ISEE Tests

7 Essentials of ISEE

The ISEE tests (Independent School Entrance Exam) are admission tests for the school students who are looking to shift to private schools from the public schooling system in the U.S. These tests are designed and offered by ERB, an educational services institution. This article provides its readers with a summary of the 7 most important aspects of these tests.

The 7 Essential Aspects of the ISEE tests:

  1. Purpose

    The primary purpose of the ISEE tests is to provide the private schools with a mechanism to select the students that satisfy their independent academic criteria. These tests evaluate the academic skills of the students in the basic skills of Math, Reading and English and the questions posed in them are organized into corresponding test sections.

  2. Test Categories

    There are 3 categories in the ISEE tests, namely; Lower-level, Middle-level and Upper-level. As the names suggest, each level is designed for the students who are seeking entry into different grades, respectively; Grades 5 & 6, Grades 7 & 8 and Grades 8-12.

  3. Test Components

    The ISEE tests consist of 5 test sections, namely; Verbal Reasoning, Mathematics Achievement, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension and Essay Writing. The skills and knowledge-areas tested in each test section are summarized as follows:

    • Verbal Reasoning - Vocabulary and sentence completion skills.

    • Quantitative Reasoning - Grade-specific quantitative and problem-solving skills, along with proficiency in understanding quantitative comparisons.

    • Reading Comprehension - Reading comprehension, analysis and evaluation skills.

    • Mathematics Achievement - A grade-specific breakdown of the knowledge-areas assessed in this test section are listed as follows:

      Lower-Level ISEE: Arithmetic, Geometry and Algebra.
      Upper and Middle Level ISEE: Concepts concerning Geometric Principles, Connections and Measurements, Probability, Numerical entities such as Fractions, Percents, Decimals, Whole numbers etc.
    • Essay - Grade-specific proficiency in composing well-written essays that exhibit correct usage of grammar and syntax, good structure and flow of ideas.

    It is important to know that many private schools attach a lot of importance to the Math and Analytical skills of the students trying to seek admissions to their schools and that all the test sections, except the Essay section consist of multiple-choice questions.

  4. Format

    At all levels, the ISEE tests are available in two formats; namely, paper-based and computer-based formats. Both of these test formats consist of the same question types, test durations, rules and regulations etc. The single difference between these formats is that the essay must be hand-written in the paper-based format, whereas it must be typed in the computer-based format.

  5. Time Limits

    The Upper and Middle-level ISEE tests are 2 hours and 40 minutes long, whereas the Lower-level tests are 2 hours and 20 minutes long. Moreover, each test section has a specific time-limit and these limits vary across the 3 test levels. For a complete list of these time limits, you may download this document from the official ISEE website -

  6. Registration

    There are 3 available methods to register for the PBT ISEE tests, namely; email, phone and online registration methods; whereas for the CBT tests, the only option available is the online registration method. While registering, you may also select any of the 3 types of testing centers; namely, ERB Testing Offices, Group or Individual Testing Centers. The Group testing or Consortium centers are actually a group of private schools that come together to establish common testing rules and regulations and administer their ISEE tests as a single unit. Individual Testing centers are private schools that hold the ISEE test on their own campus with the approval of ERB. During the process of registration, the students or their parents may select up-to 6 schools to which the ISEE score reports will be sent across.

    To view a complete list of the different types of ISEE test centers, you may visit this link -
    To register for the ISEE test, click on-

  7. Scoring

    All sections of the ISEE tests, except the Essay section, are scored electronically. The essays are not evaluated by ERB, but by the schools themselves based on their individual criteria. The ISEE score report consists of a total scaled-score in the range of 760-790 and a percentile ranking of the student against a peer group of test-takers from the last 3 years of testing called the norm group. The score transcripts are sent to the schools selected during the registration process and a copy is also sent to the parents.

Thus far, we have covered all the chief aspects of the ISEE tests. We hope that the information in this article has provided the students and their parents with a clear road-map on how to plan for this exam. For further details, please visit the official ISEE website -

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