The first section of the ISEE is Verbal Reasoning, which presents 40 questions to be answered in 20 minutes. At 30 seconds per question, it is the fastest paced part of the test, and it is all about the strength of a student’s vocabulary and their ability to apply it.
Students will encounter two types of questions – synonyms and fill-in-the-blank sentence completions.
For the synonym questions, students will be presented with a single word in all caps followed by four additional words. They must choose the word that is most similar in meaning.
The difficulty of this section comes from having to know all the various definitions of a word, including some very difficult ones that many adults don’t even know.
The second set of questions are sentence completions where students are presented with a sentence that has either 1 or 2 blanks (2 blanks are Upper Level only and the only major difference between the Middle and Upper Levels as far as structure is concerned). Relative to synonyms, the context clues given by the sentences tend to make these questions a little bit more manageable for students.