SSAT FAQ’s

March 27, 2024

Summer Group Tutoring Options Available Now!

The Secondary School Admissions Test, more commonly referred to as the SSAT, is a standardized test used by independent day schools and boarding schools to evaluate students applying for admission. Read on to learn some of the most common questions we get about the SSAT.

WHAT IS THE SSAT?

The SSAT is an exam designed to evaluate a student’s scholastic aptitude. There are several levels: The Elementary Level Test (for application to grades 3 and 4), the Middle Level Test (for application to grades 5 to 7), and the Upper Level Test (for application to grades 8-11). The Middle and Upper Level SSAT tests have six sections: Writing Sample, Quantitative 1, Reading, Verbal, Quantitative 2, and Experimental. Students get a percentile score for the quantitative, reading, and verbal sections. The writing section is unscored, but sent to schools for review. The experimental section is only 15 minutes, and is used to test new questions for future SSATs. The experimental section is unscored.

HOW IS THE SSAT SCORED?

Students who take the test are given three scores out of 800 (one for verbal, one for reading, and one that averages the two math sections), and all three scores are added into a single, overall scaled score out of 2400. Each score is also converted to a percentile, so students can see how they did in comparison with other students who took the same version of the test. While the essay is unscored, it is important to note that the essays are sent to schools along with the score report and will be evaluated by admissions officers at each school.

DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO TAKE THE SSAT?

Most students applying to independent schools will take either the SSAT or the ISEE. Generally speaking, boarding schools prefer the SSAT, and day schools prefer the ISEE, but recently many schools have started accepting either test. Additionally, some schools are test-optional, but as many universities reinstate admissions testing requirements, there is a strong possibility that independent middle and high schools may choose to do the same. You can find information about requirements for the specific schools you’re applying to on their admissions websites. Overall, we strongly recommend that all students prepare for one of the tests as they begin their application process. For more information on the overall ISEE and SSAT timeline, read our blog post here.

WHEN SHOULD I TAKE THE SSAT?

The SSAT is offered approximately once a month throughout the year, and students are allowed to take as many tests as they’d like. In a standard application timeline, we recommend students begin testing as early as August to allow for subsequent testing if necessary. The latest students can take the test in order for scores to be submitted to schools on time is early January.  Please be mindful that some schools will not accept scores from tests taken before August 1st of the application year – to find out if your school will accept earlier scores, you can visit their admissions website or call their admissions office.

HOW SHOULD MY CHILD PREPARE FOR THE SSAT?

The first thing you should do to prepare for the SSAT is schedule a diagnostic test. Diagnostics are extremely important to get a sense of where your child is starting and to collect data so you can make a test prep plan tailored specifically to your child’s needs. For specifics about preparation, please read our post about preparing for the ISEE and SSAT here. To register for a diagnostic test, please email info@smartcitytutoring.com.

Once you have diagnostic scores, you may choose to enlist the help of a tutor or a class to guide preparation. The SSAT includes a lot of new information for students, and the testing strategies may differ greatly from the tests they take in school. A class helps give general instruction and keeps students on a timeline. A small-group or one-on-one tutor can be even more impactful, as this structure allows the curriculum to move at a pace more tailored to a specific student or group of students, and allows for more individualized feedback. 

To get started with a tutor, email info@smartcitytutoring.com or fill out our inquiry form. To learn more about our group tutoring options, visit our website’s group tutoring page.

HOW CAN I REGISTER FOR THE SSAT?

You can register for the SSAT by visiting the SSAT website.

SHARE

RELATED POSTS

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter! Sign up below to view our favorite tips & tricks to help you get through the admission season!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.