sense to take the test immediately after completing your chemistry course. This way, you’ll be demonstrating mastery over recent work, which is exactly what colleges are looking for.

It’s important to research each school thoroughly when making your initial list. To begin, make a list of around 10 colleges of interest with the goal of having several schools at varying levels of selectivity. Continue updating this list throughout junior year and at the beginning of senior year, since new options may come to light as you continue to explore, visit campuses or learn more about potential majors.Toward the end of junior year, it is time to begin searching for more traditional scholarships that are only open to seniors. Because there are so many out there, getting started as early as possible will give you the best chance of obtaining the funds you require for college.

March to May

Take the SAT and/or ACT for a second time in the spring of junior year if you think you can improve on your initial results.

Prep for spring SAT Subject Tests—some colleges require these tests, so it is best to take them as soon as you finish the relevant class and while you are still remembering everything.Taking AP exams can be a great way to get some college credit and get ahead in your education. And now’s the time to start preparing for those tests.

June to August

Find out when the deadlines are for each of the schools you are considering applying to. If you apply for early admissions in November of your senior year, you will typically have until March 1 to submit the rest of your application.

Prepare for your interviews by researching the colleges to which you intend to apply, identifying those that may conduct optional interviews, and practicing with a teacher who is available to help you. It is always a good idea to prepare for your actual interview before you go in.

Start early for better results! Begin drafting essays. You can start by brainstorming a list of topics that you think would make good essay subjects. Keep in mind that colleges are looking for essays that show them who you are as a person, not just your academic achievements or accomplishments. Try to think of subjects that relate to your interests, your life experiences, and what you feel is important or meaningful to you. You’ll want to pick something that really speaks to who you are, so take some time and let yourself think about this.It’s so important to understand how much your education will cost and what financial aid opportunities are available to you. A good place to start is by checking out college net price calculators. You can find these on the websites of individual colleges and universities, but they provide an estimate of how much your family will have to contribute toward your college expenses, based on the information you provide about your family’s finances. You can also use them to compare between schools and see which ones might cost less for you. This is a perfect tool for when you’re making those important decisions about where to apply!


September to November

In the fall of your senior year, take the SAT and/or ACT again if you believe you can improve on your initial scores.

It is recommended that letters of recommendation be submitted at least one month prior to the application deadline; therefore, provide the letter of recommendation forms to your recommenders, along with stamped envelopes addressed to each college where you are submitting an application.

Early action applications should be submitted. For early action schools, you will receive a decision before the regular decision deposit deadline, but you will be able to make your final choice after the regular decision deposit deadline.Prepare for early admissions interviews by being self-assured. However, do not be concerned if you have an interview for one of the early action/decision schools in the fall. The only thing left is for you to engage in a conversation about what you have learned.

December to February

Some colleges require students to take SAT Subject Tests. It is best taken as soon as possible after you have completed the relevant course and while the material is still fresh in your mind.

Regularly submit applications for decision-making. Regular decision deadlines for most colleges fall between January 1 and March 1. Take advantage of this opportunity because it gives you a great deal of freedom in your search for a college.

You’ve done it. You’ve made it to senior year of high school and you’re on your way to college! But before you get there, you have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Please submit your application as soon as possible, as some schools only provide financial assistance to those who apply first.

One of the most important ways that you can get money to pay for college is by applying for financial aid. Apply for school-based aid by filling out and submitting the CSS PROFILE.  In order to determine financial aid, some schools also use the CSS PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA.

March to May

Make sure your CSS PROFILE and FAFSA are up to date. If your initial FAFSA / CSS PROFILE was based on estimated data from your most recent tax returns, you should update it with the actual data from your most recent tax returns.

Financial aid packages from various schools can be compared. Students accepted into colleges receive a package of financial aid that includes grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.

Take the AP Exams, which are offered each year in May and provide students with the opportunity to earn college credit.

June to August

Once you’ve made your choice about what college to attend, you’ll be able to expect updates regarding orientation, scheduling, housing details, etc. Make sure to complete all of your paperwork by the necessary deadlines so you’re all squared away before classes start.

Find a job for work-study students. Work-study opportunities can be found by coordinating with the financial aid office. The summer before college or the fall of your first year of college is a good time to wrap up your job search. If you think you’re eligible for work-study, talk to the financial aid office at your school. They’ll be able to tell you if you qualify, but they can also help you find job listings on campus. That’s one less step you have to take to get a job!


At Groza Learning Center, we know what it takes to succeed in college applications. We have years of experience helping students present themselves as their best selves, and we’ve seen time and time again what works—and what doesn’t. We’re here to help you prepare for your college endeavors by giving you all the necessary tools that will help you succeed in your college applications.

Whether you’re a high school senior, a rising freshman, or a student who has already started their path to higher education, we’re here for you!

Over the years, we have come across students who are confused about their college applications. Our mission here at Groza Learning Center is to make sure that you have all the necessary resources to get into the college of your dreams. We believe in your abilities and know you can do it!

We are here for you every step of the way. From helping you improve your GPA to getting ready for entrance exams, we’re here to help! Our tutors are dedicated to helping you succeed and will work with you until you feel comfortable and confident.Our website consists of college readiness tips, admissions guidance, online tutoring and more. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Helping My Child Write A Strong Admissions Essay

If you’re about to go through the college application process as a parent of a teenager, you’re probably worried. Maybe you’ve gone through it yourself, and you know just how unforgiving the system can be.

Applying to college has changed so much since you went through the process. It’s even harder today than it was in your time.

The worst part is that even though they have changed the application process for students, they haven’t changed the way colleges choose their students. Even though it’s harder for students to apply, colleges are still using the same criteria to decide who gets in.

This means that it’s not enough for your child to get good grades and write essays today. They need more if they want to stand out from the crowd. And with how much pressure there is from everyone around them, including themselves, this is a hard thing to pull off.

Your child will make mistakes along the way—we all do when we learn something new—but they don’t have time to make many mistakes because they only get one shot at applying to college!

Before you decide to help your child write his essay, think about what exactly a college essay is.

What is an admission essay?

Admissions essays are a very important part of college applications. Admissions officers read these essays to get a sense of who you are and what you might bring to their campus. They want to see that your ideas, voice, and opinions are unique and well-developed, but they also want to see that you can write in a clear and organized way.

The admissions essay is usually 500 words long (but not always), and most schools give you the freedom to choose your topic. While this may sound intimidating, it’s actually great news: it means you get to write about whatever you want! It’s a chance for you to tell your own story, in your own words.

Although there are guidelines for how to structure your admissions essay, every school is different in its requirements, so make sure that you read them carefully before writing. Some schools want only one short essay from applicants, while others require two or three longer essays. In other cases, schools will ask for multiple short answers instead of an essay. In any case, the best thing you can do when writing an admissions essay is completely honest and show them who you really are as a person!

What to include in a good essay?

When it comes to filling out college applications, there’s a lot of pressure surrounding the essay. For many students, it can be hard to know what you should include in your essay—and just as important, what you shouldn’t. Here are some tips for making sure you’re on the right track with your essay:

1. Don’t forget to connect with the school and its values. If you’re applying to a school that places emphasis on sustainability and social justice, but you write about how much you love hiking, you’re missing an opportunity! Don’t just talk about yourself: Talk about how your interests connect with and relate to the school.

This is a great way to show the admissions committee that you’ve done the research and that you know what the school is all about—plus, it’ll help them see how your interests will contribute to their community.

2. Avoid clichéd topics and themes. You can write about sports if that’s really important to you, but make sure you’re writing a unique take on the subject that shows your reader who you are and how you think uniquely.

3. Make it personal. A good essay is one that shares something personal about who you are—otherwise, why would a college want to admit YOU?

4. Be honest! Colleges want to admit real people—not perfect people—so don’t feel like your essay needs to paint a picture of someone perfect. Share something honest about yourself!

Now that you have an idea of how to write a strong essay, let’s dive more into how you, as a parent, can help your child construct a good essay.

The first thing you want to keep in mind is that this is not your essay. Your child’s essay may be about anything, and it will probably be about something you didn’t expect.

How to help your child write a strong essay?

Helping your child write a strong admissions essay is just one of the many ways you can help your child get into the college of their dreams.

While it might seem natural to try and help your child as much as possible in crafting their college admissions essays, it’s important that you let the essay be their essay. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support them along the way!

The admissions essay is so important because it is one of the only ways for your child to really stand out amongst the countless other applicants with similar test scores, grades, and ECs. The admissions essay gives the school insight into what makes your child special, and inspires a desire in the school to have your child as part of their campus community.

Here are a few ways you can help your child write a strong admissions essay:

1. Let them take the lead. This is their essay to write and send off into the world. Although you will probably have ideas about what they should say and how they should say it, try not to be too controlling. Be an encouraging cheerleader who offers support and comfort when they get stuck or frustrated.

2. Get them thinking about what they want to write about. It’s important that your child is the one who picks their topic—after all, this is their essay! Whatever it is, make sure it’s something they feel comfortable sharing! Once they’ve come up with a topic or two, have them talk through their ideas with you. Explain why they feel strongly about these things or what they hope to achieve in relation to those topics in the future. This will help you get a sense of where they’re at with their essay before you move on to the next step.

3. Let them tell you what they need from you. If you aren’t sure how to help or what kind of feedback, they would like from you, ask them! Your child has likely been working on essays for some time now and may have already identified areas where they need help. Asking for guidance may be all it takes for your child to feel comfortable asking for help.

4. Be their coach. You know your child better than anyone else, so use your knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses to guide them toward success. Help them figure out what makes sense for their writing style and personality as well as what works best with the prompt/question they’re answering.

5. Work on a structure together. Help your child come up with a skeleton for their essay so they have something they can fill in as they go along. You could try using the “dear diary” method: start by telling a story in chronological order (this could be the story of their favorite movie).

6. Keep your editing light. It’s fine to point out minor grammatical errors or typos, but otherwise it’s best to keep your feedback high-level—for example, if there’s a place where the argumentative thread is broken or missing, tell your child to complete the ideas. This is not your essay, so resist the urge to rewrite the entire structure your child has written.

Always keep in mind!

As a parent, you might be tempted to jump in and help your child write their admission essay. After all, you know them better than anyone else, right?

It can be tough to see your child struggle with writing an admission essay, especially when they’re applying to a school you think they’d do well at. But here’s the thing: if you overdo it and get too involved in your child’s essay, they could end up getting rejected from the schools they want to go to.

It might sound crazy—after all, colleges know that parents are very involved in their children’s lives! And sometimes that involvement is absolutely needed. But when it comes to a child’s application essays, it’s important for parents to take a step back and let their kids do the talking.

This is because colleges have gotten really good at spotting the difference between an essay that was written by a kid and one that was written by a parent who had too much input. Colleges don’t like this kind of parental influence because it interferes with their ability to evaluate students based on their own merit and skills. They want to get a sense of who kids are as people through their applications, not just how great their parents are at being writers or editors!

The best thing is probably just giving them moral support during this time and maybe offering some gentle tips or advice if necessary—but never taking over!


We’ve all been there: it’s the night before the deadline, and your child is still working on their essay for an upcoming college application. They’re stressed, you’re stressed… we know the struggle. We also know that you want to help them, but it can be hard to know how.

At Groza Learning Center, we’ve helped students write high-quality essays and prepare for college applications for years. Our expert tutors can help your child write a strong essay that showcases who they are and what they have to offer. We’ll help them tell their own story, so they can have the best chance of being accepted at the school of their dreams.

We understand that you want to help your child get into college—it’s just as important to us as it is to you! Whether or not you’ve done this before, we will be with you every step of the way and make sure everything goes smoothly. With our tutoring service, you won’t have to worry about your child’s essay preparation.To learn more about how we can help your child with his or her college applications, please contact us.

Finding the Perfect Tutor for Your Child

Tutoring is a two-way street, and finding the right match for each student is all about developing a personal connection.

Everyone in every grade level now requires some form of tutoring, and it is becoming increasingly common. In a wide variety of educational institutions, tutoring services are available to students. In any case, every town has a franchise, at the very least. For both educators and students, private one-on-one tutoring, whether free or for a fee, continues to be a popular alternative to group instruction.

But even with the best intentions, finding a tutor for your child in any subject — whether it’s math, English, science, or history — can be challenging.

The academic and personal needs of your child play a significant role in determining who will be the most effective tutor for them. Although a tutor may be extremely beneficial to your friend’s child, your child is unique. In order to be a successful tutor, one must first gain an understanding of how children learn and then adapt to their needs. Sometimes it’s necessary to take a gentler approach with some children, while other children may need more encouragement.

After a year of online education, many parents have turned to tutors to assist their children in getting back on track with their academic studies. Whatever your reason for seeking a tutor, whether your child has previously worked with one or you are looking for your first one, there are steps you can take to find the most qualified one for your elementary, middle, or high school student.

School Level Tutoring

Making learning enjoyable for all students is essential when tutoring younger students, but this is especially true when tutoring younger students. It is possible that shorter, more interactive sessions will be more effective for them, and that a different type of motivation will be needed.

If you’re working with younger students, starting tutoring sessions with an icebreaker activity and then moving on to a variety of subject-related activities, such as playing question games, is often the most effective way to maximize learning outcomes.

The services of tutors are frequently requested by parents of middle school students in order to assist with homework, organization, or specific subject areas. This requirement was frequently exacerbated by school closures as a result of the pandemic.

According to the teachers who have put COVID-19 into practice, it is having an impact on their students’ learning in the classroom. Many students who are falling behind in their academics are benefiting from the assistance of tutors. A year of remote and asynchronous education can be beneficial to students who receive enrichment tutoring after completing their course work.

Tutoring sessions with high school students who are studying for and taking the SAT or ACT may require more repetition than usual in order for them to be successful. A significant difference can exist between effective tutoring for freshmen and sophomores and that of effective tutoring for juniors and seniors.

Tutors and students’ classroom teachers should work together more closely to ensure that first- and second-year students receive the academic assistance they require as they progress from middle school to high school. Juniors and seniors may require additional assistance with the SAT or ACT, necessitating the development of a separate curriculum that focuses on practice test review.

Many high school students, as well as middle school students, have experienced educational gaps as a result of COVID-19. College preparation, subject test planning, extracurricular activities, course selection, and finals preparation are all things that must be taken into consideration by the students.

It is important for tutors who personalize their instruction to meet the needs of each individual student to take into consideration their students’ strengths and weaknesses. With the assistance of teachers, students, and families, set goals, develop lesson plans, and track progress toward them.

The Good Tutor

An effective tutor should spend the necessary time learning about and diagnosing the needs of each student before telling them what to do.

Effective tutoring requires the ability to be influential, and if you want to be influential, you must first establish a sense of trust by making the student believe that the tutor has made an effort to understand their point of view.

It is not necessary to be an expert in the subject matter to be a good tutor in order to be an effective tutor.
It is essential to have emotional intelligence when working with students one-on-one because their problems can stem from a variety of sources. For example, it is possible that the problem is not always one of content, but rather one of confidence. A good tutor can tell the difference between the two.

A tutor’s strengths and weaknesses should be identified and worked on by the student, according to tutoring experts. The tutor should also guide learning without creating a dependency on the student.

It is important for students to look forward to their tutoring sessions, and they should leave with a greater sense of self-assurance.

The Perfect Tutor for Your Child

Peer tutoring, school resources such as reading specialists and teachers, as well as private companies and individuals, are all options for students seeking tutoring. Having the advantages of both in-person and online options can be found in private business settings.

Students who already spend a lot of time on the internet can benefit from online tutoring because they do not have to leave their homes to receive the assistance they require. Teachers can incorporate images and animations into their lectures thanks to technological advances. Tutoring options are numerous and can be highly effective; however, before choosing a tutoring option, it is necessary to determine what is required and to ensure that the tutoring option being considered meets the needs of your student.

Peer tutors can be just as effective as paid tutors in terms of results and efficiency. A tutor with the same level of energy as their parents or teachers may prove difficult to find for children who have been subjected to excessive nagging and lecturing.

Before you hire a tutor, find out what areas of your child’s performance the teacher believes need improvement. Before hiring a tutor, the next step is to look for candidates who have the appropriate academic backgrounds and always check their references with them. Look for a tutoring service that employs teachers who have been thoroughly vetted for their academic credentials, classroom experience, and affordability without sacrificing quality when looking for tutors.

If your child requires some additional support, we’re here to help! To schedule a consultation with one of our trained and certified teachers, go to today. Finding a tutor does not have to be a time-consuming and difficult endeavor. The Groza Learning Center will match the tutoring expert with your child to ensure it is a good fit. Admission Team at Groza considers your child’s grade level, subject, required expertise, interests, and personality. To find out more, please contact us today at 310-454-3731.

Guide To Private School Admission

If you’re in the process of applying to a private middle school or high school, or if you’re considering applying to a boarding school, it’s natural to be nervous about how the application process works and how selective admissions committees are.

The most prestigious schools typically have applications that are longer, more involved, and require more information than other schools, so be prepared by taking the time you need to gather all of the information and materials you’ll need ahead of time.

Not every private school is equally as prestigious as others. Some have been around for a long time and have excellent reputations for turning out successful alumni; others are newer but have been making a name for themselves as innovative or exciting learning environments. And in many cases, the more prestigious the school is—which often means that its students go on to do exciting and lucrative things with their lives—the more selective it will be.

Similarly, these schools have their own admissions processes that can differ greatly from one another. Take some time to study each individual school’s website and look over their policies and procedures carefully.

The application process can be stressful for both parents and students alike. It helps to acknowledge this upfront so that you don’t end up feeling like a failure if your child doesn’t get into their dream school.

Rest assured: you can get into a private school even if it’s highly selective. It just takes some preparation and understanding of what they’re looking for. 

In this post, we’ll give you an overview of the application process and how to make yourself stand out from the crowd.


Putting together a standardized test prep plan might seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. 

Step 1: Take full-length practice tests early. You should take these as soon as possible to determine which test is the best fit for you, establish a baseline that shows where you need to improve, and give yourself an idea of how long it will take to reach your score goals.

Step 2: Talk to your schools. Find out what the admission requirements are and what average scores they look for in successful applicants so that you’ll know exactly what you need to aim for. 

Step 3: Consistently apply prep and practice. The only way you can achieve your score goals is by practicing consistently and applying prep on a regular basis.


It’s never too early to start preparing for your child’s admission process.

The highly competitive admissions process of most private schools typically requires students to take one or more standardized tests as part of the application. 

We have collated the most common admission tests Private Schools administer to guide you and child in getting good scores.


When your child goes off to kindergarten, you want to make sure they’re ready. But what does “ready” even mean?

The Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA) is a tool that helps teachers assess each child’s school readiness across four domains: social foundations, mathematics, language and literacy, physical well-being and motor development, and physical development and motor skills.

With this information, teachers can help parents understand where their children are in the process of becoming school-ready. It’s not just about test scores—it’s about whether your child can confidently tie their shoes, follow directions from their new teacher, and get along with other children in the classroom.


  1. How old are you? Are you a boy or girl? 

2 pts: Knows both 

1 pts: Knows 1 or other 

0 pts: Knows none

  1. Draw a picture of a person.
  1. Write your first name.

2 pts: Letter reversal OK, nickname OK, letters in correct order. 

1 pts: Some letters, missing letters, letters out of order. 

0 pts: Refusal, no letters of name, scribbles.

  1. Identifies basic colors.

2 pts: 8 or more 

1 pts: 4-7 

0 pts: 0-3

  1. Identifies at least 4 basic shapes.

2 pts: 4 or more 

1 pts: 1-3 

0 pts: None

* These are just samples. It does not include the total number of questionnaires. Depending on a private school’s assessment, the evaluation may not be the same as others.

20-30Ready for Kindergarten
10-20Moderate Support Needed
0-10Extensive Support Needed
  1. ISEE

If you’ve recently received your child’s acceptance letter to a private school, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The hard work is done.

But if you’re preparing for the process, then you know it’s far from over. Applying to private school can be stressful—for both students and parents. In addition to researching schools and writing essays, there’s also the test: The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE).

Admissions tests for the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) are known as the ISEE (ERB). Private schools all over the world use the ISEE exams to determine whether or not their applicants are academically prepared. An ISEE exam may be required for students currently enrolled in grades one through eleven when applying to a private school for the upcoming school year.

A total of four levels of testing are offered by the ISEE: primary, lower, middle, and higher. The primary level covers grades two through four, and each grade has its own exam. As an alternative, each level’s assessment is made up of a single exam that covers material from multiple grades.


If you prefer to take the ISEE online, you can do so. Only the lower, middle, and upper levels of the ISEE are available in paper format, whereas the online format is available for all levels.

There is no paper format option for the primary ISEE tests. Testing location may further limit the format’s availability.

In both the online and paper exams, students are presented with the same questions and given the same amount of time to answer them. There is a difference in the testing experience based on the format.

Students respond to an essay prompt while taking the ISEE computer exam, which requires them to read and interact with questions that appear onscreen. Scratch paper and pencils are provided for students who need to work out problems off-screen.

There will be no difference between taking the ISEE paper exam and taking it online, other than the format of the questions.

There are four ISEE levels, each with a different length and difficulty, but they all contain a reading section, a math section, and at the very least a writing prompt. In the following tables, you will find information about the sections and question counts for each exam.

ISEE Primary Level 2 (Entrance to Grade 2)

Auditory Comprehension67 Minutes
Reading1820 Minutes
Mathematics2426 Minutes
Writing Sample1 Picture PromptUntimed
TOTAL53 Minutes (Writing Excluded)

ISEE Primary Level 3 (Entrance to Grade 3)

Reading2428 Minutes
Mathematics2426 Minutes
Writing Sample1 Picture PromptUntimed
TOTAL54 Minutes (Writing Excluded)

ISEE Primary Level 4 (Entrance to Grade 4)

Reading2830 Minutes
Mathematics2830 Minutes
Writing Sample1 Picture PromptUntimed
TOTAL1 Hour (Writing Excluded)

ISEE Middle Level

Verbal Reasoning3420 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning3835 Minutes
Reading Comprehension2525 Minutes
Mathematics Achievement3030 Minutes
Essay1 Prompt30 Minutes
TOTAL2 Hours and 20 Minutes

ISEE Lower Level

Verbal Reasoning4020 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning3735 Minutes
Reading Comprehension3635 Minutes
Mathematics Achievement4740 Minutes
Essay1 Prompt30 Minutes
TOTAL2 Hours and 40 Minutes
  1. HSPT

It can be intimidating to take the HSPT.

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is the admissions test used by Catholic high schools around the

country for students entering ninth grade. It is administered by Scholastic Testing Service (STS).

You or your student can register for the HSPT through the school(s) to which you are applying. The test

may be included in the application fee at some schools, while it may be charged separately at others.

The HSPT consists of five multiple-choice tests (Verbal Skills, Quantitative Skills, Reading, Mathematics,

and Language). Sections for Science, Religion and Mechanical Aptitude are available as well. Check with

the schools you are considering to see if any of these optional sections are necessary. No computerized

version of the test is available at this time.

The raw score of a student is transformed into a percentile rank that can be used at the national and local levels, using a scale ranging from 200 to 800. Making an incorrect guess will not result in any penalties. Because it indicates how well students performed in comparison to other HSPT test-takers in the same school/school system, students’ local percentile (which ranges from 1–99) is the most important number for admissions offices to look at.

Verbal Reasoning6016 Minutes
Quantitative Reasoning5230 Minutes
Reading Comprehension6225 Minutes
Mathematics Achievement6445 Minutes
Essay6025 Minutes
TOTAL2 Hours and 21 Minutes
  1. SSAT

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is a standardized admission test administered by the Enrollment Management Association to students in grades 3–11 in the United States. It is designed to provide a standardized measure to assist professionals in independent or private elementary, middle, and high schools in making test-taking decisions.

The test is divided into three levels: the Elementary Level (EL), which is intended for students in grades 3 and 4 applying to grades 4 and 5; the Middle Level, which is intended for students in grades 5–7 applying to grades 6–8; and the Upper Level, which is intended for students in grades 8–11 applying to grades 9–12 (or PG (Post-Graduate year before college). The SSAT includes a brief unscored writing sample, multiple choice sections covering quantitative (mathematics), reading comprehension, and verbal questions, as well as an unscored experimental section at the end. The English-language test is administered at hundreds of test centers worldwide, the majority of which are independent schools. Students may take the exam on any or all of the eight standard test dates; the SSAT “Flex” test, which is administered by approved schools and consultants on a flexible schedule, is available only once per testing year.

Although each year, several different SSAT forms are used, the SSAT is administered and scored consistently (or standardly). The reported or scaled scores are equivalent and can be used interchangeably regardless of the type of test taken by students. This interchangeability of scores is accomplished through a statistical procedure known as score equating. Score equating is used to account for minor differences in form difficulty so that the resulting scores can be directly compared.

The SSAT assesses three constructs: verbal, quantitative, and reading abilities that students acquire over time, both in and out of school. The SSAT’s overall difficulty level is set at 50–60 percent. The distribution of question difficulties is chosen in such a way that the test effectively distinguishes between test takers with varying levels of ability. The SSAT is developed by review committees comprised of standardized test experts and select independent school teachers.

Elementary Level SSAT Test Breakdown

Elementary Level is for students in grades 3–4. Timing may vary for students with approved testing accommodations.

Quantitative/Math3030 Minutes
Verbal3020 Minutes
Break15 Minutes
Reading2830 Minutes
Writing Sample1 Prompt15 Minutes
Experimental15-1715 Minutes
TOTAL2 Hours and 5 Minutes

Middle/Upper Level SSAT Test Breakdown

Middle Level is for students in grades 5–7.  Upper Level is for students in grades 8–11. Timing may vary for students with approved testing accommodations.

Writing Sample125 Minutes
Break10 Minutes
Quantitative2530 Minutes
Reading4040 Minutes
Break10 Minutes
Verbal6030 Minutes
Quantitative2530 Minutes
Experimental1615 Minutes
TOTAL3 Hours and 10 Minutes

Imagine you’re a high school senior looking to apply to college. You’ve been studying for the SAT for months and are finally ready to take it – but you find out that your test center is closed due to COVID-19. You have no idea when it will reopen. Or, maybe you’re able to take the test, but you know there’s a chance that your score will be delayed because of the pandemic.

Test-blind is a term used to describe a school’s admissions policy in which test scores are not considered at all. You will not be considered for admission to any test-blind schools even if you take both the SAT and the ACT and have your scores sent to the admissions office of a testing institution.

If you are applying to an institution that uses a test-blind admissions policy, your SAT or ACT scores will not even be considered by the admissions committee.

Test-blind admissions are not the same as test-optional policies, which you may be more familiar with. When a school claims to be test-optional, it most often means that the applicant has the option of submitting their test scores with their application, rather than having to do so.

If you choose to submit your SAT or ACT scores, the admissions team will use a “holistic admissions” approach to evaluate your application. Essentially, this means that schools that do not require standardized tests will not prioritize your test scores over other components of your application (such as essays or letters of recommendation), and you will not be given an unfair advantage or disadvantage in the admissions process based on your test scores.

Test-blind schools, on the other hand, believe that other aspects of your application provide more accurate information about you as an applicant than test scores.

As a result, test-blind schools do not allow you to submit SAT/ACT scores, and they do not factor into your admissions decision at all. You don’t have to worry about taking a test, but you also don’t have to worry if your score isn’t great! Now all you have to do is focus on putting together a stellar application.


Academics, social maturity, and emotional awareness. These are the key ingredients that make up a student’s success at school. But it can be so hard to track these things; there are various different tests for each one, and it can get complicated and confusing for schools, teachers, and parents.

The ERB is a leading independent educational advisory organization in the industry. Using an integrated service, it tracks the entire student journey from Grade 1 through Grade 12, assessing and improving academic ability, social maturity, and emotional awareness along the way. ERB provides schools, educators, and families with the tools they need to maximize the potential of their students.


In areas such as reading, listening, vocabulary, writing, science (online only), and mathematics, the Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP4) is a rigorous assessment for students who achieve high levels of success in school. The CTP4 includes subtests in verbal and quantitative reasoning that are administered beginning in Grade 3. Comparing content-specific performance with the more conceptual knowledge base found in reasoning tests is made easier with the CTP4.


It is possible to compare the relative performance of an individual student or a group of students on a standardized test if it satisfies two conditions:

First, every single student needs to be required to answer the same question (or a selection of questions drawn from a common bank of questions) in the exact same way.

Second, the test must be scored “standardly,” meaning that the score given to each student’s response must be consistent across all test takers, so that the scores can be compared between all students or groups of students.


1-2Word Analysis• Sight words • Phonic Analysis • Structural Analysis
1-3Auditory Comprehension• Vocabulary in Context • Explicit Information • Inference • Analysis
1-8Reading Comprehension• Vocabulary in Context • Explicit Information • Inference • Analysis
2-8Writing Mechanics• Spelling • Capitalization • Punctuation • Usage • Sentence Construction (Grades 7-8)
3-8Verbal Reasoning• Analogical Reasoning • Categorical Reasoning • Logical Reasoning
4-8Vocabulary• Word Meanings • Precision • Application
3-8Quantitative Reasoning• Comparison • Extensions/Generalizations • Analysis
1-8Math• Number Sense and Operation, Whole Numbers (Grades 1-4) • Number Sense and Operation, Fractions and Decimals (Grades 3-4) • Number System and Number Theory (Grades 5-8) • Numbers and Number Relationships (Grades 5-8) • Geometry and Spatial Sense • Measurement • Probability (Grades 5-8) • Statistics (Grades 5-8) • Pre-Algebra (Grades 5-8) • Data Analysis, Statistics, Probability (Grades 1-4) • Patterns, Function and Pre-Algebra (Grades 1-4) • Conceptual Understanding • Problem Solving

You might have heard about the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP), but you may not know what it’s all about. We’re here to help fill you in so that you’ll feel confident when you hear your student is going to be taking this test.

CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) is an online assessment that assesses your child’s knowledge and abilities. The tests contain a variety of different types of questions that require students to interact with them. The results assist in identifying gaps in knowledge or skills early on, ensuring that your child receives the necessary support to succeed in school.

CAASPP is available in grades three through eight and eleven for English language arts/literacy and mathematics. It has computerized assessments for English Language Arts, math, and science taken at the end of the school year.

Your homeroom teacher will contact you to arrange for the test. Test sessions are available in increments of 2 hours. Students should schedule 3-4 sessions to complete all test components.

Since the switch to online administration, the Department of Education has made significant changes to the length of the test. Below you will find the California Department of Education’s best estimate of testing time.


3-5ELA and Math1:303:004:30
6-8ELA and Math1:453:004:45
11ELA and Math2:003:305:30

CAST (California Science Test) and CSA (California Spanish Assessment)

5, 8, and once in High SchoolCAST1:00 – 2:00
3-8 and 11CSA2:00
  1. ESSAY

There are a lot of pieces that go into a college application. You’ve got the transcripts, the recommendations, and of course, the dreaded college essay. While it may be one of the most difficult parts of applying, it’s also one of the most important. 

If you’ve been asked to describe how your life has been shaped by a particular challenge or setback, you know how hard it can be to figure out what to say, let alone how to say it. While there’s no magic formula for writing a perfect essay, these tips will help you get started on crafting something that’s compelling, memorable, and unique to you.

Personalizing a college application through an essay is a way for students to go beyond grades and scores. It is also one of the most stressful steps in the application process because of all the information you have to provide.

Applying for college is a stressful time for any high school student. So much hangs in the balance, from test scores to GPA, to the ever-elusive essay. But of all the parts of the application process, it’s the essay that allows you to really stand out and show who you are as a person and as a student.


It can be refreshing for admissions officers to read an essay that is well-written. Students should check their work against the following criteria before submitting it:

  • Is the answer to the question clear?
  • Does the essay have a strong introduction that catches the reader’s attention?
  • Does it make an argument or tell a story? Does it stay on topic throughout?
  • Does it use language naturally—language that is comfortable for you and appropriate for the subject?
  • Is its structure correct? Is its grammar correct? Are there any mistakes in spelling or punctuation?
  • Did you use effective word choice, syntax, and structure?
  • Did you keep it within the recommended length?


Writing an essay is a great way to explore an idea and to share your opinion about the topic. While writing an essay, it is important to include the introductory paragraph. The introductory paragraph should contain a forceful introduction that will keep the reader engaged in reading your essay from beginning to end. A good introduction should include a quote by a famous person, or even a brutal fact related to your essay topic will catch the reader’s attention.


A body paragraph is the part of an essay in which you explain your topic in detail. 

  • First, you need to explain what you’re about to argue about. Be sure to describe the subject clearly and well. 
  • Describe the subject for what it is, then move on to your argument. 
  • Write a single piece of evidence supporting your answer and then elaborate on it. 
  • After writing one piece of evidence, move on to the next one and describe the next issue about your topic. 
  • Use transition statements between expressing the opposing view about the subject and your own corrected opinion. 
  • Next, appeal to your readers by providing them with concrete facts that they cannot deny. 
  • Improvise with your evidence and make it more appealing. Use credible statistics and research to strengthen your argument.

You can show off your research skills through the quality of writing in your body paragraphs.


If you want your readers to change their mindsets, you need to finish your essay with a conclusion that will compel them to do so. Your conclusion should leave no room for doubt and should be forceful enough to make them take action as soon as they can. If you have included a personal anecdote in the body of your essay, consider retelling it in your conclusion paragraph and explaining why this story has inspired you to write about the given topic.

You may also find it useful to conclude with an engaging question or a hypothetical situation that dramatizes the ramifications of not taking action on an important issue. This kind of ending will help you leave a lasting impression on your readers, who will be eager to respond or act on what they’ve learned from reading your essay.


As you’re getting ready for admission to private schools, we would be happy to support you. Groza Learning Center is an expert in test preparation for your child. In fact, 97% of our students get into the top three schools of their choice.

 When you work with us, we’ll match your child with one of our talented tutors who can help them get ready for their big test. We’re committed to making sure that every child we work with has a personalized learning experience—one that’s tailored to meet their specific needs and goals.

Groza Learning Center has been offering exceptional one-on-one tutoring services for a variety of tests, such as SSAT, ISEE, HSPT, and many others. We use proven approaches to the test preparation process that help children achieve outstanding results. The secret of our success is our systematic approach to the learning process.

We are looking forward to helping your child not only get into the best private schools but also prepare for the life challenges they will face in these institutions.

Help, Motivate, & Encourage Your Child to Learn

Before you set a table for two (or perhaps you already did – congrats!), let’s talk about making your child FALL IN LOVE with learning. This article may not be romantic, but it sure is beneficial for both you and your child.

The insatiable desire of young minds to learn about the world around them is unavoidable. If they were sponges, they’d soak up everything they came into contact with.

Many times, children’s natural curiosity about the world is snuffed out by their parents. Many children find going to school and learning new things to be a dreaded experience. 

Help Your Child Develop a Passion For Learning

1. Acknowledge What They Like

As an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut, Sally Reis, Ph.D., explains, the key to unlocking a child’s potential is to find the child’s interests and help them grow. To maximize a child’s potential, finding and nurturing the child’s interests is essential.

To help children develop a love of learning that will last a lifetime, it makes sense to help them find and explore things that interest them.

Allowing children to pursue interests rather than having them dictate what they learn has been shown to improve learning outcomes in studies. Because of this, it’s so important for teachers to let students choose what they do in the classroom.

Talk to your kid about what he’s doing, reading, watching, and learning. Expose him to a wide variety of experiences, such as museums, theaters, zoos, and so on. Check out a wide range of books from the library for him to peruse. All of these activities can help you discover and pique the interests of your child. Many questionnaires are available to help you discover a child’s interests. Make sure your child has the resources he needs to keep exploring the things he enjoys. Find books about superheroes if you know one of your students enjoys this type of reading material. Learning will become more exciting as a result of this.


2. Let Them Act and Do 

In addition to aiding in information processing, hands-on learning is more pleasurable for children. A lot of kids have no interest in reading at all.

Mathematical word problems are more likely to be answered correctly if students act them out in front of a class than if they do not. Psychologist Sean Bilock of the University of Chicago found that the earlier a child started moving around and exploring the world, the more likely he or she was to succeed in school. All of a sudden, things begin to change when children are allowed to explore their surroundings.

In the classroom, teachers should use movement, interaction, and tactile experiences. The use of manipulatives is a quick and simple way to achieve this. One of the best ways for kids to learn basic addition is to count with anything, like toys or fruits.

Parental involvement at home can enhance the educational experience of your kids. Take your child to a zoo if he’s learning about animals in school. Taking him to a toy store where he can play with toys in vibrant colors will be beneficial if he is learning about different colors in school, and he will love the experience.

Make an effort to provide your child with activities that are both engaging and hands-on. These are valuable learning opportunities for your kids.

3. Fun, Fun, And More Fun

It’s important for young children to have time for unstructured play. For this reason, they are able to appreciate the importance of hard work, creative problem solving, and the challenge of learning new things for themselves. Organized activities can cause children to lose control of their own time. Children don’t require non stop entertainment; instead, they should learn to self-manage, which is a valuable skill in a crowded classroom.

It is possible to give clues to children studying geography (whether in the classroom or at home) and then ask them to identify the country they are studying. It is also possible to create crossword puzzles and word searches for academic purposes. Make a model of a life cycle out of items found around the house or in the classroom.

There are times when a good dose of levity or a well-crafted story is all that is required to make a lesson more enjoyable for the students.


Short periods of time spent doing something silly are known as brain breaks. The monotony or difficulty of a task is broken up by the teacher in order to re-energize the students when they begin a new lesson or assignment.

It is only when children begin to see learning as less of a chore and more of an adventure that their enthusiasm for learning will grow.


4. Show Your Passion and They Will Do the Same

According to Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., Dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education and co-author of Motivated Minds: Raising Children to Love Learning, parents are encouraged to share with their children what they’ve learned about sports, science, art, or cooking. Talk to your kids about interesting articles or educational programs that you’ve recently read or seen. Simply describe what happened and why it piqued your interest. Though they may not fully comprehend the subject matter, your children will be able to discern your interest in it. Additionally, the idea that education doesn’t stop with childhood will be conveyed.

To be an excellent role model for your child, pursue your own interests and passions with a sense of gusto and a positive attitude. Make it clear that you are a lifelong learner by displaying your enthusiasm for the subject. Reading books or watching videos can help you learn more about a subject if you can’t take a class. While it may seem obvious, showing your child that you enjoy learning will inspire them to do the same.

Teachers need to be enthusiastic about what they’re teaching in order to inspire their students. If you’re not pumped about it, neither will your students be. An enthusiastic teacher can inspire students to want to learn more about what he or she is presenting.

5. Familiarize Learning Style

Parents should be aware of their child’s unique set of abilities and passions. Working to our strengths is the best way to get the most out of ourselves. It’s easy to tell if your child is having a good time because their eyes light up and they show excitement in their actions.

When information is presented visually, such as in the form of writing or images, visual learners are better able to process it. Those with Asperger’s tend to be keen observers, good recallers, and art enthusiasts.

Auditory learners are drawn to the sound of information. They have excellent communication skills, are good at following instructions, and often have a musical or verbal gift.


Students who learn best through movement are known as kinesthetic learners. Through movement and touch, they are best equipped to learn with hand gestures and actions. For the majority of children, one of these skillsets tends to stand out over the other two. You can help a child learn in a way that he or she enjoys and is most comfortable with if you can identify the child’s inner strength.


6. Lectures are Sleeping Pills

Expand the discussion further by asking your own open-ended questions. “What,” “Why,” or “How?” are all good ways to begin your questions. Using these questions can help children develop a deeper understanding of what they are learning.

Encourage your children or students to actively participate in their education rather than simply listening to lectures because they might fall asleep and learn nothing.

When your child asks a question to show that he or she is curious, try your best to provide an answer. In the classroom, this is also true. It shows interest and gives your students a learning opportunity even if the question is not part of the lesson.

7. Encouragement is Crucial

According to Stanford University researcher Carol Dweck, students perform better on intelligence tests when their efforts are recognized rather than their abilities.

The reason for this is that children who believe that failure or struggle indicates a lack of intelligence are more likely to avoid or abandon difficult tasks.

Children should compete against themselves rather than with others. Instead of looking at how they compare to other students, you’re focusing on how they learn something new. It is important to be specific when praising your child.

As a result, they will be more enthusiastic. For a child to hear, it can be discouraging to hear what we think is positive praise that is actually quite general and low-key. You’ll see greater satisfaction in your child if you encourage them to talk about what they’ve accomplished.

Many students lose interest in school and begin to associate it with feelings of anxiety and stress. Because they don’t want to risk failing or getting a bad grade, they avoid taking tests. It’s no longer enjoyable to learn if the only goal is to achieve a desired outcome. Determine how much time and effort your child devotes to their assignments.

The importance of instilling in children the idea that success isn’t a matter of innate talent like intelligence cannot be overstated. As a result, success is the result of a long period of practice, hard work, and many failures. A child’s ability to persevere, strategize, and work tirelessly until a solution is found is more likely when the child views problems as opportunities for growth. Set realistic goals for your child and be there for him or her when he or she falls short of those goals. Take the pressure off of him, and instead of praising him for his achievements, encourage him to learn from his mistakes. 

When your child can relax and enjoy the learning process, it will be easier for him or her to learn.

8. Pushing is Bad

Research by Dr. Ryan and his colleagues found that the most successful parents didn’t micromanage or put their children under any unnecessary stress. They supported their children while letting them figure things out on their own. For enthusiastic learners, Dr. Stipek says, it’s important for your child to overcome obstacles on his own. According to her findings, as students’ proficiency in a subject increase, so does their enjoyment of that subject in middle school. It is more likely that you will want to engage in activities that are associated with your strengths.

Our goal at Groza Learning Center is to cultivate a child’s passion for learning by encouraging him or her to expand on his or her natural curiosity. In our field of expertise, we know that teaching is more than just a series of lessons and standards. As a learning center, Groza Learning Center is in charge of creating a supportive environment where children can develop their own ideas, express their feelings, and make their own decisions.