What is the ISEE?
The ISEE is the Independent School Entrance Exam. It is a test required as part of the application to many independent schools and is administered by the ERB (Educational Records Bureau).
How much does it “count?”
The test is one factor in the school’s admissions process, but some schools will weigh it more heavily than others. Improving one’s performance on the ISEE can only help a student. In fact, quality preparation for the test can help not only with school admissions, but also with a student’s overall academic progress.
How do students take the test?
Students must register to take the test on the ERB website. The test is offered at schools across the country, and there are numerous options in the Baltimore area, especially during the most common testing months of October-January. An electronic version is offered at Prometric Testing Centers, which offers greater flexibility with date and time and allows all testers to type the essay. The electronic test costs $185, compared to $105 for the paper version (with on-time mail or online registration and no extra services).
The ISEE may be taken once per testing window: Fall (Aug.-Nov.), Winter (Dec.-March), and Spring/Summer (April-July). If a student wants to have the option of taking the test more than once but still have time to prepare, the best month to take it is November, with the option of a retake in December or early January. The November test dates fill fast, so it’s important to register early! Since most schools require the test to be completed by January for the normal admissions cycle, most students do not take it during the Spring/Summer season.
What is the format of the ISEE test?
The ISEE offers four different tests:
Primary (Grades 2-4), Lower (Grades 5-6), Middle (Grades 7-8) and Upper (Grades 9-12). Students taking the Primary exam will be tested on Auditory Comprehension (grade 2 only), Reading, Math and a Writing Sample (untimed). Students taking the Lower, Middle and Upper exams will be tested on Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Mathematics Achievement, Reading Comprehension and a 30-minute essay.
What makes the ISEE challenging?
Many students (and their parents) find that they score lower on the ISEE than they score on their school’s grade-level tests. Here are the main reasons:
How can a student prepare for the ISEE?
The Educational Records Bureau and many schools say that ISEE preparation is not necessary, and the ERB releases only one practice test for each level (available in the “What to Expect Guides“). In reality, however, most students do practice and prepare for the test. ISEE tutoring can be useful for several reasons:
Total Tutoring Services has many highly qualified tutors who are experienced in teaching the ISEE and can help students prepare for the test. Through practice and preparation, the challenge of the ISEE can be turned into a valuable learning opportunity.