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The ISEE is a standardized test that is used by many private schools as a part of their admissions process. If you are interested in having your student attend a private school, it may be in their best interest to have you enroll them in a San Diego ISEE class by contacting Varsity Tutors.

The ISEE is broken down into four different levels based on grade level. Students who are entering 9th grade or above can take the Upper Level test, students who are entering 7th or 8th grade can take the Middle Level test, students entering 5th or 6th grade can take the Lower Level test, and students entering 2nd through 4th grade can take the Primary Level. The number of questions involved and the amount of time provided for each section is the same for the Lower, Middle, and Upper Levels.

What can a San Diego ISEE class help my student review?

The Lower, Middle, and Upper Levels of the ISEE all contain five sections, which include Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning, Math Achievement, Reading Comprehension, and an Essay. While each section has the same number of questions, each level covers different topics within those sections. What follows is a breakdown of the five sections and the type of material your student can expect on each section and each level.

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning Section takes 35 minutes to complete and contains 37 questions. Across all three levels, this section examines mathematical skills. At the Upper Level, this section measures students' skills in working with exponents and variables, their ability to make inferences about a data set, and their ability to solve equations. Overall, this level is more about mathematical thinking than mathematical operations.

At the Middle Level, this section is more focused on numbers and operations, geometry, and data analysis. It may be helpful for students to know how to use the distributive property, to understand square roots, and to be able to calculate measurements. At the Lower Level, this section focuses on more basic math such as subtraction and addition.

Verbal Reasoning

The Verbal Reasoning Section takes 20 minutes and contains 40 questions. This section is more focused on English language skills. At the Upper Level, this section asks students to answer questions about high school-level vocabulary, synonyms, and suffixes. At the Middle Level, this section contains middle and high school-level vocabulary and asks questions about the parts of speech. Finally, at the Lower Level, this section covers elementary school-level vocabulary and asks students to complete sentences based on context.

Math Achievement

The Math Achievement Sections takes 40 minutes and there are 47 questions. This section also covers math-related topics. At the Upper Level, this section requires students to solve word problems, solve equations, and to work with variables and exponents. At the Middle Level, this section looks at quadrilaterals and triangles, fractions, and relatively prime numbers, to name a few concepts. Finally, the Lower Level test requires students to be knowledgeable about decimals, percentages, and estimation.

Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension takes 35 minutes and contains 36 questions. It is primarily concerned with reading comprehension across all three levels. At the Upper Level, this section requires students to read a passage and answer questions about it. These questions could involve comparing and contrasting, cause and effect, and the relationships about different literary genres.

The Middle Level has students read through passages and has students answer questions about the information contained within the passage. This can include language use that is both figurative and literal and information that may not be explicitly stated in the passage. Finally, the Lower Level test has students focus on identifying the main ideas presented in the passage.


The Essay section takes 30 minutes and only has one prompt. This section requires students to write an essay about a topic that is of interest to a student at their specific grade level. These essays are not graded, but they are designed to give their potential school a better idea of who they are. It is also an opportunity for students to showcase their writing skills.

Primary Level ISEE

While the Lower, Middle, and Upper Level tests are similar when it comes to sections, the Primary Level test is a bit different. Students in 2nd grade have a unique section, which is known as the Auditory Comprehension Section. This section contains 6 questions and students have 7 minutes to finish it. This section requires students to listen to various passages and answer questions about them. Topics can be either nonfiction or fiction.

Students in 2nd through 4th grades take a test with a Reading, Math, and Writing section. The Math Section is multiple choice and has questions about basic math operations. The Reading Section has questions about grade-appropriate vocabulary, and the Writing Section has students write a story about a picture that is provided on the test.

How can a San Diego ISEE course help my student prepare?

There are many different ways in which a San Diego ISEE course can help your student prepare. One of the main benefits of enrolling your student in an ISEE course is that the course is designed to be similar to a traditional classroom setting. Your student will have an instructor who can help them review the various topics and subject areas that could be on the test. Furthermore, your student will have the opportunity to collaborate with other students. This can be valuable for some students because it gives them a chance to work in groups. This breaks up the time spent listening to the instructor, which can help in terms of staying focused.

Another benefit to enrolling your student in an ISEE class is the fact that the class takes place online. You don't have to worry about getting your child to yet another activity because they can simply take the class online within your house.

How can I enroll my student in a San Diego ISEE prep course?

Enrolling your student in a San Diego ISEE prep course is as easy as contacting Varsity Tutors either online or over the phone at your convenience. Feel free to sign your student up for either a four-week or two-week session based on their needs.

Contact us today to connect with a top San Diego ISEE instructor