Alexis Avila, Founder of Prepped and Polished gives tips on how to get faster on the ISEE exam.

One thing that any student, depending on his or her grade level, can do is really take time to understand each section of the test. I tell each one of my students that when we first get started, that’s going to be important to know how many questions are there in the section. How much time do I have? Occasionally, I’ll figure out how much time per question, or sometimes how much time per passage, if we’re dealing with the reading section. Setting up a strong knowledge of this will help the student recall what they need to do in terms of managing their time as a whole when they enter into each section.


Now, this can be done through a number of ways, through simple memorization or writing it out on flashcards. Sometimes, that easy review process will help them memorize it more easily and, therefore, not be surprised when they get into the section. They know exactly what the timing is, and they’re not sitting there confused or forgetting how much time they actually have.

Foundational knowledge

Another way to get faster and more accurate on the test is working on building what I call building up the foundational knowledge for each section. There are certain topics and certain things you need to know for each section of the test. For example, in the verbal section, though there is a sentence section and a sentence completion section, you need to build up the student’s vocabulary. If they don’t have this foundational knowledge, it doesn’t matter how quickly they go through the test; they’re going to get questions wrong. So, start with this. Start with the foundational knowledge and then deal with the timing.

Start small

I also recommend to students that we start small and build our way up. Now, what do I mean by that? What I mean is you want a student to know how much time it takes for a certain question type.

Timed practice sections

And then, of course, the final point here would be to work on timed practice sections. And usually, I would recommend a similar buildup. Start small, work on only the verbal section, maybe on only the synonyms. How much time does it take to do the synonyms? As soon as the student starts to build up that ability, okay, what about the synonyms and sentence completion? What does that look like?

For questions or test prep in person (Boston area) or online, check out

What is your biggest takeaway from this vlog about How to Get Faster on the ISEE Exam? Do you have any questions for Alexis?

Post your tips/comments below.

Become a Fan on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter