About School Entrance Exams

Many private and magnet grade schools require a school entrance exam. These school entrance exams are used as part of the admissions process for such programs, as many of these schools offer a more competitive edge than public school programs. School admissions tests allow such programs to determine which students are eligible for advanced academic programs.


About ISEE and SSAT

About the ISEE Test

The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is an admission test developed and administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). It was developed specifically for ERB member schools. It serves as an entrance exam for several independent and magnet schools throughout the U.S. and abroad. (A magnet school is a public school with a specialized curriculum and courses). The ISEE test provides a standard assessment of each applicant’s skills as well as a ranking of abilities and achievements compared to other applicants.

About the SSAT

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB). Several independent schools all over the world require the SSAT test for admission. The SSAT Test is administered at three different levels: Elementary, Middle, and Upper. In addition to the verbal, reading, quantitative skills, and writing sample sections, there is also an experimental section on the Middle and Upper Levels. The SSAT Test supplies independent schools with valuable information about a candidate’s potential for success in the classroom. For product updates, sample questions, and more information, please subscribe here.


Choosing the right independent school for your child is the first step toward developing and investing in their future. Choosing the right test to highlight your child's strengths and ensure every school approves your child's application is just as important. 

Before selecting one of the two tests, it is highly recommended to check with the schools to which you wish to apply to see if they have a preference or a requirement for one of the tests over the other.

The ISEE and the SSAT share some similar characteristics:

  • They both contain Quantitative, Verbal, and Reading Comprehension sections.
  • The essay component is not graded.
  • They have roughly the same amount of questions (around 160) and roughly the same time limit (about three hours).

So, what differentiates the two tests?

Verbal Reasoning Analogies and synonyms Sentence completion and synonyms
Reading Comprehension Varied sources, such as poetry, fiction, and nonfiction Only nonfiction sources for passages
Quantitative Reasoning Word problems, five-option multiple choice Word problems and quantitative comparisons, four-option multiple choice
Retest Policy Can be taken any number of times Can be taken once every six months
Difficulty Comparison The verbal section is considered harder than that of the ISEE and makes up more of the total exam score (1/3) The quantitative section is considered harder than that of the SSAT and is equal to 1/2 of the total exam score
Wrong Answers 0.25 deduction per incorrect response (only for middle and upper levels) No penalty
Scoring Ranges between 440 and 710 for elementary and 500 and 800 for middle and upper sections Ranges between 760 and 940 and is also presented as a percentile scale called the stanine
Percentile Scale Scores are compared with results obtained within the past three years of students of the same age and gender Scores are compared with results obtained within the past three years of students of the same age

Why Prepare for School Entrance Exams?

By becoming familiar with the format of his/her school admissions test, your child is more likely to succeed, as s/he will come to the test knowing what to expect and how to approach the test. Preparation will reduce anxiety and allow your child to perform well, increasing his/her chances of gaining admission to the desired academic program.

About TestPrep-Online

TestPrep-Online is a global leader in test preparation, providing test prep materials for children in kindergarten through 12th grade, college, and grad school. Our services extend to job placement and job assessment tests as well. We are proud to provide high-quality educational materials at low, affordable prices.

Each of our test prep packs includes full-length practice tests which offer an accurate test taking experience, score reports, helpful tips, and answer explanations. Our interactive online interface is easily accessible and user-friendly for students of all ages. Have a look at the video below to better understand how our TestPrep-Online works:


The ISEE, SSAT, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with TestPrep-Online or this website

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