The Independent School Entrance Exam or ISEE is used for admission to many private elementary, middle, and high schools.

This test measures verbal, math, reading comprehension and essay writing skills. The ISEE format for all students is similar, but the content is divided into four grade-specific iterations: primary ISEE (2nd-4th grades), lower level (5th-6th grades), middle level (7th-8th grades), and upper level (9th-12th grades).

For all students, we suggest taking an initial practice test ahead of time to determine individual needs and necessary timing. In general students should begin preparing about six to eight months in advance. Students may register to take the ISEE up to three times in a 12-month admission cycle, once in any or all of three testing seasons. The seasons are Fall (August–November), Winter (December–March), and Spring/Summer (April–July).

How does the scoring system work?

The ISEE scores are called ‘stanines’. The lowest score is a ‘1’, and the highest score is a ‘9’. The stanines correspond to percentiles, as shown in this chart:

Another way to look at the scoring is this: a 9 is an ‘A+’, an 8 is an ‘A’, a 7 is an ‘A-‘, a 6 is a ‘B’, a 5 is a ‘B-/C+’, and a 4 is a ‘C-‘. You’ll notice from looking at the chart that very few students receive 9’s (only 4%), whereas many students receive 5’s (20%).

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