What is the ISEE, and what should I know about it?

What is the ISEE?

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is a standardized test that serves as an admission assessment to over 1,200 private elementary, middle, and high schools worldwide. Elite private schools use the ISEE to determine if students meet their objective admission requirements. 


What levels of the ISEE are there?

There are four levels of the ISEE: Primary Level, Lower Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level.


Which level of the ISEE should my child take?

If your child is entering grades 2-4, they should take the Primary Level ISEE. If your child is entering 5th or 6th grade, they should take the Lower Level ISEE. If your child is entering 7th or 8th grade, they should take the Middle Level ISEE. If your child is entering grades 9-12, they should take the Upper Level ISEE. 


What is on the ISEE?

For students entering grade 2 taking the Primary Level ISEE, the exam includes the following sections: Auditory Comprehension, Reading, Mathematics, and Writing Sample. For students entering grades 3 or 4, the exam includes the following sections: Reading, Mathematics, and Writing Sample. 

The Lower Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level ISEE comprise the following sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, and Essay. 


When is the ISEE?

Test dates vary depending on school location, however, the exam is offered in three testing seasons: Fall (August-November), Winter (December-March), and Spring/Summer (April-July). For exact test dates, visit the ISEE website or contact your school’s admissions director.


How many times can a student take the ISEE?

A student may take the exam up to one time per testing season for a total of three attempts. 


How is the ISEE administered?

The ISEE is offered in both computer based and pencil-paper formats. 


How do I register my child for the ISEE?

You can register for both the online and paper-pencil ISEE by visiting the ISEE website. Additionally, you can register for the paper-pencil ISEE via mail or phone for an additional fee by calling ISEE Operations at 1-800-446-0320.


How long is the ISEE?

The ISEE is about one hour for students taking the Primary Level exam and about three hours for students taking the Lower Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level exams. 


Are testing accommodations offered for the ISEE?

Accommodations are offered for the ISEE. To get more information or register with accommodations, please visit the accommodations section of the ISEE website.


How is the ISEE scored?

You can refer to this helpful sample score report for more information on how the ISEE is scored.


Is the ISEE essay scored?

The ISEE essay is not scored.


Will I receive a copy of my child’s essay?

Due to the proprietary nature of the exam, the essay will only be shared with schools on the recipient list.


How do I see my child’s ISEE score?

If you have an online account, you will see the results after logging into your ISEE parent account. If you have registered by mail, you will automatically receive the results by mail. 


How do I send my child’s ISEE scores to schools?

You may select the schools you wish your child’s results be sent to by adding the schools to the student’s recipient list anytime before or after the test date online or by phone. 


Are there ISEE practice tests or study guides available online?

Yes, the official ISEE Student Guide is a complimentary resource that provides detailed information on the exams and it is applicable for those entering grades 5-12. There is also an official interactive ISEE practice exam. The following complimentary official ISEE study guides go into more detail on what you can expect to see on the exam: Lower Level study guideMiddle Level study guide, and Upper Level study guide


What is the best way to prepare for the ISEE?

The best way to prepare for the ISEE is to study using official materials and a customized preparation course that meets the unique needs of your child. For optimal results, it is usually best to prepare for the exam over the course of at least two months. We recommend working one-to-one with an expert ISEE tutor who has demonstrated success with helping children increase their scores dramatically. 


Idea Tutors provides a very rigorous approach to ISEE tutoring that has proven to be very effective. To get more information on ISEE tutoring, call us at (858) 480-7727.