Every parent wants a better education for their children. If parents want their children to attend a private or boarding school, the student will need to take the ISEE in Lafayette or cities nearby. Parents know sending their child to this type of school may put a big dent to their budget, but they know the extra expense can give their children an educational edge.

Just what is ISEE? It stands for Independent School Entrance Examination. Many independent schools, magnet schools, and other types of private (and non-sectarian) schools in the United States use the ISEE as their basis for admitting a student. Like the SAT and ACT, the ISEE is a widely accepted and standardized admission test. It also provides insight not just about the students but also to the schools facilitating the admission process.

To give you a peek at how ISEE works, first it has three distinct exam levels:

  • Lower level – for grade 5 and 6 students
  • Middle level – for grade 7 and 8 students
  • Upper level – for grade 9, 10, 11, and 12 students

All students of any grade will be tested in five different sections:

1. The Verbal Reasoning has Synonyms and Sentence Completion for all grade levels.
2. The Quantitative Reasoning differs, depending on the grade level:

  • Lower level students will answer 38 questions in 35 minutesThis section includes Word Problems.
  • Middle and Upper level test-takers must answer 37 questions in 35 minutes. This section consists of Word Problems and Quantitative Comparisons.

3. The Reading Comprehension also differs depending on the grade level:

  • Lower level students will answer 25 questions in 35 minutes. They will encounter five reading passages and answer five questions for each passage.
  • Middle and Upper level students answer 36 questions within 35 minutes. They will encounter six reading passages and answer six questions in each passage.

4. In Mathematics, the use of calculators is forbidden.

  • Lower level students will get to answer 30 questions within 30 minutes.
  • Middle to Upper level test-takers attempt to answer all 47 questions in 40 minutes.

5. All students are also required to write an Essay, which they are given 30 minutes to complete. The essay will not be graded, but will be sent to the schools they’re applying to so the schools can evaluate the student’s writing ability.

Test-takers will have about three hours on the day of the examination, punctuated by a couple of breaks which allow the students to leave the testing room. Although the ISEE is more commonly held during the fall and winter seasons, it can be held several times a year. There are no uniform numbers of tests held because it can vary from area to area. For instance, the number of ISEE tests in Lafayette may differ from the number of tests in other cities, towns, or states.

How about the scoring? What is it like? Students taking the ISEE receive several scores in their report:

  • Raw scores – based on the correct answers made on the test, one point per correct answer and zero points per wrong or skipped answer.
  • Scaled scores – this is where the raw scores are converted into scaled scores between 760 and 940.
  • Percentile – this where a student’s percentile rank is compared to that other students in the same grade or gender who took the ISEE over the past three years. Percentile scores will also be sent to schools to help them assess how well a student fared against other students.
  • Stanine – a different version of the percentile, which abbreviates the ranking levels to 1 to 9 in comparing a student’s performance. For instance, when a student’s Stanine is “9,” it means that their percentile rank is 96 to 99; therefore you are “above average.”

A student can retake the exam in case of failure on their initial tries, but they will have to wait six months before they’re allowed to take the exam again.

The student’s parents, as well as the schools to which they’re applying, will be informed of the results a few weeks after they take the exam. The great thing about the ISEE is that the schools themselves will look at the scores as a deciding factor on whether or not they will accept the applicant. There’s no passing or failing grade.

Prepare your children early by encouraging them to take practice tests, sample exams, and tutoring to give them a competitive edge before they take the ISEE in Lafayette.