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The ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam) is used by independent schools all over the world. We'll make the tough test accessible and help your child earn their top possible scores!

Our Approach

The ISEE is a very challenging test! Most students taking this test will encounter unfamiliar vocabulary, math skills they have never seen before, and reading passages far beyond their reading level. This often leads to test anxiety, even for children who are strong students and test takers. We take the stress out of the ISEE by addressing more than just content. Of course, academic skills and test taking strategies are an essential part of our tutoring, but so are timing and test anxiety strategies. Our students go into test day feeling confident and prepared whether they'll take the test at school, a test center, or at home!

ISEE Test Levels

We offer 1:1 in-person and online tutoring for all three levels of the ISEE:

  • Upper Level: The upper level test is taken by current 8th - 11th graders who are applying for admission to 9th-12th grades.
  • Middle Level: The middle level test is taken by current 6th and 7th graders who are applying for admission to 7th or 8th grade.
  • Lower Level: The lower level test is taken by current 4th and 5th graders, who are applying for admission to 5th or 6th grade.

Sections of the ISEE

We extend this approach to our work on each of the test sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning: On this section, we teach a combination of word roots and test taking strategies to help students tackle the challenging synonyms and sentence completion questions.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: We tackle the quantitative section head-on by introducing strategies for word problems and the intimidating quantitative comparison questions.
  • Reading Comprehension: Active reading and question answering strategies are at the core of our approach to the reading section.
  • Mathematics Achievement: On this section, we focus heavily on math computation skills, advanced algebra, and geometry.
  • Essay: This required essay is not graded, but is sent directly to schools. We will help students prep for it only if requested.

Scoring and Admissions

This test is taken by an elite group of students applying to selective schools. We usually see percentile scores that are 20-40% lower on the ISEE than on other standardized tests. Selective schools typically look for ISEE scores between the 4th and 7th stanines; highly selective schools often look for stanines of 7 or above. Grades, previous standardized test scores, recommendations, and interviews are also used to determine admission. Our tutors can help students prepare for essays and interviews!

Our students have been admitted to their top-choice schools, including Chicago Lab School, Latin School of Chicago, and Francis W. Parker School.

Testing Accommodations

Nurturing Wisdom has successfully worked with many students who have ISEE accommodations, and our directors can help you with the process of securing them from ERB. Our expert tutors are also well-versed in adapting our tutoring strategies for students with accommodations.

Getting Started

All students begin by taking an ISEE pre-test. After the pre-test is complete, we'll provide a detailed score analysis, as well as a tutoring timeline that outlines how much tutoring we recommend, goal scores, and potential test dates. We recommend that students taking the ISEE between November and January begin tutoring in the summer, but we’re happy to begin working with students during the fall as well!

Sign up for one of our proctored pre-tests, a great opportunity to get a feel for the real test day. If you're unable to make a proctored test date, you can take a free practice pre-test on your own!

Why Nurturing Wisdom?

Nurturing Wisdom's focus on a strong tutor match and customization means that your child will have an excellent tutoring experience. Our students not only see solid increases in their scores, but they also gain confidence and look forward to tutoring sessions! ISEE tutoring extends beyond the test; the academic and test-taking skills gained through tutoring have a direct impact on a student's work in academic classes as well.

We also offer support and advice for parents! Your tutoring director is always available to help you understand every step of the ISEE testing process. They will help you choose optimal test dates, remind you of important deadlines, update you on your child's progress and answer any questions you have along the way. If your child will need to take more than one type of high school entrance test, a director will help you figure out the most effective and efficient way to prep. (Learn more about high school entrance tests in general here).

Seventh Graders

While seventh grade is too early to start tutoring for the ISEE itself, we do help seventh graders improve the academic and general test-taking skills they'll need to do well on the exam (and beyond)! Many students also come to us for executive functioning tutoring.


Need some help figuring out a plan for high school entrance tests and admissions? Our tutoring directors will be happy to answer your questions and help you decide on next best steps. Contact us at 312.260.7945 x2 or one of these ways!