What is it?

  • The ISEE is an Independent School Entrance Exam
  • A widely accepted entrance exam used by many independent schools and in the US
  • Has four levels:
    • Primary level (for entrance to grades 2–4)
    • Lower level (for entrance in grades 5–6)
    • Middle level (for entrance in grades 7–8)
    • Upper level (for entrance in grades 9–12)



  • Available in both paper-pencil and online format (except for Primary level with only online)
  • An adaptive assessment made up of five components:
      1. Verbal Reasoning
      2. Quantitative Reasoning
      3. Reading Comprehension
      4. Mathematics Achievement
      5. Essay

1. Verbal Reasoning

(i) Synonym section: pick out of four options, a word with a similar meaning to the one in question

(ii) Sentence Completion section: complete a sentence logically by picking the correct word out of the four options presented

Lower Level:

34 questions in 20 minutes

Middle and Upper Levels:

40 questions in 20 minutes

2. Quantitative Reasoning

Topics include:

    • Numbers and Operations
    • Algebra 
    • Geometry 
    • Measurement 
    • Data Analysis and Probability
    • Problem Solving 

Lower Level:

38 questions in 35 minutes (Word Problems section only)

Middle and Upper Levels:

37 questions in 35 minutes (Word Problems and Quantitative Comparisons sections)

3. Reading Comprehension

(i) Focuses on six categories:

    • Main Idea
    • Supporting Ideas
    • Inference
    • Vocabulary
    • Organisation/Logic
    • Tone/Style/Figurative Language

(ii) The passages include topics related to history, science, literature, and contemporary life

Lower Level: 

25 questions in 25 minutes (5 reading passages, each followed by 5 questions)

Middle and Upper Levels: 

36 questions in 35 minutes (6 reading passages, each followed by 6 questions)

4. Mathematics Achievement

Refer to part (2)

Lower Level: 30 questions in 30 minutes 

Middle and Upper Levels: 47 questions in 40 minutes


5. Essay

(i) All candidates must plan and write an essay to provide a sample of his or her writing to schools to which the candidate is applying

(ii) A random topic is distributed

(iii) 30-minute writing with a black or blue pen 

(iv) NOT scored but is photocopied and sent to schools to which the student is applying


Ampla’s ISEE Preparation Courses

Following our initial assessment, students will receive a customised plan based on the following curriculum which is designed to imitate US school assessments.

Verbal Skills

  • Develop vocabulary base
  • Enhance knowledge about word roots (e.g. suffixes and prefixes) in order to figure out relationships between different words (e.g. synonyms and analogies)

English Skills

  • Learn various strategies, and identify the most suitable techniques to use
  • Efficiently extract information and grasp the main idea of passages about history, literature and sciences 
  • Practice planning and writing a range of essay  topics

Maths Skills

  • Practice mental arithmetic
  • Master fundamental concepts from algebra to geometry
  • Strengthen ability to answer complicated questions tactically
  • Become familiar with a range of different types of questions

Ampla’s ISEE Course Highlights

  • 24/7 on-demand tutoring with our experienced team of boarding school specialists
  • Flexible scheduling: online/ face-to-face lessons available
  • Tailor-made lesson plan complemented by weekly timed quizzes and progress reports

Strategic Plan

A week-by-week study plan specifically designed for you.

Targeted Approach

Review each topic with a focus on weaker areas, with condensed notes and study materials provided.

Practical Skills

Cover test-taking strategies including time management, making informed guesses and how to handle stress.

Exam Drill

Familiarize with different exam styles/ techniques/ mark schemes through practice papers.

US Schools Admissions

From consultation, school selection, applications essays guidance to SSAT/ ISEE preparation and interview coaching, Ampla supports your family along the application process.

Consulting Services

Admissions Success

Our consultants have helped students gain admission to Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, Loomis Chaffee, Dana Hall, Stevenson, The Webb School and more.

US Boarding School Applications

Entrance Exams

Designed and delivered by Ampla's Ivy League and Oxbridge tutors, our customized courses provide excellent preparation for students taking SSAT/ ISEE.

Exam Prep

Complimentary Consultation

Contact us now to schedule a mock test and arrange a complimentary meeting with our dedicated US boarding school specialists.