The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is an admissions test accepted by over 1,200 independent schools around the world for entrance into grades 2 to 12. The test assesses the skills of each applicant, ranking his or her reasoning and achievement skills among students in the same grade.
Schools use the ISEE as one measure among many – class rank, GPA, extracurricular activities, personal essay, and teacher recommendations – of a student’s readiness to do middle school or high school work. ISEE scores are compared with the scores of other applicants and accepted scores at an institution. Scores can also be used as a basis for awarding scholarships and merit-based financial aid.
The ISEE is administered on four levels:
- Primary: Entrance to grades 2 to 4 (online administration only)
- Lower: Entrance to grades 5 to 6 (available in both online and paper/pencil administrations)
- Middle: Entrance to grades 7 to 8 (available in both online and paper/pencil administrations)
- Upper: Entrance to grades 9 to 12 (available in both online and paper/pencil administrations)
The dates on which the ISEE is given vary by location. Visit the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) website to register your student for the test.
The ISEE may only be taken once within a six-month period, and it must be taken for admission to a school, not as a practice test.
Test Format (Upper Level ISEE)
|Section||Time||Number of Questions||Content Covered|
|Verbal Reasoning||20 minutes||40 multiple-choice questions||Ability to identify synonyms and complete sentences using vocabulary knowledge.|
|Quantitative Reasoning||35 minutes||37 multiple-choice questions||Knowledge of arithmetic, basic geometry, algebra, and mathematical reasoning.|
|Reading Comprehension||35 minutes||36 multiple-choice questions||Ability to understand main themes, to extract salient details, and to understand meaning in context. Questions are based on humanities, science, and social studies reading passages.|
|Mathematics Achievement||40 minutes||47 multiple-choice questions||Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, mathematical comprehension, and applications.|
|Essay*||30 minutes||1 essay question||Ability to organize and express ideas.|
*The essay is not factored into the student’s final score, but a copy is forwarded to schools with the Individual Student Report, which shows scaled scores, percentiles, and stanines.
Yes. The ISEE does not penalize students for guessing.
For paper ISEE testing, score reports are available online only for families who request “Expedited Scores with Online Access” and pay the $35 additional fee. To request this service, please call the ISEE Operations Office at 1-800-446-0320. Otherwise, your child's score report will be mailed to the address given at the time of registration and will arrive 7-10 business days after the test administration.
For online ISEE testing at a school or Prometric site, score reports will post online as soon as the test has been scored. An email will be sent to the email address indicated in your child’s registration information to let you know the report is ready. A hard copy will not be sent to the home address.
A student may be tested only once within a six-month period when making a formal application to an ERB member school. If he or she tests a second time during that six-month period, results of the second administration will not be reported, and the test fee will not be returned.
A family pays $105.00 when their child is testing as part of a large group administration, either paper/pencil or online. Small group testing at an office is $175.00, and an individual administration at a Prometric testing center is $185.00. Additional fees apply for phone registration, late registration, and walk-in registration.