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Overview of the ISEE Upper Level

The Upper Level ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) is an admissions test used by many independent schools throughout the United States and abroad. This level of the test is used for students in 8th grade through 11th grade. The test is broken up into five different sections:

Section 1: Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning Section is made up of 40 questions and students are given 20 minutes to complete the section. This section is broken up into synonym questions and sentence completion questions. Synonym questions consist of an abstract, grade-level appropriate word followed by four answer choices. Sentence completion questions consist of a sentence missing a single word or a pair of words followed by four answer choices. Students must choose the answer choice that best completes the sentence.

Section 2: Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning Section is made up of 37 questions and students are given 35 minutes to complete the section. This section is broken up into two parts: word problems and quantitative comparisons. The word problems are somewhat different than what most students have seen in school, and some require very little or no calculation. The quantitative comparisons ask students to compare the value of two quantities.

Section 3: Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension Section is made up of 36 questions and students are given 35 minutes to complete the section. This section is made up of six reading passages covering a variety of topics including arts, history, and science, and each passage is accompanied by six questions.

Section 4: Mathematics Achievement

The Mathematics Achievement Section is made up of 47 questions and students are given 40 minutes to complete the section. The questions in this section cover a large range of math topics and are more straightforward than the word problems found in the Quantitative Reasoning Section.

Section 5: Essay

The Essay Section asks students to respond to a prompt, and students are given 30 minutes to complete the section. The Essay section is not graded, but it is sent to private schools along with the rest of the test scores.


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