Stressed About the Test? Insights into Admission Testing


This post is the last of a four-part series for ABQ Mom. In our previous posts, we explored what makes an independent school different from other schools, the application process, and how tuition assistance works. We hope this blog series answers questions about independent schools and will help families navigate the educational process in Albuquerque. 

What is admission testing, and what should you expect?

The independent school application process involves putting together a portfolio of an applicant’s educational progress and interests. One of the final requirements for most independent schools is an admission test. These tests are administered by school officials on particular test dates. Most often they include reading, writing, and math assessments.

Next, schools make decisions about applicants based on their entire application folder, which now includes admission test scores. So while the admission test is important in assessing an applicant’s language and math skills, it is not the only information a school will review to make an admission decision

Nonetheless, the testing aspect of the admission process tends to be the one that parents and students are most concerned with and, at times, have the most anxiety about. For example, at Albuquerque Academy, parents often ask how their children can prepare for our admission test. Currently (in response to the pandemic), the Academy gives an online test that is adaptable. In other words, the test adjusts itself to the student’s performance and provides the admission committee with a detailed picture of the student’s skill sets regarding math and reading comprehension. 

The best advice I have for prospective families preparing for an independent school admission exam is to make sure your child is keeping up with their school work and invested in their learning. Also, they should be well-rested and well-fed on the day of the admission exam. Regardless of the nature of the admission test, these will always be the most helpful strategies.

When my own children applied for admission to Albuquerque Academy, I experienced some stress about the admission test. My children did, too. It is a natural reaction.

I remember giving my kids some pretty good advice, though: smile, embrace the challenge of answering the questions, and don’t worry because you’re an amazing person. They rolled their eyes because they were the ones who had to take the test. But soon the test was over, and we were celebrating with whatever fun treat they had chosen as a small celebration for completing their knightly errand. Bribery can, at times, work wonders. 

Again, the lesson here is that families should be careful about emphasizing the testing part of the admission process because it isn’t a barrier. Its purpose, like the rest of the application process, is to help the admission team find the best fit for their applicants and their school community. 

If you have questions about Albuquerque Academy or the independent school experience, please contact us at [email protected] or (505) 828-3208.

About the Author

Mickey Jones was born in Washington, D.C. but relocated to southern New Mexico during elementary school. At age 13, he fell in love with the guitar and began a lifelong study of music. It has taken him around the world in the service of performance and education. Mickey’s career as a music educator has included New Mexico-based music nonprofits, original programs for New Mexico youth, such as the first All State Guitar Orchestra in the United States, and the first guitar program with the Albuquerque Youth Symphony. He was a music educator at Albuquerque Academy for 18 years. Now, with great enthusiasm, he serves in the Academy admission office.

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.