SECONDARY SCHOOL ADMISSION TEST (SSAT)

The SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test) is a standardized admissions test administered by the SSATB (Secondary School Admission Test Board) to students in grades 3-11 to help determine placement into independent or private elementary, middle and high schools. It has three different levels:

  • The Elementary Level – given to students applying for admission to 4th or 5th grade.
  • The Middle Level – given to students applying for admission to 6th, 7th or 8th grade.
  • The Upper Level – given to students applying for admission to 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade.

What does it test?

At each level, the SSAT tests several different areas: quantitative math, verbal, reading comprehension, and writing.

How is it structured?

Lower Level (admission to 4th or 5th grade):

Section

# of Questions

Time (min)

Quantitative Math3030
Verbal 3020
Reading Comprehension2830
Essay15

Total Time: 1 Hours and 35 minutes

Middle Level (admission to 6th, 7th or 8th grade):

Section

# of Questions

Time (min)

Quantitative Math5060
Verbal 6030
Reading Comprehension4040
Essay25

Total Time: 2 Hours and 35 minutes

Upper Level (admission to 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade):

Section

# of Questions

Time (min)

Quantitative Math5060
Verbal 6030
Reading Comprehension4040
Essay25

Total Time: 2 Hours and 35 minutes

How is it scored?

Each student receives a scaled score and a percentile in the Quantitative Math, Verbal, and Reading sections. Elementary Level test scores are reported for each section on a scale of 300 to 600; the total score ranges from 900 to 1800. Middle Level test scores are reported for each section on a scale of 440 to 710; the total score ranges from 1320 to 2130. Upper Level scores are reported for each section on a scale of 500 to 800; the total score ranges from 1500 to 2400. Before calculating your scaled score, the SSATB first calculates a raw score. The raw score is computed by adding up all of the correct answers and then subtracting ¼ point for each wrong answer; there is no penalty for unanswered questions and therefore have no effect on the score. The SSATB converts raw scores to scaled scores in order to adjust for small variations in difficulty among different test dates. In all levels, the essay is passed directly to schools’ application committees and isn’t part of the SSAT score.

The SSAT percentile ranks compare your students’ scores to those of students of your child’s gender and grade in the US and Canada who have taken the SSAT on a standard test date in the last three years. The national percentile ranks estimate your student’s performance compared to a national student population, not only students who have taken the SSAT.

Dolphin Academic Prep offers personalized SSAT tutoring!

We are here to answer your questions, so give us a call or send us an email to see how personalized SSAT tutoring with a private Dolphin Academic Prep tutor can help benefit your student.

We believe it’s unproductive for younger students to feel intense pressure, stress and anxiety surrounding a standardized test. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of time for that when applying to college and beyond. For that reason, our SSAT tutors take extra care to foster a level of comfort and understanding during the tutoring sessions. Our tutors have experience working with a variety of age groups, so they know firsthand how 10-year-olds learn and react differently than 15-year-olds. In all cases and in addition to developing the problem-solving techniques that are the staple of our test-prep tutoring, our Dolphin SSAT prep tutors also take care to emphasize the specific knowledge, concepts, strategies and skill sets required for success on the SSAT.

Like all standardized tests, the SSAT has its specific quirks. For example, the test places an unusually heavy emphasis on student’s knowledge of vocabulary. The reading comprehension has its own style. The SSAT quantitative math section is also more arithmetic than is the norm on most standardized tests. Our SSAT prep tutors are also adept at tailoring the prep process to the individual student in order to develop an approach that suits them best.

Diagnostic, Evaluation and Practice
Before the first SSAT tutoring session, each student receives a diagnostic SSAT test. The diagnostic test gives the student an introduction to the test and SSAT test prep; it also allows for a baseline to be created. Moreover, based on the results, we formalize an evaluation that identifies the areas of strength, those areas that need the most help, specifies an optimal prep schedule, and sets specific goals. Throughout the SSAT test prep our Dolphin SSAT Tutors will continue to administer practice SSAT tests so that your child becomes familiar with the format, style and speed of the test, so on exam day it minimizes any surprises they may face.

More information

Many applicants also take the ISEE; have a look at your school’s admissions requirements to see which of the tests are accepted. If the schools are willing to accept either test, the general rule of thumb is that students with stronger verbal skills should take the SSAT while students with better math skills should take the ISEE.

Not sure if you should take the ISEE or SSAT?

Check out the article ISEE vs SSAT! Still confused? Contact one of our Dolphin consultants today!

When is the SSAT offered?

The SSAT is offered in October, November, December, January, February, March, April, and June. A student may take the Middle and Upper level SSAT on all eight Standard test dates. A student may only take one Middle and Upper level SSAT on a Flex test date per academic year. A student can take the Elementary SSAT twice during an academic year. Many students taking the SSAT also take the ISEE. Check your school’s admissions requirements to see whether one of the tests is preferred over the other. Check to see when the SSAT is being offered.