Getting Started!

Practice Timeline:

In general, the earlier you start, the better. If you can give yourself at least six months, that is ideal ‒ having more time relieves the anxiety of trying to rush any learning. However, it is never too late to start practicing. The more you know about the test structure and questions, the better you will do. Weʼve seen students massively improve in just a week by understanding how the test is structured and whatʼs expected of them.

In terms of practice frequency and duration, this is very student-dependent, as most learning is. Our main advice is to focus on consistency and quality. For consistency, practice regularly even if not for a long period of time. One hour once a week is much more effective than four hours once a month. For each study session, if you can no longer learn new material because you've been sitting for so long, it's a good idea to take a break. (Though also see the tip below about full-length practice tests.)

As you move through your preparation, you’ll want to keep these three critical pieces of data in mind in order to gauge progress and readiness:

1) Which subjects are you ready for, and which ones still need work?

2) How did you manage your time? Are you consistently spending too long on some types of questions?

3) How do your scores look in the context of the schools you’re interested in?

Practice Format:

We recommend that you practice both online and on paper.

Paper practice is important if you are taking the official test on paper. In particular, it is crucial to practice using the answer sheet to bubble in answers. It is better for you to have a bubbling snafu on the practice test than to make that mistake on the official test.

Computer practice is important if you are taking the official test on a computer. If you are taking the official test on paper, online practice is still important for timing feedback, one of the key strategic areas of this test.

Tip: Every level of the ISEE requires stamina and focus. Sit for a full-length practice test before the official one so that you know how it feels! Use a virtual proctor to simulate the official test: