What is the difference between SSAT and ISEE?

The SSAT and ISEE are similar in many ways: they are both composed of 5 sections that test students’ verbal, reading, quantitative, and writing skills. However, there are a few key differences between the ISEE and SSAT: 

  1. Score report: The SSAT score report presents three section scores: verbal, reading, and quantitative. The ISEE score report presents four section scores: verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and mathematics achievement. On both tests, the raw score is converted into a scaled score to account for the difficulty between different tests. On the SSAT, the scaled score is converted into a percentile score, whereas on the ISEE, the primary normative score is a stanine
  2. Guessing strategy: While the Middle and Upper-Level SSAT have a guessing penalty where students receive 1 point for each correct answer, 0 points for questions left blank, and lose ¼ point for each wrong answer, the Lower Level SSAT does not have a guessing penalty. Likewise, the ISEE does not have a guessing penalty. Students receive 1 point for each correct answer and 0 points for every incorrect answer or unanswered question. 
  3. Verbal section: Students need to answer synonym questions for both the ISEE and SSAT. The difference is that ISEE features sentence completions, while the SSAT has analogy questions. 
  4. Reading section: Both the ISEE and SSAT reading passages cover a variety of subjects. However, SSAT includes poetry and older-style literature while the ISEE generally focuses on more contemporary passages.
  5. Math sections: Both tests have two math sections. The ISEE has a quantitative reasoning section, which focuses on problem-solving and critical thinking questions. It also has a mathematics achievement section, which has primarily knowledge-based questions. The SSAT, on the other hand, has two quantitative sections that are composed of a mix of critical thinking and knowledge-based questions. 
  6. Writing sample: Students complete an unscored writing sample for both the ISEE and SSAT. The writing is sent to schools together with the scores for the multiple-choice sections of the test. This is part of a student’s application portfolio which is submitted to the admissions officers.