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The ISEE: Practical Studying and Test Taking Tips

The ISEE: Practical Studying and Test Taking Tips

Many parents assume that since the ISEE tests students on their academic achievement for private school admission, students can simply take the test to demonstrate their abilities without any prior preparation.  While this is true for some students, the ISEE, like any other standardized test, is susceptible to testing and answering strategies as well as to studying. In this article, we’ll discuss a few methods to help students perform their best for the upcoming ISEE.

Study for the Test

In addition, students should practice working through rigorous problems using additional studying resources. While few resources exist, parents should opt for a review book that challenges their child but is still relevant to his age and academic ability. We love Barron’s SSAT/ ISEE guide for preparing for the upper level tests, and like McGraw Hill’s SSAT/ ISEE guide for preparing for the lower level tests. Study guides are great to help the student get a feel for what the actual ISEE test will look like, but the best preparation, however, will come from mastery of the concepts actually tested on the ISEE.

Students should study for at least one month prior to taking the ISEE. Students should work with their teachers during tutorials to ensure they have learned and understand the required material, they should work with their parents to review practice problems, and should work with a tutor, if possible, to review good testing strategies and practice problems in- depth.

Know the Test

It is important to KNOW the test. The format never changes, so students should be familiar with every aspect of the test. In each section, the ERB dictates several concepts that students should know and demonstrate. This detailed information is found in the “What to Expect” guide.

Lower Level Format

Table 1 ISEE

Middle Level/Upper Level Format

Table 2 ISEE

Set a Goal

It’s important for both the parent and the child to set a pre-determined goal before preparing for the ISEE. Setting a specific goal gives meaning to the routine of studying and can help improve motivation and stamina on test day. The scoring guide for the ISEE is below.

Table 3 ISEE

Implement Test Taking Strategies

Finally, students should implement specific strategies every time when practicing for and then taking the ISEE. By consistently answering questions the same way, students feel more confident and optimize their statistical chance of getting answers right. 5 general strategies can be applied to the ISEE:
Students should skip around to maximize their score, fill in every blank answer choice at the end, estimate answers when possible, never second guess the answer choice, and actively solve problems. A more detailed description of the 5 general testing strategies can be found here. (add link)

Preparation and practice is the best way to succeed on the ISEE. By entering the test room prepared, students are more likely to have the confidence and motivation necessary to perform well on the ISEE.

Article written by Shayna L. Pond and Action Potential Learning

Action Potential Learning provides private tutoring in math and science as well as standardized test prep and science and math camps. As math and science specialists, our tutors know and understand difficult math and science concepts and can help you improve your grades and perform on standardized tests.

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