ISEE Tutoring and Test Prep

General Academic is Houston’s ISEE-prep leader; more than 200 Houston-area students entrusted General Academic with their admissions prep in the 2020-2021 academic cycle. For more than 17 years, thousands of students have aced the ISEE private school admissions test with the help of our 50+ published practice tests, private tutoring, and courses.

We offer both private one-to-one tutoring and group test prep classes. Private tutoring can occur in your home or at our Rice Village Study Lounge.

Our Proven Approach to ISEE Prep

Students start with a full-length diagnostic/ practice test to evaluate their current strengths and weaknesses. The test should be as realistic as possible including timed conditions. Having written more than 30 full-length practice tests for the ISEE, General Academic is the market leader in ISEE prep material publishing.

Upon scoring the test, our tutors and managers will evaluate the student’s position and outline a roadmap for improvement. The tutor will discuss test-taking strategies and general tips.

Concept review comprises the bulwark of ISEE test prep. To do well, students must have a firm grasp of the tested math and reading concepts. No amount of tips and tricks will compensate for not knowing fractions or how to identify a main idea.

As students strengthen their fundamental math and reading skills, they must still be able to apply that knowledge to the new and novel ways tested on the ISEE reasoning sections. The best way to ensure this capability is to work many test-like practice questions.

The process of ISEE test prep is continual, and the duration and intensity of preparation will depend on the disparity between the student’s starting place and desired outcome. Most of our students will take a minimum of 3 full-length practice tests and 2 official tests.

ISEE Preparation Services

Private ISEE tutoring ensures that your student is only spending precious time on the areas where they need help. Students generally meet with a tutor for 1 to 2 hours a week depending on the student’s needs and schedule.

We will start by identifying your student’s strengths and weaknesses through a mock test, then the tutor will work with your student to address shortcomings and reinforce skills in the tested subjects in math and reading.

To maximize skill retention, the tutor will assign homework questions for the student to complete in-between sessions.

Our tutors & instructors are brilliant and charismatic:

  • Equally skilled in math and english
  • Self-accomplished and inspiring
  • Gifted at working with younger students​​
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Test prep classes are a great way for students to get a broad overview of the ISEE and refresh tested concepts. We offer both standard (18 hours) and bootcamp (30 hours) classes for the Upper and Lower levels. Courses will cover test-taking strategies and help students refresh their skills in math and reading. There is significant instructor-led practice.

Our classes are capped at just 6 students (depending on CDC guidelines) meaning that every student will get large amounts of attention from the instructor, and every student receives a personalized study plan.

Standard courses are $1,000, and Boot Camps are $1,350. Students enrolling with 1 or more friends save 10%.

These courses will be in person.

Fall 2021 Saturday Standard Course (UL+LL)

Saturday courses meet only on Saturdays for six consecutive Saturdays and total ~18 hours.

  • September 25 – October 30
  • 9AM-12PM Course for Lower Level ISEE
  • 9AM-12PM and 1-4PM Course for Upper Level ISEE
  • targets ISEE test dates in November

Fall 2021 Sunday Standard Course (LL)

Sunday courses meet only on Sundays for six consecutive Sundays and total ~18 hours.

  • September 26 – October 31
  • 1PM-4PM for Lower Level ISEE
  • targets ISEE test dates in November
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Mock tests are an integral part to our ISEE prep methodology. We use a diagnostic test to identify your student’s strengths and weaknesses, and we continually recommend additional tests to get students comfortable with the test format and structure.

We offer mock tests on most Saturdays at no-charge for current and future clients.

  • The Upper Level ISEE test will last approximately 3 hours. Upper Level is for students applying to grades 9-12.​
  • The MiddleLevel ISEE test will last approximately 3 hours. Middle Level is for students applying to grades 7&8.​
  • The Lower Level ISEE test will last approximately 2.5 hours. Lower Level is for students applying to grades 5&6.
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ISEE Overview

We Support Multiple ISEE Test Levels

  • Upper Level – Applying to Grades 9 – 12
  • Middle Level – Applying to Grades 7 & 8
  • Lower Level – Applying to Grades 5 & 6

The Upper and Lower levels are most popular in Houston. We offer both classroom courses and private tutoring for the ISEE Lower and Upper levels; we offer private tutoring for the ISEE Middle Level.

Students may take the ISEE up to three times a year or once each during three 4-month periods generally corresponding to summer, fall, and winter. These 4-month periods are set by ERB; a student could not, for example, take the ISEE in both December AND January because of the limitation of taking the test only once during each prescribed period.

Let’s now assume that you are a current 7th grader looking to apply to 9th grade, which is generally the “prime entry year” for a private high school –

  1. Your first opportunity would be during the fall of your 8th grade year between August and November.
  2. The second and last opportunity for the admissions period would be during the winter of your 8th grade year between December and March.
  3. The third option, between April and July, is outside of the traditional admissions period

Note that Houston schools will not take the results from the April to July for the following admissions period. As a current 7th grader, ERB will count you as a 7th grader until August 1st, and if you register for an exam before August 1st, then you will be given the Middle Level ISEE instead of the Upper Level ISEE. Instead, April to July is more for families who have just recently moved to Houston during that time frame, and private schools have allowed them to apply.

The ISEE is scored along a normal curve, which is divided into 9 slices (“stanines”), where 1 is significantly below average and 9 is outstanding. The norm group consists of students who applied for the same grade from the past 3 years; students are not compared directly to students in their current year.

​Most Houston schools will accept average scores of 4, 5, and 6, but academically rigorous schools are more likely to enroll students with scores of 7, 8, and 9.

The Upper and Middle Level ISEE is a 5-part, 2 hour and 40-minute test with two breaks lasting between 5 and 10 minutes each. The ISEE Lower Level is a 5-part, 2 hour and 20-minute test with two breaks lasting between 5 and 10 minutes each.

Students will be tested on their knowledge of vocabulary, reading, writing, and math.

High achieving students at competitive schools should have already learned most of the tested concepts by the end of their first semester in 8th grade (Upper Level) or the end of their first semester in 6th grade (Middle Level) or 4th grade (Lower Level).

However, there will be some questions that ask about concepts that students have not learned as the Upper Level ISEE is taken by students applying to grades as high as 12, the Middle Level is taken by students applying to both grades 7 and 8, and the Lower Level is taken by students applying to both grades 5 and 6.

The ISEE is both an achievement and a reasoning test. Achievement tests strive simply to determine if a student has learned something they were taught. A reasoning test goes a step further to determine if a student can leverage what they were taught to reason their way through related but new and novel concepts.

To this extent, there are four, scored sections of the ISEE – two that test reading and vocabulary skills (Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension) and two that test math skills (Quantitative Reasoning and Mathematics Achievement).

​The best predictors of a student’s success on the ISEE are good grades in school in core academic subjects like math, science, English, and history. ​

​Therefore the best way for a student to prepare is to ensure that they’re doing well in core subjects well before a few months before they plan to take the ISEE.

Next up are standard good test-taking practices:

  1. Determine target score & what it takes to achieve
  2. Know the content and format of the ISEE
  3. Identify subject areas that are weak

Core academics are king. There are no amount of tips and tricks that will help students ace the ISEE if they do not know how to do division or punctuate a sentence.

Learn more about the ISEE at our Advice & Resources page.

Upper/Middle Level ISEE overview video by General Academic Founder Shelby Joe. Read much more about the ISEE at Piqosity.

Lower Level ISEE overview video by General Academic Founder Shelby Joe. Read much more about the ISEE at Piqosity.

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