ISEE Practice Test Middle Level PDF: Get Ready for the ISEE!

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is the premier admissions assessment for independent schools. It is used by over 1200 independent schools worldwide, including the City of Boston’s Exam Schools.

If your child is applying to one of these independent schools, preparation for the ISEE is key. Taking practice exams is one of the most effective ways to prepare for the ISEE, and fortunately there are free practice exams available online.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a link to access an official ISEE Practice Test Middle Level PDF, with answer keys. We also will provide our top five test prep tips (learned after 16 years of prepping students for the ISEE) for using official ISEE practice tests to effectively prepare for exam day.

This official ISEE test is from the 2016 handbook created by the test-maker itself -- the Educational Records Bureau(ERB), so you can rest assured that your child is practicing with 'gold standard' material.

Just click the button below to get the practice test PLUS 5 proven test prep strategies. As a bonus, we also include links to two other Middle Level ISEE tests (note the links will not provide you with additional official ISEE tests, but these tests available can still be effectively used as part of an ISEE study plan).

Get Middle Level ISEE Practice Test

We also provide some in-depth information on the ISEE middle level test in this article so read on to learn more.

The Middle Level ISEE is used as an entrance exam for students entering grades 7 and 8. If your child does not fall into this category, we have information on the Lower Level and Upper Level exams as well.

ISEE: The Basics

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

Test content is designed using standards developed by leading educational institutions including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM, and the International Reading Association (IRA).

The test measures an applicant’s verbal and quantitative reasoning and achievement skills and compares these skills to those of 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
  • Regardless of level, students answer questions in five major areas:

  • Verbal Reasoning

  • Quantitative Reasoning

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Mathematics Achievement

  • Essay
  • The first four sections are entirely multiple choice. Aside from the Reading Comprehension section, the multiple choice sections of the test are arranged with questions increasing in difficulty.

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

    ISEE Middle Level: Question Types

    Although we have provided an ISEE Practice Test Middle Level PDF, we also want to mention some helpful information about each of the question types your child will be asked.

    Verbal Reasoning

    Middle Level Students are given 20 minutes to answer 40 Verbal Reasoning questioning.

    There are two types of questions on this section of the test: sentence completion and vocabulary.

    For the vocabulary questions, your child will be asked to select a provided word’s synonym from a list of four possible answer choices. Vocabulary is grade-level appropriate.

    The Middle Level sentence completion questions require students to choose the word that logically completes the meaning of the given sentence.

    Quantitative Reasoning

    This section of the test includes 37 questions that must be answered in 35 minutes.

    One of two math sections on the ISEE, Quantitative Reasoning measures a student’s ability to reason mathematically, rather than the ability to calculate. Little or no calculation will be required for the questions on this section.

    Your child may be asked to estimate values, compare and contrast quantities, analyze and interpret data, summarize graphs, determine probability, understand concepts and applications of measurement, and answer questions relating to geometry.

    Middle Level students answer these questions in two formats: word problems and quantitative comparison questions.

    All comparison questions have the same four answer choices: the quantity in Column A is greater, the quantity in Column B is greater, the two quantities are equal, or the relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

    Reading Comprehension

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

    The section includes 36 questions, and students are given 35 minutes to complete them.

    Students read contemporary, high interest passages and answer comprehension questions based on the information in the passages. Questions focus on the following skills:

  • Determining main idea

  • Identifying supporting details

  • Defining vocabulary in context, usually in the form of “most nearly means”

  • Identifying organizational elements such as structure, patterns, sequences, and relationships as well as major text features of different literary genres

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

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

    This section is also 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 40 minutes to answer 47 questions.

    Questions focus on Numbers and Operation, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis and Probability, and Problem Solving.

    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.


    On the last section of the ISEE, your student will be provided with a 1-2 sentence writing prompt with a contemporary feel and a high level of interest. The question is randomly chosen from a collection of over 100 prompts related to a wide variety of subjects.

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

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

    Now that you know key information about ISEE test content, you can begin helping your child work through the ISEE Practice Test Middle Level PDF.

    How to Prepare for the ISEE

    Downloading the ISEE Practice Test Middle Level PDF means that you will also receive our proven test prep strategies for using ISEE practice tests, but we also wanted to include here some additional basic tips to help your child succeed on 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, encourage your child to pay attention in class and keep up with notes, classwork, and homework. It’s also a good idea to have your child read a certain amount of minutes or pages each week in order to improve reading comprehension and expand vocabulary.

    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 Middle Level PDF is a great starting point!

    With the information, tips, and practice questions found here, we hope that your child performs to her fullest potential on the ISEE and gets admitted to the school of your choice.