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SSAT

Slay the SSAT.

If you're looking to attend an elite private middle or high school, you'll need to crush the Secondary School Admissions Test.

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SSAT Basics

Overview

The SSAT assesses students applying to private schools across the U.S., measuring verbal, math, reading, and writing skills.

As the SSAT tests students applying to a variety of grade levels—from elementary to high school—it is really three different tests (Elementary, Middle, and Upper Levels). Regardless of test level, though, the SSAT focuses on the same three areas: Quantitative/Math, Reading Comprehension, and Verbal Reasoning.

It also features a required writing sample, sent automatically to schools along with the test score.

SSAT Elementary Level

The SSAT Elementary Level test is intended for students applying for admission into 4th or 5th grade. It is 2 hours and 5 minutes in length.

Quantitative/Math

30 questions

30 minutes

Verbal

30 questions

20 minutes

Reading

28 questions

30 minutes

Writing Sample

1 prompt

15 minutes

Experimental

15-17 questions

15 minutes

SSAT Middle and Upper Level

The SSAT Middle Level Exam is intended for students applying for admission into 6th through 8th grade.

The SSAT Upper Level Exam is for students entering 9th through 12th grade, though the SAT/PSAT/ACT can often be used as a substitute for 11th and 12th grade applicants.

The Middle Level and Upper Level exams are both 3 hours and 5 minutes in length.

Writing Sample

25 minutes

Quantitative

30 minutes

Reading

40 minutes

Verbal

30 minutes

Experimental

15 minutes

Length

3 hrs
5 mins

Upper and Middle Levels

2 hr
‍5 mins

Elementary Level

Sections

Quantitative
Reading Comp Verbal Reasoning Writing Sample
Experimental

2019 - 2020 Dates

The SSAT is offered once a month from October to April, with one additional date in June. Flex dates, which are additional testing dates offered outside of the standard administrations, are also available.

Common Questions

When can I take the SSAT and how do I sign up?

The ISEE is given several times throughout the year, but the majority of the testing dates fall during the fall and early winter. The number of available ISEE test dates will depend on your location, and you can take the ISEE only once in a six month period. Register now. What's the difference between the SSAT® and the ISEE? Both the ISEE and the SSAT are used for admission to private middle and high schools and test Vocabulary, Math and Reading Comprehension. Many schools will accept either test for admission, which gives you the option of choosing the test that better suits you and your abilities. The major difference between the tests is in how they test your abilities in each section of the exam. The ISEE uses synonyms and sentence completion to test vocabulary, while the SSAT uses synonyms and analogies. The reading passages on the ISEE tend to be longer than those on the SSAT, but the SSAT includes a broader range of genres, including poetry. The ISEE also places a heavier emphasis on mathematical reasoning than the SSAT does. If the schools you're applying to will take either test, choose the one that's better suited to your abilities.

What is the difference between the SSAT and ISEE?

The short answer: not much! A major difference between the two tests is in their scoring. The ISEE does not penalize for incorrect answers, whereas the SSAT deducts ¼ point from a student’s raw score for incorrect answers. The ISEE gives you two scaled scores for math out of four total scaled scores), while the SSAT gives you one math score out of three total scaled scores. Some high schools strongly prefer one test (usually the SSAT), but the vast majority of schools will accept scores from either test.

How is the SSAT scored?

Quantitative

  • 500-800 (Upper Level)
  • 440-704 (Middle Level)
  • 300-600 (Elementary Level)


Reading Comprehension

  • 500-800 (Upper Level)
  • 440-710 (Middle Level)
  • 300-600 (Elementary Level)


Verbal Reasoning

  • 500-800 (Upper Level)
  • 410-710 (Middle Level)
  • 300-600 (Elementary Level)


Essay

It's not scored, but a copy is sent to the schools to which you apply.

All scores are converted to a grade-appropriate percentile.

How is the SSAT scored?

Quantitative

  • 500-800 (Upper Level)
  • 440-704 (Middle Level)
  • 300-600 (Elementary Level)


Reading Comprehension

  • 500-800 (Upper Level)
  • 440-710 (Middle Level)
  • 300-600 (Elementary Level)


Verbal Reasoning

  • 500-800 (Upper Level)
  • 410-710 (Middle Level)
  • 300-600 (Elementary Level)


Essay

It's not scored, but a copy is sent to the schools to which you apply. All scores are converted to a grade-appropriate percentile.

ISEE or SSAT?

Which test is right for you?

The ISEE and the SSAT are both used for admission to private schools, and they both test Vocabulary, Math and Reading Comprehension. Most schools will accept either test, so you can choose which test you prefer.

The major difference between the tests lies in the types of questions they use to assess your abilities. The ISEE, for example, uses sentence completion to test vocabulary, while the SSAT uses analogies. Additionally, the reading passages on the ISEE are usually a bit longer than those on the SSAT, but the SSAT tests a more extensive range of genres, including poetry.

Finally, the ISEE also emphasizes mathematical reasoning more than does the SSAT.

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ISEE OR SSAT?

Find out which test is right for you.

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