Where to take the ISEE?

  • July 19, 2017

Where to take the ISEE?

Parents often wonder what the best option is for their child to take the ISEE – a paper and pencil test offered at a school site or a computerized test offered at a Prometric center. There are pros and cons to both. We’ve outlined them below to help Davidson Tutoring families weigh the options and choose what might best suit their own student’s needs.

Most of our students take the ISEE in a classroom setting at local schools here in Los Angeles. The test is administered by a proctor using a paper test that students can write on, a pencil and a scantron on which students bubble in their answers.

PROS

  • Students are in a familiar classroom setting
  • Students are surrounded by their peers
  • Parents drop their students off and pick them up
  • Students struggling with reading students tend to do better on the paper test

CONS

  • Parents have to schedule the test date months in advance
  • Students are sometimes distracted by their peers
  • Students sometimes make mistakes on scantrons that are not easily erased
  • Rescheduling a paper test date is difficult

A growing number of students are taking the ISEE on a computer at Prometric test centers. There are two located in the Los Angeles area, one in Culver City and one in Glendale. At Prometric centers, students sit in a cubicle and take the test on a computer. Click here to watch a video about what to expect at a Prometric center on test day.

PROS

  • Parents can schedule a test date 7 days a week
  • Most centers only need a few weeks notice to schedule a test.
  • Students can type the essay portion of the ISEE (though no spell check is provided)
  • Students who are disorganized tend to do better on the computerized test since they can flag and mark problems they’ve skipped and re-visit them easier

CONS

  • Students are not surrounded by their peers. They may be sitting next to older students taking the LSAT, GRE, or any number of exams.
  • Parents wait in a room with a two-way mirror from which they can see their student

 

Our opinion? Stick with what your student knows. And for most of them, that’s taking the ISEE at a school location using paper and pencil. However, since the ISEE changed the number of times students can take the exam from one to three times per admissions cycle in 2016, we have seen a number of families choose to take the test once on paper/pencil and once on a computer. The feedback has been positive from both camps, but the families knew to choose what worked for them and they made their plans in advance! Knowing ahead of time the benefits and drawbacks will help you make a choice that you are confident is the best fit for what you and your child will need.  

But that brings up the question, how many times should students take the ISEE? Click here to read our blog post on “When Should My Student Take the ISEE?” 

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