What Is the ISEE®?
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Your child's ISEE score serves as an important factor in the admissions process at competitive independent elementary, middle and high schools. Your child can score higher on the ISEE, and we can show you how. Explore our options and get started today.
The ISEE Levels
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 exam is administered on four levels, depending on the test taker’s grade level. The total exam time depends on the test level. For all levels, the essay is not included in the test score. Instead, a copy is sent to the schools you request to receive your scores.
For Entrance To
Appropriate Test Level
Grades 5 and 6
Grades 7 and 8
ISEE Primary Level
The Primary 2 Exam is given to students applying for entrance to second grade. It is 53 minutes long and includes an untimed writing sample. The Primary 3 Exam is given to students applying for entrance to third grade. It is 54 minutes long and includes an untimed writing sample. The Primary 4 Exam is given to students applying for entrance to fourth grade. It is 60 minutes long and includes an untimed writing sample. For more specific information on the ISEE Primary Level Exams, explore the Online Interactive What To Expect On The ISEE Materials.
ISEE Lower Level
The Lower Level Exam is given to students applying for entrance to fifth or sixth grade. It is 2 hours and 20 minutes long.
Number of Questions
2 hours, 20 minutes
ISEE Middle and Upper Level
The Middle Level Exam is given to students applying for entrance to seventh or eighth grade, while the Upper Level Exam is given to students applying for entrance to ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade. The Middle Level and Upper Level exams have the same number of questions, and they are both 2 hours and 40 minutes long.
Number of Questions
2 hours, 40 minutes
Students may take the ISEE at approved ERB member school test sites, Prometric locations, or ERB’s New York City office. Note that Prometric sites offer online administration and are available only for students entering grades 5-12. Registration is available online, by mail, and by phone. ISEE test dates vary by year and location. The registration fee varies depending on the methods for registration and testing. Learn more about registering for the ISEE by visiting the ERB website.
All questions on the ISEE are equal in value. The raw score is determined solely by the number of questions answered correctly since there is no "wrong answer" penalty. This means that students should always guess and never leave a question blank.
The ISEE report will include multiple sets of scores and percentiles:
The raw score for each section is converted into a scaled score. The Lower, Middle, and Upper Level exams all use a scaled score between 760 and 940. For more information about the Primary Level exam scaled score ranges, explore ERB’s interactive What to Expect on the ISEE online materials.
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. These percentile scores are included on your score report, along with stanines and a stanine analysis to represent the percentiles.
To learn more about scoring for the various ISEE Levels, visit the ERB website and review the information found within the ISEE Student Guide and the What To Expect On The ISEE resources.