Deciphering the SSAT: A Key Exam in Independent School Admissions

When considering admission to an independent school, parents and students will likely come across the term “SSAT.” The Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT, is a standardized test commonly used in the admission process for private middle and high schools.

 What is the SSAT?

The SSAT is a test used by independent schools to evaluate students’ basic verbal, quantitative, and reading skills. These skills have been recognized as indicators of a student’s capability to succeed in a private or independent school environment.

 Different Levels

The SSAT is offered at three levels:

• Elementary Level: for students currently in grades 3-4.

• Middle Level: for students currently in grades 5-7.

• Upper Level: for students currently in grades 8-11.

Each level of the test is designed with age•appropriate questions to fairly assess a student’s abilities.

 Test Format

The SSAT consists of four sections: Quantitative (Math), Verbal, Reading Comprehension, and Writing. The Writing section, while unscored, provides schools with a sample of the student’s writing ability.

 Test Preparation

Preparation is critical to performing well on the SSAT. Various resources, including official guidebooks and practice tests, are available to help students prepare. Additionally, private tutors and prep classes can offer personalized guidance and practice.

 Score Reporting

Scores are reported in percentile ranks for each section, providing a comparison of the student’s performance with other test•takers in the same grade over the past three years. A total percentile rank is also provided.

In summary, understanding the SSAT involves recognizing:

• The SSAT is a standardized test used by many independent schools as part of the admissions process.

• The test is divided into three levels to cater to students in different grades.

• The SSAT comprises four sections: Quantitative, Verbal, Reading Comprehension, and an unscored Writing section.

• Proper preparation can significantly enhance a student’s performance on the test.

• SSAT scores are reported as percentile ranks, comparing a student’s performance to others in the same grade.

The SSAT can be an essential component of the application process to an independent school. A deep understanding of the test and adequate preparation can help students present their best potential.

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