INDEPENDENT SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM (ISEE)

The ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) is a test published by the ERB (Educational Records Bureau) and accepted by many private middle and high schools. There are three different ISEE tests, written for students at different levels:

  • The Lower Level – given to students applying for admission to 5th or 6th grade.
  • The Middle Level – given to students applying for admission to 7th or 8th grade.
  • The Upper Level – given to students applying for admission to 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade.

What does it test?

At each level, the ISEE tests several different areas: vocabulary and verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics, and writing.

How is it structured?

Lower Level (admission to 5th or 6th grade):

Test

# of Questions

Time (min)

Verbal Reasoning3420
Quantitative Reasoning3835
Reading Comprehension2525
Mathematics Achievement3030
Essay

30

Total Time: 2 Hours and 20 minutes

Middle Level (admission to 7th or 8th grade):

Test

# of Questions

Time (min)

Verbal Reasoning4020
Quantitative Reasoning3735
Reading Comprehension3635
Mathematics Achievement4740
Essay

30

Total Time: 2 Hours and 40 minutes

Upper Level (admission to 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade):

Test

# of Questions

Time (min)

Verbal Reasoning4020
Quantitative Reasoning3735
Reading Comprehension3635
Mathematics Achievement4740
Essay

30

Total Time: 2 Hours and 40 minutes

How is it scored?

Each of the four sections gets a scaled score of 760-940, and students are also given a percentile and stanine rank. A stanine, similar to a percentile, is a score from 1-9 indicating how a student performed in comparison to other students. In all levels, the essay is passed directly to schools’ application committees and isn’t part of the ISEE score. No score is assigned to the essay, however, many schools consider writing skills as a factor for admission, and may want to see how well your child writes under test conditions.

Dolphin Academic Prep offers personalized ISEE tutoring!

We are here to answer your questions, so give us a call or send us an email to see how personalized ISEE tutoring with a private Dolphin Academic Prep tutor can help benefit your student.

We believe it’s unproductive for younger students to feel intense pressure, stress and anxiety surrounding a standardized test. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of time for that when applying to college and beyond. For that reason, our ISEE tutors take extra care to foster a level of comfort and understanding during the tutoring sessions. Our tutors have experience working with a variety of age groups, so they know firsthand how 10-year-olds learn and react differently than 15-year-olds.

From the wide set of standardized tests that are given, the ISEE is perhaps one of the trickier of the bunch. There is very little official ISEE material in circulation and the meaning of the scores can be difficult to interpret. Our experience with the test has enabled us to develop a highly effective approach for ISEE prep. In particular and in addition to developing the problem-solving techniques that are the crux of our test-prep tutoring, our Dolphin ISEE prep tutors also take care to emphasize the specific knowledge, concepts, strategies and skill sets required for success on the ISEE. We emphasize the kinds of problem-solving skills that will enable your student to effectively wrestle with unusual and/or unfamiliar question types. As part of the overall process, we also help our parents understand the ISEE’s various peculiarities.

Every student is different and therefore we believe it’s imperative that in order to maximize performance on the ISEE it is necessary to tailor the prep process to the individual student in an effort to develop the approach that best works for them.

Diagnostic, Evaluation and Practice
Before the first ISEE tutoring session, each student receives a diagnostic ISEE test. The diagnostic test gives the student an introduction to the test and ISEE test prep; it also allows for a baseline to be created. Moreover, based on the results, we formalize an evaluation that identifies the areas of strength, those areas that need the most help, specifies an optimal prep schedule, and sets specific goals. Throughout the ISEE test prep our Dolphin ISEE Tutors will continue to administer practice ISEE tests so that your child becomes familiar with the format, style and speed of the test, so on exam day it minimizes any surprises they may face.

More information

Many applicants also take the SSAT; have a look at your school’s admissions requirements to see which of the tests are accepted. If the schools are willing to accept either test, the general rule of thumb is that students with stronger verbal skills should take the SSAT while students with better math skills should take the ISEE.

Not sure if you should take the ISEE or SSAT?

Check out the article ISEE vs SSAT! Still confused? Contact one of our Dolphin consultants today!

When is the ISEE offered?

The ISEE is offered a number of times each year, but it can only be taken once every six months. For that reason, a student generally has one shot at the test per year; November, December, and January are the best months to take it in order to apply for schools beginning the following fall. Check to see when the ISEE is being offered.