Independent School Entrance Examination

Independent School Entrance Examination

Independent School Entrance Examination

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The Independent School Entrance Examination, or ISEE, is an entrance exam used by many independent schools and magnet schools in the United States. Developed and administered by the Educational Records Bureau, the ISEE has three levels: the Lower level, for entrance in grades 5-6; Middle level, for entrance in grades 7-8; Upper level, for entrance in grades 9-12. All levels consist of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, and a 30-minute essay.

Verbal Reasoning

This section consists of two parts: synonyms and sentence completions. On the Upper and Middle Levels there are 40 questions to be answered in 20 minutes. On the Lower Level there are 34 questions to be answered in 20 minutes.

Quantitative Reasoning

On the Lower Level, there are 38 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. On the Upper and Middle Levels, there are 37 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. The Lower Level consists of Word Problems, and the Middle and Upper levels consist of Word Problems and Quantitative Comparisons.

All questions found in the two math sections of the ISEE are linked to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards. The ISEE uses the following NCTM strands as a basis for the Quantitative Reasoning section:

  • Numbers and Operations
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Measurement
  • Data Analysis and Probability
  • Problem Solving


Reading Comprehension

On the Lower Level, there are 25 questions to be answered in 25...
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