ISEE in a Nutshell

The ISEE refers to the Independent School Entrance Examination that is taken by school students of United States for admission in 5th grade-12th grade in independent and magnet schools. The ISEE is available in 3 levels:

  • Lower- for admission in 5th - 6th grades
  • Middle- for admission in 7th - 9th grades
  • Upper - for admission in 10 - 12th grades

A student has to take an ISEE examination according to the Level in which he wants to take admission.

The ISEE is an advanced level examination that is administered in 400 Prometric test centres from all over the world. It is a standardized examination which also provides the students an idea of their academic ranking in comparison to their peers who have taken the test.

The standards of the ISEE are compatible with the standards of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and the International Reading Association (IRA).

Detailed information about the ISEE can be found on its official website: It is recommended that a student wanting to appear for the ISEE reads this website carefully, as it contains important information. Sections of the ISEE

The ISEE consists of the following subsections:

  1. Verbal Reasoning - This section is present in all the Levels of the ISEE, with questions of different levels of difficulty. The questions of this section, which are of the objective-type, need to be completed with synonyms or the words which are grammatically most appropriate. The Lower Level test consists of 34 questions that have to be answered in 20 minutes, while the Middle and Upper Level examinations consist of 40 questions each that need to be answered in 20 minutes, each.

  2. Quantitative Reasoning - This section of the ISEE consists of objective-type questions that require basic quantitative skills, to answer. The duration of answering this section is 35 minutes. The Lower Level consists of 37 questions while the Middle and Upper Levels consist of 38 questions each. This section consists of questions pertaining to Word Problems and Quantitative Comparisons, with the Lower Level examination consisting of only Word Problems.

  3. Reading Comprehension - This section, which is a part of all the three levels of the ISEE, consists of objective-type questions that test the students' skills to comprehend a given passage and logically organize the answers. This section, which contains questions from a number of topics from social sciences and general knowledge, offers 25 questions to be answered in 25 minutes in the Lower Level, while it offers 35 questions that need to be answered in 35 minutes, in the Upper and Middle Levels.

  4. Mathematics Achievement - This section, which is present in the ISEE of all the three levels, consists of questions that test the Mathematical ability of the students. The questions of the Quantitative Reasoning section also test basic Mathematics, but the type of questions asked in this section are different from those of the Mathematics Achievement. The Lower Level consists of 30 questions that need to be answered in 30 minutes, while the Middle and Upper Levels consist of 47 questions each that need to be answered in 40 minutes each.

  5. ISEE Essay - In this section, the student has to write a sample essay in 30 minutes, on a topic that is allotted to him spontaneously by the examiner. This essay is not scored. It is only used by the school admission authorities to evaluate the Writing Skills of the student.

Certain Important Points about ISEE

  • The overall score obtained in the ISEE is used to decide upon the admission of a student in the school in which he applies.

  • The ISEE is scored on different scales. The Raw score is the score on the number of questions calculated correctly. This test does not have any negative marking. The raw score is mapped on to scaled scores. The ISEE score report consists of percentiles.

  • The ISEE norm group refers to a group of students who appeared for a particular grade over the last three years. The ranking of the students is based on the norm group.


The ISEE is a prestigious examination that students take for seeking admission into different schools of independent schools and magnet schools of the United States of America. One should visit the official website of this examination ( ) for registration, and to collect further knowledge about it.

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