The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is an admissions test offered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) to its member schools. The ISEE choice for many independent schools throughout the country and abroad. The purpose of this exam is to quantify your academic accomplishments and reasoning ability. It’s used by private school admissions committees to predict your success at their school and is administered in either a paper or online format. ISEE registration may be done up to three times within 12 months, once in any or all of the three testing seasons. There are three seasons: Fall (August–November), Winter (December–March), and Spring/Summer (April–July).

Strategies for the Verbal Reasoning:

  • It is important to read each sentence to get the overall meaning.
  • Consider keywords or clue words in the question to identify the correct answer.
  • Think about your own answer and find the answer that most closely matches it.
  • In the case of two blanks, the most appropriate answer for both needs to be given.
  • You can almost always rely on one or more words that indicate the correct answer.
  • You can use clues such as although, since, if, and therefore to figure out the relationships in the sentence.
  • Reread the entire sentence after choosing your answer to make sure it makes sense.

Strategies for the Quantitative Reasoning:

  • Read the question and determine exactly what you are being asked to find.
  • Determine what information is relevant and what is irrelevant.
  • Next, ask yourself, “What steps do I need to use to find the answer?” and “Can I do this by estimating and not by actual calculations?”
  • All comparison questions have the same four answer choices. To save you time in reading the questions, the answer choices in this subsection are not given after each question but are shown at the top of each page.
  • The answer choices for all questions in this subsection are:
    • The quantity in Column A is greater.
    • The quantity in Column B is greater.
    • The two quantities are equal.
    • The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Strategies for the Reading Comprehension:

  • Observe and identify the main message, theme, or central idea in the passage.
  • The Supporting Ideas items measure the ability of a student to identify explicit ideas describing the main idea found in a text.
  • Inference items ask the student to draw a conclusion from content not explicitly stated in the text.
  • Vocabulary items deal with word definitions within the context of the passage, usually in the form of “most nearly means.” Items of this type ask students to identify the sequence, pattern, relationship, structure, or summary of a passage, as well as the major features of various literary genres, including narrative, informative, and instructional.

Strategies for the Mathematics Achievement:

  • Read the entire question and study any related graphic images for each question before looking at the answer choices.
  • Remember all four answer choices are logical answers—there are no answer choices such as “all of the above” or “none of the above.”
  •  Next, determine your answer and look for it in the answer choices provided.
  •  To save you time, all answers are listed in sequential order from greatest to least, or least to greatest. As long as the answer cannot be determined from the ordered answers.
  • Remember to check your work, since often the answer choices represent common mathematical mistakes or procedural misconceptions.

You can also score the ISEE practice test and get a detailed diagnostic report by using the Socrato online bubble sheet grading platform.

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