About The Tests


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 – in evaluating 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.

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 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.


The SSAT is scored in four sections ranging from 500-800 leading to a total score of 1500-2400. Students receive one point for each correct answer but are penalized a quarter of a point for each incorrect answer on the SSAT. However, there is no penalty for unanswered questions. Guessing can be beneficial if multiple answer choices are eliminated. The writing section is not factored into the student’s final score.

Test Dates

SSAT standard tests are held on eight Saturdays during the testing year (August 1st – July 31st). For the 2019-2020 school year, the test will be offered on the following standard test dates:

Standard Test Date Regular Registration
Starts Aug 1, 2019 & Ends:
Late Registration +$45
Begins at Midnight EST:
Rush Registration +$85
Begins at Midnight EST:
Last Day for Registration
(Without Testing Accommodations)
Ends 11:59PM EST:
Sat, Oct 19, 2019 September 28, 2019 September 29, 2019 October 6, 2019 Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Sat, Nov 16, 2019 October 26, 2019 October 27, 2019 November 3, 2019 Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Sat, Dec 14, 2019 November 23, 2019 November 24, 2019 December 1, 2019 Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Sat, Jan 4, 2020 December 14, 2019 December 15, 2019 December 22, 2019 Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Sat, Feb 8, 2020 January 18, 2020 January 19, 2020 January 26, 2020 Wednesday, February 5, 2020
Sat, Mar 7, 2020 February 15, 2020 February 16, 2020 February 23, 2020 Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Sat, Apr 25, 2020 April 4, 2020 April 5, 2020 April 12, 2020 Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Sat, Jun 13, 2020* May 23, 2020 May 24, 2020 May 31, 2020 Wednesday, June 10, 2020

A group or individual may request a flex test date outside of the standard test dates. Visit the SSAT website for specific test and registration details.


Regular registration for Middle & Upper Level tests is $144 with an additional fee of $45 for late registration and $85 for rush registration.


Students with documented learning differences or physical challenges may request special accommodations. Detailed information about eligibility, requirements, and deadlines can be found on the SSAT website. Requests for accommodations must be approved prior to registering for a test date.

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