Comparative Assessment of SSAT and ISEE

Which is Better- ISEE or SSAT?

SSAT school entrance exam and ISEE school entrance exam are the two most popular entrance examinations in the United States. Students and their parents, from all over the world, are often in doubt regarding which one the students should opt for, in order to secure admission in a good school of their choice. Hence, the students and their parents should understand that one of these school entrance examinations cannot be judged as better than the other because both have their respective merits and demerits, which are again based on individualistic judgement. The characteristics that may appear as merits for one individual may contribute to demerits as per another individual. However, by knowing the features of these tests, a student can decide upon the examination that is better for him/her in comparison to the other.

Which is Better - ISEE or SSAT?

As discussed earlier, it is not possible to generally declare the better examination between the two, as both of these school entrance examinations are designed for test takers with different requirements. However, a comparison of the two examinations is given below for one to decide upon which of these examinations will prove to be better than the other for his/her individualistic requirements:

  1. SSAT is to be taken by those seeking admission in 4th grade- Both the examinations are available for those seeking admission in schools from the 5th grade - 12th grade. However, for those wanting to take admission in the 4th grade, SSAT is the only examination available.

  2. For facing fewer questions in the Mathematics section, the SSAT is better- SSAT has the Mathematics section in its Quantitative section. In ISEE, questions from Mathematics can be seen in both the Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics sections. Hence, there are more Mathematics questions in the latter than in the former. If a student is not comfortable with answering Mathematics questions, he/she has to choose SSAT.

  3. Attempt ISEE for a more generalised Verbal section- The Verbal section in the ISEE is more generalized than it is in the SSAT, as it has Sentence Completion questions that need to be answered with answers that fit accurately in the sentences in the question, with respect to concept and grammar. The Verbal section of SSAT, on the other hand, tests one's ability to draw analogies. Hence, students good at analogical thinking can prefer SSAT.

  4. Essay section of SSAT allows a choice, for selection of essays- The Essay section of SSAT gives you an opportunity to choose between a couple of given topics. Such a choice is not available with the ISEE essay section. Hence a student can choose SSAT, if he/she wants a choice in the essay section

  5. Fewer answering alternatives make ISEE an easier option - The SSAT presents 5 answering alternatives, whereas the ISEE presents only 4. ISEE is advantageous in this aspect since it is easier and less time consuming to arrive at the correct answer from fewer available choices. More answering alternatives implies, greater granularity in the alternatives, which makes it tougher for one to select a correct answer in comparison to questions that have fewer answering alternatives to choose from. Hence, one should opt for ISEE when there is a choice.

  6. Negative marking in SSAT makes it less favourable for test takers than ISEE - Both the tests have questions from a wide variety of topics. Hence, it is not easy for one to know the correct answer for each and every question given in the test. Negative marking for wrong answers makes a test tough. SSAT has negative marking for wrong answers, whereas ISEE does not. Hence, you should opt for SSAT only if you are conceptually very clear in the subject areas on which you will be tested.

  7. Test Dates- SSAT has 3 types of test dates, the National Test Date, the Flex Test dates, and the Regional Flex Test dates from which one can choose the dates on which one wants to appear for the test. Most of the flexi dates of SSAT allow the student to take the SSAT only once a year. The ISEE, on the other hand, has only one testing date plan under which one can opt for taking the test. Moreover, a minimum of six months' time gap is prescribed for two subsequent attempts of the ISEE. In this aspect, one has to consider individual preferences in order to choose between the two.


Both the tests are mostly similar, though they differ in certain aspects. It is for the students and their parents to understand which of these examinations will be beneficial for them and choose the one that they feel better. For more information, please visit and, respectively.