There are three common exams Denver area students may need to take in order to apply to local private schools and boarding schools. They are the ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam), HSPT (High School Placement Test), and SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test). Schools typically require applicants to submit scores from one of these exams and the preferred exam varies by school. Some schools may design and administer their own exam, so please check with all schools you are considering regarding their specific testing requirements.
Click here to view specific entrance exam requirements for Denver area private schools.
About the ISEE
The ISEE is for students applying to attend private elementary, middle, and high schools. This is the most common exam for admission to Denver area private schools that do not have a religious affiliation, such as Kent Denver and Colorado Academy. The test includes Reading, Verbal, Math, and Quantitative questions, as well as one essay question. Students are not penalized for incorrect or omitted answers. Students can take the ISEE once per testing season, and the year is broken up into three testing seasons. There are three levels of the ISEE based on the age of the student.
About the HSPT
The HSPT is for 8th grade students applying to attend private high schools. This exam is most commonly required by private Catholic schools, such as Mullen, Regis, and St. Mary’s. It includes Verbal, Reading, Math, Quantitative, and Language sections. Students are not penalized for incorrect or omitted answers. Note that this test is administered by individual schools, and families should register for the exam through the school to which they plan to apply.
View upcoming Denver area school HSPT test dates (administered by schools):
About the SSAT
The SSAT is for students applying to attend private middle and high schools. It is the most commonly used admissions exam for boarding schools. It includes Reading, Verbal, Math, and Quantitative questions. Students are penalized ¼ point per incorrect answer, receive 0 points per omitted answer, and 1 point for each correct answer. Students can retake the SSAT if they would like to try for a higher score.