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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!

ISEE Test Levels

Nurturing Wisdom helps students prepare 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!

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!

If you're in the Chicagoland area, sign up for one of our proctored pre-tests, a great opportunity to get a feel for the real test day. If you're outside Chicago or unable to make a proctored test date, contact us today to get a free pre-test!

Online Tutoring for the ISEE

If you live outside of Chicagoland or San Francisco Bay areas, we can still help! We love working one-on-one with students online to help them achieve their goals. Contact our online tutoring director, Jessica Lepore, at 312.260.7945 x3 to learn more!

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).

Need some help navigating the ins, outs, ups, and downs of high school entrance tests and admissions? Our high school entrance specialist, Catherine Flynn, will be happy to answer your questions and help you decide on next best steps. Contact her at 312.260.7945 x110 or

  • Cynthia and Jim Patti, Parents of ACT students

    We continue to be really pleased with Nurturing Wisdom Tutoring. We have used NW tutors now for our two oldest children and have been very impressed with the tutors we’ve been matched with and the resulting ACT scores. The process, from initial introduction and tutor assignment to practice tests and scheduling, was very seamless and customer focused. In our case, both children raised their scores significantly. We believe in the program and will definitely be back to Nurturing Wisdom when it is time for our third child to prepare for the ACT.

    Cynthia and Jim Patti, Parents of ACT students
  • Parent of a 12th Grader
    Our daughter's improvement on the ACT increased her scholarship money $4,000 per year! I am already "prepping" my high school freshman to expect ACT tutoring from Nurturing Wisdom! Your approach works!
    Parent of a 12th Grader
  • Parent of a 11th Grader
    I want to let you know how you and your tutors changed the lives of my children. You were crucial in helping my daughter study for the ACT. Due to a chronic illness, she missed six weeks of school in her junior year and needed some extra help. She raised her ACT score from a 24 to a 30 and was able to get into her #1 college!
    Parent of a 11th Grader
  • Parent of an 8th Grader
    Our son can't believe he got every math problem correct on his high school placement test! We are very pleased because he was placed in all honors classes! Thanks for all your help.
    Parent of an 8th Grader
  • Ellen, Parent of a SAT Subject Test Student
    Our tutor was wonderful. I can’t think of a thing we would suggest to improve. She was so responsive, available, flexible and willing to do anything to get my son feeling well prepared for the SAT Subject tests. My son Evan thought she was wonderful and absolutely loved working with her. Highly recommend her to everyone!
    Ellen, Parent of a SAT Subject Test Student
  • Donielle, Parent of ACT students
    Both my son, Matt, and daughter, Maggie, have had Helen as a tutor and they absolutely LOVE her. We have had an amazing experience and we would (and have) recommended her to our friends. Our tutoring director Danyelle is terrific! Sends reminders not just about tutoring but about the tests themselves. As a busy mom I love the fact that she reminds about registering for a test or that the test is coming up!
    Donielle, Parent of ACT students
  • Cheryl, Parent
    My experience has been fantastic. Matt is a great match for Peter. Very smart and easy to be around. He has developed a great rapport with Peter. Peter has told me that he feels that Matt is good with explanations and understands his strengths and weaknesses. Peter said that Matt has given him many tips and tricks to working the test properly and he is excited to use them on the test. I highly recommend Nurturing Wisdom to my friends!
    Cheryl, Parent
  • Parent of an 8th Grader
    Being the ultimate “poor test taker,” the key word for our daughter regarding test prep was definitely “nurturing.” The emotional care her instructors exhibited on her behalf was beyond the call of duty. Our daughter’s instructors (who honestly became family friends!) excelled in confidence-building techniques.
    Parent of an 8th Grader
  • Michelle, parent
    David was fabulous! He taught Kevin more about grammar, punctuation and writing than at least his three years in junior high! He also is unbelievably patient with a fantastic sense of humor. He helped with both ACT prep as well as college essays. My son really enjoyed working with David.
    Michelle, parent
  • Melissa, Parent of ACT students
    Bekah has been wonderful. She is always on time and takes every minute of her time with the boys very seriously. She is engaging and doesn't just sit which I notice keeps the boys a bit more attentive. She seems to really want them to succeed.
    Melissa, Parent of ACT students
  • Melissa, Parent of ACT Students
    We have used NW with our other three children so it was a no-brainer to reach out again to NW for our twins. You all teach them strategies for test taking but it also teaches them to 'read between the lines' in life also. Whether it is current news or trying to get along with a roommate or colleague, these are important lessons. Thank you!
    Melissa, Parent of ACT Students
  • Aunt of online ACT student in Calcutta
    After our experiences, I would recommend Nurturing Wisdom to anyone. We appreciate Jenna's excellent work with Rahul. He has learned study skills and gained confidence in his abilities that will serve him well in college. And he's already been accepted to some colleges with generous merit and need-based financial offers! Thank you so much for working with Rahul and our family.”
    Aunt of online ACT student in Calcutta
  • Lori, Parent of an 11th Grade ACT Student
    It's been a pleasure working with everyone. Very professional customer service. People really listened to my son's personality and needs and found the right tutor for him. Follow up for feedback, reminders for tests and tips, etc have been great.
    Lori, Parent of an 11th Grade ACT Student
  • Lori, Parent of an 11th Grade ACT Student
    LOVE him. He's very personable and real. My son relates to him beautifully. I hear them talking sports, joking and having fun together. He has given my son the confidence he needs to know he can do well. The sessions are well paced. Brian never feels rushed or in a hurry to leave, which creates a very nice, laid back atmosphere. He is focused on Griffin and there for him.
    Lori, Parent of an 11th Grade ACT Student
  • Kristi, Parent
    My 8th grade daughter has been tutoring with Rebekah this fall in preparation for the HSPT in December. They hit it off right away on the first day. Rebekah is a friendly, patient, funny, kind, outgoing, genuine, intelligent person who has been extremely easy for my daughter to work with. Rebekah just seems to be at ease with herself as a tutor, and that quality helps make the sessions very successful. My daughter has made great progress from the initial pre-test to the mid-test, and I’m sure that by the post-test she will have made even more progress. We really love Rebekah and cannot say enough positive things about her!
    Kristi, Parent
  • Jenni, Parent
    We have had a very positive experience with our tutor Shannon. She and my daughter are very well matched. She has been very helpful. She is patient and has given my daughter wonderful tools to use on her test. She is always punctual and it was so easy to schedule our appointments with her. All in all we loved having Shannon as our tutor and would continue to use her in the future.
    Jenni, Parent
  • Amy, parent of SAT student
    James has been a great fit for our son. He is very focused, experienced and thorough. He arrives at each session promptly and very well-prepared. He stays strong and clear the full 2-hours and has built our son's test-taking endurance. Our son has responded well to James' lessons and has improved his SAT score.
    Amy, parent of SAT student
  • Marcy, Parent of an ACT Student
    Vedran was a great help to my son in preparation for his ACT test. He was very responsive and flexible with us as my sons work schedule can be complicated.
    Marcy, Parent of an ACT Student
  • Maribeth, parent of ACT and academic tutoring students
    Both of my young adult children really love David. Not only is he a great tutor, he makes it fun and somehow even my teenage son enjoys meeting with him. He is responsive to our requests and very trustworthy. He has really become part of our family.
    Maribeth, parent of ACT and academic tutoring students
  • Deanna, Parent of a high school entrance test student
    Nurturing Wisdom was recommended by our school. I have to say I have never been so happy with our overall experience from the beginning of discussing my needs for my son and our current tutoring. Catherine was always so respectful and caring and when we were blessed with Matt we couldn't have been happier! Matt is a remarkable young man who listened and cued in on Maximus' needs! I would recommend Nurturing Wisdom to all and I will also use them for my daughter as well!
    Deanna, Parent of a high school entrance test student
  • Deanna, Parent
    Nurturing Wisdom is an amazing company that will listen and help get the right fit for each child's needs! Going through high school testing is hard enough. When your child feels lost and unsure of how to handle testing, Nurturing Wisdom definitely prepares them for it. We were super happy with Matt- he was definitely everything my son needed!
    Deanna, Parent
  • Darla, parent of an ACT student
    Alisha was very encouraging to my daughter and motivated her to try hard. Alisha never said anything negative and always gave my daughter hope that she could get a really good ACT score. She seemed very excited about what she was doing which gave my daughter more motivation too. She used their time very well, and their sessions always went until the last minute. She helped my daughter raise her ACT score quite a bit! I will pursue additional tutoring with my son because of the great experience with my daughter.
    Darla, parent of an ACT student
  • Casey, parent of an 11th grade ACT student
    Al was a wonderful tutor for my 16 year old daughter. He was very flexible with his time and was always respectful of our tutoring time — he arrived early to every tutor session and was ready to “dive” right into “work”. My daughter enjoyed Al’s kind demeanor and responded well to his tutoring style...which is understanding, resourceful and very knowledgeable.
    Casey, parent of an 11th grade ACT student
  • Parent of an 8th grader
    Our son was very skeptical about his odds of getting into the high school of his choice, St Ignatius College Prep, after having taken the practice test and performing well below his normal standards. We were told of the tutoring program offered through Nurturing Wisdom and spoke to several parents who explained how much it helped their child, so we decided to enroll our son in their program. We were very pleased with his tutor and his style of teaching our son how to take this specific exam and what methods to implement to help him score high. As a result, he took the exam and was accepted into St Ignatius College Prep! We are extremely happy with our investment in his tutoring through Nurturing Wisdom and would recommend their program to anyone in our situation!
    Parent of an 8th grader
  • Andrea and Richard, parents of an 8th grader accepted at St. Ignatius
    As parents, we want the best for our children. So when we make such a critical decision on who will best serve the tutoring needs for our child, we better be right the first time and we were - it was Nurturing Wisdom. We knew from the minute we signed that we hit a home run. This feeling first came about when we spoke with Connor's tutor- Benjamin. Ben was an absolute professional who really knows how to convey his talent on strategic and quality test taking. I was impressed on how he explained to Connor the importance of the test taking strategies for each subject. Ben showed Connor how to tackle math equations in ways he was never taught. I say this with extreme sincerity, had it not been for Ben, Connor would have struggled on the HSPT test.
    Andrea and Richard, parents of an 8th grader accepted at St. Ignatius