ISEE Tips for Parents

Welcome, parents and student-supporters!

This tips page is written by our experienced tutors (who are also our ISEE practice test writers) specifically for parents, because we know what you likely want to know!

A few facts and our best advice:

How your child will maximize his or her ISEE-readiness:

Learning a few strategies (both general test-taking and ISEE-specific ones) and going through true-to-the-ISEE practice tests will improve your child’s score. Kids do best when they go into the test with a good knowledge of what to expect. For example, they should know that it's beneficial to bubble in an answer for every question before time is called (there is no guessing penalty), and that many of the questions will likely be too hard for them (and that's okay and normal!). While it's useful to study specific how-to strategies, students need full-length practice tests with which to practice! Children build stamina and gain skills just by doing practice sections. By completing timed practices, they help accustom themselves to the real ISEE's style.

You can help your child prepare:

Since the ISEE is very difficult and rigorous for most students, even attempting sections can be daunting. If you have the time and to mentor your child, you can read through the general and specific ISEE Tips offered on this website and help guide your student through the four different sections of the exam and the essay. After he or she has an understanding of ISEE strategies, have your student work on the timed sections.

Classes and tutoring may be highly effective:

Perhaps the most effective way to help you student prepare is to find an ISEE course or tutor near you. We find that for many students the best way to prepare has been to work with a tutor for about two months prior to taking the exam, meeting once a week for two hours at a time. There may be other schedules that are just as effective; however, we find the two-hour block useful (even for younger students). The ISEE takes more than two hours to complete, so similar-length sessions can greatly benefit a student's stamina. We have tutored 9- and 10-year-olds for two hours blocks without difficulty. (Alternating what the student is working on – writing, math, etc. – and, if needed, taking a “walk around the block” break make it doable).

Finding ISEE practice materials:

As tutors, we found there were not adequate materials available to properly prepare our students – so we created the 22 full length ISEE practice tests that you'll find on this website. In addition to the tests we offer, we recommend the less-than-full-length practice test available from the ERB (as of this writing there is one Lower, Middle, and Upper level exam available for download or for purchase as a booklet). Best of luck to you and your child!