The short answer is yes and no. Since 1986, I have been telling friends and family that if a test is designed by a human, with proper guidance and appropriate due diligence (read “hard work”), anyone can achieve a top score on that test. Depending on a student's knowledge and preparedness, the effort level required may seem excessive, however, the point still remains that any one willing to put in required effort can achieve top scores on any specific test.
For the past 25 years, I have not taught to a specific test. Instead, I have used an overkill approach and aimed to imbibe and strengthen multiple skills and traits in each student who joins my program. For obvious reasons, I will not describe or specify the skills or capabilities, however, I will note that the emphasis on various skills and tasks varies with each student. So in a nutshell, I personally identify what is a student's weak link on multiple parameters and traits, and then guide and encourage the student to rectify the weakest areas using techniques recommended by me.
The success of my approach on the TJ test of 1994-2016 has been demonstrated for over two decades. The 2017 TJ Winter round's results (over 15 students scored above 90th percentile in all three areas of reading, math and science) demonstrated the success my approach on the new test.
An important point to consider is that changing fundamental problem solving skills is at the core pf my approach an techniques. This approach takes time and 5th or 6th grade is the ideal time to start preparing for the new TJ test. Students who start in 8th grade will need to put n greater effort than those starting in 7th grade or earlier.
In summary, for students who joined Optimal TJ Prep program in a timely manner, the new TJ test was not difficult! However, for many students who had joined other TJ test prep programs, the test may have been difficult. Here is the best anecdotal evidence. In the years past (since 1994) each summer/fall, 2-3 parents have contacted me, to seek guidance on transferring their child to TJ in 10th grade. However, this year, over half a dozen parents contacted me for TJ transfer as a sophomore. In at least two of these six cases, the student scored at high 90th percentile in reading and science yet well below 40th percentile in math! One of the two students had attended three different TJ test prep programs.
In short, the new TJ test is easy for those who prepared well, however, it , especially the math section, proved very difficult for those students who were ill-prepared and ill-equipped or had weak problem solving skills!