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ISEE Test is an admission test for private schools in the US. It is taken along with SSAT or even independently by students in grades 2-12, for admission purposes. In this blog, we will discuss the exam in detail and learn everything about the ISEE Test – What is the ISEE Test, ISEE Test Dates, Registration Details, Levels, Sections and How is the ISEE Test Scored?

What is the ISEE Test?

ISEE stands for Independent School Entrance Exam and is commonly taken for admission in private middle and high schools in the US. The test has a standard format and 4 different levels, divided according to grades.

You can register for ISEE after enquiring with your preferred schools. Most private schools accept both ISEE and SSAT scores for admissions and you are free to take any one of them. Admissions experts believe that students must take both to increase their options and also to improve their portfolios.

ISEE Dates

ISEE can be taken only once per testing season and the whole academic year is divided into 3 seasons. This means a student can take ISEE, three times in an academic year.

FallAugust, September, October and November
WinterDecember, January, February and March
Spring/SummerApril, May, June and July


ISEE Registration Details

To register for the test, you need to choose a test date, and a center and pay an exam fee. You also need to ensure that they choose the right exam level according to their current grades.

ISEE Levels

ISEE has 4 levels: two for elementary school and one each for middle and high school. Each level has its own set of questions and tests different skills. Knowing more about the ISEE Levels can help you decide which one is best suited for your child’s academic needs.

Primary Level2-4
Lower Level5-6
Middle Level7-8
Upper Level9-12

It is crucial for you to choose the right level for the test and that is why it is advised that the registration process is done by an adult.

1. ISEE Primary Level

The ISEE Primary Level exam is for students in grades 2-4. The details for this level are as follows:

  • 53-minute Primary 2 Exam for students going into 2nd grade
  • 54-minute Primary 3 Exam for students going into 3rd grade
  • 60-minute Primary 4 Exam for students going into 4th grade

All of these exams include a writing section that is untimed. It serves as an important assessment for admission to prestigious independent schools. The exam evaluates students’ verbal and quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, and math skills.

2. ISEE Lower Level

The ISEE Lower Level exam is for students going into grades 5 and 6. This test is 2 hours and 20 minutes long and consists of 128 questions. The test offers insights into important skills including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics achievement, and essay.

3. ISEE Middle Level

The ISEE Middle Level exam is for students going into grades 7 and 8. The test is 2 hours and 40 minutes long and consists of 161 questions. The sections of the test include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics achievement, and essay. 

4. ISEE Upper Level

The ISEE Upper Level exam is for students going into grades 9 to 12. The duration, the number of questions, and the sections are the same as ISEE upper level.

5 Sections of the ISEE Test

ISEE test has 5 sections that provide a clear picture of a child’s abilities to the admission panels at private schools. The five sections are:

1. Verbal Reasoning

This section tests students’ language skills. It has questions related to synonyms, sentence completion, and more. All the questions are multiple-choice questions (MCQs).

2. Quantitative Reasoning

ISEE has two math sections. The first is the quantitative section which covers various topics in the MCQ format. And the second is the Math Achievement section which involves in-depth calculations. This section has questions from Geometry, Problem Solving, Number and Operations, Data Analysis, and Probability. The topics in the test vary according to the level of the test.

3. Math Achievement

This section does not have MCQs and students are required to perform and show calculations. Some of the topics under Math Achievement are Measurement, Fractions, Decimals, and more.

4. Reading Comprehension

The reading section involves answering questions based on paragraphs on various topics. It tests students’ ability to comprehend given information. The lower level of the test has 5 passages and the middle and upper levels have 6 passages.

5. Essay

Primary level students do not have to write an essay. They have an optional writing test that is based on a visual prompt. But rest all the students are expected to write neat, well-planned essays on a given topic. These essays are then sent to the chosen private schools for assessment.

All the sections are compulsory for all levels except the primary level which has only Verbal, Math, and an optional writing section.

How is the ISEE Administered?

The ISEE is administered in 4 different ways. You can choose any one of them based on your preference and convenience.

  • Individual Testing at Home
  • Individual or Group Testing at an ISEE Testing Office
  • Small-Group Testing at a Prometric Testing Center
  • Group testing at a School

Each location has a different testing date, so, you will have to decide according to the location plus the convenient date.

How is the ISEE Test Scored?

ISEE test score is presented in the form of Scaled Score, Stanine Score, and Percentile. The report card also provides a Stanine Score analysis for better understanding. The scaled score range is 760-940 for every section and the stanine score range is 1-9.

Understanding how the ISEE is scored can help you prepare for the exam and maximize your chances of success. All the questions in the ISEE carry equal scores and a raw score is calculated based on the number of questions answered correctly. There is no penalty for wrong answers.

1. Scaled Score

The raw score is converted into a scaled score between 760 and 940. This is the same for Primary Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level.

2. Percentile Score

In addition to individual scaled scores, schools also receive percentile scores as part of the ISEE results. These percentile scores are derived from a 3-year rolling norm pool of applicants in the same grade, regardless of gender. They provide schools with a means to evaluate your performance in comparison to other students.

3. Stanine

The Stanine Score provides information about the relative position of your results on a normal bell curve. The results of the entire norm group are graphed on a bell curve. These results are then divided into nine intervals, each representing 0.5 standard deviations (except for the first and last intervals, which encompass the remaining values).

4. Stanine Analysis

The stanine analysis represents the percentiles achieved. This comprehensive information helps schools assess your standing relative to other applicants.

What is a Good ISEE Test Score?

Here’s a Stanine score table that explains the good, average, and low ISEE test scores.

Stanine ScoreRating
1-3Below Average


eTutorWorld Solution for ISEE Test Prep

eTutorWorld offers ISEE tutoring for all levels and all subjects. Our team of tutors is made up of experts who have several years of experience in ISEE test prep. Register with eTutorWorld today, to learn through personalized lesson plans and worksheets, one-to-one sessions, and the Learning by Design teaching approach. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is ISEE Test?

ISEE Test is a standardized test used for admissions into private schools in the USA for 2-12 Grades students. More than 1,200 independent schools all over the world accept the ISEE Test scores. ISEE Test is 4 levels – Primary, Lower, Middle, and Upper Levels. It assesses the student’s skills in Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Math, Reading Comprehension, and Essay.

How long is the ISEE Test?

ISEE Test is 2 hours and 30 minutes for Lower Levels and 2 hours and 50 minutes for Upper and Middle Levels. These durations include the break time.

Can you use a calculator on the ISEE Test?

No, ISEE does not allow students to use a calculator in any section of the exam.

How often is the ISEE test offered?

The ISEE test is offered multiple times throughout the year.

Can I retake the ISEE test?

Yes, you can retake the ISEE Test if you are not satisfied with your initial score.

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