Here we describe all the new ISEB features introduced from 2023.
THE BEST ISEB pre-test practice
can be bought below as individual practice pre-tests or a cheaper test multipack:
* * These practice tests are the closest to the original ISEB pre-tests* *
Search the ISC independent schools list to find more info on your specific school’s entry requirements.
FREE Common entrance test prep resources
There is a walked through 2024 pre-tests practice test on the ISEB website which we recommend to all students taking the new ISEB pre-test.
Changes to the ISEB Pre-Test for 2023
This guest tutor post was written by Juliet Rolls – Founder of Cambridge Academic Tuition .
In addition to preparing students for the ISEB pre-test, she manages teachers/tutors for all academic subjects to students from ages 3 to 18. All lessons are one to one and online and all teachers are UK qualified teachers.
We teach students from all around the world, many of whom have English as an additional language. Our recent successes include places at:
- At some of the most selective schools in the UK and globally, including:
- Eton, Harrow, Westminster, St Paul’s Boys’ School, St Paul’s Girls’ School, Wycombe Abbey, Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Winchester, Hampton, Tonbridge, Dulwich College and King’s College to name a few.
We prepare students for:
- Entry at 4+, 7+, 8+, 10+, 11+, 13+ and 16+.
- GCSE/IGCSE and A-Level/IB exams.
Our students have often achieved the highest grade possible and we also have a fantastic record of students being offered academic scholarships.
How Cambridge Academic Tuition can help
Cambridge Academic Tuition are experts at preparing students for the ISEB Pre-Test, other school admission tests and school selection.
Select the right school for your child matched to their academic ability. We can additionally provide this service of school selection which many parents have found helpful.
Schools which use the ISEB Pre-Test 2023
Here is a useful list of schools using ISEB pre-tests 2022. Using the code CAMBRIDGE you can benefit from up to 30% off your first payment which can be for an entire year. Most of my students sign up for the Exam Prep Plus package which allows unlimited mock tests.To find out more visit Cambridge Academic Tuition.
Timings for the ISEB pre-tests 2024
The new timings of the tests from October 2024 are:
Mathematics 40 minutes
English 40 minutes
Non-Verbal Reasoning (NVR) 30 minutes
Verbal Reasoning (VR) 25 minutes
Total length 2 hours and 15 minutes
ISEB 2024 Pre-tests’ question types
The types of questions that could now appear now include:
Mathematics content for the ISEB pre-tests 2024
- Number and place value
- Calculations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division)
- Fractions, decimals and percentages
There are likely to be some problem solving questions in addition to arithmetic and problems involving more than one area.
English content for the ISEB pre-tests
- Reading comprehension – instead of one long passage which was previously the case, there are now 2 or 3 shorter passages. You do not need to click from page to page any more but can scroll through the text.
- Grammar – this includes:
- Cloze sentences – you need to select the right word to complete the sentence.
- Shuffled sentences – you need to rearrange words to form a sentence and may be asked to select the extra word that is not needed. This question type was previously in VR.
- Spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary.
Non-Verbal Reasoning content for the ISEB pre-tests
- Non-Verbal Reasoning
- Similarities and differences
- Complete the diagram
- Spatial Reasoning
- 3D visualisation
- 2D manipulation
Verbal Reasoning content for the ISEB pre-tests
For VR vocabulary and spelling are very important. Number related questions have now been removed from the VR test.
Other new ISEB 2023 pre-tests’ features
Parents must now register for the test rather than the senior school doing this so each child is only registered once even if you apply to multiple schools. Registration for the ISEB pre-test is free.
Improvements to accessibility for special needs such as changing the screen background colour and text size are now possible.
Scrap paper and a pencil can be used for all tests. This was previously only allowed for maths and VR. The working out and notes will not be marked. It is wise to make use of this feature as accuracy rather than speed will produce a higher standardised age score even if all of the questions are not completed.
The tests are adaptive and some pupils may not need the full length of the test. There is no set number of questions but it is likely there will be approximately 30 questions for mathematics, 50 questions for English, 36 questions for NVR and 30 questions for VR. This can vary according to the algorithm and the number of questions answered correctly. The results are given as a standardised age score where 100 is average and the maximum score is 142. Most selective schools will be looking for students with scores above 120 in all areas to secure a place.
Remaining key 2023 ISEB features
Many of the 2022 ISEB pre-test feature will remain. In particular:
- Taken in Year 6/7; between October and June.
- Only taken once in each academic year. Either on two separate days or all on the same day.
- The ISEB 2022 remains an online, adaptive test.
- Once you have submitted your answer you cannot go back and change it or check through your answers at the end. Therefore, you will not find out if the answer you selected is right or wrong.
- There is a timer and dots at the bottom of the screen so that you can see your progress in the test.
- All questions are multiple choice and adaptive.
- The 2022 ISEB pre-test material covers up to the end of the Year 5 curriculum. Although, the higher level questions’ content goes beyond this.
- Overseas students, with English as a Foreign Language, can take their ISEB 2022 test with a bilingual dictionary
Other key changes to the ISEB Common Pretest (CPT)?
- The new test is powered by a company called Century Tech, whose software is being used to register candidates, deliver the test and provide results. Hence, the layout of the test screen has changed significantly. You can see how these features work on the official ISEB Pretest Walkthrough here.
- If your child qualifies for 25% extra time, the timings will be as follows:
English – 50 minutes
Mathematics – 50 minutes
Verbal Reasoning – 31.25 minutes
Non-Verbal Reasoning – 37.5 minutes
Our new practice tests match these new timings exactly. There is also an option to take each section of the test with extra time. However, we only recommend choosing this option if you are sure your child will qualify for this.
What is the 2024 ISEB PRETEST REGISTRATION process?
The process to register your child has changed. Previously, they would be registered via their school. Each child must now be registered via a parent or guardian. You can do this via the Guardian Portal here. ISEB have supplied lots of handy information and guidance on how to register so the process is relatively straightforward.
- The new test will contain no Sample or Practice questions. In the older version of the test, some of the modules included these within the timed portion of the assessment. In the new test, there will be general instructions provided and then the test will begin right away, with every question counting towards your child’s score.
NEW ENGLISH ISEB PRETEST
- The structure of the English module has changed. Previously, 50% of the marks were allocated for Reading Comprehension, 25% for Sentence Completion and 25% for Spelling & Punctuation.
- Now, about half of the marks are allocated for Reading Comprehension and half of the marks are allocated to Grammar.
- The new ISEB Grammar section covers three topics in rotation: Cloze Sentences, Shuffled Sentences and SPAG, each with a roughly equal weighting.
- The first section of the test covers Reading Comprehension. In the old version of the ISEB Pretest, there was just one longer passage, either fiction or nonfiction.In the new test format, there will be multiple smaller passages of 300-500 words each. The passages could be fiction, non-fiction or poetry. In the old format, the passage was divided into smaller sections on the left hand side of the page. Students needed to click numbered buttons to navigate between the questions. In the new format, the passage is in the centre of the page and students may need to scroll up and down to view the text and the questions underneath.
- The second part of the test is called Grammar. It consists of three types of questions: Cloze Sentences, Shuffled Sentences and SPAG. Cloze Sentences is similar to the Sentence Completion question type in the old version of the ISEB Pretest.
- The second type of question is Shuffled Sentences. This is a brand new question type. Below is an example WITH the instruction wording that will be used
- The third type of question is SPAG, which is an abbreviation of Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar.
- Punctuation could be tested as in the below example from NEW ISEB Pretest Practice Test 9 ?
NEW 2023 MATHEMATICS ISEB PRETEST FORMAT
- Maths is changING the least compared to the older format of the test. You can expect the same topics to be covered with perhaps fewer questions that include tables/diagrams.
VERBAL REASONING changes ISEB PRETESTS 2023
- In the older ISEB, certain questions required two answers to be selected. For example, questions that required selecting two synonyms. In the new version of the test, each question has one answer only. You can still expect synonym based questions but the wording and presentation will be as the below example:
- A number of new question types could feature in the new ISEB Pretest. These include Move Two Letters, Missing Letters, Odd One OUt, Connected Words and Related Words.
2023 ISEB NON-VERBAL REASONING CHANGES to SPATIAL REASONING
The biggest change is the introduction of Spatial Reasoning question types. These did not previously feature in the ISEB Pretest. We’ve covered all the key Spatial Reasoning question types across our new ISEB range. For example, here is a Spatial Reasoning question from NEW ISEB Pretest Practice Test 12. This question type is called Combining Shapes.
- Despite the introduction of Spatial Reasoning, 2D Non-Verbal Reasoning questions will still account for about half the marks in the Non-Verbal Reasoning section. We’ve made sure to cover all the possibilities across our practice tests. For example, here is an
Example Figure Matrices question
- THE old test format included fewer variants in the actual exam but a greater number of questions for each of these variants. In the new test, you can expect more variants to feature but a smaller number of questions per variant
School Entrance Tests hopes you found
ALL our independent school entry test practice useful:
Preparation Resources for the ISEB Pre-Tests 2025