ISEE Test Prep
The ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) measures verbal and quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, math achievement, and writing for placement in independent schools. There are four levels of the ISEE based on a student’s age and grade in school: primary, lower, middle, and upper-level.
ISEE vs. SSAT
Many wonder what the difference is between the ISEE and the SSAT. Both exams are used for admission to private middle and high schools and test vocabulary, math and reading comprehension. The biggest difference between the two is how a student’s abilities are tested in each section of the exam. When testing reading comprehension, passages on the ISEE tend to be longer than those on the SSAT. That being said, the SSAT includes a broader range of genres, including poetry. For testing vocabulary, the ISEE uses synonyms and sentence completion, whereas the SSAT uses synonyms and analogies. The other big difference between the two tests is that the ISEE places a heavier emphasis on mathematical reasoning than the SSAT does. If the independent school will allow either exam for entrance, students should take the test that’s better suited for their abilities.
The scoring system for the ISEE can be complex, but here’s a brief breakdown. All ISEE tests are scored by taking the sum of the scaled scores for the verbal and quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, and math achievement sections on the exam. The only section that is scored separately is the essay, which is forwarded to the schools instead of the ISEE so that the schools themselves can review it.
Each student who takes the ISEE will receive a raw score, which is the sum of correctly-answered questions on the exam. Each correct answer on the ISEE is worth one point and to account for differences in difficulty between the different exam dates, the raw score is scaled. The scaled scores are between 760 and 940.
After the score is scaled, each student will receive a percentile ranking for each of their section scores. The percentile ranking determines how the student’s scaled ISEE scores compare to the scores from previous students who took the test in the last three years and were in the same grade. The percentile ranking ranges from 1 to 99 and the higher the percentile ranking, the better the student did compared to other test takers.
Finally, each student will receive their stanine scores, which are based on percentile rankings. The stanine scores separate test takers into nine groups — the higher a student’s stanine score (from 1 to 9), the better the student did on the ISEE. Stanine scores provide a simple way for schools and parents to see how a student’s ISEE scores compare to other test-takers’.