The Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) is an admissions test developed for students who are seeking entrance to independent middle schools and high schools. The exam is designed to measure a student’s ability in core subject areas independent of a student’s school record.
The purpose of the SSAT is to measure the basic verbal, quantitative, and reading skills acquired over time, which are necessary for successful performance in independent middle schools and high schools. The results of the test provide independent school admissions personnel with valuable information on potential students, independent of a student’s background or experience.
Schools use the SSAT as one measure among many – class rank, GPA, extracurricular activities, personal essay, and teacher recommendations – of a student’s readiness to do middle school or high school work. SSAT scores are compared with the scores of other applicants and the accepted scores at an institution.
The SSAT is administered on three levels:
- SSAT Elementary Level Test: Grades 3 to 4
- SSAT Middle Level Test: Grades 5 to 7
- SSAT Upper Level Test: Grades 8 to 11
SSAT standard tests are held on eight Saturdays during the testing year (August 1st – July 31st). Please visit the SSAT website for specific test and registration details.
Test Design (Upper Level SSAT)
The SSAT measures three constructs developed over time, both in and out of school: 1) Verbal 2) Quantitative 3) Reading. The test emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential for academic success.
|Section||Time||Number of Questions||Content Covered|
|Verbal||30 minutes||60 multiple-choice questions (30 synonym and 30 analogy questions)||Ability to recognize synonyms and to make logical associations between words.|
|Quantitative (two sections)||30 minutes each||50 multiple-choice questions (25 each section)||Knowledge or arithmetic, pre-algebra, basic geometry, and mathematical reasoning.|
|Reading Comprehension||40 minutes||40 multiple-choice questions based on seven passages||Ability to understand main themes, extract salient details, and understand meaning in context.|
|Writing (Essay)*||25 minutes||1||Ability to organize and express ideas and to support them with examples.|
*The Writing section is not factored into the student’s final score.
A Standard test is a group administration of the SSAT held at sites on eight Saturdays each year. Most students will take a Standard test. A Flex test is a group or individual administration on any date other than the Standard test dates. A student may take as many Standard tests as desired; however, the Flex test may be taken only once in a testing year (August 1st – July 31st).
It is important to understand how the test is scored before making this determination. A student receives one point for each correct answer while losing one quarter of a point for each incorrect answer. A student does not receive or lose points for questions that are not answered. Guessing may be beneficial if one or more answer choices can be eliminated.