ISEE Practice Test Lower Level PDF: Ace the ISEE!

If your child is applying to an independent school, being required to take the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is a strong possibility. The ISEE is accepted by over 1200 independent schools worldwide.

To increase your child’s chances of acceptance into one of these independent schools, preparation for the ISEE is crucial. One of the best ways to prepare for the ISEE is by taking practice exams.

So where can you download a ISEE practice test PDF online free? Look no further than the 2016 handbook created by the test-maker itself -- the Educational Records Bureau, or the ERB. The tests in the handbook are the gold standard for ISEE practice tests.

Though the practice tests released by the ERB do not contain actual questions given to students at previous administrations by the ERB of the ISEE, the questions are written by the same experts who write the ISEE tests. The tests also include answer keys.

Just click the button below to get an official ISEE practice test plus our 5 proven test prep strategies (culled from 16 years of prepping students for this test) for using official ISEE practice tests to effectively prepare.

As a bonus, we also include links to two additional Lower Level ISEE tests. Please note that the links to these tests will not provide you with official ISEE tests, but these tests can be effectively used for practice if strategically employed.

Get Lower Level ISEE Practice Test

In this article, we’ll also share helpful in-depth information about the Lower Level ISEE.

The Lower Level ISEE is used as an entrance exam for students entering grades 5 and 6. If your child will not be taking the Lower Level test, we have information on the Middle Level and Upper Level exams as well.

ISEE: The Basics

The ISEE was developed by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) for use as an admissions tool by its member schools.

Test material is based on the standards of leading educational institutions such as the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), International Reading Association (IRA), and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

The test measures a student’s verbal and quantitative reasoning and achievement skills and ranks these skills among other students in the same grade.

There are three different versions of the test:

  • Lower Level: Admission to Grades 5 and 6

  • Middle Level: Admission to Grades 7 and 8

  • Upper Level: Admission to Grades 9-12
  • At each level, students answer questions in five different sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning

  • Quantitative Reasoning

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Mathematics Achievement

  • Essay
  • The first four sections are entirely multiple choice, while the essay is a written response to a provided prompt. The essay is not scored, but it is sent to schools along with the student’s score report.

    The test is available in written and online formats and can be administered individually or in groups at approved ERB member schools, Prometric locations, or in ERB’s New York City office.

    ISEE Lower Level: Question Types

    Although we’ve provided an ISEE Practice Test Lower Level PDF, we still want to take some time to explain the types of questions your child will be asked on the test.

    Verbal Reasoning

    On the Lower Level, the Verbal Reasoning section contains 34 questions that must be answered in 20 minutes.

    There are two types of questions: vocabulary and sentence completion.

    The vocabulary questions will provide a grade-level appropriate word and ask your child to select the synonym from a list of four potential answers.

    On sentence completion questions, your child will read a sentence that is missing a word or phrase. From four provided answer choices, she will be asked to select the choice that most logically completes the sentence.

    Quantitative Reasoning

    The Quantitative Reasoning section consists of 38 questions, with 35 minutes allotted to complete them.

    At the Lower Level, this section consists of word problems. Little or no calculation is required to answer these questions.

    Question topics include geometry, measurement, estimating values, comparing and contrasting quantities, interpreting data, and determining probability.

    Reading Comprehension

    This section measures the ability to correctly answer curriculum-based questions that are grade-level appropriate as determined by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

    The section includes 25 questions, and students are given 25 minutes to answer them.

    Students read contemporary, high interest passages and answer questions demonstrating comprehension. Questions focus on the following:

  • Determining main idea

  • Identifying supporting details

  • Defining vocabulary in context

  • Identifying organizational elements such as structure, patterns, sequences, and relationships

  • Understanding mood, tone, point of view, and figurative language such as irony, personification, and imagery

  • Making inferences (drawing conclusions from content that is not explicitly stated in the passage)
  • Mathematics Achievement

    Like the Reading Comprehension portion of the test, this section is designed to measure your child’s ability to answer curriculum-based questions, this time related to mathematics. Questions are grade level appropriate as determined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

    Students are given 30 minutes to answer 30 questions.

    Unlike the Quantitative Reasoning questions, these questions will require one or more steps to solve. More calculation is necessary, and your child may need to know grade appropriate mathematical terminology.


    Your student will be provided with a 1-2 sentence writing prompt with a contemporary feel and a high level of interest. A wide variety of subjects may be represented.

    After reading the prompt, your child will have 30 minutes to craft a written response. Scratch paper for notes will be provided, in addition to two pre-lined pages for the essay.

    Essays are sent to schools along with your child’s score report, so the essay’s grading and weight will vary according to which school your child hopes to attend. Copies of the essay are not available for parents.

    Now that you have a basic understanding of ISEE test content, you can begin helping your child work through the ISEE Practice Test Lower Level PDF.

    How to Prepare for the ISEE

    We’ve already provided you with access to test prep strategies on how to use your ISEE Practice Test Lower Level PDF, but here are a few general tips about helping your child prepare for the ISEE.

    Remember to demonstrate confidence in your child’s ability to perform well on the ISEE, and be sure to avoid causing test anxiety.

    Throughout the school year, remind your child to be attentive in school and keep up with classwork, homework, and notes. Encourage your child to read a certain amount of words or pages each week to help improve vocabulary and comprehension.

    Lastly, help your child work through practice questions and full length practice tests in order to build confidence and familiarity with test content and structure. Our ISEE Practice Test Lower Level PDF is a great place to start!

    With the information, tips, and practice provided here, your child is well on her way to a successful performance on the ISEE.