ISEE

Summit the ISEE.

The Independent School Entrance Examination is used for admission to private middle and high schools.

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ISEE Basics

Overview

The ISEE is often required for admission to private schools for grades 2-12. The ISEE students take depends on the grade level for which they are applying.

Appropriate Test Levels

Grades 2-4: Primary Level
Grades 5 and 6: Lower Level
Grades 7 and 8: Middle Level
Grades 9-12: Upper Level

ISEE Primary Level

ISEE Lower Level

The Lower Level Exam is required for students applying to enter fifth or sixth grade. It is 2 hours and 20 minutes in length.

Verbal Reasoning

34 questions

20 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

38 questions

35 minutes

Reading Comprehension

25 questions

25 minutes

Mathematics Achievement

30 questions

30 minutes

Essay

1 question

30 minutes

ISEE Middle and Upper Level

Verbal Reasoning

40 questions

20 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

37 questions

35 minutes

Reading Comprehension

36 questions

35 minutes

Mathematics Achievement

47 questions

40 minutes

Essay

1 question

30 minutes

Length

Primary Level (candidates for grade 2-4)

53-60 mins

(depending on grade level) plus untimed writing sample

Lower Level (candidates for grade 5 and 6)

2 hrs
20 mins

Middle/Upper Level (candidates for grades 7 and 12)

2 hrs
40 mins

Sections

Primary Level

Reading
Mathematics
Writing Sample

Lower/Middle/Upper Level

Verbal Reasoning
Quantitative Reasoning
Reading Comprehension
Mathematics Achievement
Unscored Essay (sent to all schools)

Format

The ISEE is available to take on paper or on the computer. An on-demand, at-home test is now available for students taking the lower, middle, or upper level tests.

Test Dates and Fees

The ISEE has three testing seasons. Students can take the test once each season and up to three times in a 12-month period.

The test is offered numerous times each month at participating schools, small testing offices, and Prometric test centers. The on-demand, at-home testing option is run by Prometric, and spots are widely available.

Test Fees range from $125 (large group testing at schools) to $200 (Prometric testing).

You can see available test dates and register to test via the official ISEE website, but you must create a parent account before registering.

Common Questions

What is the difference between the SSAT and ISEE?

The short answer: not much! A major difference between the two tests is in their scoring. The ISEE does not penalize for incorrect answers, whereas the SSAT deducts ¼ point from a student’s raw score for incorrect answers. The ISEE gives you two scaled scores for math out of four total scaled scores), while the SSAT gives you one math score out of three total scaled scores. Some high schools strongly prefer one test (usually the SSAT), but the vast majority of schools will accept scores from either test.

How is the ISEE scored?

The ISEE converts your raw score (number of correct answers) to a scaled score ranging from 760 to 940. The ISEE reports scaled scores, percentiles, and stanine score (a range of percentiles), for four sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Mathematics Achievement

When can I take the ISEE, and how do I sign up?

The ISEE is given several times throughout the year, but the majority of the testing dates fall during the fall and early winter. The number of available ISEE test dates will depend on your location, and you can take the ISEE only once in a six month period. Register now. What's the difference between the SSAT® and the ISEE? Both the ISEE and the SSAT are used for admission to private middle and high schools and test Vocabulary, Math and Reading Comprehension. Many schools will accept either test for admission, which gives you the option of choosing the test that better suits you and your abilities. The major difference between the tests is in how they test your abilities in each section of the exam. The ISEE uses synonyms and sentence completion to test vocabulary, while the SSAT uses synonyms and analogies. The reading passages on the ISEE tend to be longer than those on the SSAT, but the SSAT includes a broader range of genres, including poetry. The ISEE also places a heavier emphasis on mathematical reasoning than the SSAT does. If the schools you're applying to will take either test, choose the one that's better suited to your abilities.

ISEE or SSAT?

Which test is right for you?

The ISEE and the SSAT are both used for admission to private schools, and they both test Vocabulary, Math and Reading Comprehension. Most schools will accept either test, so you can choose which test you prefer.

The major difference between the tests lies in the types of questions they use to assess your abilities. The ISEE, for example, uses sentence completion to test vocabulary, while the SSAT uses analogies. Additionally, the reading passages on the ISEE are usually a bit longer than those on the SSAT, but the SSAT tests a more extensive range of genres, including poetry.

Finally, the ISEE also emphasizes mathematical reasoning more than does the SSAT.

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