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Best Methods for ISEE Test Prep

Know How the Test Works currently offers ISEE practice test questions and tests for the Lower Level and part of the Middle Level test. You can sign up for free questions, and then purchase a membership to get started.

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The ERB also offers sample questions for the ISEE test:

Lower Level: Candidates for Grades 5-6

Middle Level: Candidates for Grades 7-8

Upper Level: Candidates for Grades 9-12

These materials are important, as they offer customized questions, instructions, formatting and answer explanations for each grade level. Your child will have the opportunity to practice actual questions from previous versions of the ISEE on the ERB website. It is important that the student gains a sense of the structural formatting and timing of each section before taking the exam. As a parent, you can do your part by encouraging your child to practice for a little time each day. Consistency is absolutely key. It is better that your child be productive for a short time each day rather than putting in hours of unfocused practice. It is important that they go into the test feeling fresh, ready and motivated.

Additionally, try reminding your child that their ISEE score is just one component of the application. Remember that the school is most likely interested in other factors in determining your child’s admissions, such as who they are as a person, their academic record and as who they are as a thinker and a learner. That being said, a strong ISEE score will strengthen your child’s application.

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is an admission test used by many private schools and magnet schools in the United States.

Reasons why schools use the ISEE for admissions:

Remember that while the ISEE is an important part of the application process to many schools, it’s usually just one component among many that admissions committees consider. Here are a few reasons why schools use the ISEE test:

  • Objective Assessment: The ISEE provides an objective measure of a student’s abilities that can complement the more subjective components of an application, such as teacher recommendations, interviews, and essays.
  • Standardization: It gives the schools a standard measure to compare applicants who come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. It helps in identifying the potential of students who might otherwise be overlooked.
  • Assessing Skills: The ISEE tests a broad range of skills, including verbal and quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, and math achievement. These are the key skills that are required for success in demanding academic settings.
  • Predictive Value: Standardized tests like the ISEE can help predict a student’s potential for success in a rigorous academic environment, helping schools make more informed admission decisions.
  • Fairness: The ISEE is designed to be a fair test that does not favor students from any particular background. It is continually updated to ensure it meets high standards of validity and reliability.
  • Comprehensive Review: The ISEE complements other application materials to provide a more comprehensive view of a student’s abilities and potential, helping schools to admit a diverse and capable student body.

Here are Testing Mom’s top 10 ways to prepare for the ISEE:

Understand the test format and content:

The ISEE lower level consists of four sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics Achievement. Familiarize yourself with the types of questions and the time allotted for each section.

Set a study schedule:

Create a study schedule that allows for consistent practice and review. Break down the topics and skills required for each section and allocate time for each. Stick to the schedule as much as possible.

Use official study materials:

Utilize official ISEE study materials, such as the “What to Expect on the ISEE” guide and questions from Testing Mom, which provides sample questions and test-taking tips. Practice tests from the official ISEE website or other reputable sources can also help you get familiar with the test format.

Review basic skills:

Focus on reviewing fundamental skills in math, reading, and vocabulary. For math, practice basic arithmetic, fractions, decimals, and geometry. For reading comprehension, work on identifying main ideas, making inferences, and understanding vocabulary in context.

Build vocabulary:

Strengthen your vocabulary by learning new words and their meanings. Create flashcards or use a digital app to review words regularly. Practice synonyms and antonyms, as these are often tested in the verbal reasoning section.

Practice problem-solving strategies:

Develop problem-solving strategies for both quantitative and verbal sections. Learn to eliminate answer choices, use estimation, and identify patterns in questions to improve your efficiency.

Take timed practice tests:

Simulate the testing environment by taking timed practice tests on Testing Mom. This will help you become comfortable with the time constraints and develop your test-taking stamina.

Review and analyze:

After taking practice tests, review and analyze your performance. Identify areas where you need improvement and focus on those during your study sessions.

Develop test-taking strategies:

Learn effective test-taking strategies, such as managing your time, reading questions carefully, and making educated guesses when unsure of an answer. Practice these strategies during your practice tests.

Stay positive and maintain a healthy lifestyle:

A positive attitude, sufficient sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve cognitive function, which can contribute to better test performance.

As parents, there are a few important tips that you can pass on to your child as they are studying.

  • Encourage your child to carefully read each question in full. They should not answer the question before understanding what is being asked.
  • Have your child test each answer choice before eliminating it.
  • Don’t be afraid to take your best educated guess! Because there is no penalty for answering a question incorrectly, it does not hurt to choose an answer.

Here are the Top 10 Questions and Answers Parents have about the ISEE test

Question: What is the purpose of the ISEE test?

Answer: The ISEE test is designed to evaluate students’ skills and knowledge at various educational stages to determine their readiness for admission to independent and private schools. The test provides a standardized benchmark that helps schools make informed admissions decisions and identify students’ strengths and weaknesses.

Question: How is the ISEE test structured?

Answer: The ISEE test is divided into four levels (Primary, Lower, Middle, and Upper) based on the grade a student is entering. Each level consists of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, and an Essay.

Question: When should my child take the ISEE test?

Answer: Your child should take the ISEE test during the appropriate admissions season for the grade they are entering. It is generally recommended to take the test a few months before the application deadline, giving you enough time to receive the results and submit them with the application.

Question: How often can my child take the ISEE test?

Answer: Students can take the ISEE test once per testing season, which is divided into three seasons: Fall (August-November), Winter (December-March), and Spring/Summer (April-July).

Question: How can I register my child for the ISEE test?

Answer: You can register your child for the ISEE test online through the official ISEE website. You will need to create an account and choose a testing date, location, and format (paper-based or online).

Question: How should my child prepare for the ISEE test?

Answer: To prepare for the ISEE test, your child should familiarize themselves with the test format and content, practice test-taking skills and time management, strengthen their foundational skills in the tested subjects, and maintain a positive and supportive learning environment. We offer practice materials on Testing Mom to help your child prepare for the ISEE!

Question: What is the scoring system for the ISEE test?

Answer: The ISEE test uses a scaled score system for each section, ranging from 760 to 940. Additionally, a percentile rank is provided, which compares a student’s performance to that of other students in the same grade who have taken the ISEE test in the past three years.

Question: How do schools use ISEE test scores?

Answer: Independent and private schools use ISEE test scores as part of their admissions process to assess a student’s potential for academic success in a rigorous educational environment. However, it is important to note that ISEE scores are just one factor considered in the admissions process, along with academic records, teacher recommendations, and other application materials.

Question: Is there a fee for taking the ISEE test?

Answer: Yes, there is a fee for taking the ISEE test, which varies depending on the testing format and location. Fee waivers are available for eligible students with demonstrated financial need. You can find more information about fees and fee waivers on the official ISEE website.

Question: When and how will I receive my child’s ISEE test results?

Answer: ISEE test results are usually available within two weeks (or less) after the test date. You can access the results online through the official ISEE website using your account. The test results will include scaled scores, percentile ranks, and a detailed analysis of your child’s performance in each section.

Tell us about your experiences

2 Responses

My girl is going to apply for 4 grade next year, what ISEE test she would be involved?

Thank you.


A 4th grader would typically take the ISEE Primary Level test, designed for students applying to grades 2-4. The Primary Level test assesses a student’s abilities in verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and math achievement. Please reach out to our Parent Success Team at 877-609-6203 or They will help you learn more about the ISEE Test and how to find additional practice on our website!

See if supports your child’s test by your school district. If you don't see your child's school district listed, check with us! We have practice for other tests as well.

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