The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) Middle Level is administered by the Educational Records Bureau for children in grades 7 and 8. 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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Exam Outline Review
The ISEE Middle 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 Verbal Reasoning questions. The questions are split into two types: synonyms and sentence completion.
The synonym questions focus on your ability to recognize relationships between words and distinguish subtle differences in the definitions and connotations of similar words.
Sentence Completion (17-23 questions)
The sentence completion questions focus on your knowledge of vocabulary and the functions of various words to fill in the blank of a given sentence.
2. Quantitative Reasoning (37 questions)
You will be given 35 minutes to answer the Quantitative Reasoning questions. The questions are split into two types: word problems and quantitative comparisons.
The word problem questions require you to invoke a specific mathematical rule and apply it to the given problem.
Quantitative Comparisons (14-17 questions)
The quantitative comparison questions require you to determine whether two given quantities are equal, one is greater, or there is not enough information to make a determination.
3. Reading Comprehension (36 questions)
You will be given 35 minutes to answer the Reading Comprehension questions. This section contains six passages, each with an average length of 450 words, and each passage is followed by six related questions. The questions are designed to test your abilities to identify, infer, and assess elements of each passage in the following areas:
- Main idea (3-7 questions)
- Supporting ideas (5-12 questions)
- Inference (6-13 questions)
- Vocabulary (5-9 questions)
- Organization/Logic (3-5 questions)
- Tone/style/figurative language (1-4 questions)
4. Mathematics Achievement (47 questions)
You will be given 40 minutes to answer the Mathematics Achievement questions. These questions are designed to assess your mathematical knowledge and abilities in the following areas:
- Whole numbers (7-10 questions)
- Decimals, percents, and fractions (7-12 questions)
- Algebraic concepts (9-13 questions)
- Geometry (4-6 questions)
- Measurement (4-6 questions)
- Data analysis and probability (5-9 questions)
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.
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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, scratch paper, or rulers during the exam. At least two #2 pencils and/or two black-ink pens should be brought if you are taking the 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 Exam is Scored
The ISEE Middle 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 Middle Level is 7-9, while the average ranges between 4 and 6.
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How many questions are on the ISEE Middle Level exam?
There are 160 multiple-choice questions and one essay on the exam.
How long is the ISEE Middle Level exam?
The time limit for the exam is 160 minutes.
What is the passing score for the ISEE Middle 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 Middle Level exam cost?
The cost of this test depends on which testing and registration methods you choose. The fee ranges from $155 to $245.