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  • What's the ISEE?

    The Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) is used for admission to private middle schools and high schools. Here's a brief overview of the test.

  • ISEE
     quick facts
    frequencylocation-specific times throughout the year, especially in the fall and early winter
    duration2 hours, 40 minnutes (Upper and Middle Levels); 2 hours, 20 minutes (Lower Level)
    sectionsVerbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Math Achievement, and an unscored essay

    What's on the ISEE and why are there different levels?

    The test contains multiple choice sections in Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and Mathematics Achievement. There is also an essay, which is not scored, but is sent to the schools to which you apply. The Upper Level test is for applicants to 9th grade and above. The Middle Level test is for applicants to 7th and 8th grades. The Lower Level test is for applicants to 5th and 6th grades. The same sections appear on all three levels, but there are certain differences within particular sections at different levels.

    When is the test given, and how do I register?

    The ISEE is given at various times throughout the year, with the bulk of testing dates in the fall and early winter. The number of available test dates depends on your location. You may take the ISEE only one time in a six-month period. To find out the test dates in your area and register for the test, go to http://erblearn.org/parents/admission/isee.

    Should I take the ISEE or SSAT?

    Many schools will accept either test. Both tests cover Vocabulary, Math and Reading Comprehension. The ISEE uses synonyms and sentence completions to test vocabulary, while the SSAT uses synonyms and snalogies. Reading passages on the ISEE tend to be longer than those on the SSAT, while the SSAT includes a broader variety of genres, including poetry. The ISEE places a heavier emphasis on mathematical reasoning than does the SSAT. If the schools to which you apply accept both tests, take the test that better suits your abilities.

    How is the ISEE scored?

    Verbal Reasoning

    • 797-935 (Upper Level)
    • 782-926 (Middle Level)
    • 760-903 (Lower Level)

    Quantitative Reasoning

    • 815-940 (Upper Level)
    • 791-927 (Middle Level)
    • 766-911 (Lower Level)

    Reading Comprehension

    • 825-940 (Upper Level)
    • 799-940 (Middle Level)
    • 764-913 (Lower Level)

    Mathematics Achievement

    • 806-940 (Upper Level)
    • 774-907 (Middle Level)
    • 769-899 (Lower Level)


    • Not scored, but a copy is sent to the schools to which you apply

    All scores are converted to a grade-appropriate "Stanine," which represents a percentile range.