Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE)

  • The Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) is one of the determining factors for entrance into one of the three BPS exam schools—Boston Latin Academy, Boston Latin School, and the John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science. The test is timed and includes four multiple choice sections in English Language Arts and Mathematics. The ISEE test is free of charge for all eligible students residing in the City of Boston.

    Students must be currently enrolled in grades 6, 8, or 9 and reside in the City of Boston to register for the ISEE.

    • All three exam schools accept students entering grades 7 and 9. The John D. O’Bryant School also accepts a small number of students entering grade 10.
    • Students with disabilities and/or limited English proficiency registered for in-school testing will receive appropriate testing accommodations. Students testing on Saturday may request these accommodations in advance. Please refer to the ISEE Bulletin on our website for more information www.bostonpublicschools.org/exam
    • Parents of students not currently attending Boston Public Schools must confirm their Boston residency in person at a BPS Welcome Center by Friday, November 8, 2019. Parents must present photo identification, the child’s birth certificate and immunization record, and two proofs of residency with the current Boston address. For additional information regarding the residency verification process please visit www.bostonpublicschools.org/exam or call a BPS Welcome Center (contact information on page 2).

    You can register two ways beginning September 9, 2019:

    • Online at www.bostonpublicschools.org/exam
    • The ISEE bulletin and paper registration forms are available at your child’s school, all Boston Public Libraries, and all BPS Welcome Centers.

    IN SCHOOL TESTING: Beginning in Fall 2019, grade 6 BPS students can register to take the test at their current school during the normal school day on Thursday, November 7, 2019. BPS students will be assigned to in-school testing unless they opt for weekend testing on the registration form.

    WEEKEND TESTNG: For additional information please visit www.bostonpublicschools.org/exam or contact the Exam School Admissions Office at 617-635-9512.

    The exam will be offered at seven sites on Saturday, November 9, 2019. This option is open to all students. *Students who cannot participate in the Saturday option due to their religious beliefs may request to participate in a special administration held on Sunday, November 10, 2019 at Boston Latin School. In the event of extreme circumstances that prohibits a student from testing on their original date, an ISEE make-up test will be provided on Saturday, November 23, 2019.

    The Educational Records Bureau (ERB) provides a preparation book for each level of the exam free of charge when downloaded from the website www.iseetest.org. Hard copies of the book entitled "What to Expect of the ISEE" are available at each of the district’s four Welcome Centers. The locations and hours are listed at the end of this document. Each book includes sample questions, a full-length practice test and scoring information.

    Next Steps

    After the test, all students will receive an individual score report at their home address in December 2019. Admission decisions for exam schools are based on both ISEE test scores and the student’s grade point average (GPA). In January 2020, BPS will contact parents to collect the ranked preferences for the exam schools and collect the student’s grades from their current school. Admission decisions are released in mid-March 2020.