The SSAT | Secondary School Admission Test

Secondary School Admission Test
SSAT Practice Test

What is the SSAT?

The SSAT or popularly known as the Secondary School Admission Test is an examination taken by students who would like to enroll in private and independent schools all across the United States. In other words, it is an entrance examination that is designed to evaluate the knowledge and skills of the students whether they are qualified to the school’s learning standards or not. The SSAT exam is created and administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board in Princeton, New Jersey.

In addition, the SSAT is administered at three different SSAT levels. Please refer to the table below for the information about these sections:

                                                                         SSAT Exam Administration

Upper Level

Taken by students who are currently in grades 8 to 11.

Middle Level

Taken by students who are currently in grades 5 to 7.

Elementary Level

Taken by students who are currently in grades 3 to 4.

Take the SSAT Practice Test Online!

SSAT Exam Format and Structure

The SSAT Test is a multiple-choice examination that is composed of the following sections: 1.) Verbal, 2.) Reading Comprehension, and 3.) Quantitative (Mathematics). Additionally, there is also a writing section on the exam but it is not graded. Moreover, even though the writing section is not graded, your writing sample or essay will be submitted together with your SSAT score report to the schools you have applied for.

Note: The SSAT also provides an unscored experimental section at the end of the test. This section consists of a variety of content questions pulled out from each of the test sections (Verbal, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative). The experimental section aims to provide the exam authors an opportunity to develop and test new questions that may be used for future SSAT examinations.

To provide you with an overview of what the SSAT test looks like for each level, please refer to the structure and format table below:

                                                                 SSAT Elementary Level Format
SectionsQuestionsAllotted Time
Quantitative (Mathematics)30 questions30 minutes
Verbal30 questions20 minutes
Break15 minutes
Reading Comprehension28 questions30 minutes
Writing Sample1 picture prompt15 minutes
Experimental15-17 questions15 minutes
Total104-106 questions2 hours and 5 minutes

Note: Out of the 104-106 items including the writing sample section, only 88 questions are scored.

                                                              SSAT Upper and Middle Levels Format
SectionsQuestionsAllotted Time
Writing Sample1 prompt25 minutes
Break5 minutes
Quantitative (Mathematics)25 questions30 minutes
Reading Comprehension40 questions40 minutes
Break 10 minutes
Verbal60 questions30 minutes
Quantitative (Mathematics)25 questions30 minutes
Experimental16 questions15 minutes
Total167 questions3 hours and 5 minutes

Note: Out of the 167 items including the writing sample section, only 150 questions are scored.

SSAT Things to Remember:

Aside from the structure and format of the SSAT test, there are other things about the exam that you need to keep in mind. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • All of the questions on the exam consist of five choices: A, B, C, D, and E.
  • In the SSAT Quantitative section, you are not allowed to use calculators or rulers.
  • In the SSAT Verbal and Reading Comprehension sections, you are not permitted to use dictionaries.
  • Gadgets with internet access like cell phones, electronic watches, tablets, etc. are strictly prohibited.
  • On the test day, bring at least #2 pencils with erasers. Mechanical pencils and pens are not allowed.

SSAT Exam Scoring System

All students who have taken the SSAT exam are scored based on their grade level. In other words, if you are in the 8th grade, you are not expected to earn a higher score than someone who’s in the 11th grade, even though both of you are taking the same test.

Important Reminder: You will be scored based on the grade level you’ll indicate on your answer sheet. Therefore, always make sure to write your current grade level on the sheet and not the grade that you are planning to apply for. Also, keep in mind that you will encounter questions on the test that may be too difficult for you. But then again, you don’t need to get every question right in order to get a passing score for your current grade level.

The official SSAT exam score report will also report the following:

                                                                  SSAT Score Report Information
A Breakdown of Test Questions

●  A breakdown of the test questions will be presented on the exam score report. This breakdown consists of the number right, wrong, and unanswered questions for each of the test sections.

● Each correct answer increases your raw score by one point while each item you answered incorrectly decreases your raw score by a quarter of a point. This is all part of the exam’s incorrect answer penalty.

● Your total raw score will then be converted to a scaled score and will be rank according to its corresponding SSAT score range or percentile.

Scaled Scores

Scaled scores are given for the three SSAT sections: Verbal, Quantitative, and Reading Comprehension.

Note: Each level of the exam has a slightly different scaled score range:

● Upper-Level SSAT Scor Range: 500-800

● Middle-Level SSAT Score Range: 440-710

● Elementary Level SSAT Score Range: 300-600

Apart from the scaled scores for each section, there is also a total scaled score for the whole examination.

Percentile Ranks

●All scaled scores on the SSAT are converted to percentile ranks.

●The percentile rank serves as a medium of comparison between you and the other students.

● The percentile ranking is designed to describe the percentage of the test-takers who were able to score equal or less than your total scaled score.

● There are two sets of percentile ranks on the SSAT. The first one compares your scores with all of the other students. The second one compares your scores with the students in your corresponding grade level.

 Scaled Score Range

●Your score report will also contain a scaled score range for each of the exam sections. The SSAT scaled score range provides a spectrum of scores that estimates your knowledge ad proficiency in each subject area.

● Your score is commonly located within the center of this range.

SSAT Incorrect Answer Penalty

As previously mentioned, the SSAT has an incorrect answer penalty on the Upper and Middle-level test-takers. The incorrect answer penalty applies every time you get an incorrect answer for each item. You will lose a quarter of a point for every wrong answer you get on the exam. This makes guessing very risky and challenging as well. Effectively eliminating incorrect choices out of the five options is the best way to overcome this policy. Moreover, if you gain more incorrect answers on the test, it could cancel out the points you earned for answering correctly.

SSAT Exam Registration

Before filing your registration for the SSAT, you need to become familiar with the process in order to choose the best method for you. The SSAT has two different types of administration: 1.) Standard, and 2.) Flex.

Flex Tests

Flex Tests are administered by educational consultants or schools. This method can be pretty convenient for students who have hectic schedules. The Flex Tests are subject to an administration fee.

Note: A student can only take one Flex test between the months of August and July.

Standard Tests

Standard Tests are administered on eighth designated Saturdays, which is equivalent to one Saturday per month. The Standard Tests are administered during the following months:

       ● October
       ● November
       ● December
       ● January
       ● February
       ● March
       ● April
       ● June

Students also have the option to take the exam on a Sunday in the middle of the academic year. However, this can only happen if there is an official approval for accommodation because of religious observance.

For more information about the SSAT registration, you can go to the official website http://ssat.org. You will gain access to the SSAT test dates, Sunday testing accommodation, and other relevant information. If you need further assistance, please refer to the information provided below:

Phone: 609-683-4440
Email: info@ssat.org
Fax: 609)683-4507
Mail: SSATB, CN 5339, Princeton, NJ 08543.

SSAT Study Guide

Best SSAT Classes/SSAT Course:

  1. SSAT Test Prep Class (Kaplan)
  2. Full-service SSAT Private Tutoring (Princeton Review SSAT)
  3. SSAT Prep Coaching (Huntington Learning Center)
  4. SSAT Test Prep Online (ePrep)

Best SSAT Prep Books:

1. Princeton Review SSAT & ISEE Prep, 2022: 6 Practice Tests + Review & Techniques + Drills (2022) (Private Test          Preparation)

2. Upper Level SSAT: 1500+ Practice Questions

3. SSAT Upper Level Prep Book 2021 and 2022: SSAT Review with Practice Test Questions: [7th Edition]

4. SSAT Middle Level Prep 2021-2022: Study Guide + 332 Test Questions and Detailed Answer Explanations                      (Includes 2 Full-Length Practice Exams with Math, Verbal and Reading Sections)

5. SSAT & ISEE Middle & Upper Level Prep: 4 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online (Kaplan Test Prep)

6. SSAT/ISEE: High School Entrance Examinations (Barron’s Test Prep)

7. Middle Level SSAT: 1000+ Practice Questions

8. SSAT Middle Level Prep Book 2021-2022: SSAT Secrets Study Guide, Full-Length Practice Test, Video Tutorials,          Covers Quantitative (Math), Verbal (Vocabulary), and Reading: [3rd Edition]

SSAT FAQ

The SSAT or popularly known as the Secondary School Admission Test is an examination taken by students who would like to enroll in private and independent schools all across the United States. In other words, it is an entrance examination that is designed to evaluate the knowledge and skills of the students whether they are qualified to the school’s learning standards or not. The SSAT test is created and administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board in Princeton, New Jersey.

What constitutes a decent score varies based on the school to which you are applying. Most colleges will not specify explicitly what score ranges they are searching for. Instead, they’ll probably offer something along the lines of the Riverdale admissions office’s statement: “While there is no minimum score required for admission, very low scores on these tests tend to foreshadow future difficulty.”

The SSAT is different lengths based on the level being assessed. The fundamental version of the exam is two hours and five minutes long and has 104-106 questions. The upper and middle versions of the test are both three hours and five minutes long and comprise 167 questions.

SSAT stand for Secondary School Admission Test. Despite its name, the test is not related to the SAT, which is used to determine college admissions. Students applying to independent day schools and boarding schools in North America take the SSAT.

The SSAT Test is a multiple-choice examination that is composed of the following sections: 1.) Verbal, 2.) Reading Comprehension, and 3.) Quantitative (Mathematics). Additionally, there is also a writing section on the exam but it is not graded. Moreover, even though the writing section is not graded, your writing sample or essay will be submitted together with your SSAT score report to the schools you have applied for.

All students who have taken the SSAT test are scored based on their grade level. In other words, if you are in the 8th grade, you are not expected to earn a higher score than someone who’s in the 11th grade, even though both of you are taking the same test.

The median overall score on the SSAT is 94 percent.

A “Good” SSAT Score If you score in the 50th percentile on any SSAT component, you’ll get the test’s “median” SSAT score. You outperform the median if your score is higher than the 50th percentile.

The SSAT emphasizes vocabulary, and you’ll find different sorts of vocabulary questions in the Verbal and Reading sections. However, finding a good SSAT vocabulary list can be tough. The ideal way to study SSAT vocabulary words is with flashcards, and we recommend using the waterfall method to recall the words more quickly.

The SSAT is given six times during the school year at testing centers (August 1 to July 31). This is the most usual and traditional method of taking the exam. The exam is written on paper with a pencil.

Yes, in general. The SSAT is available on any or all of the normal test dates. The SSAT can only be taken on one FLEX test date per year.

The SSAT test will take 3 hours and 5 minutes to complete. A 5 minute and a 10 minute break are included in this time frame.

The cost of registration for the Upper and Middle Levels is $120, while the cost for the Elementary Level is $80. The total fee for all examinations is $232 if taken outside of Canada and the United States.

Taking SSAT practice test is one of the most effective techniques to help you prepare for the exam. There are numerous advantages to this strategy:

  1. The SSAT question format and wording will become second nature to you.
  2. You’ll be able to perfect how long it takes you to respond to inquiries.
  3. Make sure you time yourself on the practice SSAT to match the time you’ll have on the real SSAT.
  4. You’ll be able to limit the kind of data that appear.
  5. As you continue to study and prepare, you’ll have a benchmark against which you may assess your progress.

The lowest number on the scale for upper-level SSAT is 500, and the highest is 800. The total scores could be as low as 1500 and as high as 2400, with 1950 serving as the midpoint.

Students should concentrate on expanding their vocabularies, learning the meanings of various prefixes, suffixes, and roots, and becoming familiar with the exam’s format when studying for the Upper Level SSAT‘s Verbal section.

In comparison to the SAT, the SSAT is not as difficult.

Students in the elementary grades (in grades 3 & 4)

Students in elementary school can take the SSAT up to two times each year. One Flex test and one Standard test, or two Standard tests, can be used. All tests at the Elementary level are paper-based.

Students in the middle and upper grades (in grades 5-7 and 8-11)

  • Students in the middle and upper grades can take the SSAT many times per year. The various types of SSAT testing have limitations, and not all of them may be available where you are.
  • Students may take up to three computer-based SSATs per testing year, including Prometric (available internationally) and
  • SSAT at Home (available only in the United States and Canada).
  • Students may take all 6 Standard tests and up to 2 Flex tests per testing year for the paper-based SSATs, Flex and Standard.
  • Students can take one Flex test per Flex period. Students can take one between August 1, 2021 and November 14, 2021, and another between November 29, 2021 and July 31, 2022, for a total of two tests every testing year.

To send your SSAT results to a school or educational consultant, follow these steps:

  • Log in to the account of the parent or guardian.
  • To get your SSAT scores, click the red “SSAT Scores” button.
  • Next to your student’s test, click the “+” sign.
  • In “Search and Add Score Recipients,” type the name of the school or educational consultant (or their four-digit code).
  • Click ‘Add’ after selecting the correct recipient (and double-checking their location). Even if your kid took the test many times, only the results from the specific test you choose will be sent.

Approximately 2 weeks after EMA receives testing materials, all SSAT test-takers will be able to examine the official results of a recent SSAT online. This schedule also applies to students taking the SSAT at international testing facilities and students taking the SSAT Flex Test.

Keep in mind that the SSAT is meant to get a 50 percentile score for the average student (the median). There are a few excellent institutions with average SSAT scores in the 50-60% range. The most competitive colleges, on the other hand, will have SSAT averages in the 90th percentile or higher.

The SSAT‘s verbal component is more difficult than the ISEE’s, and the ISEE’s math section is more difficult than the SSAT’s. Not only does mathematics play a larger role in the ISEE score, but it is also more challenging than on the SSAT.

The SAT is a College Board-administered admissions test that is widely accepted by American institutions as well as many overseas colleges and universities. It is divided into three sections: arithmetic, reading, and writing (which includes an optional written essay). The SAT is usually taken by students in 11th and 12th grade. The SSAT, on the other hand, is a standardized test for students interested in applying to private schools. The tests are divided into three levels: elementary (3rd and 4th graders), intermediate (5th to 7th graders), and upper (5th to 7th graders) (8th to 11th graders). The SSAT is a test that assesses arithmetic, reading, and verbal abilities. SSAT scores are not part of your college application, and the test was developed to gauge proficiency in certain skills. It is not an accomplishment test. The Enrollment Management Association (EMA), not College Board, administers the SSAT.

You might be unsure what the columns “T Scaled/V Scaled/Q Scaled/R Scaled” imply. These are the total scaled SSAT score (T), verbal score (V), quantitative score (Q), and reading score (R) of a student (R). Don’t be too concerned about these, as scaled scores are really stepping stones to the percentile score that colleges are most concerned about.

On the SSAT math, students are not permitted to use a calculator. The SSAT assesses a student’s mathematical abilities in three areas: computations, geometry/algebra, and mathematical concepts.

The number of questions you get right on a section is subtracted from your raw score, which is the number of questions you get correctly minus 1/4 point for each erroneous response. This raw score is transformed into a scaled score ranging from 500 to 800. The scaled score is then converted into a percentile that ranges from 1 to 99.

Many students accepted to private schools have test scores in the 60th percentile or above, while more competitive schools may prefer scores in the 80th percentile or higher.

The SSAT’s verbal component is more difficult than the ISEE’s, and the ISEE’s math section is more difficult than the SSAT‘s. The SSAT’s reading comprehension component includes both nonfiction and fiction texts, but the ISEE solely tests nonfiction.

Your score report will include three sorts of points: a raw score, a scaled score, and a percentile ranking.

  • SSAT Test Breakdown for Elementary Level There are 104-106 questions on this test, and it takes 2 hours and 5 minutes to complete.
  • SSAT Test Breakdown for Middle/Upper Level – Three hours and ten minutes total.

The length of the SSAT varies depending on which level you are taking. The test will take 110 minutes, or roughly two hours, if you are taking the Elementary Level test: Quantitative (Math) section: 30 questions, 30 minutes. Verbal section: 20 minutes, 30 questions.

The SSAT is available on any or all of the normal test dates. The SSAT can only be taken on one FLEX test date per year.

The SSAT can be a genuine hassle to retake. Is it really worth it to sacrifice a Saturday morning and several evenings studying just to retake the nearly three-hour test? There’s no reason to take it again if you scored in the 99th percentile in every category.

A score of 2100 places you in the top quartile of all test takers, while 2180 and 2240 place you in the top 10% and top 5%, respectively.

The Middle Level SSAT is given both on paper and on the computer. Writing Sample, Quantitative 1, Reading, Verbal, Quantitative 2, and Experimental are the six components. The Experimental Section does not receive a score; instead, it is used to test new questions for future SSAT forms.

The Writing part of the SSAT is not graded.

It is debatable. To begin, you must first comprehend how the test is graded. Each correct answer will get you one point after your test is graded. Each incorrect response will cost you a quarter of a point. You will not gain or lose points if you do not answer all of the questions. Only guess when you’ve eliminated one or more answer options as incorrect.

The SSAT Flex test is identical to the one given at school testing centers, and your student’s reported score will not alter in their application if they take the Flex test. The main distinctions are that the SSAT Flex exam has more test dates to choose from, which may better suit your schedule, and it is paper-based, which may be advantageous for students who struggle with internet testing.

Best SSAT Prep Books:

  1. Princeton Review SSAT & ISEE Prep, 2022: 6 Practice Tests + Review & Techniques + Drills (2022) (Private Test Preparation)
  2. Upper Level SSAT: 1500+ Practice Questions
  3. SSAT Upper Level Prep Book 2021 and 2022: SSAT Review with Practice Test Questions: [7th Edition]
  4. SSAT Middle Level Prep 2021-2022: Study Guide + 332 Test Questions and Detailed Answer Explanations (Includes 2 Full-Length Practice Exams with Math, Verbal and Reading Sections)
  5. SSAT & ISEE Middle & Upper Level Prep: 4 Practice Tests + Proven Strategies + Online (Kaplan Test Prep)
  6. SSAT/ISEE: High School Entrance Examinations (Barron’s Test Prep)
  7. Middle Level SSAT: 1000+ Practice Questions 8. SSAT Middle Level Prep Book 2021-2022: SSAT Secrets Study Guide, Full-Length Practice Test, Video Tutorials, Covers Quantitative (Math), Verbal (Vocabulary), and Reading: [3rd Edition]

The total score on the SSAT is the sum of the quantitative, verbal, and reading parts. Its low point is 1500, its high point is 2400, and its midpoint is 1950.

You will need Number 2 pencils to take the test (bring extras), but no other supplies. Because the SSAT is a lengthy journey, you are welcome to bring water and snacks, albeit the snacks must be kept in a clear plastic bag. Dress in layers so you can manage your temperature and stay comfortable during the test.

During the school year, the SSAT is given eight times (August 1 to July 31). Every test date offers the Middle and Upper versions of the test (for children in grades 5 through 11), but the Elementary-level SSAT (for kids in grades 3 and 4) is not offered in October, November, or June.

If your child is more mathematically inclined, the ISEE may be a better fit. Consider the SSAT if your child excels in both verbal and written skills.

The SSAT is a test designed for students in grades 3 through 11 who desire to attend a private school. It is divided into three academic levels: elementary, which is for students in third and fourth grade, middle, which is for students in fifth through seventh grade, and upper, which is for students in eighth through eleventh grade.

SSAT Exam Test-Day Tips

There are a lot of reasons why students underperform during a test even though they have undergone quality preparation. One of the most common reasons for this is their inability to come up with the right approach when taking the exam.

To help students maximize the benefits of their SSAT prep test, we’ve outlined a few steps below to guide test-takers during the test-day.

#1 Time is Gold, Keep Moving

Time is not your friend on the SSAT exam. Therefore, it is very critical for you to keep track of the time you’re consuming when answering the SSAT questions. To do this effectively, try to set a time limit for each question. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck on one difficult question even for a few minutes. If you don’t know the answer, mark it and proceed with the easier questions. Don’t forget that the main objective is to get more correct answers.

#2 Don’t Panic and Avoid Being Clumsy

As much as possible, don’t be clumsy when answering the questions. One of the most common errors that test-takers commit during an exam is bubbling the wrong choices despite knowing the right answers. One way to prevent this from happening is to review your answer sheet before submitting it.

#3 Be Flexible

One important point to remember when taking an exam is you are NOT required to answer the questions in order. If you encountered a tough question, skip it. Don’t waste your time thinking about the answer if you obviously don’t know it. As mentioned earlier, you can mark the item and return to it once you have already answered all the easy questions. That way, you will be able to maximize your SSAT scores without compromising your time over one difficult question.

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