Most students applying to an independent middle school take the Lower Level ISEE in or around January of their 4th grade year. Therefore, we recommend that students start preparing the summer before their 4th grade year starts. The time consuming part of test preparation is simply ensuring that students have a firm grasp of the tested academic material in math and English. For example, if your child is weak on fractions or reading at a 3rd grade level, that will take some time to remediate.