The SSAT is an entrance exam that most private schools, boarding schools and day schools, require prospective students to take as part of the school admissions process. Understanding the test, and knowing what to expect when you take it, will help you prepare.
1. There are three levels of the SSAT.
The SSAT is designed for students in grades 3 through postgraduate, or PG students, which is a wide range of ages. As such, there are three different levels of the tests based on the grade of the student: elementary, middle, and upper.
2. There are four sections of each level of the SSAT.
The SSAT is made up of four sections, regardless of level: Quantitative/Math, Verbal, Reading Comprehension, and the Essay. Each level varies slightly, but you can get test format outlines for each of the levels from the SSAT site.
3. Some schools require the SSAT.
Not all schools require the SSAT, but for those that do, you need to pay attention to deadlines. Check with the admission office at your boarding school to be sure you know if this test is required, recommended, or not necessary.
4. You have to register.
You can’t just show up to take an SSAT. You have to register online in advance and pay a fee. If you need to take the SSAT at a time other than what is offered nationally, you can inquire to your school about taking what’s called the Flex Test. It’s still the SSAT, but it’s administered outside of the normal testing times. Not every school offers this opportunity, and again, you have to make arrangements with your boarding school in advance.
5. There is an SSAT Help Center.
The SSAT website offers a help center that can give you more information on each of the four sections and offers webinars and tutorials to help you prepare. Spend some time reviewing these resources to get an idea of what to expect and prepare yourself for test-taking.