The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is an entrance exam for private elementary, middle and high schools administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB).
There are three versions of the test:
- Lower Level (LL) for students in grades 4-5
- Middle Level (ML) for students in grades 6-7
- Upper level (UL) for students in grades 8-11
Format and Content
|Section||Subject||Question Type||# of Questions|
|1||30||Writing Sample||Essay1||1 essay question (based on a given prompt)|
|2||20||Verbal Reasoning||Synonyms and Sentence Completions||LL: 34 MC3 questions
ML, UL: 40 MC questions
|3||35||Quantitative Reasoning||NCTM Standards2||LL: 38 MC questions
ML, UL: 37 MC questions
ML, UL: 35
|Reading Comprehension||Comprehension||LL: 25 MC questions
ML, UL: 36 MC questions
ML, UL: 40
|Mathematics Achievement||NCTM Standards2||LL: 68 MC questions
ML, UL: 84 MC questions
1 The essay is not graded, but is sent to schools as part of the admissions materials.
2 Math content is based upon the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. Included on the test are: numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, probability, and problem solving. Calculators are NOT permitted.
3 Multiple choice
LL: 2 hours and 20 minutes
ML, UL: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Raw scores are calculated by adding one point for every correct answer. There is no wrong answer penalty on the ISEE, so students should never leave a question blank. The writing sample is sent to schools to review but is not scored.
Raw scores are converted into scaled scores based on a formula that the ERB does not release. Students receive a scaled score between 760 and 940 for each section: Verbal Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning, and Math Achievement.
Percentile rankings and stanines are provided along with scaled scores.
Percentile rankings compare a test-taker’s performance with other students of the same grade who have taken the ISEE in the last three years. Stanines are an abbreviated version of percentiles. Students are assigned a stanine score between 1 and 9 for each section.
Stanines are simply percentile ranges:
New York City Test Dates
The test is offered at different locations throughout the five boroughs and beyond. Students may register for any test site or date. Testing is available for students entering grades 5-12 unless otherwise noted. IMPORTANT NOTE: A student may not take the ISEE more than once in a six-month period.
Test dates for the 2013-2014 school year are available from September to June. From September to early January, there are many options available. There are 2 test date options per month in March, April, and May as well as one test date in June. Please note that test dates and testing locations vary by grade level and whether or not a student has testing accommodations.
Click here to search for a test date on the ERB website.
Online Registration Fee: $100
Phone Registration: $120
Late Registration: $120
Test dates during the week occur at the ERB office at 470 Park Avenue South (between 32nd and 33rd streets) with a smaller group of 10-12 students.
Registration Site/Additional Information