ISEE Test Prep for NYC Private Schools | Does my Child Need to Take the ISEE?

New York City has so many tests that students might need to take: the Hunter test for Hunter College High School, the Specialized High School Admissions Test for the specialized high schools, and of course the year-end state exams. One more test to consider is the ISEE, which actually isn’t specific to New York! The ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) is used for admission to independent and magnet schools around the country, and it has three levels: one for elementary admission, one for middle school students, and one for high school test-takers. For families who are familiar with the SSAT, the ISEE is similar in terms of content.

ISEE Test Prep for NYC Private Schools | Who Takes the ISEE?

Any student who wants to attend an independent school or magnet school may need to take the ISEE in order to be admitted. While Catholic schools typically require TACHS scores, most other independent schools accept ISEE scores during the admissions process. Children from grades five and up may need to complete the ISEE if they plan to switch to one of these schools.

ISEE Test Prep for NYC Private Schools | What Level Does My Child Have to Take?

The three levels of the ISEE correspond to late elementary school, middle school, and high school admissions. Students up to grade five should take the Lower Level ISEE, while students in sixth or seventh grade should take the Middle Level, and students in eighth grade and above should take the Upper Level ISEE. One important point is that test-takers can only sit for the ISEE once every six months. We suggest that students take an exam for practice and sit for the real test six months later, or put in serious prep and plan to get a high score on the first try.

ISEE Test Prep for NYC Private Schools | What's On the ISEE?

Based on the level of the ISEE, timing and the number of questions can vary. Each level does have similar sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, math problems, and a mandatory essay. The essay section is not factored into students’ final scores, but a copy of the essay does get sent out to each school where a student applies.

There aren’t many surprises in the test content. Verbal reasoning tests students on synonyms and completing sentences. The quantitative reasoning section includes word problems, with additional qualitative comparison problems for Middle and Upper levels. Reading comprehension requires students to answer questions on five or six passages. The math section covers topics students should have learned in school. Finally, the ungraded (but still important) essay gives students half an hour to respond to a prompt.

Are You Considering Test Prep for the ISEE?

Preparation for the ISEE does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation can be transformative and last a lifetime. Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the ISEE exam, but they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus. Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how Origins Tutoring can help your child achieve his or her personal best on the ISEE test.