1. What is the SSAT

The SSAT, or the Secondary School Admission Test, is a standardized test designed to test quantitative, verbal, and reading comprehension skills in students wishing to attend independent schools. The test is offered in three different levels: the Elementary Level for students in grades 3-4, the Middle Level for students in grades 5-7, and the Upper Level for students in grades 8-11. The length of the test is 110 minutes for the elementary level, and 3 hours and 5 minutes for the Middle and Upper Levels.

The SSAT contains four different content areas: Verbal, Quantitative, Reading and Writing.

  • The Verbal section is 30 minutes long and contains 60 questions.
  • The Quantitative portion contains two 30-minute sections of 25 questions each.
  • The Reading Comprehension section is 40 minutes long and contains 40 questions.
  • The Essay is 25 minutes long.

2. How important are my SSAT scores?

The importance of the SSAT varies from school to school. Some schools place tremendous emphasis on the SSAT, whereas some schools simply view it as a small piece of the puzzle. While GPA, extracurricular activities and recommendations are extremely important, the SSAT is the sole opportunity for schools to fairly compare applicants across a uniform scale. Bottom line: An outstanding SSAT score will wow any admissions committee and bolster a student’s chances for acceptance into a competitive school.

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3. Can I take the SSAT multiple times?

Yes. Students may take the test on any or all of the eight nationally-scheduled SSAT administrations. Administrations typically occur in October, November, December, February, March, April and Jun.

4. How is the SSAT scored?

Lower Level tests are scored from 440-710. Upper Level tests are scored from 500- 800. Similarly to the SAT, the SSAT is scored by calculating a raw score which is determined by adding one point for every correct answer and subtracting ¼ of a point for every incorrect answer. This raw score is converted to a scaled score using a curve unique to the test.

5. What is an average SSAT score?

The table below provides the 50th percentile score for each grade level and section:

Grade LevelReadingVerbalQuantitative
5 569 584 563
6 593 614 593
7 611 638 614
8 629 662 647
9 644 683 668
10 656 695 686

6. What types of questions are on the SSAT?

The SSAT tests Reading Comprehension, Verbal and Quantitative Skills

On the Verbal section, students will encounter grade-level appropriate questions on:

  • Synonyms
  • Analogies
  • Vocabulary

On the Quantitative section, students will encounter grade-level appropriate questions on:

  • Algebra
  • Arithmetic
  • Geometry
  • Quantitative concepts

On the Reading Comprehension section, students will encounter 6-7 passages with grade-level appropriate questions on:

  • Main and supporting ideas
  • Inferences
  • Vocabulary
  • Organization and logic
  • Tone, style and figurative language.

7. 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.

8. What fees are associated with the SSAT?

The registration fee is $132. There is a $45 late registration fee. Fee waivers are available for students who qualify. Request one by contacting the schools where you are applying.