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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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.
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.
Upper and Middle Levels
Reading Comp Verbal Reasoning Writing Sample
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.
How is the SSAT scored?
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?
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.
ISEE OR SSAT?