ISEE Practice Test Upper Level PDF: Prep for the ISEE!

If you’re hoping your child will be admitted to an independent school, there’s a strong possibility that he will need to take the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE). The ISEE is a widely accepted admissions exam for independent schools worldwide.

To increase your child’s chances of acceptance into one of these independent schools, preparation for the ISEE is crucial.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a link to access an official ISEE Practice Test Upper Level PDF, with answer keys. Completing full-length practice tests is one of the most effective test preparation strategies, and doing this will help put your child on the path to success with the ISEE.

We also will provide you with our top five test prep tips (learned through 16 years of preparing students for the ISEE) for using official practice tests to effectively prepare.

The official ISEE test is from the 2016 handbook created by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB), which is the creator of the ISEE test. That means that this test contains the material that most closely resembles that which your child will face on test day.

Just click the button below to get the practice test, plus our 5 proven test prep strategies for using practice tests in your study plan.

As a bonus, we also include links to two other Middle Level ISEE tests (note the links will not provide you with further official ISEE tests, but these unofficial tests can still be an important part of a test prep program.

Get Upper Level ISEE Test

Our goal is to share helpful and in-depth information about the ISEE, so read on to learn more about the Upper Level of this challenging test

The Upper Level ISEE is used as an entrance exam for students entering grades 9-12. If your child will not be taking the Upper Level test, we have information on the Middle Level and Lower Level exams as well.

ISEE: The Basics

The ISEE was developed by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) to be used as a challenging admissions tool by its member schools.

Test content and questions are based on the rigorous standards of leading educational institutions including the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), International Reading Association (IRA), and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

The test is designed to measure a student’s verbal and quantitative reasoning and achievement skills relative to the abilities 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 the level, all students answer questions in five different sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning

  • Quantitative Reasoning

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Mathematics Achievement

  • Essay
  • The first four sections of the test are entirely multiple choice. With the exception of the Reading Comprehension portion, the multiple choice sections feature questions that increase in difficulty as the test progresses.

    On the other hand, the essay is a written response to a provided prompt. The essay is not scored, but it is sent to schools of interest in addition to the student’s score report.

    Available in both online and paper-pencil formats, the ISEE can be administered individually or in groups at approved ERB member schools, Prometric locations, or in ERB’s New York City office.

    The Upper Level test takes a total of 160 minutes to complete. Two 5-10 minute breaks are given.

    ISEE Upper Level: Question Types

    In addition to providing an ISEE Practice Test Upper Level PDF, we want to share some helpful information about the various sections of the exam.

    Verbal Reasoning

    On the Upper Level, the Verbal Reasoning section consists of 40 questions that must be answered in 20 minutes.

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

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

    On sentence completion questions, your child will read a sentence that is missing a word or, on the Upper Level exam, multiple words. From four provided answer choices, he will be asked to select the word or words that most logically complete the sentence.

    Quantitative Reasoning

    The Quantitative Reasoning section contains a total of 37 questions, with 35 minutes allotted to complete them.

    At the Upper Level, this section consists of word problems and quantitative comparisons.

    Each quantitative comparison question has the same four answer choices: the value in Column A is greater, the value in Column B is greater, the two values are equal, or there is not enough information to determine the relationship.

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

    Since this section is designed simply to measure the ability to reason mathematically, little to no calculation is required for these questions.

    Reading Comprehension

    While the two previous sections measure reasoning abilities and student potential, the Reading Comprehension section asks curriculum-based questions related to information that should have been previously taught. Questions are grade-level appropriate as determined by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

    The section gives students 35 minutes to answer 36 questions..

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

  • Determining main idea and theme

  • 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 the major features of different literary genres

  • Understanding mood, tone, point of view, and figurative language such as simile, metaphor, hyperbole, 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 curriculum-based skills that your student should have acquired in school, 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.

    Unlike the Quantitative Reasoning questions, these questions will require calculation and typically involve more than one step. Your child may need an understanding of grade level appropriate mathematical terminology.

    Most questions will relate to the following topics:

  • Number and Operations

  • Algebra

  • Geometry

  • Measurement

  • Data Analysis and Probability

  • Problem Solving
  • Essay

    Your child will receive a 1-2 sentence writing prompt designed to be contemporary and high interest. A wide variety of topics may be represented, with prompts being randomly chosen from a selection of over 100 thought provoking topics.

    After reading the prompt, your child will have 30 minutes to craft a written response. Two pre-lined pages will be provided for writing the essay, and no additional pages will be given. Your student will also receive a sheet of scratch paper for notes and planning.

    Although essays are not scored, they are sent to schools along with your child’s score report. The scoring and weight of the essay will vary according to which schools your child is hoping to attend.

    This basic understanding of test content can help you be more informed and effective as you work through the ISEE Practice Test Upper Level PDF with your child.

    How to Prepare for the ISEE

    We will be sending you practical and targeted test prep information when you sign up for your free ISEE Practice Test Upper Level PDF, but we also included here a few additional more general tips to help your child prepare for the ISEE.

    To encourage your child, it is important to demonstrate confidence in your child’s ability to perform well on the exam. Be sure to avoid causing test anxiety. Remind your child that the test is only one portion of the application process and that you will be proud of him regardless of the outcome.

    Since some sections on the ISEE are curriculum based, advise your child to pay attention in class and keep up with classwork, homework, and notes throughout the school year. It is also a good idea to encourage your child to read regularly in order to improve reading comprehension and vocabulary.

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

    Use the tips, information, and practice questions provided here to help your child reach his fullest potential on the ISEE.