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Test Prep or not?

Numerous articles have circulated recently about parents sending their Preschoolers to Test Prep centers and tutors in order to boost their chances of being accepted at elite schools, or securing a place in a"Gifted and Talented" program at their local public school. Sometimes this means sacrificing precious playtime and even carefree summer vacations. Both public and private schools may require some form of academic testing, such as the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) and the G & T test, and both can be grueling, time consuming and very stressful.

Strangely enough, for most NYC parents this concept is nothing new. For decades we have faced limited spaces in schools that forced us to start educating our children to read, write and do math at younger ages. The competition for these placements has only intensified, as more children are growing up in the city than ever before and the educational prospects are not increasing or improving.

So, faced with this dilemma should you enhance you child's chances by drilling them with facts and skills at an early age, or just allow them to develop at their own pace? There is no easy answer, but perhaps you don't have to spend as much money on the top tutors just to keep up with everyone else. There are affordable options out there that can yield the same results, and if you are willing to invest some "sweat equity" some test prep books that you can order online and do at home may be all the practice your child needs.

Some admissions counselors say that they can tell when a prospective student has been overly coached or has been taught how to master to the test and nothing else. Make sure that your child knows that you love them no matter how they perform on the test, and that the most important thing is to just to be themselves. Don't add to the pressure by telling them that they have to perform well, they are already feeling it very acutely.

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