The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) Upper Level is administered by the Educational Records Bureau for children applying to grades 9-12. Over 1,200 private middle schools and high schools use this exam to ensure new students are being admitted to a grade level that best fits their knowledge and abilities.
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ISEE Upper Level Exam Outline
The ISEE Upper Level exam contains 160 multiple-choice questions and one unscored essay assignment, and you will be given a time limit of 160 minutes.
The exam is split into five sections.
1. Verbal Reasoning (40 questions)
You will be given 20 minutes to answer the 40 Verbal Reasoning questions. The questions are split into two types: sentence completion and vocabulary.
The synonym questions provide a single word, and you must determine which answer choice is closest in meaning to the given word.
Sentence Completion (21 questions)
The sentence completion questions provide a sentence that is missing a single word or phrase, and you must determine which answer choice best fills in the blank.
2. Quantitative Reasoning (37 questions)
You will be given 35 minutes to answer the 37 Quantitative Reasoning questions. The questions in this section consist of word problems, and you will be asked to use quantitative reasoning to analyze and extrapolate information from each word problem.
3. Reading Comprehension (36 questions)
You will be given 35 minutes to answer the 36 Reading Comprehension questions. The questions in this section consist of five passages covering various topics such as history, science, and the arts, and you will be asked to answer specific questions about each passage.
4. Mathematics Achievement (47 questions)
You will be given 40 minutes to answer the 47 Mathematics Achievement questions. The questions in this section require that you identify problems and find solutions to problems. The problems will always take multiple steps to solve.
You will be given 30 minutes to write 300-400 words in response to a given prompt. This essay is not scored, but it will be sent to your school of choice along with the scores for the rest of the exam.
ISEE Upper Level Study Guide
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Registration and Fees
There are a variety of options for registration and for in-person and at-home testing, each of which have a different set of fees and requirements.
There are many testing locations available across the country at which you can take the ISEE.
|Testing Location||Testing Fee|
|ERB Member Schools||$155|
|Testing Offices||$215 (group testing)|
$245 (individual testing)
|Prometric Testing Centers||$235|
There are currently two at-home testing options available.
You should register as early as possible to ensure you secure a testing day that works best for you. There are two ways you can register for the exam.
To register online for no additional fee, you must create an online account at ERB’s website.
After you register for the exam, you will receive an email that contains a verification letter and more information about your registration.
You should arrive at the testing location or log into your online testing portal 15-30 minutes early. You will be asked to provide the verification letter or a form of identification.
You are not allowed to have any electronic devices, calculators, watches, or scratch paper during the exam. At least two #2 pencils and/or two black-ink pens should be brought if you are taking a paper-and-pencil version of the exam.
There will be two scheduled breaks during the exam, each being 5-10 minutes long. The first break occurs after the Quantitative Reasoning section, while the second break follows the Math Achievement section.
How the ISEE Upper Level Exam is Scored
The ISEE Upper Level exam is score using a scaled scoring system. This system takes the number of questions answered correctly in each section, known as the “raw score,” and converts it to a numerical score on a scale from 760 to 940.
Your score report will show your scaled score for each section, as well as your percentile rank and stanine score for each section. For reference, a good stanine score for the ISEE Upper Level is 7-9, while the average ranges between 4 and 6.
ISEE Upper Level Flashcards
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How many questions are on the ISEE Upper Level exam?
There are 160 questions and one unscored essay on the exam.
How long is the ISEE Upper Level exam?
The time limit for the exam is 160 minutes.
What is the passing score for the ISEE Upper Level exam?
Because this is an admissions test, there is no set passing score. Each school decides their own minimum scoring requirements.
How much does the ISEE Upper Level exam cost?
The cost of this test depends on which testing and registration methods you choose. The fee ranges from $155 to $245.