Exam Schools

The Boston Public Schools (BPS) has three exam schools: Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School and the John D. O'Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. All three schools accept new students for grades 7 and 9. The O’Bryant School also accepts a limited number of new students for grade 10.

Application Process

The application process for the exam schools includes test scores from the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), Boston residency, and student grade information.

The next ISEE will be held on Saturday, November 5, 2016. Students must be enrolled in grades 6, 8, or 9 to register and take this exam.
  • Test registration materials will be mailed to all Boston area schools, and available at the BPS Welcome Centers and all branches of the Boston Public Library system the second week of September 2016. The deadline to register for the November 5th exam is September 23, 2016.
  • The ISEE administered by the Boston Public Schools consists of four subtests: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, and Mathematics Achievement. The Middle Level test is used for candidates entering grade 7 and the Upper Level test is used for candidates entering grades 9 and 10. 
Application to the Boston Exam Schools requires both the student and parent/guardian to reside in the city of Boston. The residency verification process must be completed by the first Friday in November. The residency verification must be completed even if you have other children enrolled in the Boston Public Schools; your student is receiving special education services from BPS; you are a current city employee; or if your child was previously enrolled in the BPS.
  • This residency requirement applies to students attending private, parochial, METCO program schools, charter schools, schools outside the City of Boston, and students being home-schooled. 
  • Parents of students planning to take the test in the fall of 2016 must demonstrate Boston residency in person at a BPS Welcome Center by Friday, November 4, 2016. 
  • If residency is not verified by the required deadline, the student will not be allowed to take the ISEE and will not be eligible for admission to a Boston exam school
Residency Verification Locations & Schedule

Student grade information is used to calculate a Grade Point Average (GPA) and accounts for 50% of the criteria for admission. Candidate Release Forms will be distributed in early January 2017 for the collection of student grades and to rank exam school choices.
  • The GPA is based on marks in ELA/English and Mathematics from the previous school year (grade 5 or 7) and from the first two marking periods of the current year. 
  • For students with grade 5 academic records from the Boston Public Schools, the Spring term marks will be used to calculate the GPA. For students applying to grade 10 at the John O’Bryant School, only the current year marks will be considered. 

Testing with Special Accommodations

Special accommodation testing is available for students who are unable to take the ISEE under standard conditions because of a documented learning difference or language ability.

To apply for a special accommodation due to a physical or learning disability, your child’s school must submit a request form and a copy of his/her Individualized Education Program (IEP), 504 Plan, Neuro-Psychological Evaluation, or physician’s letter documenting a health concern. The request form, which can be found via the link below, must include the parent’s or guardian’s original signature.

To apply for testing accommodations for English Language Learners (ELLs), the parent or guardian must submit a request form which can be found via the link below. Students who are not currently enrolled in the Boston Public Schools are required to take an English Proficiency Test to determine eligibility. ELL accommodations include the use of an approved word-to-word dictionary and extended time. Current Boston Public Schools students are not required to take the English Proficiency Test.

A limited amount of bilingual word-to-word dictionaries will be available in select languages and will be provided on a first come first served basis. To ensure the use of the word-to-word dictionary, please bring your own copy, which is subject to inspection by the BPS. Approved bilingual dictionaries only provide word-to-word translations and do not include definitions. Parents may purchase a dictionary from the following list of authorized distributors: 
Please note that special accommodation testing will be held at Boston Latin School only. If you plan to request special accommodations for the ISEE, please make sure to select the Boston Latin School – Special Accommodations test center.
Please send all requests to the following address:

Maria Vieira

Boston Public Schools
Enrollment Planning & Support
2300 Washington Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

The Special Accommodations request form is available online at www.bostonpublicschools.org/exam. All requests must be submitted by September 30, 2016, to make arrangements for the November 5th exam. Confirmation letters will be mailed home during the last week in October detailing approved accommodations. Please be advised that special accommodations will not be granted at the test site without a confirmation letter from Enrollment Planning & Support.

Student Identification

All students must present proper identification at the test center. Examples of acceptable student identification include a passport, green card, or BPS One Card with photo. The passport and green card may be expired; however, the document must display a recent photo of the child.

If the student does not have photo identification, students may present any two items from the following list:
  • Social Security Card
  • Report Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • School ID
Students will not be admitted to the test center without proper identification under any circumstance.

Test Day Checklist

In order for students to test on November 5th, your child must bring the following materials to the test center:

1. ISEE Test Admission Ticket
2. Student Identification
3. Residency Verification Receipt (not applicable to current Boston Public Schools students)
4. Five sharpened No. 2 pencils and an eraser

ISEE National Test Option

Families applying to private and independent schools, in addition to the Boston exam schools, should consider taking the ISEE at a national test site. A national test administration also includes an essay portion which many private and independent schools require as part of their application process. (The BPS test administration does not include the essay.) It is the parent’s responsibility to schedule, pay, and assure that their child tests no later than Saturday, November 19, 2016. Please remember to select the Boston Exam Schools, school code 888888, when you register for a national test. Test scores must be received by the BPS by Friday, December 9, 2016.

To view a list of national ISEE locations and to register for an exam, please visit www.iseetest.org. Please note that students may sit for one test administration within a four-month period. If national testing is selected, parents are not required to register for the November 5th ISEE with Boston Public Schools.

Contact Us

BPS Enrollment Planning & Support


Maria Vieira