Alexis Avila of Prepped & Polished, talks about some of the differences and similarities between the ISEE exam and the SSAT exam.
If you’re applying to boarding or private school, you’re going to have to take the SSAT, ISEE test, or both. Now, what are the differences between the two tests?
ISEE vs. SSAT
The ISEE test has sentence completion questions, the SSAT has analogies. The ISEE test’s first math section has quantitative comparison math questions, middle and upper-level ISEE tests only.
Now, the ISEE test has no guessing penalty and four answer choices. The SSAT test has a guessing penalty – a quarter-point deduction for questions answered incorrectly and five answer choices to choose from.
Overall, the ISEE test is much more straightforward than the SSAT test. After all, there’s no guessing penalty. However, the second math section of the ISEE test has 45 questions. You have 40 minutes to do them. That’s one minute per question – less than one minute per question, and that throws kids off, so be careful with the pacing there.
I recommend the ISEE test for students who aren’t good test takers because there’s no guessing penalty. However, lately, I find that the SSAT test is a more coachable test because analogy questions are easy to master.
The ISEE lower-level test is for students currently in fourth and fifth grade, the ISEE middle-level test is for students currently in sixth and seventh, and the ISEE upper-level test is for students in eighth through eleventh grade. On the other hand, the SSAT lower-level test is for fifth through seventh graders and the SSAT upper-level test is for eighth through eleventh graders.