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What is the ISEE?
The ISEE consists of five sections at three levels designed to measure the verbal and quantitative reasoning and achievement of students in grades 4–11 seeking admission to grades 5–12 in independent schools. Students seeking admission to grades 5 or 6 take the Lower Level; students seeking admission to grades 7 or 8 take the Middle Level; and students seeking admission to grades 9–12 take the Upper Level.
When can you take the ISEE?
Students can take the ISEE up to three times in a 12-month admission cycle, once in any or all of the three testing seasons. The seasons are Fall (August–November), Winter (December–March), and Spring/Summer (April–July).
What is tested on the ISEE?
The five sections that make up the ISEE are (in order of testing): Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, and an Essay which is written by the student in response to a given writing prompt.
What do all these acronyms stand for?
What types of questions are on the ISEE?
The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Math Achievement sections contain only multiple-choice questions. Each question has four choices. Only one answer is the correct or “best” answer. The Essay section requires the student to write an essay in response to a prompt.
How long is the ISEE Lower Level Test (Grades 4-5)?
Total: 2 hours, 20 minutes
How long is the ISEE Middle Level Test (Grades 6-7)?
Total: 2 hours, 40 minutes
How long is the ISEE Upper Level Test (Grades 8-11)?
Total: 2 hours, 40 minutes
What does the ISEE measure?
The ISEE does not measure your student's IQ. It measures the readiness level of the student and academic standing. Is the student prepared for the school of his or her choice?
Are there any breaks during the test?
There are two breaks—one following the Quantitative Reasoning section and another following the Math Achievement section. Each break is five to ten minutes long.
How soon will I receive my student's scores?
The ISR is posted to the parent online account after scoring, which is approximately 10–14 days after testing. For paper testing, optional expedited receipt of scores online is available to you for an additional $40. This enables the parent to receive the scores on the day the test is scored. An email will be sent to notify you when the scores have posted to your online account, usually the Monday, Wednesday, or Friday after the test.
What happens to my scores?
After paper testing, answers and essays are sent to the ISEE Operations Office for scoring of the four multiple choice sections and production of the Individual Student Report (ISR). Copies of the ISR may be emailed to the parent, ERB members, or both. The ISR is posted to the parent online account after scoring, which is approximately 10–14 days after testing. The essay, which is not scored and not released to the parent, is released online (with the ISR) to ERB members. School score reports do not list any recipients other than the individual school receiving the report.
What materials should students bring to the test?
For paper testing only, students should bring four #2 pencils and two pens with either blue or black ink. Students may choose to use erasable ink.
What materials are prohibited during the test?
Most materials other than writing implements are prohibited. Specifically, scratch paper, calculators, calculator watches, rulers, protractors, compasses, dictionaries, and thesauruses are NOT permitted during the actual test.
Will my student be penalized for wrong answers?
Scores are based on the number of correct answers. There is no penalty for wrong answers on the ISEE. So, answer every question, and guess when necessary.
What is the difference between the 'raw' and 'scaled' scores?
A raw score represents the number correct. If a student got 31 items correct, then the raw score is simply 31. A scaled score is a raw score that has been converted to a different numerical scale, e.g., 200–800. The raw score scale ranges from 0–maximum score, while the scaled score range consists of higher numbers with a somewhat arbitrary minimum and maximum score. The range of scaled scores on the ISEE is 760–940.
What in the world is a 'stanine'?
The test is the same for different grade levels, e.g. upper level is for 8 to 11 graders. How will be my student judged?
A stanine score is based on percentile ranks. Percentile ranks range from 1–99, while stanines range from 1–9. In general, a stanine score of 1–3 is below average, 4–6 is average, and 7–9 is above average.
Percentile Rank Stanine
This is a common question parents have. Your student gets a percentile rank and is only compared to students at the same grade level over the past 3 years. So a 9th grader will only be compared to other 9th graders.
How do I sign up for the test?
Sign up here! https://iseeonline.erblearn.org/
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Image from Pixabay
A dictionary definition of character is: "the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual."
That is exactly what schools are looking for. They want to know you -- your mental and moral qualities. Many students get A+ grades and perfect or almost perfect test scores, but what makes them unique and stand out?
A child’s personality and character have always been important to the independent school admission process, but they did not have a tool to measure the character skills a student is developing or has already developed.
A tool is now available. It is called The Character Skills Snapshot, which is a new online assessment that provides schools with a more holistic view of your child. It measures your child’s character skill development and is meant to complement more traditional assessments, such as the SSAT, the ISEE or the HSPT. The Character Skills Snapshot gives admission teams richer holistic information and illuminates areas where their school can help your child grow, thrive, and shine.
Why should you care about the Character Skills Snapshot? Remember that one of the reasons you want your child in an independent school is an education that focuses on instilling character values and encouraging personal growth.
Schools know that a complete picture of your child contains much more than grades and test scores. That’s why they are asking your child to take The Character Skills Snapshot as part of their application. It will give them richer information about your child, and show them areas where they can help your child grow.
Admission teams will use the information provided from The Character Skills Snapshot to complement ISEE or SSAT test scores, interviews, grades, letters of recommendation, and other information.
The Character Snapshot
Snapshot was designed by test experts and independent school admission professionals to measure eight skills they deemed important when considering applications: intellectual curiosity, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, resilience, self-control, open-mindedness, and social awareness.
If you need help in applying to private high schools and/or want help on preparing for the ISEE and/or SSAT tests, please feel free to contact us. We offer high school admission consulting and ISEE/SSAT test prep.
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ISEE or SSAT? That is the question!
Though both tests are accepted by most private, non-parochial schools, they are different in many ways.
An overview of differences:
Below are more details on the differences between the ISEE and the SSAT.
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1. You are penalized for wrong answers.
On the Middle and Upper Levels, students receive one point for every correct answer, and they lose one-quarter point for each wrong answer for questions with five possible responses. No points are lost for skipping a question. (For this reason, it only makes sense to guess if one or more answers can be eliminated.) There is no penalty for incorrect answers on the Elementary Level. (In this case, guessing is advised.) Guess if you get it down to two possible answers.
2. The language section is strongly inferential.
SSAT is all about strategies. The language section is much more inferential and more answers to choose from than the ISEE and the HSPT. Inference is using both inductive and deducting reasoning to come to an assumption or conclusion. So it comes down to how much of a versatile thinker you are. If you are too abstract, you have to practice being more literal, and vice-versa.
Learn Hillview Prep's method how to approach inferential problems. That is the key to do really well on the SSAT. Use Hillview Prep's Smart Scoring System to diagnose where what you need to be more versatile: how can you use your strengths to conquer your weaknesses.
3. The verbal section is grueling
The section is longer and fast paced. The SSAT includes one 30-minute verbal section, which is composed of 30 synonym questions and 30 analogy questions. Given the time limit and the number of questions, students have approximately 30 seconds to answer each question. There are more choices and again the presentation is inferential.
Contact us to help you prepare well for your SSAT test.
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1. The test is fast-paced.
The ISEE is a standardized test administered over a three-hour period. Students have less than a minute to answer most questions, and on some sections they only have half a minute to answer each question.
The reading section is very fast-paced; students are given six minutes in total to read a passage (usually about 60 lines in length) and answer six questions related to the passage. The answers are not always easy to find in the passage; there are many inference questions, which require that students to learn deductive reasoning. Check out Hillview Prep's 'keyword' strategy to differentiate the answer choices.
And, of course, use Hillview Prep's proprietary Smart Scoring System to learn how to pace yourself for the test.
2. Math requires more steps.
The math sections contain problems involving algebra, geometry, probability, metric conversions, fractions, decimals, percents, negative numbers, order of operations, mean, median, mode, averages and square roots. There are a lot of word problems that combine require multiple steps to solve making them quite challenging.
Learn Hillview Prep's method of consolidation to help you solve these challenging problems.
4. Essays are a challenge!
The essay portion of the test can be challenging for many students. The most important thing is writing the evidence to support your thesis. It is all about validation. In addition, students need to be careful with grammar, spelling, sentence structure and transitions between paragraphs. This is all very challenging to do in 30 minutes with a topic they have just been given.
Learn outlining and step by step sequential thinking skills to write excellent essays from our mentors here at Hillview Prep. Contact us to help you prepare well for your ISEE test.