Overall Strategies for the ISEE

Below are just some of the ways you can use test preparation to maximize your scores and get used to efficient standardized testing. It’s important to consider these strategies at the beginning of test prep so that they can become second nature. The more comfortable you are with how to tackle the questions, the more you can focus on content you aren’t familiar with.

Process of Elimination

The beauty of a multiple-choice test is that you can be sure the correct answer is there! After eliminating answers you’re sure are wrong, you can make an educated guess and have a higher percentage chance that your guess is correct (below, 50% instead of 25% with a random guess). In fact, elimination is sometimes all you need to find the right answer!

ISEE Process of Elimination

Read the specific strategies for each section to learn ways to eliminate answer choices for different question types.


On the ISEE, correct answers are awarded 1 point, and blank answers receive 0 points. There is no wrong-answer penalty, so you should always answer every question. Whenever possible, eliminate as many answer choices as you can before guessing, to increase your chances of answering correctly. That said, if you encounter a question where you cannot eliminate any answer choices, or if you are running out of time in the section, you should still select an answer choice for every question!

Time Management

Because using your time effectively on the ISEE is so critical, it’s important in your practice tests to get used to pacing yourself and skipping certain questions when appropriate. Donʼt waste valuable time on a hard question when you could instead answer three easy questions correctly in the same amount of time. Every correct answer gives you the same number of points, so your goal is to answer as many questions correctly as possible.

This is an example of what time management feedback looks like in our system:

ISEE Time Management

You can see that this student spent far too long on question 20, and therefore didn't have time to answer all of the questions. Insights like these are critical to building effective time management skills.

If you want to check out a more in-depth analysis of timing feedback, you can find that here: https://testinnovators.com/blog/building-an-ssat-or-isee-preparation-plan


Many wrong answer choices represent common mistakes. Be sure to read the question carefully, more than once. Even if you make a mistake in reading the question, you will likely find the (wrong) answer you are thinking of among the answer choices. This is because many students tend to make the same mistakes; the test writers have put that answer among the wrong choices. This can be especially common in math questions. Check out our Math Strategies below to hone your test-taking skills!