The Best SSAT and ISEE Review Books of 2019

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Most independent or private schools in the country require the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) or the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) for admission. As such, if you want yourself or your child to get accepted into a top private, boarding, or independent school, it is of paramount importance that your or his/her performance in one or both of those exams is good enough to stand out. With the help of our top SSAT and ISEE review books, there is no way for you to not come out on top of those exams.

Our Favorites for the Best SSAT and ISEE Review Books (the best out of the bunch)

SSAT & ISEE Prep by Kaplan Test Prep

A leader in the industry, Kaplan has one of the best prep books for both the SSAT and ISEE. It is considered one of the most complete materials on the market as it also includes the lower, middle, and upper level of both SSAT and ISEE. In that regard, this single book is already enough for all age groups taking either one or both of the exams.

Students will never get confused when using this book because of how it is organized well enough so that the contents are separated and clearly labeled. For example, if you or another student need to study for the upper-level SSAT, then you can easily pick out the section that is labeled for the topics covered by that test.

All of the SSAT and ISEE topics are comprehensive and detailed enough to provide students with everything they need to perform well in the respective exams. Each page also has a sidebar that provides useful tips to make the topics covered by a certain page more understandable. The best thing about it is that they are engaging for any type of student because of their visual appeal.

For its price, SSAT & ISEE Prep by Kaplan is quite a bargain despite how it is a little more expensive compared to the other books. You have to consider the fact that it already covers all levels of both the SSAT and ISEE. In that sense, it becomes one of the best choices not only for its quality but also for its price.

What makes it unique:

  • It covers all three levels for both the SSAT and ISEE.
  • The book comes with one practice exam for all six levels in total.

Why choose this book:

  • If you are looking for a book that can be used by all student types in terms of age and grade level, this is the best you can find in the market.
  • The practice tests are considered to be accurate and well suited for the age or grade level of the corresponding student taking them.


McGraw-Hill Education SSAT/ISEE by Nicholas Falletta

Considered one of the best prep books for the SSAT and ISEE, McGraw-Hill stands out because of how it approaches the students’ review in a complete and holistic manner while covering two levels of the SSAT and all three levels of the ISEE. The best part is that it does so in a clear and thorough manner that is both easy to understand and comprehensive.

Containing over 500 informative pages, McGraw-Hill’s prep book aims to help middle and upper-level SSAT and ISEE takers to understand the concepts and topics covered by both exams in a manner that is thorough yet not too heavy or wordy. Each topic also has practice questions and drills that students can use to better improve their understanding of what they had just read.

The book also comes with graphic spreads that show students how to solve the most difficult and important problems found in the book. It also gives access to an app that helps students create their own study plan and schedule. And, of course, this material comes with six full-length practice tests for all three levels of both the SSAT and the ISEE. For its price, McGraw-Hill Education SSAT/ISEE is one of the more affordable books on the market.

What makes it unique:

  • It comes with a section that helps students answer the essay portion of the SSAT.
  • The book covers the middle and upper levels of the SSAT and all three levels of the ISEE.

Why choose this book:

  • If you want an affordable book that already covers the topics for five different exams, this should be on your list.
  • It gives you strategies on how to tackle the essay portion of the SSAT. While that portion is not graded, it can help you stand out during the selection process.


The Runners-Up for the Best SSAT and ISEE Review Books (still good but a little lacking)

Barron’s SSAT/ISEE: High School Entrance Examinations by Kathleen Elliott, Carmen Geraci, David Ebner

As the title of the book suggests, Barron’s SSAT/ISEE is a study aid that was primarily crafted for the high school entrance exams. In that regard, it mainly caters the upper level of both the SSAT and the ISEE. While it is not as complete as the other books, it is still one of the more useful books not only for those taking the upper-level exams but also for those taking the lower levels as well.

One of the best features of this book is that it helps improve essay writing by giving students tips and strategies that can set them apart during the SSAT. The book was also written in such a way that helps the students know and understand where their weak points are and how they can improve these areas in time for the exams.

Barron’s is always known for providing a comprehensive topic review. In this regard, students can make use of the thorough review portions for all of the topics covered by the upper-level SSAT and ISEE. There are even contents that can also be found in the lower level exams and can be quite helpful to other students as well.

This material doesn’t cost much and is one of the most affordable books you can find anywhere primarily because it only covers the upper-level exams. Nevertheless, it is a five-star prep book on Amazon as satisfied customers say that it is easy to follow and more than helpful especially because of the practice exams.

What makes it unique:

  • It focuses on the upper-level exams.

Why choose this book:

  • It is easy to understand and is also very comprehensive.
  • This book is best for those who are taking only the upper-level SSAT and ISEE.


900 Practice Questions for the Upper Level SSAT and ISEE by The Princeton Review

Practice is key when it comes to answering exam questions. In that regard, The Princeton Review has a material that is designed to focus only on practice questions. These questions cater only to the upper-level exams and are supposed to help students hone their test-answering skills and their ability to work under pressure.

Answering a book that contains 900 questions will surely make any student become more confident on the day of the exam. It not only hones their strengths but also helps them improve their weak areas. As long as a student diligently answers all of the questions contained in this book, success is almost an assurance.

Of course, all of the questions in this book have their own corresponding answers and explanations that help students understand how they got the answers wrong and how to improve those areas of weaknesses. However, it must be noted that this book only works as long as the students did their part in reviewing the key topics and concepts covered by the upper-level SSAT and ISEE.

For its price, 900 Practice Questions for the Upper Level SSAT and ISEE is a study guide that is worth every penny especially considering that wealth of tough and challenging questions it contains. However, it is only a runner-up because it does not cater to the lower levels of both the SSAT and ISEE. Nonetheless, it serves its purpose as a work/practice book that challenges students while giving them an avenue to test out their knowledge.

What makes it unique:

  • It focuses only on practice questions.
  • The book contains questions that cover only the upper-level exams.

Why choose this book:

  • As cliché as it sounds, practice makes perfect. And there is no better way to practice than to choose a book that has 900 sample questions and drills.


The Best Value for Your Money for Best SSAT and ISEE Review Books (good and affordable)

Cracking the SSAT & ISEE by The Princeton Review

The main review material by The Princeton Review, Cracking is designed to be a comprehensive book for the SSAT and the ISEE that comes in an affordable package. It is as complete and as great all-around compared to the other books on this list but it less costly. That is what makes this book the best value for your money.

It is a book that covers two levels of the SSAT and all three levels of the ISEE. In that regard, the content review portion of the book covers those five topics and is quite comprehensive and thorough as well. There is also a very useful section that covers the most commonly used vocabulary words for both exams. And, like the other books, Cracking offers tips and strategies that can help set any student apart when solving different types of questions.

Cracking includes five full-length practice tests for all five levels that are covered by the book. There are also practice drills and questions that correspond to the five different levels and to their respective subjects. All of those sample tests and questions are designed to mimic the actual ones you will be encountering in the SSAT or the ISEE.

As mentioned, this book is one of the most affordable yet complete materials on the market but can go toe-to-toe with the other books in terms of quality and content. You can never go wrong with this material if you are looking for something thorough yet still affordable.

What makes it unique:

  • It has a section on the most commonly used vocabulary words for both exams.
  • The book contains strategies that help you answer problem-solving questions more efficiently.

Why choose this book:

  • It is not too expensive and it fits the budget even though it contains a comprehensive review and other useful content.


Summary of the Best SSAT and ISEE Review Books

We’ve gone over a lot today. Here’s a helpful table to consolidate every SSAT and ISEE review book we went over:

ProductList PriceNumber Of Pages
SSAT & ISEE Prep 2018-2019 $19.99 720
McGraw-Hill Education SSAT/ISEE 2016-2017 $20.00 528
Barron's SSAT/ISEE $16.99 528
900 Practice Questions for the Upper Level SSAT & ISEE $18.99 544
Cracking the SSAT & ISEE, 2019 Edition $19.99 704

While both the SSAT and ISEE cover different topics and have their own major differences, there are still a lot of things in common between them. As such, a good SSAT and ISEE review book that covers both the exams and their different levels is something any student should have if he/she is aiming to stand out or, at the very least, do well in those exams.


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