Test Info: SSAT

SSAT

The SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) is a standardized test for independent school admissions developed and administered by the SSATB (Secondary School Admission Test Board). It is the admission test of choice for the vast majority of independent boarding schools throughout the United States and abroad.
The test has three different versions designed for three different levels: the Elementary Level is for students currently in grades 3 and 4 who are applying for admission to grades 4 and 5, the Middle Level is for students currently in grades 5 to 7 who are applying for admission to grades 6 to 8, and the Upper Level is for students currently in grades 8 to 11 who are applying for admission to grades 9 to 12.
The Elementary Level exam consists of three multiple choice sections and an unscored writing prompt. The first section is a Quantitative/Math section with 30 questions that lasts 30 minutes; the second section is a Verbal section with 30 questions that lasts 20 minutes, followed by a 15-minute break; the third section is a Reading section with 28 questions that lasts 30 minutes; and the final section is the Writing prompt, which students have 15 minutes to answer. The total exam is 1 hour and 40 minutes, including breaks.
The Middle and Upper Levels consist of five multiple choice sections and an unscored writing sample. The test begins with the Writing Sample, which students have 25 minutes to complete. After a 5-minute break, students begin the multiple choice sections: the first section is a Quantitative/Math section, which has 25 questions in 30 minutes; the second section is Reading, which has 40 questions in 40 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break; the third section is Verbal, which has 60 questions in 30 minutes; the fourth section is another Quantitative/Math section, which has 25 questions in 30 minutes; and the final section is an unscored experimental section, which has 16 questions in 15 minutes. The experimental section may consist of Math, Verbal, or Reading questions, and does not contribute to the student’s overall score. The total exam is 3 hours and 5 minutes, including breaks. The exam’s scoring system deducts ¼ of a point for incorrect answers.
Students of all levels receive scaled scores for the Verbal, Quantitative/Math, and Reading sections as well as percentiles that rank them against their peers. Each section is scaled from 300 to 600 for the Elementary Level test, 440 to 710 for the Middle Level test, and 500 to 800 for the Upper Level test. The percentiles for the Elementary Level test compare students to others who took the same administration whereas percentiles on the Middle and Upper Level tests compare students to other students of the same grade and gender who have taken the SSAT in the previous three years. The writing sample is not scored by the SSAT, but a copy is sent to the school(s) to which the student is applying. Considered a crucial component of the application, the essay is evaluated by admissions officers according to specific and rigorous criteria.
The SSAT “National Test” can be taken at various designated sites (usually independent schools) across the United States and Canada on eight Saturdays throughout the school year in October, November, December, January, February, March, April, and June. Students may take the national test up to eight times per year (international testing dates and locations are available by contacting the SSAT or online during the registration process).
The SSAT “Flex Test” is a group or individual administration (e.g., by an educational consultant) on a date other than the “National Test” dates. It is offered several times throughout the school year, but students may take it only one time during that period.

  • Find the latest SSAT Updates here.
  • Register for the SSAT here.

Lower SSAT Format

Middle and Upper SSAT Format

Find the latest updates on official SSAT administrations here.

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