At ETP, we are pleased to share with you some exciting changes to the ISEE testing process.  We say exciting, because we believe that these changes will make things much better for students.

In August 2016, ERB will announce a new option – multiple testing.


With this change, all students will be allowed to test three times during a single admissions cycle.   Each test may be taken once during a four-month testing window.  The windows are:

Fall (August – November)

Winter (December – March)

Spring/Summer (April – July)

So what does this mean for your placement strategy?

Let’s say you were looking to enter an independent school in the fall of 2017.  A student would now be able to take the test in the fall of 2016 to obtain a baseline score and decide which schools will be the best fit.

Then, the test might be taken again in the winter as the admissions deadlines approach.

This is a major change from the current process, in which students are only allowed to take the ISEE once during a six-month period.

Whether a student should take the test two or three times really depends on the individual student.  Students with test anxiety usually think it’s a relief not to have all their eggs in one basket, and be judged based on their performance on one test.

And for students who just had an “off day” on that first test, a second opportunity gives them a chance to show their schools what they’re capable of.

We think the change is a great idea. Not only will kids feel a lot less pressure, but the experience of going through the test the first time gives them an opportunity to see what the test is like, where they need to improve. It takes a lot of the mystery out of the process too, and makes them better at taking tests the next time around.

Of course, the first time they sit down take the test should never be the first time they see what that test is like. We’re big believers that exposure to the test, long before the clock starts ticking on the day of the real thing, is the difference between a worried test taker and a confident one. And like any other skill, being given a chance to practice, is the only way to improve performance.

As we’ve said before, tests speak their own language. And as with acquiring any language, practice is the key.