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Last Updated On: May 17th, 2020

The ERB, the company that administers the ISEE test for admission to independent schools, recently announced that it will soon offer the ISEE test from home for students entering grades 5-12. Students who register for this option can choose a time and date that works for them. They will take the test on their home computer under the supervision of a remote proctor, who will help with any technical issues that arise and watch each test taker to ensure against cheating.

What does this mean for independent school applicants for the 2020-21 school year?

First, students planning to apply to independent schools next school year should plan to take the ISEE. Though you should check with each school individually about its policies, independent schools that currently require the ISEE for their applications will likely continue to do so, as most applicants have the Internet connection and technological resources to test from home. If you are thinking of applying to an independent school and the technology is a barrier, speak to the admissions office, as schools want admissions to be accessible to all qualified students.

Applicants should familiarize themselves with the format and procedures for the electronic test. While the availability of the paper test depends upon the COVID-19 situation, the test-from-home option will likely be available no matter what. Students who are less comfortable with computerized testing should familiarize themselves with the sample test program on the ERB website and should consider taking practice tests in an electronic format, such as those offered on Test-takers may also want to work on their keyboarding skills in order to type the essay more quickly.

In addition, applicants should ensure they have the proper technology to access the at-home test, including a camera. It also might be wise to purchase the necessary cord and/or adaptor to plug the computer directly into the Internet box, rather than relying on a wireless connection.

Applicants (or their parents) should be prepared to register for the test early in order to choose the most ideal test dates. Testing from home might give more flexibility to test dates and times, but it doesn’t necessarily mean each test date is available to an unlimited number of students, as online proctoring takes resources.

Students who have more free time than usual might consider starting their preparations early. While most schools are being flexible about grading policies for this spring, the ISEE will include concepts students were scheduled to learn this semester, along with many advanced concepts that aren’t in the regular curriculum until next year or beyond. Starting ISEE preparations early can not only ensure students are prepared for the test, but might also help fill in gaps in this year’s learning.

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