There is an urban myth, kept alive by some in the NYC private schools community, that if you prep your preschooler for the ERB (WPPSI), she will be sussed out by her omniscient ERB tester.  The ERB tester will then write up her score report, using damning language written in a private code, and little Sally will be forever blocked from admission to prestigious Manhattan (or Brooklyn or Riverdale) private school.

Fortunately, it isn’t true.

I know this because I have read the ERB score reports of nearly a thousand children.  In recent years, almost 100% (not including the ones from children of  naive parents who call me, bereft, when their unprepped kids flop on the exam) have prepped, either using toys, workbooks, tutoring, or a combination.  Not a single child has been outed.  I worried about one client’s child–the tester was unusually explicit about her being oddly familiar with the test materials–who later, somehow, got into a very sought-after downtown private school.

The point is that in 2012 we live at a time when nursery schools themselves often quietly directly or indirectly prep and even sometimes recommend tutors for the test.  The Educational Records Bureau releases its own test prep booklet.  So almost everyone is prepping in one way or another.  Discreetly.

The concept of four year olds prepping for an exam is abhorrent.  But as long as NYC private schools use the ERB as a sorting mechanism–the root of the problem–parents will try to help their children succeed.

Many of my educational consulting clients have liked these materials for ERB prep:

Aristotle Circle ERB Test Prep Workbook


Bright Kids ERB Test Prep Workbook

However, other families are opposed to subjecting their kids to test prep workbooks.  Those families prefer to go around the problem: that is, prep their preschoolers in the skills and capabilities the ERB / WPPSI performance section tests rather than specifically working on the test questions themselves.   Many kids and parents have liked the educational toys and workbooks below.



The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories

I Can Draw Animals (Kid Kits)

Melissa & Doug Jumbo Triangular Colored Pencils 24 pack

Melissa & Doug Triangular Crayons – 24 pack

Matrix Reasoning

Building Thinking Skills Primary

Early Visual Skills

Colorama Game

Picture Concepts

Same or Different Workbook

Block Design

Block Buddies

Tangoes Jr.

Picture Perfect

Magna Tiles

For more:

Kindergarten Private School Interviews / ERB: Educational Prep Toys?