What is the ISEE?
The ISEE (“Independent School Entrance Exam”) is a test used to assess applicants for admission to private middle and high schools. For students hoping to attend a competitive private middle or high school, this is a critical test. The ISEE is a tough test and preparation is essential!
What is the format of the ISEE?
The ISEE is structured according to different levels in order to test students at different grade levels. The test is divided into Lower (5th and 6th grade), Middle (7th and 8th grade) and Upper (9th and above) Levels. For all levels of the test, the ISEE is divided into four sections that test Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics Achievement, plus an unscored essay sent directly to schools. The ISEE test takes about 3.5 hours. The test is offered in both paper and online format.
How do you prepare for the ISEE?
First, it’s important to understand that due to the comprehensive nature of the ISEE, it’s hard to “cram” – you’ll want to allow plenty of time to review. Spend some time researching the test, then take a diagnostic test to see where you are – there are many free online resources, or you can book an appointment to take a practice test with us under real timed test conditions to see how you would do right now. Once you know where you stand, you can set a realistic goal for improvement given how much time you have to prep. Due to the complex scaled scoring of the ISEE relative to other applicants, you should focus on your percentage of questions answered correctly while you are working to improve.
There are many excellent test prep books and resources available as well as online resources. Practicing under timed conditions is essential to improve your speed as well as your accuracy. We also recommend working with a test prep tutor as the most effective way to quickly improve your score. A tutor can help you practice essential test-taking strategies, identify weak areas, and reinforce comprehension. This is especially valuable for Lower and Middle ISEE test takers who may not have learned much of the math and vocabulary content tested in school and may need significant catch-up work. In addition, a tutor will hold you accountable for homework and practice tests!