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Test Prep for MSSM: Strategies to Ace the Entrance Exams

  1.     Choose the Right Test: For rising juniors, decide between the ACT or SAT based on which format plays to your strengths. For younger students, familiarize yourself with the format and content of MSSM's own admission test. The math test has 42 questions ranging from Pre-Algebra through Algebra II. The English test has a reading comprehension component and then an essay to write.

  2.     Early Preparation: Given that the MSSM admissions test for rising freshmen and sophomores covers topics through early Algebra 2, start studying well in advance. This is particularly important for those still in the early stages of Algebra 1. We look for students that seek that extra challenge.

  3.     Study Guide: Download and thoroughly understand the study guide for the math test. It includes some practice problems that are clones of what is on the actual test. (available soon)

  4.     Timed Practice: Both the ACT, SAT, and MSSM's own test are timed. Practice working under timed conditions to get used to the pressure and improve your speed.
  5.     Study Resources: Utilize a mix of study resources, including textbooks, online tutorials, and practice tests. Given MSSM's emphasis on independent learning, the admissions team will appreciate applicants who go beyond classroom learning.

  6.     Understand Grading Nuances: Knowing that MSSM takes into account the early testing period and grades accordingly can alleviate some pressure. However, this should serve as motivation to show your aptitude and independent learning capabilities.

  7.     Mock Tests and Review: Close to the test date, take mock tests to simulate exam conditions. Afterwards, thoroughly review your answers to understand mistakes or gaps in knowledge.

By implementing these strategies, you'll be better prepared to excel in either the ACT, SAT, or MSSM's specific admissions test, enhancing your chances of admission.


Navigating the Interview

  1.     Prepare but Don't Script: We refer to the interviews as “chats” because they are conversational nature so it's important to be prepared but not overly rehearsed. You want your answers to come across as genuine and spontaneous, not as if you're reading from a script. Think about all the reasons why you believe you are a good fit for MSSM. To know more about what we look for in students, check out our Mission Appropriate Student page.

  2.     Know Your Audience: The first chat focuses on residential life, so research what living on campus is like and how it aligns with your own lifestyle and values. For the second chat, understanding the faculty member's area of expertise can add depth to your answers and questions.

  3.     Show Genuine Interest: The faculty chat, "Why do you want to come to MSSM?", is open-ended for a reason. This is your chance to show your genuine interest in the school's academic programs, culture, and opportunities. Make sure your answer is well-thought-out and specific to MSSM.

  4.     Be Yourself: Authenticity tends to shine through, so be yourself during both chats. Whether you're speaking with the Director of Residential Life or a faculty member, they're looking to see if you're a good fit for the community. The more natural you are, the easier it is for them to gauge that fit.

  5.     Ask Questions: Use the chats as an opportunity to also learn more about MSSM. Intelligent questions not only help you make an informed decision but also demonstrate your keen interest in the school.

By applying these tips, you'll be better prepared to make a strong impression during your interviews, or "chats," as part of the MSSM admission process.


Making the Most of the MSSM Open House: What to Look For

  1.     Plan Ahead: Open Houses are on holidays for most schools, but not for us. That will let you attend without missing a day at your local school. It is advisable to stay the night before as there are dorm tours that day as well as other information.

  2.     Talk to Students: One of the best ways to understand campus life is by interacting with current students. Don't hesitate to ask them about their experiences, favorite classes, and what they wish they had known before attending MSSM. They will be honest with you. They are not scripted.

  3.     Sit in on Classes: Attending a few classes can be incredibly insightful. This gives you an idea of the academic environment, class sizes, teaching styles, and even the enthusiasm of the students.

  4.     Tour the Facilities: Beyond classrooms, make it a point to visit the labs, libraries, and extracurricular spaces. The quality of these facilities can offer insights into the school's priorities and what your child can expect.

  5.     Meet Faculty: If possible, arrange meetings with professors or department heads. This not only provides a deeper understanding of the academic programs but can also be beneficial for networking. If you have a strong interest in math, ask to meet independently with all or some of the math teachers. Same with any other department.

  6.     Investigate Housing: Take a look at the residential areas where you may be living. Understand everyone is residential at MSSM. You will have a roommate you may or may not know. There are curfews, activities, trips, clubs, and so many new opportunities. Be sure you are ready to try something new.

  7.     Ask About Support Services: Inquire about academic and career counseling, mental health services, and other forms of support that are crucial for student well-being. Knowing these are in place can offer peace of mind about your child's holistic development at MSSM. We can arrange one-on-one meetings with anyone on our support team.

By focusing on these areas during your campus visit, you'll gain a comprehensive understanding of what MSSM has to offer, aiding in making an informed decision about the application process.


5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Your MSSM Application

  1.     Incomplete Application: One of the biggest errors is submitting an incomplete application. This could range from missing out recommendation letters to forgetting supplemental documents. Ensure that you double-check every requirement and tick off each one before hitting the submit button.

  2.     Ignoring Deadlines: MSSM has a priority deadline of February 1st. While late applications won’t disqualify you from acceptance, it will put you lower on the list of applications to be reviewed. Mark all crucial dates on your calendar and aim to complete tasks well before the deadline. We let students know their results on March 14th at 1:59 PM (3-14-1:59)

  3.     Overlooking the Essay: The application essay isn't just another piece of paperwork; it's your child's chance to showcase their uniqueness and fit for MSSM. An essay that's hastily written or off-topic can seriously undermine the application. While we have math and science in our title, we are a comprehensive public high school with a robust Humanities Department. Just as essays are required for admissions, they are required to graduate.

  4.     Being Unprepared for the Interview: At the interview stage, preparation is key. Going in without knowing about MSSM's programs, values, and community can be a missed opportunity to impress the interview panel. Focusing on how much you love video games will not gain points from our faculty.

  5.     Underestimating Extracurriculars: While academics are crucial, MSSM also values well-rounded individuals. Neglecting to include or adequately describe your child's extracurricular activities and accomplishments can weaken the application. We don’t want students that do nothing but study. We want to see something involving creativity outside the classroom.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you improve your chances of presenting a compelling and complete application to MSSM's Department of Admission.