ISEE Mathematics Achievement

The Mathematics Achievement (MA) section of the ISEE Test is intended to reflect curriculum related questions, in contrast to the Quantitative Reasoning section which is intended to measure students’ reasoning abilities. While many students struggle more with the Quantitative Reasoning math section, some students find the Mathematics Achievement section to be very difficult, especially because it is the sections with the most questions per allotted time.

ISEE Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning (QR) section of the ISEE Test is intended to test the mathematical reasoning abilities of students. However, there is still a fair amount of grade level knowledge that students must master to excel on the Quantitative Reasoning section and many students find this section very difficult.

Arthur Benjamin and the Magic of Numbers

Students are required to learn mathematics, starting in first grade and continuing through most of high school. While we may not all enjoy math, there is no denying the beauty present in it. The Fibonacci sequence embodies this beauty.

Here is a short video by Arthur Benjamin called “The Magic of Fibonacci numbers.” He explains how the Fibonacci sequence works, and all the different ways it is present in math and nature. We hope this makes you excited to study math and discover just how present it is all around us!



We are often asked about the differences between the ISEE and SSAT. We’ve put together a definitive guide to help families decide which test to take if they are given the option.

1. The most important question is whether the school(s) to which you are applying accept either or both of the tests. If you aren’t certain, call each school’s admissions office. Don’t study for the wrong test!

2. If you can take either, is the ISEE or SSAT best for you?

ISEE top tips


ISEE Pacing – Correct pacing is one of the most important skills to master. While different questions may take more or less time to answer, you don’t want to spend more than a couple minutes on any one question (unless you’re done with all others). On the essay, it’s essential to learn how to outline and write out 4 to 5 paragraphs in 30 minutes; hence, practice is critical!

5 tips for a perfect exam day

  • Drink up: Make a point to drink enough water on your exam day.
  • Don’t stay up: Many people stay up late the night before an exam. This leaves our brains exhausted the next day, which can affect exam performance. Getting plenty of sleep before exams is a must.

How is the ISEE essay graded?

Many of my students ask me how the ISEE essay is graded. I answer: It is not “graded” but rather sent to the schools to which you apply.

So, who reads your essay? People who work in admissions at your schools of choice.

The 30-minute timed ISEE essay is their opportunity to see how you write without any assistance or adult editors.

What do they look for?

ISEE Reading Comprehension

For many students, the ISEE’s Reading Comprehension section is daunting.

Students have about five minutes to read each of a handful of passages and answer their adjoining questions.

Why is the ISEE test difficult?

What makes tests like the ISEE or SSAT difficult?

Academic preparedness:

If you have difficulty with mathematics, reading, and writing in school, you will be significantly challenged by most standardized tests. For example, students are challenged by:

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