May 17, 2011

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)

What is the SSAT?
The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is a multiple-choice aptitude test for students in grades 5-11. The test consists of verbal, quantitative (math) and reading comprehension sections. The verbal questions test your vocabulary, verbal reasoning, and ability to relate ideas logically. The quantitative (math) questions test your ability to solve problems involving arithmetic, elementary algebra and geometry and concepts. The reading comprehension section tests your ability to understand what you read. All tests are printed in English.

In addition, the test includes a writing sample portion, which asks you to respond to a topic statement. Your essay is not graded, but a copy accompanies each SSAT score report you have sent to a school or consultant.

The SSAT is designed for students in grades 5 through 11 and is administered on two levels:
  • Lower (for students currently in grades 5-7)
  • Upper (for students currently in grades 8-11)
What is the format of the SSAT?
It consists of multiple choice type questions but would require the writing of an essay. Test scores depend on the answers to the multiple choice questions ONLY, while the results of the essay are sent to prospective schools for them to evaluate.

Test Format: The test is timed and divided into five sections. You will be given 25 minutes for the writing sample, 30 minutes each for verbal and two quantitative sections, and 40 minutes for the reading section.
Writing Sample: Includes one topic statement which you will be asked to support or argue, using specific examples from personal experience, current events, history or literature. The writing sample is not scored by SSAT and is not included with the report sent to families.
Quantitative (Math): Consists of two sections of 25 questions each. You will be required to do math computation similar to what you do in school or what is useful in everyday life.
Verbal: Consists of 30 synonym and 30 analogy questions.
Reading Comprehension: Includes 40 questions based on about 7 reading passages. These questions measure your ability to read and comprehend what you read.

Many editions of the test exist to ensure that no student takes the same SSAT twice.

How can I prepare for the SSAT?
SSAT currently publishes a book of full-length practice tests, Preparing and Applying. Order online or mail or fax the order form. SSAT does not endorse any test preparation courses, including those provided by member organizations.

When does the test begin and end?
National test administrations normally begin at 9:00 am, and dismissal normally occurs between 12 noon and 12:30 pm. Plan to arrive at your test center by 8:30 am, and check your admission ticket for specific times.

How many times can I take the SSAT?
You may test on all eight national or five international test dates. You may only take one SSAT Flex test (as with an educational consultant).

How do I register for the SSAT?
Register online at at any time or mail/fax a completed registration form to SSAT by the regular registration deadline.

How can I confirm my registration?
Your SSAT Admission Ticket confirms your registration and is required for entrance to the exam.

How do I change something on my registration?
  • Requests for all changes must be made online or in writing, by mail, fax, or e-mail to
  • Use the Account Management pages to change student or contact information.
  • Add or cancel score reports online free of charge, or complete the Add/Cancel Scores form (fee applies).
  • Change your test date or location online or complete the Test Change Request form.
How can I cancel a test that I will not attend?
If you have to miss the test for any reason, refunds are not available, but you may transfer to another national date or a test with an educational consultant within the current academic year. E-mail your request to or use the Test Change Request Form. Transfer fee and deadlines apply. To cancel a test, use the test cancellation form at

General Information
Private high schools in America are highly selective because they have many more people applying to attend their schools than they have available slots. Added to this is the huge differences which exist between the thousands of public and private elementary and middle schools available. It is impossible to select candidates from the thousands which apply yearly.

Thus it becomes necessary to have a standardized test to judge students' aptitudes and abilities, aside and apart from their GPA so as to assess which of their applicants is best suited to attend their school. The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is one such common and popular test, and it is given several times a year.

SSAT Contact Information
For more: official SSAT home
Frequently Asked Questions: SSAT FAQs
Taking the SSAT test: Step-by-Step Information

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