Comparison of Utility of Taking ISEE and SSAT

SSAT ISEE refer to the Secondary School Admission Test and the Independent School Entrance Examination respectively. Either of these examinations has to be taken by students, to take admission in schools of the United States of America. Both of these are standardized examinations. Though students and their parents are in a dilemma regarding which of these entrance examinations is going to be beneficial for students, in their future educational endeavours it should be understood that both these examinations cannot be placed on a single competitive plane, as the purpose and scope of both these examinations seem to differ from each other. A student should clearly define his purpose of taking a school admission test, and then identify which of these examinations is going to serve this purpose better.

SSAT or ISEE- Which Examination is for You?

Given below are some points based on which you can decide between SSAT ISEE:

  1. Grade Range for Testing - The ISEE is taken by school students for admission into grades ranging from 5-12, while the SSAT is taken for admission into grades ranging from 4-12. Hence, if you want your child to take admission in grade 4, he/she has to take the SSAT.

  2. Testing Content Areas - SSAT ISEE differ in their testing content areas. SSAT has fewer testing areas than ISEE.

    • The Mathematics Achievement section, which is a part of ISEE, is not present in the SSAT. Rather, the SSAT organizes the Maths content area as a consolidated whole, as a part of the Quantitative Reasoning section. As the number of questions pertaining to Mathematics is fewer in the SSAT than in ISEE, students who are not comfortable with Mathematics can opt for SSAT.

    • The Verbal section of the SSAT aims to test the student’s analogical thinking ability, while that of the ISEE aims to test the concept-appropriateness matching ability. The ISEE Verbal Reasoning section seems to test a wider range of language skills than that of SSAT. However, if the student is good with analogical thinking, he can always opt for SSAT.

    • The Essay section of SSAT offers a choice of topics to choose from, whereas the Essay section of ISEE does not offer a choice. Hence, if you are good at Essay Writing, and can write out on a randomly selected topic, you can opt for ISEE.

  3. Number of Answering Alternatives - SSAT ISSE offer 5 alternatives and 4 alternatives, respectively, as answer choices to questions. The students should remember that greater the number of alternatives, the tougher it will be for choosing an appropriate answer from them. If a student is very thorough with a testing subject, and has good ability to identify the subtle differences between the different answer choices, and identify the most appropriate amongst them, one should opt for the SSAT.

  4. Negative Marking - The SSAT has negative marking for answers that are not answered correctly, whereas the ISEE does not have such a penalty for questions that are answered wrong. Hence, the SSAT is for only those students who are very thorough with their knowledge of a subject, and are confident about answering all the questions correctly. By taking the ISEE, you have an opportunity to attempt questions for which you do not know the exact answer, but for which you, can make clever guesses. Hence, the ISEE gives you a chance to increase your score by making intelligent predictions and assumptions regarding the answers of questions, even though you may not know the exact answer to those. It happens often that a student may not be aware of all the topics covered in standardized tests such as SSAT ISEE. A test that does not have any negative marking comes with the advantage of being able to score, even though, understandably, you may not know the answer to some questions due to lack of awareness or memory issues.


SSAT ISEE are both entrance examinations for private schools. Both cater to the requirements of varied test takers. One has to decide upon taking one of these school entrance examinations based on the positive and negative points of both examinations as shown in the previous section.

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