ISEE Upper Quantitative Review Course


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The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is offered at four different levels. The upper level is intended for students applying to enter a grade level between 9 and 12. It’s used by independent schools to assess students’ academic skills and determine whether or not they will be able to handle the rigorous coursework that will be demanded of them at the school.

Where Do Students Register for the ISEE?

You can register for the ISEE online or by mail through the ISEE office. You can also contact the school your student is applying to in order to register because many schools offer the test on site on certain dates throughout the year.

How Long Will the ISEE Upper Level Test Take?

On the day of the test, students will have two hours and forty minutes to complete the four multiple choice sections and the essay. The quantitative reasoning section will last 35 minutes so the student has less than a minute to answer each of the 37 questions on this section.

Make sure your student is well prepared to handle this time constraint without panicking or rushing through the questions. It’s very important that they have plenty of practice answering the questions while the clock is ticking. They need to be able to complete all the questions quickly but they also need to be thorough and accurate in their answers.

What Skills Does the Quantitative Reasoning Section Measure?

This section contains word problems and quantitative comparison questions. Word problems rely primarily on reasoning skills more than actual calculations but there will be some calculation required for many of the problems. However, the key skill being measured is a student’s ability to pick out the relevant information and determine the best process for finding the missing information that is being asked for.

For the quantitative comparison questions, students will see two quantities and need to select which of the two is bigger. In some cases, they may be equal and in other cases there may not be enough information to determine the answer. The quantities might be expressed as equations, word problems, geometric shapes and measurements, or other mathematic expressions so it will require reasoning and sometimes calculation in order to figure out the actual value of each quantity.

While all of these questions will be more focused on measuring reasoning and problem solving skills, the student will need a foundation of understanding of the following fields of math:

  • Numbers and operations
  • Algebra
  • Measurement
  • Geometry
  • Problem Solving
  • Probability
  • Data Analysis

Fortunately, these fields overlap with the material that the student needs to learn for the mathematics achievement section so all the studying done for that section will also benefit them for this section. With that said, it’s still important to also prepare specifically for the reasoning and problem solving required in this section.

How Is the Test Scored?

Each section will be given a scaled score ranging from 760 to 940. There is no minimum score required since this is not a pass or fail style of test. It’s simply used to measure the student’s abilities relating to the fundamental skills needed for a successful academic career.

While there is no minimum score required, schools may set their own cutoffs or have information available about the average scores of students they have accepted to this grade level in the past. Make sure to talk to the admissions coordinator at the school to find out as much information as you can to help your student set an appropriate target score.

What Does My Student Need to Prepare for the ISEE Upper Level Quantitative Reasoning Section?

The quantitative reasoning section of the ISEE is going to require not only an understanding of mathematic formulas and rules but also an advanced level of mathematic reasoning.

The difference between this and the mathematics achievements test is that this section requires a student to not only calculate and perform a series of computations, it also requires that a student infer and make decisions about what actually needs to be done in order to solve a problem.

In order to do well, your student will need to get as much practice as possible working with these kinds of problems. The Mometrix Study Guide is a great tool for doing just that. In addition to practice questions, the guide will break down problems and show students exactly what kind of logic and reasoning they should apply to solve it correctly and quickly.

For even more help developing quantitative reasoning problem solving strategies, you should also get the Mometrix Flashcards. They include even more practice questions and step-by-step explanations but they are compact enough that your student can take them on the go to squeeze in study sessions throughout the day.

Upgrade your studying with our ISEE Upper Level study guide and flashcards:
ISEE Upper Level Study Guide
ISEE Upper Level Flashcards

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: January 14, 2021