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Learn about the ISEE

The Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) is developed and administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) to help determine a student's admission qualifications.

The ISEE is administered on three levels:

Current Grade Appropriate Test Level
Grades 4 and 5 ISEE Lower Level
Grades 6 and 7 ISEE Middle Level
Grades 8-11 ISEE Upper Level

The Anatomy of the ISEE

The ISEE is a standardized test administered over a three-hour period. The test consists of four multiple choice sections and one essay section. The essay is not included in your test score, but a copy is sent to the schools you request to receive your scores. While the test structure is fairly similar across the three test levels, the types of questions used on the upper levels are more challenging than those used for the lower levels.

ISEE Lower Level Exam

Section Number of Questions Section Length
Verbal Reasoning 34 questions 20 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 38 questions 35 minutes
Reading Comprehension 25 questions 25 minutes
Math Achievement 30 questions 30 minutes
Essay 1 prompt (unscored) 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

ISEE Middle Level Exam

Section Number of Questions Section Length
Verbal Reasoning 40 questions 20 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 37 questions 35 minutes
Reading Comprehension 36 questions 35 minutes
Math Achievement 47 questions 40 minutes
Essay 1 prompt (unscored) 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

ISEE Upper Level Exam

Section Number of Questions Section Length
Verbal Reasoning 40 questions 20 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning 37 questions 35 minutes
Reading Comprehension 36 questions 35 minutes
Math Achievement 47 questions 40 minutes
Essay 1 prompt (unscored) 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Registration Details

The current online test registration fee is $100. Families can also register via phone, fax, or mail for an additional fee. Learn more.

ISEE test dates vary by year and location. For specific test dates in your area, visit the ISEE Student Guide .

Interpreting Scores

All questions on the ISEE are equal in value. Unlike the SSAT, the raw score is determined solely by the number of questions answered correctly. There is no "wrong answer" penalty on the ISEE. This means that students should always guess and never leave a question blank.

The ISEE report will include multiple sets of scores and percentiles:

Scaled Score
The raw score is converted into a scaled score between 760 and 940.

Percentile Score
Schools also receive percentile scores (based on a 3-year rolling norm pool of applicants to the same grade regardless of gender) so that they can assess where you stack up against other students

Stanines are also reported in the score report to represent the percentiles.

Percentile Rank Stanine
1-3 1
4-10 2
11-22 3
23-39 4
40-59 5
60-76 6
77-88 7
89-95 8
96-99 9

NOTE: While the Essay section is not graded, a copy of the essay accompanies each ISEE score report that is sent to a school or consultant.