What You Need to Know to Nail the Upper Level ISEE

What You Need to Know to Nail the Upper Level ISEE


ISEE test breakdown



1. Prep

The ISEE tests a student’s cumulative learning (ie: Are they readers? Do they consistently do their math homework?). The ISEE is very good at measuring a student’s overall knowledge. However, there is still room for some solid strategy. While you can’t build a vocabulary overnight, you certainly can learn tricks to dissect the meaning of new words. Students who prep for this test are at a major advantage!


2. Competition

The ISEE is made to challenge 8-11th graders, but students are only compared to others in their same grade, meaning if you’re an 8th grader, you’re only competing against other 8th graders.

test prep


3. Difficulty

As I said, the ISEE is made to challenge 8-11th graders. This means if you’re taking it as an 8th or 9th grader, you probably won’t be able to answer many of the questions, and that’s okay! Don’t let the difficult questions discourage you. Years ago, when I was taking the ISEE, I distinctly remember a moment of panic after completely guessing on 4 or 5 answers in a row. I left the testing center completely distraught, thinking I’d done horribly! When I got my scores, I was shocked at how well I’d actually performed. Don’t let the test undermine your confidence. It’s made to be hard! 

ISEE test prep question


4. Relax

Your score is not a number you’ll carry with you for life. I remember performing well on the ISEE (and getting into my top choice), but I don’t remember the actual numbers. Once you’re over the high school admissions hurdle, you’ll never think twice about your scores again. Ultimately, the ISEE is made to help you find the school that’s the best fit for you and your family. More importantly, it’s only one part of the holistic evaluation – don’t panic.

 test anxiety


5. Test Prep Tip: Think First!

Think of the answer in your head before reading the answer choices, particularly on the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections. This way, you don’t get confused by tricky, fancy-sounding answer choices.