What is on the Lower Level ISEE?

  • Posted By: Celena Alduenda
  • December 21, 2020
  • 0 Comments

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is an exam that many independent schools use as part of their admissions process. The Lower Level ISEE is taken by students applying to grades 5 and 6.

Students can take the Lower Level ISEE on the computer or on paper. It consists of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics Achievement, and the Essay.

Section

Questions

Time

Verbal Reasoning
34 questions
20 minutes
Quantitative Reasoning
38 questions
35 minutes
Break
10 minutes
Reading Comprehension
25 questions
25 minutes
Mathematics Achievement
30 questions
30 minutes
Break
10 minutes
Essay
1 prompt
30 minutes

With the exception of the Essay, all of the questions are multiple choice with four answer choices. Within each section, there are randomly distributed experimental questions that may be used for future versions of the test. These experimental questions are not scored.

Keep reading for more information about each section, including sample questions from the Test Innovators ISEE practice platform.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning section consists of 34 questions: 17 synonym questions and 17 sentence completion questions. Of the 34 questions, 30 are scored and 4 are unscored.

Synonym questions give you a word and ask you to choose the most similar word from four options.

Example:

Test Innovators ISEE practice platform

Sentence completion questions ask you to fill in a blank in a sentence with a single word or a phrase. There are 11 questions with a single word and 6 questions with a phrase.

Example:

Test Innovators ISEE practice platform

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning section focuses primarily on problem-solving skills and critical thinking. There are 38 word problems, of which 35 are scored and 3 are unscored.

It’s important to note that calculators are not allowed.

Example:

Test Innovators ISEE practice platform

Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension section consists of five reading passages. Each passage has five questions. Of the 25 questions, 20 are scored and 5 are unscored.

After reading the passage, you will be asked questions about the main idea and supporting ideas, organization and logic, vocabulary, and tone of the passage. Additionally, some questions will ask you to make inferences based on what you read.

Example:

Test Innovators ISEE practice platform

Mathematics Achievement

The Mathematics Achievement section is aligned with the grade-level standards, so it covers topics that students have learned in school. The topics covered are algebraic concepts (4-7 questions); data analysis & probability (4-7 questions); decimals, percents, & fractions (4-7 questions), geometry (2-5 questions); measurement (2-5 questions); and whole numbers (4-7 questions). Of the 30 questions, 25 are scored and 5 are unscored.

It’s important to note that calculators are not allowed.

Example:

Test Innovators ISEE practice platform

Essay

The Essay section asks you to respond to a personal writing prompt, which gives you the chance to showcase something about yourself. The Essay is an opportunity for you to demonstrate how well you can express yourself, organize your thoughts, and address a prompt in a logical manner.

Note: The Essay is not scored. Rather, a copy of your essay is sent along with your score report..

Example:

Test Innovators ISEE practice platform


The best way to familiarize yourself with the ISEE is to take full-length practice tests! Get started with your prep today.


Preparing for a different level? Check out a breakdown of the Primary Levels, Middle Level, and Upper Level.