Preparing ISEE Lower Level Exam

Oct 19, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Preparing for the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) at the lower level can be a daunting task for both children and their parents. The ISEE is an important and pivotal assessment for young learners aiming to secure a place in prestigious independent schools throughout the country. It is important to make sure your child is prepared for the exam through effective test preparation. In this article, we will delve into the ISEE exam, address some frequently asked questions, and highlight the benefits of private tutoring, especially when it’s in the capable hands of Simpson Tutors.

What is the ISEE Lower Level Exam?

The ISEE is a standardized test designed to assess a student’s readiness for admission into independent schools. The lower level ISEE is specifically tailored for students in grades 4 and 5 applying to grades 5 and 6. This test evaluates a student’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, reading comprehension, mathematics achievement, and writing skills.

What is the format of the ISEE Lower Level Exam?  

The lower level exam features standardized Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections that measure a student’s capability for learning as well as Reading Comprehension and Mathematics Achievement sections that provide specific information about a student’s strengths and weaknesses in those areas. The Reading Comprehension section evaluates not only a student’s reading level, but also their ability to comprehend material drawn from the sciences and humanities. The exam also includes an unscored essay written in response to a prompt. There are two scheduled 5- to 10-minute breaks.

What is the purpose of the ISEE?

The ISEE serves as a crucial component of the admission process for many independent schools. It helps schools identify students who will thrive academically within their programs.

Why is it important to perform well on the ISEE?

Scoring well on the ISEE not only increases your chances of admission into your desired school, but also potentially opens doors to scholarships and financial aid.

How long is the Lower Level exam?

The lower level exam includes a Verbal Reasoning section with 34 questions to be completed in 20 minutes, a Quantitative Reasoning section with 38 questions to be completed in 35 minutes, and a  Reading Comprehension section with 25 questions to be completed in 25 minutes. The Mathematics Achievement section is 30 questions to be completed in 30 minutes. The essay includes one prompt with 30 minutes to complete. In total, the test is 2 hours and 20 minutes, plus two 5 to 10 minute breaks.


The Benefits of Private Tutoring for ISEE Preparation

Private tutoring can be a game-changer when it comes to ISEE preparation. Here are some key advantages:


  1. Personalized Learning: Private tutors can tailor their teaching methods to suit your child’s specific needs and learning style. This level of customization is hard to achieve in a traditional classroom.
  1. Focused Attention: Private tutors can address weak areas and reinforce strengths more effectively than a one-size-fits-all classroom setting.
  1. Reduced Stress: Preparing for the ISEE can be stressful. Having a private tutor provides emotional support, encouragement, and motivation, easing your child’s anxiety.
  1. Expert Guidance: Simpson Tutors boasts a team of experienced educators who understand the ISEE’s content and structure. They can provide insights and strategies to help your child excel.



How Simpson Tutors Can Prepare Students for the ISEE Lower Level Exam

Simpson Tutors is a trusted name in the field of test preparation and academic support. Here’s how we can help your child prepare for the ISEE:


  1. Customized Study Plans: We develop individualized study plans based on your child’s strengths and weaknesses, ensuring they focus on areas that need improvement.
  1. Comprehensive Content Review* Our tutors are well-versed in the ISEE exam content, offering thorough explanations, practice questions, and tips to boost performance.
  1. Test-Taking Strategies: We teach valuable test-taking strategies to manage time effectively, eliminate wrong answer choices, and reduce anxiety during the exam.
  1. Essay Coaching: Our tutors provide guidance on essay writing, from structuring the essay to developing compelling arguments, helping your child shine in the writing section.
  1. Mock Exams: We offer practice tests that simulate the real ISEE exam experience, helping your child become familiar with the format and gain confidence.


The ISEE Lower Level Exam is a critical step in securing admission to the independent school of your choice. Private tutoring, especially with Simpson Tutors, can make all the difference in ensuring your child is well-prepared for this important assessment. Our personalized approach and experienced tutors will empower your child to succeed, not just on the ISEE but throughout their academic journey. Get started with Simpson Tutors today and give your child the best chance for success!

Pascale Simpson

Pascale Simpson

Who am I?

I am a former teacher turned tutor and now owner of Simpson Tutors. I am passionate about making sure young children have a strong foundation in preschool and elementary because those are the building blocks for the rest of their future. These days I split my time between Miami and New York, connecting families with tutors that are just as passionate about teaching and fostering a love of learning in young children

My Background

Before I was a teacher, I worked with young children while I was an undergraduate student at New York University. Upon graduating with my major in Sociology, I decided to pursue graduate school at Hunter College to become a teacher. During my graduate studies, I began teaching as an associate teacher at Beginnings Nursery School in Gramercy. I taught children ages three and four, and was immersed in the Reggio Emilia approach. I witnessed how meaningful it was for children's interests to be able to guide their learning and carried this with me throughout my teaching career. I then went on to become an associate teacher at LREI (formerly known as Little Red School House) in Manhattan to work with slightly older students and fell in love with teaching kindergarten. I love being a part of the foundational years where children are learning how to read and write, making sense of the world, and learning how to navigate social skills.

I completed my master's degree in Early Childhood Education and received my teaching certification from New York State because I realized the impact that a quality early childhood education has on the rest of a child's academic years. I went on to become a founding teacher at Compass Charter School, a progressive play-based and student-centered charter school in Brooklyn, NY where I continued to teach kindergarten and first grade. From there I went on to teach kindergarten and first grade at PS 29 in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. It was there that I started to tutor my former students from previous schools. I quickly realized the importance and value of one-on-one learning.

My Teaching Philosophy

When I was a kindergarten and first grade teacher, it was so important to me that the children in my classroom were having fun and enjoying learning. My classroom door was always open and the kids could be heard from down the hall singing, laughing, and chatting animatedly. Of course, when it was time for quiet and focus, they understood this just as well. I believe it's so important for children to feel invested in their learning. As an educator, it is so rewarding to see the wheels turning as a five or six year old is working hard to try and solve a problem or think about a character in a book. What I love about private tutoring is the ability to tailor each tutoring session to each specific child and meet them where they are from session to session. You quickly realize what works for one student might not work for another. Each child has their own interests and motivators and it's so important to get to know them on an individual level.

What Makes Simpson Tutors Different

I started Simpson Tutors because there wasn't another tutoring company that specialized in early childhood and elementary education. Sure there are plenty of K to 12 companies, but oftentimes these companies hire educators that are more suited for middle and high schoolers. As amazing as they may be, they don't know how to work with young kids. It takes years of experience to be able to understand how the young mind works and to be able to teach in a way that they can understand. Sometimes parents will call us and they feel a bit embarrassed at the idea of hiring a reading tutor for their five year old, but even to this day when I go to a workshop or event focused on early literacy, I learn something new. To be a skilled and effective elementary teacher takes time. There are actually so many little tools and tricks that we've acquired that make it look like a breeze!