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The Waterton Group Unlocks the ISEE

The ISEE (Independent School Entrance Examination) is a three-hour admission test used by many independent schools and magnet schools in the United States for entrance into grades 5 through 12. Developed and administered by the Educational Records Bureau, the ISEE consists of five sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, math achievement, and essay. The essay is not scored but is sent to schools along with the ISEE score report.

The ISEE has four levels: (1) Primary for entrance to grades 2 through 4, (2) Lower for entrance to grades 5 through 6, (3) Middle for entrance to grades 7 through 8, and (4) Upper for entrance to grades 9 through 12. With the exception of the primary level test, the ISEE can be administered online or as a paper test.

Waterton's one-on-one ISEE instruction begins with an assessment of a student's strengths and weaknesses vis-a-vis the test. Once the assessment is complete our Directors create a custom lesson plan and timeline leading up to the ISEE test date, and recommend the instructor on our team that is best suited for that particular student.

ISEE Highlights

  • Developed and administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB)
  • The ISEE is the admission test of choice for many private schools throughout the country and abroad.
  • Similar to the Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT
  • An applicant may take the ISEE only once per admission season or six month window.

Know the Test Like We Do

Verbal Reasoning
The ISEE Verbal Reasoning section consists of two parts: synonyms and sentence completions. Both types of question test a student’s reasoning skills and vocabulary. On the Upper and Middle Level tests there are 40 questions to be answered in 20 minutes. On the Lower Level test there are 34 questions to be answered in 20 minutes.

Quantitative Reasoning
The ISEE Quantitative Reasoning section is one of two math sections on the test. This section is designed to test a student's reasoning abilities, i.e. the ability to use your understanding of math to form opinions about how to solve math problems. Quantitative Reasoning questions require little or no calculations. Instead, the emphasis is on mathematical reasoning such as how to evaluate and interpret data, understanding and applying measurements, and how to estimate numerical values.

Reading Comprehension
The ISEE Reading Comprehension section tests a student''s ability to read and understand topical passages related to history, science, literature, and contemporary life. Questions in this section target six categories: main idea, supporting ideas, inference, vocabulary, organization/logic, and tone/style/figurative language.

Math Achievement
The ISEE Mathematics Achievement section tests math skills you have learned from the very beginning of your schooling. Specifically, the Mathematics Achievement section will test your ability to identify and solve the following kinds of problems: number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, analysis and probability, and problem solving.

On the Essay section of the ISEE test, you will be asked to write a short essay in response to an assigned writing prompt. Writing prompts include topics of interest to students at your level. Though unscored, this part of the test gives students an opportunity to demonstrate how well you organize your thoughts and express them in a written format.

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