Are you thinking about taking the ISEE test but don’t know where to start? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Understanding when to start studying and how best to study for such an extensive exam can be daunting, but we are here to help.
In this article, we’ll be discussing what the ISEE test is and how it’s scored, as well as offering some of our best tips and tricks to help you prepare. We’ll be answering the question of when you should start preparing for your upcoming ISEE test and how exactly you should do that.
What is the ISEE Test For?
The ISEE test, or the Independent School Entrance Exam, is used by private and independent schools all across the country as a standardized entrance exam. There are other entrance exam options, such as the SSAT, but the ISEE is quite popular.
There are three different iterations of the ISEE; the lower level, the middle level, and the upper level. Each level of the test is specific to different grades of school. This means that you would take a different test if you were applying to an elementary school than you would if you were applying to a high school.
The test is designed to test your readiness to enter the new school environment. It covers subjects like essay writing, math, verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning. Since it is an extensive test that covers lots of material, it is essential to take plenty of time to prepare for the test to give yourself the best chance you have at success.
It is worth discussing the ISEE test vs. the SSAT exam, as they are both used in similar ways by many schools. Both tests cover the same sections, just in different ways. For example, the ISEE test focuses on math more than the SSAT exam. In general, the ISEE is offered at more locations and at more times, meaning it is often easier to schedule a test. Picking which test you will take and which test is best for you can really set you up nicely for success.
How Long Does the ISEE Exam Take?
The ISEE test is a long exam, but it does range based on the level of test that you are taking. If you take the lower level ISEE exam, your test will take 2 hours and 30 minutes. If you take either the middle-level ISEE exam or the upper-level ISEE exam, your test will take 2 hours and 50 minutes.
What is a Good Score on the ISEE Test?
In order to understand what a good score is on the ISEE test, you must first understand how to read the scores you will receive. The ISEE is scored based on how many questions you get correct in each section. That score is recorded in terms of points, with each section being worth anywhere from 760-940 points, depending on the section and test level. Those points are then reported to you as a percentile and as a stanine, or standard nine, analysis. This stanine analysis is the best way to judge how well you are doing.
The stanine scores range from 1 to 9, with 9 being the best. Based on the number of questions you got correct for any section, you will be given a number to sum up your score. If you get a score of 1, 2, or 3, it is considered below average. Scores of 4, 5, and 6 are considered average. A good or above-average score is a 7, 8, or 9 on the stanine analysis.
When Should You Start Preparing for the ISEE Test?
In general, the more time you have to study for the test, the better you are likely to do, but all within reason. If you plan on taking the ISEE a year from now, you probably shouldn’t be starting to study just yet, but if you are thinking of taking it in the next six months, you should think about studying. Overall, the best plan is to study for at least three months, but there is no correct answer since every student is different.
Since the ISEE is given primarily during the school year, most students will start studying earlier that school year. Only about a quarter of the students who take the ISEE start studying in the summer before they plan to take the exam. Around half of the students will start studying a few months ahead of the exam. This leaves the last quarter of students cramming right before taking the exam.
The ISEE test dates vary based on where you live, but the test is given in three time periods throughout the year. You can take the ISEE up to one time per testing period or three times per year. This is good to know since most students will end up taking the test more than once. The testing periods are below:
Fall: August, September, October, November
Winter: December, January, February, March
Spring/Summer: April, May, June, July
How to Prepare for ISEE Test: 5 Tips
There are so many ways to prepare for the ISEE that it can seem overwhelming to wade through them all. Here, we’ll be breaking down our top five favorite tips to make sure that you are well prepared when it comes time for you to sit the test. Understanding how to prepare for the test is crucial to your success on the test, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be ready to tackle any test that comes your way.
Making sure that you give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the ISEE exam is the best way to make sure that you are going to do well. In general, you want to aim to have at least three months to study and prepare to take the exam, but more time is excellent as well.
If you decide to take the test and you have less than three months to prepare, it may be worth it to pick a second testing date to retake the test later on. This will give you more time to continue preparing, even after you have taken the exam once already.
Create a study schedule
Creating a valuable and effective study schedule is a skill that will be critical for you to develop as you start preparing to take the ISEE. A study schedule can look very different for different people, but it will meet the same ultimate goal. You could create a physical study schedule to hang over your study space, or you could use any number of online study schedule design programs, just pick what works best for you.
Your schedule should include frequent yet short time periods where you will be studying. If you are trying to create a once-a-week, five-hour study session, you won’t see the results you want. Instead, try picking three or four days a week that you can spend 30 to 45 minutes studying for your upcoming exam.
Hold yourself accountable
Making sure that you stick to your study schedule is even more important than creating it, and the only way to do that is to hold yourself accountable. This means to keep on top of your studying and not slack off, thinking that you’ll get it done at some point. Making sure that you studied when you said you would will help you prepare for the ISEE test.
If you don’t feel like you can hold yourself accountable, try getting your parents, siblings, or even friends to help keep you accountable. Just let them know how often they should check in on you to see if you are completing your studies. Sometimes having someone to report to can really help you find the motivation you need to study for the ISEE test.
Have a score to aim for
Earlier in this article, we talked about the scoring of the ISEE, so if you need to refer back to that, please do so. Picking a realistic score to aim for can be super encouraging to work towards. Try starting off your studying by taking an at-home practice test and having a parent score it for you. Your first score will serve as your baseline.
Next, build a study schedule and pick the score that you would like to aim for. Make sure you plan on taking more practice tests throughout your time studying so you can keep an eye on how you are progressing towards your goal. Having a goal to work towards can really help keep you motivated.
Use practice tests well.
Practice tests aren’t something you should take whenever, but they are a massive tool that you should use throughout your studies. One of the best ways to prepare for the ISEE test is by using practice tests to understand the test itself. Studying for a massive test can feel overwhelming, but you can really see how you will do on the real test by using practice tests.
You can get practice tests from various places. While many ISEE study books come with a few practice tests, there are other places you can get them as well. Many books come with access to online resources, such as extra practice tests, which can be super helpful. Even if your book doesn’t come with any online tests, there are plenty of places where you can find reputable online practice tests to use in preparation for the ISEE.
Wrapping Things Up: When to Start Preparing for ISEE?
Preparing for the ISEE can seem overwhelming, but we hope that it will be a piece of cake for you with our tips and tricks. Understanding that you will need a few solid months of studying is essential to your success on the test, as it will give you enough time to thoroughly study both the test and the material. Making sure that you utilize that study time effectively will also be critical to you crushing the test.
Regardless of if you have one month to study or five months to study, there is always something you can do to help better your chances of doing well on the ISEE. It all comes down to making a plan and holding yourself accountable to completing the studying that needs to be done. So get going; we know you can do it!
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our other entrance exam resources here.