Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE)

The Independent School Entrance Examination, or ISEE, is an admissions test administered by the Educational Records Bureau for placement in independent schools for grades 5-12. There are three levels: the Lower level, for entrance in grades 5-6; Middle level, for entrance in grades 7-8; Upper level, for entrance in grades 9-12. All levels consist of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantatative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics Achievement, and a 30-minute essay section. The test is 3 hours long in total, plus time for 2 breaks.

Verbal Reasoning: This section consists of two parts: synonyms and sentence completions. There are 40 questions, and 20 minutes for the Middle and Upper level (25 minutes for the Lower level).

Quantitative Reasoning: This section is 35 minutes long and has 35 questions for all levels. The Lower and Middle levels consist of "Comprehension," "Interpretation/Application," and "Higher Order Thinking" parts, and the Upper level consists of "Arithmetic/Algebra/Geometry," "Concepts/Understanding," "Applications/Higher Order Thinking," and "Quantitative Comparison" sections, according to the ERB website.

Reading Comprehension: This section consists of about 7-9 Humanities, Science, and Social Studies passages. Candidates must read each passage and answer around 4-6 questiones based on the information in the passage. The section measures students' ability to understand and comprehend each passage, as well as some vocabulary-in-context. There are 40 questions and 40 minutes on the Middle and Upper level, and 36 questions and 40 minutes on the Lower level.

Mathematics Achievement: On this section, there are 35 questions and 40 minutes in the Lower level, 45 questions and 45 minutes on the Middle level, and 45 questions and 40 minutes on the Upper level. All levels test "Knowledge and Skills," "Computation/Comprehension," and "Application," and the Upper level tests Arithmetic/Algebra/Geometry.

Essay: On all three levels, candidates must plan and write an essay to provide a sample of his or her writing to schools to which the candidate is applying. A topic is distributed, and students have 30 minutes to write an essay using a black or blue pen. The essay is not scored, but it is photocopied and sent to schools to which the student is applying.

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