Many private schools accept both the SSAT and ISEE test scores. The tests are similar in many ways but there are also key differences. Should your child take the SSAT or ISEE? This is a question many parents ask. Here are some ways the SSAT and ISEE are different. That way, you can decide what is best for your child.

SSAT

Essay This section requires students to provide a writing sample. Students choose between two story starters focusing on creative writing. This section is not scored.
Quantitative ReasoningThere are two quantitative reasoning sections that tests students on their ability to solve math problems including arithmetic, algebra, geometry and other grade level concepts. Calculators are not allowed.
Reading ComprehensionThis section tests students on their ability to read and comprehend what they read. After students read each passage, they will be asked questions about its content, implications, style and point of view. Passages focus on the areas of literary fiction, humanities, science and social studies.
Verbal ReasoningThis section tests students on their knowledge of vocabulary, verbal reasoning and ability to relate ideas logically. This section includes both synonyms and analogies. Synonym questions ask students to find a word that has the same meaning as the question word. Analogies ask students to find a relationship between two words.

ISEE

Verbal ReasoningThis section tests students on their knowledge of vocabulary and ability to understand word function. This section includes both synonyms and sentence completions. Synonym questions ask students to find a word that has the same meaning as the question word. Sentence completion questions ask students to fill a word into a blank within a sentence.
Quantitative ReasoningThis section tests students on their mathematical thinking and reasoning. There are two types of questions in this section: multiple choice word problems and quantitative comparison questions. Quantitative comparison questions require students to compare two quantities from two separate columns. Some topics tested include numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, probability and problem solving. Calculators are not allowed.
Reading ComprehensionThis section tests students on their ability to read and comprehend what they read. After students read each passage, they will be asked questions about its content, implications, style and point of view. Passages focus on the areas of history, science, contemporary life, and literature.
Mathematics AchievementThis section tests students’ math skills and requires more calculation than the quantitative reasoning section. Questions may require more than one mathematical step to achieve a correct answer. Some topics tested include numbers and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, probability and problem solving. Calculators are not allowed.
EssayThis section requires students to complete one essay prompt focusing on persuasive, opinion, or narrative writing. This section is not scored.

Here are Some Advantages of Taking the SSAT or ISEE

 SSATISEEWhich is easier?
Answering the Questions ¼ point taken off for every wrong answer.

Consists of 5 answer choices
No penalty for guessing.

Consists of 4 answer choices
ISEE: Since there is no penalty for guessing and there are only 4 answer choices to choose from, the ISEE is easier in this area.
MathBoth math sections are the same and do not include quantitative comparison questions.Two different math sections. The quantitative reasoning section includes quantitative comparison type questions.SSAT: Since both math sections are the same and there are no quantitative comparison questions, the SSAT math is generally easier than the ISEE.
Verbal ReasoningAnalogies:
Analogies test vocabulary as well as logical connections.
Sentence Completion:
Sentence completions test vocabulary and logical connections but provides context to help you figure out the correct answer.
ISEE: The SSAT contains 60 verbal reasoning questions, while the ISEE only has 40. Sentence completions are generally easier than analogies because it provides context clues to help you figure out the answer.

Should My Child Take the SSAT or ISEE?

 

First and foremost, check the schools your child is applying to and see which test they accept.  If they only accept one of the tests (SSAT or ISEE), then the decision is already made for you.  However, if the school accepts both the SSAT and ISEE, then you need to decide which one your child would rather take.  Some students prefer taking the ISEE over the SSAT because there are only 4 answer choices and there is no penalty for guessing which takes some pressure off of having to know when to guess and when to skip a question. In general, the ISEE contains an easier verbal reasoning section and the SSAT contains an easier math section.  Depending on the strengths of your child, he or she may prefer one test over another.  However, the differences in the sections are not drastic so it ultimately depends on your child’s preference.  My suggestion is to give your child both an ISEE and SSAT practice test and see which one your child performs better on before deciding which test to register for.

For registration information and to register for the ISEE please visit the ERB website.

For addition registration information and to register for the SSAT please visit the official SSAT website.

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