Q. What is the ISEE?
A. The Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) is an entrance exam used by many independent schools and magnet schools in the United States.
Q. How does it differ from the SSAT?
A. The idea that either test is “harder” is flawed. The SSAT is no more difficult than the ISEE and vice versa. Also, most schools will accept either exam, though it is important to make sure that you know what your target schools expect and prefer. The key difference in the two exams is in their complexity. The SSAT is a more complex exam than the ISEE – however, this does not mean that it is harder.
Q. Which test should I then have my child take?
1. If your child has a mastery of the material, but has issues with timing and with more complex questions, he/she should take the ISEE. The ISEE is a more straightforward and your child lacks logical reasoning skills, the ISEE is the test you will want to go with.
2. If your child is good at solving puzzles and dealing with complex wording and concepts, then he/she should take the SSAT.
Q. How is the test formatted?
A. Like the SSAT, the ISEE has three levels: Lower level, for entrance in grades 5-6; Middle level, for entrance in grades 7-8; Upper level, for entrance in grades 9-12.
Q. What subject areas does the test cover?
A. The test covers:
Verbal Reasoning– This section consists of two parts: synonyms and sentence completions.
Quantitative Reasoning/Math-The Lower Level consists of word Problems, and the middle and upper levels consist of word problems and quantitative comparisons.
All questions found in the two math sections of the ISEE are linked to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards. The ISEE uses the following NCTM strands as a basis for the Quantitative Reasoning and Math section: numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis and probability, and problem solving.
Reading Comprehension– The Lower Level contains five reading passages, each followed by five questions. The Middle and Upper levels contain six reading passages, each followed by six questions. The passages include topics related to history, science, literature, and contemporary life.
The types of questions focus on six categories: main idea, supporting ideas, inference, vocabulary, organization/logic, and tone/style/figurative.
Essay– The essay is not scored, but is photocopied and sent to schools to which the student is applying.