The Upper Level ISEE is the standardized test taken by students wishing to apply to most private schools in Houston for grades 9-12. It is a five-part, 3-hour, and 161 question exam testing mostly math and English skills. Like almost any test, students can and should prepare for it:

  1. Verbal Reasoning – 20 minutes for 40 questions
  2. Quantitative Reasoning – 35 minutes for 37 questions
  3. Reading Comprehension – 35 minutes for 36 questions
  4. Mathematics Achievement – 40 minutes for 47 questions
  5. Personal Essay – 30 minutes for 1, two-page essay

There are two, 5 to 10 minute breaks; one after Quantitative Reasoning, and the second after Mathematics Achievement.

General Academic’s services and publications have helped thousands of students prepare for the ISEE Upper Level. Below are some of our resources to help you get started on your high school application journey.

Official ERB Practice Test Answer Explanations

There is only one official practice test for the ISEE Upper Level. Download it here or direct from ERB’s website. However, ERB does not provide any explanations for the correct answers.

But we have created both written and video explanations:

Overview of the ISEE Upper Level

We currently publish a number of overview guides and question type deep dives at

  1. ISEE Upper Level Overview and Strategies
  2. Verbal Reasoning Section
  3. Quantitative Reasoning Section
  4. Reading Comprehension Section
  5. Mathematics Achievement Section
  6. The Personal Essay
  7. ​1200-Word Vocabulary Flash Cards
  8. 48-Math Concepts Reviewed

How-To Videos

Also in partnership with, our President Shelby Joe and Vice President Stephen Hayes have published a number of helpful ISEE videos. Some of these videos are embedded below. Click here to view all of our videos.

Online Adaptive Practice

General Academic has partnered with adaptive learning startup to make much of our content available online in a way that is tailored to each student’s unique needs:

  • 3,000+ Practice Questions Including 6 Full-Length Tests
  • ISEE Predicted Stanine
  • Personalized Practice
  • Advanced Analytics
  • Answer Explanations
  • Separate Log-In and Dashboard for Parents and Tutors

Learn More at

ISEE Prep Book

Since 2013, we have published the arguably most comprehensive review book for the ISEE Upper Level, “Upper Level ISEE Prep Guide with 6 Full-Length Practice Tests.” Now in it its 3rd edition, this 932-page “tome” teaches students almost everything they need to know to get prepared. It also features 6, full-length practice tests.

Topics Covered

  1. How to Use This Book – Study Plans
  2. Introduction to the ISEE
  3. The Admissions Process
  4. ISEE Test Taking Strategies
  5. The Essay
  6. Verbal Reasoning
  7. Reading Comprehension
  8. Quantitative Reasoning
  9. Mathematics Achievement

Practice and Review Material

  • 6 Full-Length Practice Tests
  • 14 Essay Brainstorming Worksheets
  • 1200 Vocabulary Words
  • 900 Synonym Questions
  • 200 Sentence Completions
  • 24 Reading Comp Passages
  • 15 Full-Length Reading Passages
  • 500 Math Problems
  • 10 Quantitative Comparison Worksheets