Lower Level ISEE Practice Test

What Is ISEE Test Lower Level And How You Can Prepare Your Child for It?

Last Updated on February 20, 2023

The ISEE Lower Level is a standard admission assessment for students applying to private schools for grades 5 and 6. It differs from regular school exams in structure and content.

Check out how you can prepare your child for this.

What Is The ISEE Lower Level?

The curriculum often varies from school to school. The state can only set guidance to schools on the syllabus covered. Each school adjusts the recommended coverage based on students’ performance and aptitude.

Since each school has its exam structure, it’s difficult to cross-examine students’ academic levels based on school results. The ISEE Lower Level is a standardized exam to determine students’ fluency in different subjects.

If you wish to enroll your child in a private school, the ISEE Lower Level is one of the most common tests the student will be asked to take. The ISEE Lower Level is available both digitally and physically.

What Is Included In The ISEE Lower Level?

Focused students doing homework at home

There are five sections in total in the ISEE Lower Level, namely:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Mathematics Achievement
  • Essay

Each subject, except Essay, comprises multiple-choice questions. Only in Essay, the student will be given a prompt to write about.

In every subject, there will be easy questions and hard questions. Students are expected to answer the easy questions correctly if they have been keeping up with the school’s progress. They should not find those questions difficult at all.

The hard questions are here to separate the elites from the class. These questions are the advanced version of existing concepts. They incorporate different topics and skills, challenging students to be fluid with theories and applications.

There is no observable advantage as to whether the digital or physical exam is better. They are both administered in the same fashion. Students should follow the school’s instructions to take the correct version.

Verbal Reasoning

In the Verbal Reasoning section, the student’s vocabulary usage and language skills are put to the test. The first half of the test is about finding synonyms. Students must choose a word with similar meanings to replace the original word.

If a word has more than one meaning, students have to exercise their reasoning skills to choose the best option. Four options are given in each question.

The second half of the test will be sentence completion. Students have to fill in the blank with the most suitable word choice. Options will contain synonyms to see if students can correctly identify proper usage among similar vocabularies.

Each question will not contain more than three sentences. Students should only rely on the content to decide the correct answer. Tenses are not part of the test here. Students should only focus on word usage.

There are 34 questions in total and the time limit is 20 minutes.

Quantitative Reasoning

A calculator is not permitted throughout the test. Calculations can be done on a draft paper. The Quantitative Reasoning test aims to score students’ basic mathematic understanding.

Questions involving spatial concepts, diagrams, and geometry will be included. Cross-topics questions are common. Students are expected to fluently incorporate concepts to solve the test. Numbers will not be complicated and can be calculated by students.

Students should pay attention to the unit used in each question, whether they are ft., miles, kg, or other scales. Some questions will require students to interchange units in the final answer. Scale conversion will be incorporated in other sections like data analysis and graph creation. Therefore, students have to demonstrate a stronghold of quantitative reasoning skills to translate among the numbers.

There are 38 questions in total and the time limit is 35 minutes.

Reading Comprehension

There are five passages in the Reading Comprehension. Based on each passage, five questions are asked about its content, summary, and intent. The topics can range from excerpts from biography and textbooks to thrillers and science fiction.

Common questions include identifying the core message, finding supporting evidence, and replacing sentences. According to the passage, students have to know its genre and purpose. While some answers are directly shown in the passage, some questions require logical deduction and may not be obvious.

Analogies are used in some passages to convey subtle ideas. Students have to rely on their logical reasoning skills to detect these hidden messages. Difficult vocabularies are common to evaluate students’ comprehension skills and knowledge.

There are 25 questions in total and the time limit is 25 minutes.

Mathematics Achievement

It measures the student’s mathematic understanding of recommended subjects covered by the syllabus. Topics include algebra, probability, graph reading, fractions, geometry, measurements, data analysis, definition, and more.

Students should know the terminology for respective functions to fully understand some questions. The use of a calculator is strictly prohibited. All calculations must be done by hand, using methods taught in class.

Every subject gets a different weight on the test. Some topics will get more coverage while others less. The exact number of questions on each topic varies from year to year, but in general, the distribution is even among all topics.

There are 30 questions in total and the time limit is 30 minutes.


A writing prompt is given. Students have to write an essay responding to the prompt. During this process, a student’s organizational skills are measured. Students should be confident in expressing their thoughts with words and logically present themselves.

The prompt will be personal. It involves drawing on your past experiences to deliver the most personal, heartfelt, and sincere answer. Questions could be about your favorite city, a sport you are good at, your best friend from previous grades, future goals, a celebrity you look up to, a historian you want to have lunch with, etc.

The prompt can be entirely fictional. Students merely have to give a logical answer based on the prompt they receive. If some questions involve facts and science too advanced for students, they are only expected to use their imagination to come up with the essay instead of writing an academic piece.

Students have to expand on the subject to explain themselves. The story should be relatable with a smooth flow so it is easy to read. It should also contain strong emotions to convince people how deeply they feel about the subject without sounding fake.

There is one prompt in total and the time limit is 30 minutes.

How To Prepare For The ISEE Lower Level?

helping kid with the exam

1. Get your practice test now

Understanding the scope of the ISEE Lower Level is not easy without actually practicing it. TestPrep Online has a whole library of ISEE Lower Level study materials for you to learn with your kid.

It offers study guides for both parents and children to discover study tips and answering techniques. Specific sets for each subject are provided. Students will learn in a vibrant environment with a 24/7 support team if they encounter any difficulty in their course.

2. Start early

You can never prepare your child too early for the ISEE Lower Level. Some parents start as soon as their kid starts school. The best is to get the entire practice set and start highlighting relevant content whenever a new topic is taught at school.

Starting early gives an edge to your child as they begin familiarising the ISEE structure at a young age. It will also lift up their grades at school as they are exposed to various exam practices. You should give your child an advantage that their peers don’t have.

3. Supervise and monitor your child’s progress.

A fifth grader is probably not going to plan out their study schedule effectively. As their parent, you have to help them by formulating a schedule that fits their level. A good study plan takes precise execution.

Constantly revise your child’s progress to see if they are keeping up with the speed. If they are falling behind, see if it is because the content is too advanced or if they need additional help. Reward them when they have outdone themselves.

4. Separate each study session

Sitting for 10 hours each day to prepare for an exam is unhealthy for the brain and morale. Children need non-academic stimulation to stay focused. Spread out each study session with plenty of breaks in between.

When you notice signs of stress in your child, it’s time to postpone any study plans. Give them plenty of time to rest and reset before embarking on another revision. Only a well-rested brain can deliver brilliant results.

5. Organize group study sessions with their peers

Studying with your child’s classmates effectively brings up morale and motivates them. Peer influence undoubtedly has the biggest impact. Organize regular study sessions with your child and their peers. Get everyone to review each other’s progress and highlight difficult parts.

Children study in ways that differ from adults. Having friends with the same logic encourages your child to speak up and analyze their obstacles better. Besides, they can teach each other things better than teachers sometimes.

6. Stay positive

Stress and anxiety will cause your child to underperform. Don’t throw unnecessary stress at them. They may not always give the best exam results. Instead of criticizing their performance, give them words of encouragement so they feel motivated to keep trying and be better.

Having a positive mindset allows for a stable performance. Stress can freeze someone’s brain, pumping all the knowledge out as soon as it goes in. When your kid comes to you under immense stress, reassure them that no matter how important an exam is, it is not as important as having good mental health.

They should never feel cornered or that their life is over if they don’t score high. Recognition and support help your kid perform well continuously.

Is The ISEE Lower Level Difficult?


Yes. The ISEE Lower Level is known to be challenging to students, especially those in schools performing below average. Since ISEE Lower Level is an entry exam, the standards are drawn fairly high to eliminate students with sub-par performance.

Schools with unsatisfactory in the past are likely receiving inadequate resources to prepare students for the ISEE Lower Level. The whole grade could be falling behind, compared to the state’s standards. Therefore, students in these institutions will find the ISEE Lower Level particularly difficult.

The format and structure of the ISEE Lower Level can be the opposite of what the student is used to. These changes can make adapting to the system more difficult. Parents should keep an eye on each other’s tests and start preparing as soon as possible.


The ISEE Lower Level is the grand ticket your child needs to enter a private. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the entrance exam. Get the full practice set on TestPrep Online so your child can have an early start in tackling this important test.