What is the Primary ISEE?

December 1, 2023

The Independent School Entrance Exam, more commonly known as the ISEE, is used by independent schools around the world to evaluate students’ aptitude as they apply for admission. Many families are familiar with the Lower, Middle, and Upper level tests, but are surprised to learn that lower elementary school students may be asked to take a test, too! Students applying for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade take a Primary ISEE test, which varies in difficulty by grade. 

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT PRIMARY ISEE LEVELS?

There are three versions of the Primary ISEE, which correlate to the grade students are applying for. Students applying to 2nd grade take the Primary 2, students applying to 3rd grade take the Primary 3, and students applying to 4th grade take the Primary 4.

WHAT'S ON EACH TEST?

The Primary 2 test is 53 minutes long and includes a 7-minute Auditory Comprehension section, a 20-minute Reading section, and a 26-minute Mathematics section. In the Auditory Comprehension section, students listen to a passage, then are asked six questions about the passage. The Reading section includes three passages, with six questions each. In both the Auditory and Reading sections, students may be asked a passage’s main idea, supporting ideas, details, organization, vocabulary, or tone. Finally, students answer 24 questions in the Mathematics section regarding age-appropriate algebraic concepts, data analysis and probability, geometric concepts, measurement, and number sense and operations.

The Primary 3 test is 54 minutes long and includes a Reading section and a Mathematics section. In the Reading section, students read four passages and answer six questions for each. The questions may ask about a passage’s main idea, supporting ideas, details, organization, vocabulary, or tone. The Mathematics section asks 24 age-appropriate questions regarding algebraic concepts, data analysis and probability, geometric concepts, measurement, and number sense and operations.

The Primary 4 test is 60 minutes long and includes a Reading section and a Mathematics section. In the Reading section, students read four passages and answer seven questions for each. The questions may ask about a passage’s main idea, supporting ideas, details, organization, vocabulary, or tone. The Mathematics section asks 28 age-appropriate questions regarding algebraic concepts, data analysis and probability, geometric concepts, measurement, and number sense and operations. The Primary 4 used to include a written component, but this was eliminated in 2021.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE?

Generally, students are not expected to prepare for the Primary ISEEs. However, if a student is unfamiliar with the multiple-choice format, families may choose to do one or two practice tests to ensure students understand what the test is asking them to do. To view a sample test, families can visit the ERB website. If you believe your child needs more support, please complete the inquiry form on our homepage and we will contact you to discuss further options.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

If you still have questions, you can visit the ERB website, or you can contact info@smartcitytutoring.com! We’re happy to help you understand the test and make a plan for preparation.

SHARE

RELATED POSTS

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter! Sign up below to view our favorite tips & tricks to help you get through the admission season!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.