ISEE Test Format & Registration Tips

Test Format

The ISEE is administered in two formats: paper test and computer test.

Most school testing sites administer the test on paper, although a few administer the computer version. Students may also take the test on a computer at a Prometric center. Students taking the ISEE on paper will write the essay in blue or black ink. Students taking the ISEE on a computer will type the essay.

Note: The Primary Level ISEE is only administered on computers. For more differences, check out our Primary Level Overview in Overview of the Test

Choosing computer or paper format

If you have the choice, here are some things to consider:

The environment: Students taking the test at a Prometric center may be sitting next to a whole range of students all taking different tests (say, a 22-year-old college student taking the GRE). At a school testing site, every student will be roughly the same age and there to take the ISEE. Consider how these two different environments might impact you.

The essay: Students taking the ISEE on a computer will type the essay. For slow typists, this might be difficult. Students taking the test on paper will write the essay out by hand. For students who have trouble writing legibly, this might present a challenge. Consider which format will be more advantageous for you.

The answer sheet: Many students have trouble correctly bubbling their answers into an answer sheet. They may skip a question but forget to skip that line on their bubble sheet. On the computer test, this is not an issue: students enter each answer on the same screen as the question.

Our advice: Take a practice test both ways, see which one goes better, and sign up accordingly.

If you want to hear a bit more about how our platform makes it easy to practice with both, read our blog on preparing for your test with either paper or a computer.

Registration Tips

Find information on testing dates here:

Students can take the ISEE once per testing season:

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Aug - Nov



Dec - Mar



Apr - Jul

When should I take the test?

Whenever possible, we recommend that you plan to be able to take the test twice. This helps alleviate the pressure of a single testing date, and if the first test goes well, you don't have to take it again.

This means that your first test date must be before the end of November (probably in October or November), and your second test date can be in December or January. Check the testing deadlines for the schools to which youʼre applying to make sure that you test in time. You will probably need to take the test by January, but there are occasional exceptions.

Register for the test here:

Tip: When you register for the test, you will have the opportunity to enter the schools to which you would like to send your scores. Do not enter schools yet! There is no reason to send the scores BEFORE you have the opportunity to review the score report. If you have a secondary school placement advisor, they may ask you to enter your current school so that they can best counsel you.

For more details about your score reports, check out the Score Report Overview.


Some students are eligible for accommodations on the ISEE. Accommodations will not be visible on the ISEE score report sent to schools, so admissions offices will not know if a student took the test with accommodations.

To be eligible, students must have a documented learning difference or disability that requires accommodations and currently be receiving accommodations at their school for that need.

The most common accommodation on the ISEE is fifty percent additional time, but there are many others.

It may take up to two weeks for an accommodations request to be processed, and students must be approved before they can register for an ISEE test date with accommodations. Be sure to send in your documentation as soon as possible!

Register at