ISEE Essay Topics

How to Attempt the ISEE Essay

The Independent School of Entrance Exam (ISEE) which is designed by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) is a standardized test utilized for screening school-level students. This test is taken in order to ensure that each grade has students with similar learning potentials and is widely accepted by many day and boarding schools across the United States.

The ISEE exam consists of five sub-tests which are the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning tests, the Reading Comprehension and Mathematics tests and the Essay Writing test, which requires the candidates to write responses to ISEE essay topics. The same pattern is conducted for students from grade 4 to grade 12. In order to cater to the requirements and suit the potentials of all the students studying in these grades, this test is divided into three levels i.e. the Lower Level, the Middle Level and the Upper Level. Among all the sub-tests of the ISEE exam, the Essay writing test is the only test which is not assessed by ERB.

About the Essay Writing Test:

Many students find the Essay Writing test daunting since this test is evaluated directly by the school faculties and not by ERB. All the other test sections in the ISEE exam are in the multiple-choice format. The time duration allotted for the Essay Writing test is 30 minutes for all the levels.

However, the ISEE essay topics for this test aim to evaluate the basic writing skills in a student and hence, these topics are not complex. Additionally, students can avail the official ISEE study guide "What to Expect on the ISEE" for free online at for all levels. This study guide contains information on all the test sections along with sample ISEE essay topics and writing strategies.

In general, the ISEE essay topics include the narration of a situation are based on simple experiential writing. Alongside, it could be a hypothetical question which would require students to share their viewpoints on it. Few ISEE essay topics for all levels of this exam are mentioned below:

ISEE Essay Topics- Lower Level:

  • Identify a friend or a family member who deserves a special day. Explain why this person deserves a special day. Then describe one thing you might want to plan for this special day.

  • Describe your favorite subject in school and why is it your favorite subject?

  • Think about some of the books you have read. What is one character you admire and why?

ISEE Essay Topics- Middle Level:

  • If you could improve your school in one way, what would that be? Describe the improvement you would make and explain how it would benefit students.

  • If you could change something about your community, what would it be?

  • What is your favorite thing to do when you have free time? Why is this important to you?

ISEE Essay Topics- Upper Level:

  • Describe what you would consider a "really successful person." Explain why you consider this person and this person's qualities to be successful.

  • What do you feel is the most important problem the world faces today and what is one thing you can do to help solve it?

  • Schools offer many extracurricular opportunities. Describe one extracurricular opportunity you would like to pursue.

Helpful Essay Writing Tips:

  1. It should be known that there is no word limitation set by ERB for the Essay Writing test. Hence, it is often assumed by students that writing lengthy essays would help them increase their score. However, it should be known that through this test, only the approach and use of language is evaluated.

  2. Since students are required to mention their opinions, it is suggested they should organize their thoughts on the subject matter rather than writing the essay right away.

  3. It is also best to use simple language for the ISEE essay topics given, with good vocabulary rather than using complex words in the essay. This would also help the students in minimizing writing errors while solving this test.

There are many good resources available in the online and offline markets which can help students improve their performance in this test. These study guides contain writing strategies which can help students along with solved samples on many ISEE essay topics.

For example, the SSAT & ISEE for Dummies ( and Cracking the SSAT & ISEE
( are some helpful study resources which students can utilize.

Since the essays are evaluated by schools, it is essential that students perform well in the Essay Writing test. Therefore, it is suggested that students prepare on various ISEE essay topics in order to attain a high score and clear this test with flying colors!

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