As an education specialist for over 10 years, I’ve helped many families navigate the ISEE and admission to prestigious middle schools. The ISEE is the Independent School Entrance Examination. There are 3 levels of the exam: Lower Level (entering grades 5–6), Middle Level (entering grades 7–8), and Upper Level (entering grades 9–12). Because the ISEE is a standardized test, the same strategies that work well for other standardized tests are very helpful for students taking the ISEE. As you prepare for the exam—whether you work with us here at Vault Prep or with someone else, the questions below are the ones you should get answers to.
Q: What’s a good score on the ISEE?
A: Scores on the ISEE are presented as stanines ranging from 1–9. Most competitive middle schools in the area accept students with scores of 5–9. The ideal candidate has scores of 6 or higher. The student’s score reflects his or her performance in comparison to other students at the same grade level—but material on the test may be for several grade levels ahead.
Q: How heavily weighted is the ISEE score among all other aspects of a student’s application?
A: According to admissions directors at local schools, ISEE scores are weighted more heavily than any other aspect of the student’s application. The ISEE score is considered a clear look at the student’s aptitude and capacity that is standardized for all applicants, as opposed to grades—which can vary in meaning from school to school.
Q: What if my child performs poorly on the ISEE but has excellent grades at school?
A: If a student’s ISEE scores don’t match up with their grades at school, the admissions team will contact the Head of School at the student’s current school to discuss the student’s personality and how interested he or she is in the classroom.
Q: What are the sections of the ISEE?
A: Section 1 is Verbal Reasoning. Section 2 is Quantitative Reasoning. Section 3 is Reading Comprehension. Section 4 is Mathematics Achievement. Section 5 is the Essay, which isn’t scored but is sent along to schools.
Q: Is one section more important than the other?
A: Schools do view the Math and Verbal sections differently. Schools have different math tracks for students at different levels. When it comes to reading and writing, students follow the same program, so every student in the grade absolutely must meet certain minimum requirements.
Q: What’s the difference between Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics Achievement?
A: The Quantitative Reasoning section tests a child’s basic math knowledge. The Mathematics Achievement section tests his or her math fluency, or the ability to apply what is already known to information presented in new ways.
Q: What are schools looking for in the essay?
A: Students taking the ISEE may not have prior experience with how to write an essay, but a good tutor can teach your child the general principles for essay writing. Admissions teams are looking at how well students explain ideas as well as the evidence they use to prove their point. Spelling, grammar, and the level of analysis are important too.
Q: How much can you improve a score on the ISEE?
A: With lots of hard work on the student’s part, scores can increase 1–2 stanines. Score increases of 3 stanines are possible but unusual.
Q: Which math topics are covered?
A: The math presented on the Upper Level ISEE (for students entering grades 7–8) can be just as difficult as the math on the ACT, which is the test students take when applying to college. In broad brushstrokes, the topics covered (at all levels) are: word problems, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data interpretation.
Q: Is the ISEE a test of content or reading comprehension or both?
A: The ISEE tests both. The most difficult questions (in math as well as verbal sections of the exam) require students to analyze implicit ideas and synthesize disparate information to form logical predictions and conclusions. This higher thinking is not expected of younger students, but, again, can be taught to gain an advantage over a student's peers.
Q: Can you take the test more than once?
A: You can only take the test once a year, and you need to have corresponding applications to private schools in processing at the same time.
Q: How long before you take the test should you start studying?
A: We recommend that students begin preparing for the exam 6 months in advance, with a tutor or using a self-study program. Because the content and critical literacies covered by the test will be essential throughout your child’s academic career and beyond, time spent preparing for this exam is an investment in his or her future.
Q: What’s the best way to study for the test?
A: We recommend math review and attention to your child’s reading comprehension, with a strong emphasis on vocabulary. One free practice exam is available at the official ERB website here. Reviewing this mock exam with a parent or a tutor is an excellent way to begin your preparation.
Q: Which materials should I buy?
A: In comparison to entrance exams for college, the number of students taking the ISEE is much smaller. There is thus less of a demand for practice materials, and they are more difficult to come by. But the largest test prep companies do have limited amounts of material for sale on Amazon.
Q: What are the benefits of on-line vs. blended test prep?
A: Online tools such as Kuta, Math IXL, and Khan Academy can be helpful for math concepts. In-person instruction is necessary to detect the weaknesses in your child’s reading comprehension and verbal skills. A well-trained tutor will be able to diagnose any problems appropriately. The value of one-on-one instruction should not be underestimated.
If you would like to learn more about ISEE programs at Vault Prep, please contact us here for a free consultation
All you, probably, know what an essay means. But the word “synthesis” gets every student a little bit confused and lost. Well, fortunately, we know how to help you, and this article would be your ultimate writing guide explaining how to write a synthesis essay. Let’s start from the beginning.
What is a Synthesis Essay?
Many students wonder, “What is a synthesis essay?” A synthesis essay is all about combination. While writing this essay type, you stay focused on different factors and ideas at once. The task contains a sample text that an author should analyze.
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Actually, analysis of the given content is a key point in the entire synthesis essay writing. You need to work directly with that prompt and find its purpose, writing style, rhetoric, and the main argument. You must tell what the author of that prompt wanted to express and what his tools were. Your own essay should be built around that text and your main argument.
Having an answer to the question, “What is a synthesis essay?” is not enough to demonstrate the best results in your English writing class.
How to Write a Synthesis Essay?
To understand how to write a synthesis essay, it is necessary to memorize 4 basic elements of a synthesis paper:
- Synthesizing sources
- Working on a thesis/main argument
- Formatting the paper
- Talking about the content
A writer is given a prompt to study. These are the instructions prepared by the tutor (e.g., ‘argue to support your hobby which assists in challenging college assignments’).
Draft a tentative thesis statement – the main argument of the entire paper. It is the initial idea which comes to the writer’s mind on the proposed topic. Without a good research, it is impossible to make a candy out of this idea; support your words by the credible information you find either online or in the library. An example: “I think my passion for drinking Coke positively impacts my academic performance as caffeine stimulates brain activity.”
Once the thesis is ready, move to the time-consuming procedure of selecting sources. This is a primary research one must conduct to gather evidence. The sources make people believe the writer’s claim makes sense. You may study information from 6-7 good sources, but a couple of them will help to develop a powerful thesis statement. Among all sources, use credible, up-to-date pieces:
- Books and e-books
- Other essays
- Journal and scholarly articles
- Graphics and images
The credibility of sources depends on the relevance of chosen topic. The close reading is the process which follows any good research. Prepare annotated bibliography (list applied sources), highlight all main text ideas, and take notes during this procedure. Try to connect the best ideas with your synthesis essay writing.
Synthesis Essay Example (Sources)
Evaluating the value of the selected sources is the thing you should do before writing a synthesis essay. try to come up with innovative ideas for the prompt.
To understand how to interpret the prompt and choose sources, we have prepared several examples associated with Coke. You have chosen 8 different sources to speed up your writing. The writer decides Sources number 2, 3, and 4 agree with the main view (thesis). These sources help to prove drinking Coke assists in improving academic performance.
Source 2. Your synthesis paper writing benefits from choosing a documentary about the production of Coke. The documentary reflects the entire process, listing ingredients necessary for the proper human brain activity. The documentary provides necessary information to make your essay essential.
Source 3. One of the English synthesis essays you choose from the existing academic archives online explains the impacts Coke has on some other body parts.
Source 4. Select a source in English which breaks negative stereotypes about your favorite drink. Many parents do not allow their children drink this beverage because of the existing myths; try to prove the opposite using your essay’s arguments. An expert adds:
“If it is a presentation, use the graphic story to illustrate your thesis and supporting evidence. Show the never-ending confrontation between the Coke lovers and haters to prove you respect both sides. Do not ignore naming the negative effects of the drink! It is important to reply to any objections to provide the target audience with an unbiased point of view.”
Mary Ladder, Professor of Literature at GONZAGA UNIVERSITY, US
Types of Synthesis Essay Writing
Two types of synthesis essay writing exist:
- Explanatory synthesis essay
- Argument synthesis essay
The explanatory synthesis essay aims to make the reading audience understand the chosen topic. The writer makes an attempt to break the whole topic into separate parts to represent each of them clearly. The explanatory essay is made of the detailed interpretations of objects, locations, events, people, or state of affairs. The writer reflects information in an objective, sober manner. The writer skips obvious details of the analyzed text. Such paper tends to have different sections.
The argument synthesis essay is about proving your main claim is correct through using various effective persuasive methods. A student must apply credible sources in English to support his information. The argumentative synthesis essay writing involves many facts, statistics, in-text citations, quotes, and other techniques used to prove the specific view.
Synthesis Essay Topics
Your synthesis paper should be built around a prompt with perspective for negotiation and discussion. For example, you may analyze text written in Germany during WWII and get your argument with view on modern society and history of that period. It should be content with various views possible. Some good topics to write your synthesis essay:
Good synthesis essay topics would be ones that are debatable, for example:
- DST (Daylight Saving Time)
- Wage and its minimum
- Nature protection
- Weapon control
- Social media and its influence on humanity
How to Write a Thesis for a Synthesis Essay?
You need to read the prompt. Even if you are familiar with the target source, push yourself to read it once more; realize your position. Do you support the example text or have a negative review? Structure your claim and write it down for the whole synthesis essay; move to the synthesis essay outline.
Synthesis essay outline writing
Lots of students just don’t realize how important this step is for writing any type of essay or other academic papers. It is the best point to get your essay structure right. The outline is your road map. If you write a typical synthesis essay with three parts (Introduction, Body, Conclusion), you should write three different parts in your outline. Write down all the arguments, supporting facts, and evidence in a proper structure order.
Each argument should approve the statement you are supporting; acknowledge factors that go against your main thesis and idea. This step will make your essay even stronger and more diverse. Please note, that analysis does not mean summarizing - you need to answer related topic questions.
Synthesis essay structure
Synthesis has typical structure, and it looks like that:
- Main argument 1
- Main claim 2
- Main claim 3
Main argument 1
- Analysis of Evidence
Main claim 2
- Evidence Analysis of Evidence
Main claim 3
- Analysis of Evidence
- Restate your main idea and get your view straight
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Synthesis essay formatting
The formats of synthesis essay are also typical for all academic essays. Three most widespread formats include MLA, APA, and Chicago style. Each of these formats has their typical areas of use (APA is mostly used in Psychology, Education, and Science). Chicago style is a common format for business purposes; MLA works best for Humanities.
Synthesis Essay for AP English Language and Composition
AP English Language and Composition is a tough course of dealing with. The main goal of this course is to your knowledge of the subject and understanding of the material you are working with. And your grammar and perfect formatting do not pay that big role in your essay grade. The main factor that influences your grade is about defending your claim and point of view.
Three main areas of AP English and Composition course that you should focus on are:
- The argument is the starting and the simplest point. You just need to come up with your statement and get many supporting facts. It all should work to convince your reader that your view is right.
- Synthesis is the thing that requires some deep research and identifying various areas of one single text. You should identify the agreements and disagreements between sources. It will help to come up with your claim.
- Rhetorical analysis is the direct work with prompt and its author; find what was his rhetorical tools to appeal to the reader. What was the main idea about the text?
General Synthesis Essay Tips
We should talk about acronyms. Main ones that will help you to deal with this essay are:
Speaker: Write who was the speaker or writer of the original source. Tell what you know about his life and background.
Occasion: Identity what was the time and place when the source of your synthesis essay was created; get the reason why it was created. You may come up with your own suggestion and build your text around it.
Audience: Identify the audience of the original text
Purpose: Identify the tone and purpose of the text
Subject: What was the main claim in original piece?
Another strategy to write your synthesis essay: these three points appeal to different factors that you should identify and analyze.
Logos is the reason. If your sample text has various definitions and quotations, you need to constitute a wider range of backup info to get successful with your essay.
Ethos is philosophy: Apply to sources that demonstrate credibility and reliability of speaker.
Pathos is emotions. It works great for vivid imagery texts with strong language - connect your reader with your source emotionally. It is a tough task to change someone’s view if the person is already linked to the source emotionally.
It is a simple explanation of these three elements. To get a higher grade with your AP Lang, you need to read more about it.
1 last tip to write your synthetic essay well is to apply this scheme to your analysis. Get these five factors identified: Diction, Imagery, Details, Language, and Structure – feel free to add anything else to your analysis in case it is special.
How to get a higher grade with your essay?
Few main factors that influence your grade for synthetic essay writing:
- The effective statement about assigned source and its topic.
- Complete understanding of the source and its subject.
- Synthesis of sources and position identification.
- Writer appeals to his researched arguments, not the source itself.
- Convincing and effective arguments.
- Clear structure and writing style.
- Good organization.
- No grammar or structure mistakes.
- Quotation of the source.
You should note that the best essays with highest grades always are those with the strong writing style. It means that your essay should be a standalone piece - not just a simple exam essay to get it done. Try to develop your own writing style and get your soul into your essay. You may read some examples of the most popular and successful essays to borrow some ideas and other factors to make your own paper stronger.
Some Extra Essay Writing Advice
Well, these were basic tips and facts about s synthesis essay and its writing specifics. It is recommended to read more about analyzing AP English essays from other sources on the web - it will help you to develop a stronger view of the task itself. The most important thing you need to pay attention to is the thesis statement.
This point plays a great role in your essay, and you need to identify it perfectly; it will be a total failure if readers will not understand your view. All your arguments will look like no purpose and ridiculous.
What we want to advice is to ask yourself a question if your thesis statement is really about your feelings and view. If you are writing your essay with some too short deadline on an exam, you need to stress on your argument in every single paragraph. Then connect each of your ideas to the thesis statement. Write down your thesis statement and put it before dealing with your essay - it will help you to focus on it and add it every time you write a new paragraph.
How does a Great Synthesis Essay Example look?
Synthesis essay writing in English is difficult without having a high-quality synthesis essay example in front of your eyes. Students find many free samples of synthesis essay writing in English online. Keep in mind it is important to decide on the synthesis essay type. Mind topic before searching the examples.
If you’re looking for someone to help you with this tough task, you can always call our professionals. Fill in the simplest order form, and all your academic troubles will be solved immediately.