ISEE Verbal Reasoning Sample Questions

The first section of the ISEE test is Verbal Reasoning, which consists of two types of questions – synonyms and sentence completion. The synonym questions provide a word and then list four options from which to identify the synonym. In the sentence completion questions, a sentence appears with one or two words missing, and there are four options of words to use in the indicated spaces in order to complete the sentence.  

Question 1

Verbal Reasoning: Synonyms – Middle Level

Identify the synonym: 


Answer & Explanation|

Question 2 

Verbal Reasoning: Synonyms – Upper Level 

Identify the synonym: 


Answer & Explanation|


Here’s a tip for the synonym questions:

If you’re not sure what the word means, see what you can figure out about the word based on its root and affixes.For example, a word ending in “tion” is likely a noun that refers to a concept or something made up of many people or parts, such as inflation or organization. This will probably at least help you narrow down your choices. 


Question 3 

Verbal Reasoning: Sentence Completion – Middle Level 

Complete the sentence: 

Sculptor Andy Goldsworthy explains that though challenging, he is _____ to work with transient materials like leaves and petals out of a responsibility to work with nature. 

Answer & Explanation|


Question 4 

Verbal Reasoning: Sentence Completion – Upper Level 

Complete the sentence: 

The first step in selling a publication is making sure you find a(n) _____ distributor to stock and _____ the books to the appropriate stores. 

Answer & Explanation|


Here’s a tip for the sentence completion questions:  

If the answer is not clear to you, read the sentence with each word you are considering and see what sounds the best. If more than one fit, look for clues in the sentence that may let you know which word is more on-topic.

For example, in the sentence, “Mark walked ____ to the store and got there right before it closed,” both the words “quickly” and “cautiously” fit grammatically and thematically into the space provided.

However, since there is nothing in the sentence to suggest why Mark would be walking cautiously, and the fact that the store was closing could be a reason for going quickly, “quickly” is clearly the better answer.

If you are looking for additional Verbal Reasoning practice questions, try our full prep packs below!
In the ISEE exam, there are 40 questions in this section. Our prep packs includes two full simulations of the test for a total of 80 Verbal Reasoning questions, so you can master the verbal section.


ISEE Quantitative Reasoning Sample Questions

The next section of the ISEE test is Quantitative Reasoning, which consists of math word problems and quantitative comparisons. The word problems include a number of different basic math subjects that you will need to be familiar with, but the problems are generally designed so that they can be solved primarily with logical thinking. The comparison problems simply ask you to identify which of two expressions is greater in value, if they are equal, or if there is not enough information to determine.  

Question 5 

Quantitative Reasoning: Word Problems – Middle Level 

Mr. Collins asked his students to write down the number of glasses of milk each of them drink in a week. The bar graph below represents that data:

If a new student who drinks 7 glasses of milk in a week would join Mr. Collins class, what would happen to the range of the data?

Answer & Explanation|


Question 6

Quantitative Reasoning: Word Problems – Upper Level 

The Special Car Company manufactures 𝑓 cars per day. On Mondays and Tuesdays, they produce three fewer cars than they do on the other days, due to repair work done on used cars. The company operates five days a week. Which of the following expressions can be used to model the total number of cars manufactured per week?

Answer & Explanation|

Here’s a tip for the math word problems:

Even if the question is not asking for an equation, but a normal number answer, your main focus should be determining which variables make up the equation. That way, you can determine the answer by solving a straightforward equation as opposed to keeping track of all the variables in the text. 

Place the number it is asking you to find on one end of the equal sign represented by a letter or a question mark, then identify the relevant data from the question and convert them into numbers on the other side of the equal sign. Any other unknown variables you need in order to determine the answer should be represented by different letters and placed on this side of the equal sign along with the numbers. 

For example, “How many grams [?] did a cat eat if he had three [3] equal meals [y] a day for a week [7]?” 

3y X 7 = ? OR x = 3y X 7 

21y OR x = 21y 


Question 7

Quantitative Reasoning: Quantitative Comparisons – Middle Level 

Answer & Explanation|


Question 8

Quantitative Reasoning: Quantitative Comparisons – Upper Level 

Answer & Explanation|

Here’s a tip for the quantitative comparisons

If you can easily determine the values of each expression, you can easily determine the answer. If this will take you a while, check to see if there is something that gives away which is greater without solving it, as you are limited in time.

Similarly, if you don’t have enough information to determine the value of each column, you still may have enough information to determine which is greater. For example, if you are given 3x + 1 and 3x – 1, you may not know what the value of x is, but you know that each column begins with the same value, and then the first adds while the second subtracts, so the first column must be greater.

We have a variety of Quantitative Reasoning questions in our full prep packs below!
   The ISEE test contains 37 Quantitative Reasoning questions. Our prep packs include two full practice tests, amounting to over 70 Quantitative Reasoning questions, and much more, starting from just 59$


ISEE Reading Comprehension Sample Questions

Now we move on to the Reading Comprehension section, in which students are tested with regard to their ability to comprehend and analyze texts. The test presents six passages, each accompanied by six questions designed to assess the ability to understand the content of the text, pick up on central themes, draw conclusions, and more. 

Question 9 – 10 

Reading Comprehension – Middle Level 

Read the paragraph and answer the questions: 

In the wild, packs of animals are usually arranged in a strict hierarchy. In most animal species, the young are in the lower levels, followed by the females, while the males are highest up. Yet, within the males there are also ranks. For instance, when observing a pride of lions, it promptly becomes clear that one male is feared by all the others. Furthermore, among the other males in the group, there are ones considered “higher up” and ones that are lower in rank. The leading male of a pack is referred to as the alpha male, and it may be followed by males ranked as beta, gamma, then omega. The higher up the hierarchy an animal is located, the more privileges it has.  

1. The main purpose of the paragraph is to explain... 


 2.  In the fourth sentence, the word "pride" most nearly means...

Answer & Explanation|

Question 11 – 12 

Reading Comprehension – Upper Level 

Read the paragraph and answer the questions: 

In the Tanzanian village of Liyasongoro, located 1,700 meters up the south slope of Mount Kilimanjaro, Wilbert Minja has lived for more than 60 years, and lately he has been worried. The weather is all wrong, he says: "Rain falls when it should not and does not come when it should." He recites stories describing how new settlers used to flock to the mountainside, lured by its rich soil and abundant fresh water. Now, he says, they are abandoning their failed homesteads. The mountain streams are running dry, and the dusty ground that was once fertile and full of life has turned barren.

1. Which of the following statements cannot be concluded from the passage? 


 2. The writer most likely states how long Wilbert Minja has been living in Liyasongoro in order to...

Answer & Explanation|

Consider these tips while solving reading questions: 

Since there are six questions for the same passage, you should certainly make sure to read the whole thing. However, some people find it helpful to read the questions first, or at least as many of them that they can keep in mind at once so that they can already determine the answers as they read the passage for the first time. 

When determining themes, main ideas, or purposes, try to see if there is a common denominator to all of the things discussed in the passage, or if the passage works toward a specific goal at the end or spends its time supporting something stated towards the beginning. This will tell you what the overarching topic is, what the author was trying to accomplish, or what idea is being explored

If you need more practice in the Reading Comprehension section, just click below! 
               The ISEE test contains 36 questions in this section. Our detailed prep pack includes over 70 practice questions of the Reading Comprehension section, divided into two full-length simulations. 


ISEE Mathematics Achievement Sample Questions

Question 13 

Mathematics Achievement: geometry/measurements - Middle Level

A tennis player is standing 2 meters away from a net whose height is one meter, as shown in the diagram.


From what height does the tennis player need to hit the ball, for it to just pass over the net and land 4 meters away from the net?

Answer & Explanation|

Try this tip for geometry questions: 

If you are missing sides or angles, see if the other sides and angles can help you figure out what they are. Remember that equal angles mean equal lines, all angles add up to 180 degrees in a triangle, and there are 360 degrees in a circle.

Question 14 

Mathematics Achievement: data/probability – Middle Level 

Ran rolled two six-sided dice one after the other. Which of the following probabilities equals 1/6? 

Answer & Explanation|


Question 15 

Mathematics Achievement: square roots/integers – Upper Level 

Which numerical expression does not represent an integer? 

Answer & Explanation|


Question 16

Mathematics Achievement: algebra/graph plotting – Upper Level 

Which graph represents the solution set for the inequality 𝑦 ≥ |𝑥|?








Answer & Explanation|

Try this tip for graph plotting questions: 

The y-axis is the one that goes up and down, as it is taller than an x. Right and up on the graph are always positive, and left and down are always negative. This is the same as on a number line. 

The Mathematics Achievement section contains 47 questions on the ISEE exam. Our comprehensive preparation includes two full tests of this size, supplying you with 90+ Mathematics achievement questions to get you ready and stress-free come testing day. 


ISEE Essay

After all of these sections are complete, there is one final part of the ISEE—the essay. You are given one short question to which you are expected to produce an essay in response. It is not scored, but it is meant to make an impression on the people reading it. This is your opportunity to show your writing and communication skills to the administration of whatever program you are applying to, as well as to express your individuality and prove to them that you should not be passed up on. 

Here are two sample Essay prompts that you can use to get an idea of the types of questions they might ask you: 

      1. Out of everything you have done in your life, what are you most proud of and why?

      2. If you could spend one day anywhere in the world, where would you go and
           who would you spend the day with? 

You can use these prompts to practice writing essays, or simply to brainstorm ideas. 

ISEE Practice Tests from TestPrep-Online

Access our full ISEE practice packs now, with full-length practice tests including hundreds of practice questions and answer explanations.

Free ISEE Practice Resources Full ISEE PrepPacks 
ISEE Middle Sample Test ISEE Middle Full Pack 
ISEE Upper Sample Test  ISEE Upper Full Pack


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What is the ISEE Test?

Watch the following video to learn everything you need to know about the ISEE test and how to score high on it. Understand the structure and format of the ISEE, try sample questions, and get important tips for acing this test. 



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