The ISEE Middle Level Verbal Section
The Independent School Entrance Exam, or ISEE, is a test administered to independent school applicants. It is offered in three different age-specific formats: Lower Level, Middle Level, and Upper Level. Each version of the ISEE evaluates competency across a variety of subjects.
The Middle Level Verbal Reasoning exam, like all sections, consists of multiple-choice questions. For each correct answer, a student can earn one point. Incorrect answers are not penalized, so your number of correct answers becomes your raw score. Scores are then scaled. These scaled scores are between 760 and 940.
What does the ISEE’s Verbal Reasoning section address?
This portion of the ISEE is meant to measure a student’s ability to understand vocabulary words, identify synonyms, and complete sentences. The first half of the test focuses on synonyms, while the second half is geared toward sentence completion. In the sentence completion section of the exam, students are given a sentence with one blank and four possible answer choices.
There are a total of 40 questions spread out over 20 minutes, allowing for an average of 30 seconds per problem. This is both the first and the shortest sub-test on the exam, and it requires a close familiarity with vocabulary.
What are some strategies for success on the ISEE’s Verbal Reasoning section?
Students often struggle with time management on this portion of the test. To help combat this issue, try to think of an answer before reviewing the ISEE-provided responses. Sometimes, more than one answer may seem right, but only one will be the best response. Identifying your own answer first can help prevent this sort of confusion, and it can increase the speed at which you answer questions.
In the synonym section of the test, it is especially helpful to try to identify word meanings before addressing the answer choices. For the best possible score, build your vocabulary before you take the ISEE. If you are stumped, work backwards, eliminating answer choices that you know are incorrect.
Remember, the Verbal Reasoning portion of the ISEE is meant to test your overall vocabulary and ability to reason. Evaluate and sharpen your word recognition skills by taking practice exams, reading a variety of different texts, and quizzing yourself. Flashcards can also be beneficial while preparing for this section of the exam.
Learn to find information where you think there might not be any—that is, read the passage again for a bit of context. If a passage deals with road construction, you may be able to eliminate word and answer choices that are clearly not related to this topic.
As discussed above, timing tends to cause students the most trouble, but repeated attempts at practice tests and a basic familiarity with language can help ease these fears. Approach the ISEE with confidence and an awareness of timing, and you will be well on your way to experiencing success.
Overall, this section of the exam requires that you have a basic grasp of the English language. Students who read often and study hard should have no problem with this twenty-minute ISEE section. As with any exam, get plenty of rest, study hard, and come prepared. With proper preparation, students can approach the Middle Level ISEE’s Verbal section with confidence!