The ISEE tests different math skills for each level of the test, so before we can talk about which skills are necessary, we have to figure out which level of the test you’re going to take.

The Upper Level ISEE is for people who are testing to go into 9th grade or higher.

The Middle Level ISEE is for people who are testing to go into 7th grade or 8th grade.

The Lower Level ISEE is for people who are testing to go into 5th grade or 6th grade.

Each level has its own math skill set. Let’s take a look:

For the Upper Level ISEE, you’ll need to know basic arithmetic; basic geometry; basic algebra; exponents; fractions; basic probability; things related to mean, median, and mode; and so on, basically everything up until what would be considered pre-calculus in most schools. You won’t need to know trigonometry or calculus or advanced statistics.

But the most important ISEE math skill by far is the ability to read carefully and pay attention to the definitions of the terms in the questions. People miss a lot more math questions because of misreading them or misunderstanding them than they do because of not knowing how to do the math.

For the Middle Level ISEE, you’ll be responsible for things like percents, fractions, measurements, square roots, the number line, solving for variables, looking at graphs, stuff like that–basically everything up through arithmetic, geometry, and algebra.

Again, though, the most important skill for test-takers on the Math parts of the ISEE is always reading carefully and noticing everything going on in the question. It’s much more important to practice that skill than it is to cram your head full of formulas and things you’ll never use.

For the Lower Level ISEE, you’ll need things like basic arithmetic, pattern recognition, very basic geometry, simple probability, fractions, percents, and so on. In my experience, there’s a good chance that a lot of students who are getting ready to take the Lower Level ISEE won’t know a lot of the math that appears on the test, so it may be a good idea to get a tutor for the unknown concepts. For more of an idea of exactly which kinds of things are necessary for the math part of the Lower Level ISEE, take a look at the ERB’s official publication “What To Expect On The ISEE,” which you can download from here: http://isee.erblearn.org/pdf/01_Lower/guide.pdf