How to Prepare for the Selective Enrollment Test

The Selective Enrollment Test is a critical examination for students in Chicago seeking admission to the city’s top-tier high schools. For low-income families and students, preparing for this test can be a challenging endeavor, but with the right strategies and resources, success is within reach. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for the Selective Enrollment Test, and we will also introduce a valuable resource, Evergreen Learning Chicago, which offers free tutoring to students in Chicago to help them achieve better performance.

Understanding the Selective Enrollment Test

The Selective Enrollment Test is a competitive examination used by Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to determine admission to some of the city’s most prestigious high schools. This test assesses students’ academic abilities and is a key factor in the selection process. It includes sections on reading, math, vocabulary, and language usage. To excel in this test, you need a well-structured study plan.

Building a Study Plan

  1. Start Early: Begin your preparation at least six months in advance. This allows for thorough review and practice.
  2. Understand the Test Format: Familiarize yourself with the test format and question types. You can find practice tests online or through resources provided by Evergreen Learning Chicago.
  3. Set Realistic Goals: Establish achievable goals for each study session. Progress will boost your confidence.
  4. Consistency is Key: Create a consistent study routine. Dedicate a specific time each day to study, even if it’s just an hour.
  5. Utilize Free Resources: Take advantage of free educational resources available online. Evergreen Learning Chicago, for example, offers free tutoring for Chicago students. Their expert tutors can help you prepare effectively.
  6. Study Groups: Form or join study groups with classmates or friends. Collaborative learning can be highly effective.

Focusing on Content

  1. Mathematics: Review and practice math concepts that will be on the test. Pay special attention to algebra, geometry, and data analysis.
  2. Reading and Vocabulary: Regularly read challenging material and expand your vocabulary. Practice comprehension and critical thinking skills.
  3. Language Usage: Improve your grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Read and write regularly to enhance your language skills.

Test-Taking Strategies

  1. Time Management: Practice pacing yourself during practice tests. Time management is crucial in the actual exam.
  2. Process of Elimination: Use the process of elimination when unsure of an answer. This increases your chances of getting the right answer.
  3. Stay Calm: Manage test anxiety by taking deep breaths and focusing on one question at a time.

Mock Tests and Review

  1. Take Practice Tests: Regularly take full-length practice tests to simulate the test-day experience.
  2. Review Mistakes: Analyze your mistakes and understand why you got certain questions wrong. Focus on improving in those areas.
  3. Keep a Journal: Maintain a study journal to track your progress and adjust your study plan as needed.

Test Day

  1. Rest and Nutrition: Get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy meal before the test.
  2. Arrive Early: Arrive at the test center with plenty of time to spare.
  3. Stay Positive: Maintain a positive attitude and remember your preparation.


Preparing for the Selective Enrollment Test can be challenging, especially for low-income families and students. However, with dedication, a well-structured study plan, and the assistance of resources like Evergreen Learning Chicago, you can improve your performance and increase your chances of success. Remember that the journey to academic excellence is just as important as the destination, so embrace the learning process and give it your best effort. Good luck!