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ISEE: What You Should Know to Get Into Your Dream School

Table of Contents

What is ISEE?

The term ISEE stands for Independent School Entrance Examination. This is an entrance examination administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) and used to test the academic skills of students seeking admission in private elementary school, middle school, and high school levels.  The tested material and format of ISEE changes in each grade level.

What are the Different Levels of ISEE?

ISEE constitutes different levels of tests depending on where your child is in their education.

  • Grade 9 to Grade 12 – Upper level. 
  • Grade 7 and grade 8 – Middle Level.
  • Grade 5 and grade 6 – Lower Level.
  • Grade 2 to grade 4 – Primary Level.

What is tested in the ISEE?

Despite the level of exam, your child is taking, ISEE tests the same categories that include: Reading comprehension, mathematics Achievement, Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, and essays.

Reading Comprehension:

Tests under this category examine your child’s reading skills that may include the ability to identify primary and supporting ideas, tone, structure, and vocabulary. Students read passages on different topics from social studies, science, and humanities before answering accompanying questions.

Mathematics Achievements:

Mathematics skills tests examine your child’s skills in measurements, data analysis, probability, algebra, and geometry.


Students are given tasks that involve writing an informed and well-organized essay. The essay that is not scored is submitted to the schools where your child is seeking admission to be used as a writing sample.

Quantitative Reasoning:

 Under this category, your child is assessed on various math concepts that include statistics, algebra, and geometry.

Verbal Reasoning:

These tests evaluate your child’s problem-solving and sentence completion abilities. It also examines your child’s ability to answer synonyms and vocabularies questions.

What is the Timeframe and Structure of ISEE?

The middle- and Upper-level ISEE tests (Similar timeframe and structure):

Mathematics Achievements4047
Reading Comprehension3536
Quantitative reasoning3537
Verbal Reasoning20 40
TOTAL2 Hours 40 Minutes161

The Lower-Level ISEE Test:

Mathematics Achievements3030
Reading Comprehension2525
Quantitative reasoning3538
Verbal Reasoning2034
TOTAL2 Hours 20 Minutes128

Other Tests’ Timeframe:

  • 2nd-grade tests take 53 minutes.
  • 3rd-grade tests take 54 minutes.
  • 4th-grade tests take 60 minutes.

When is ISEE Test Scheduled?

The ISEE test dates are divided into three periods, and students are only to take a single test per period. The three periods include: 

  • Fall: August – November.
  • Winter:  December – March.
  • Spring: April -July.

How is ISEE Scored?

ISEE scores are classified into four significant steps:

STEP ONE:  The Raw Score

The first step in ISEE scoring is a raw score calculation. Under this category, students get one point for every answer answered correctly and no point for unanswered or incorrect answers. Answering all questions increases a student’s chance of scoring higher.

STEP TWO: The Scaled Score

 After calculating the raw score, it is transformed into a scaled score based on the performances of different tests. The process is known as equating, and each section’s scores range between 760 and 940.

STEP THREE: The Percentile Score

In this step, the percentile score is calculated by comparing a student’s scaled score to a “norm group.” The norm group comprises students in the same age group who took the same test and have been in the same class for over three years. The percentile score ranges between 1% and 99%, with higher scores representing better performance.

STEP FOUR: The Stanine Score

The percentile score is finally converted into a stanine score.  A statine score, also known as the “Standard Nine Score,” is a method to scale scores using a 9-point scale, with 5 being the mean score and 2 the standard deviation score. This scoring method is used mainly by admission departments but can also convert any other test score. Scores distribution under this category mostly remains constant from one year to another.

How Do You Register for ISEE?

  • Create a Parent Account
  • Add your child’s name by clicking on the “Add a student” button on the dashboard. (you can add more than one student by adding different profiles.)
  •  Register a student for ISEE by clicking on “new registration” on their profile.
  •   Follow Prometric ProScheduler’s directive to finalize registration and make necessary payments.

Are you worried about the chances of your child getting accepted into their dream colleges? We (Kids on the Yard) can assist you with the proper support, information and help to improve your child’s ISEE  profile.

Click HERE to access our team and enjoy our outstanding services.

*The Independent School Entrance Examination and ISEE are trademarks owned by Educational Records Bureau.

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