ISEE Test-Information and Format

The ISEE (independent school entrance examination) is a multiple choice standardized test administered by the educational records bureau (ERB) and is mainly used as an admission test for independent schools. The test comes in three different levels (ISEE upper level test, middle level, and lower level), and has five sections:

ISEE Levels  Subjects Grade Level Time Limit +number of questions
ISEE Upper Level Exam Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, Essay   Students in grades 8-11 for admission to grades 9-12

160 minutes 160 questions + Essay  

ISEE Middle Level Exam Students in grades 6-7 for admission to grades 7-8

160 minutes 160 questions + Essay  

ISEE Lower Level Exam  Students in grades 4-5 for admission to grades 5-6

140 minutes 127 questions + Essay  

ISEE Verbal Reasoning Section

This is the first section of ISEE exam and it includes subjects and questions types such as:

  • Synonyms- These questions include a term and four answer choices, one of which has a similar meaning to the original word.
  • Sentence completion- A sentence is given with one or two blanks, requiring the student to complete it with the right word out of the four answer choices.

In both the middle and Upper levels of the test there are 40 questions in this section and the student is given a time limit of 20 minutes. In the lower level of the test there are 34 questions and a time limit of 20 minutes. 

More information on the verbal reasoning section? Click here!

ISEE Quantitative Reasoning Section

All the questions in this section are based on the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), such as: numbers and operations, algebra, geometry ,measurement, data analysis ,etc. there are two questions types in this section:

  • Word problems-In contrast to mathematical notation, these questions give background information in the form of a text, followed by four answer choices.
  • Quantitative Comparison-These types of questions are only found in the middle and upper levels of the test and they present two quantities for comparison. The quantities that are compared are displayed in two columns, Column A and Column B. The four answer choices for these Questions are always the same (the quantity in Column A is greater, the quantity in Column B is greater, the two quantities are equal, and the relationship cannot be determined from the information given).      

The upper, middle, and lower levels of the ISEE test in this section have 37, 37, 38 questions respectively. All the levels in this section have a time limit of 35 minutes.

Learn more about this section here!

ISEE Reading Comprehension Section

In this section of the test there are reading passages followed by questions about them. the questions try to test your understanding in these 6 subjects:

  • Understanding and summarizing a Main Idea
  • Supporting Ideas
  • Inference from text
  • Understanding vocabulary from context
  • Determining the organizational and logical structure of a passage
  • Comprehension of point of view, mood, tone, and figurative language

In the upper and middle levels of the test this section has 6 passages followed by 6 questions each (36 questions total) and a time limit 35 minutes. In the lower level there are 5 passages followed by 5 questions each (25 questions total) and a time limit of 25 minutes.

Click here! for more information on the reading comprehension section.

ISEE Mathematics Achievement Section

The questions in the mathematics achievement section of the test just like in the quantitative Reasoning section are based on the standards of the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics).In contrast to the Quantitative Reasoning section, this section will require students to perform calculations in order to solve the questions. In The upper and middle levels of the test, this section has 47 questions and a 40 minute time limit. The lower level has 30 questions and a 30 minute time limit.

Learn more about the Mathematics Achievement section, right here!

ISEE Essay section

On this section of the Test, students are required to write a short essay in response to a prompt. In all levels of the test this section has a 30 minute time limit.

Want More information on the essay section, click here!

ISEE Practice Test with TestPrep-Online

To make sure that your child does as well as possible on the ISEE test day, preparation is essential. TestPrep-Online offers a collection of practice packs to help your child feel more comfortable and more confident with the test material. Access our sample tests, and practice with questions and explanations for every section of the test.


Free ISEE Practice Tests

Want to try our free ISEE practice tests? Click here!

Our Online Services

We are proud to provide high-quality products for a low price. Your child does not need expensive classes or tutors to excel on a gifted children's test. Each of our quality preparation kits includes hundreds of questions and study guides, and are competitively priced. Additionally, our online format allows you and your child to practice whenever, and wherever, you want. What are you waiting for?


Is the ISEE test difficult?

The ISEE is considered a difficult test. because it is used as an admission test to private schools it sets a high benchmark that students have to pass in order to be accepted. that's why it is crucial to be prepared as possible to testing day.

Can I use a calculator on the ISEE test?

Students can not bring any papers, rulers, calculators, or cell phones into the ISEE exam room. 



The ISEE test (independent school entrance exam) and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders (educational records bureau). None of the trademark holders are affiliated with TestPrep-Online or this website.

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