Secondary School Admission Test

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The Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT, is an admission test administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB) to students in grades 3-11 to help professionals in independent or private elementary, middle and high schools to make decisions regarding student admission.

There are three levels of the test: the Elementary Level for students in grades 3 and 4 who are applying to grades 4 and 5, the Middle Level for students in grades 5-7 applying for grades 6-8, and the Upper Level, designed for students in grades 8-11 who are applying for grades 9-12 (or PG). The SSAT consists of a brief unscored writing sample and multiple choice sections that include Quantitative (Mathematics), Reading Comprehension, and Verbal questions. The test, written in English, is administered around the world at hundreds of test centers, many of which are independent schools.

Despite the similarity in name, the SSAT is not related to the SAT Reasoning Test and is not administered by the College Board, though it was previously.

Test sections[edit]


There are two 30-minute math sections with 25 questions each. This section is called the Quantitative Section. The quantitative questions measure the test taker’s knowledge of basic quantitative concepts, algebra, and geometry. The words used in SSAT problems refer to basic mathematical operations.

Reading Comprehension[edit]

The 40-minute reading comprehension section has 40 questions based on reading passages. These questions measure the test taker’s ability to understand what is read. In general, the SSAT uses two types of writing: narrative, which includes excerpts from novels, poems, short stories, or essays; and argument, which presents a definite point of view about a subject.


The verbal section is 30 minutes long and consists of 30 synonym and 30 analogy questions. Synonym questions assess the strength of the test taker's vocabulary. Analogy questions measure the test taker's ability to relate ideas to each other logically.


In the writing sample section of the test, test takers are given a choice of two writing prompts: Elementary Level test takers look at a picture and tell a story about it. Middle Level test takers receive a choice of two creative prompts and Upper Level test takers receive one essay and one creative prompt from which to choose. The writing sample section is 25 minutes long and is not scored. However, the writing sample is sent to admission officers at the school to which the test taker is applying, along with the scores of the other sections of the test.


All questions on the Secondary School Admission Test are equal in value and scores are based on the number of questions correctly answered, less one-quarter point for each question answered incorrectly. No points are awarded or deducted for questions left unanswered.

The Secondary School Admission Test score report provides scale scores for each section, as well as percentile ranks for each category, comparing a student's score to others of the same grade and gender who have taken the test in the U.S. and Canada on Standard test dates in the past three years. Also in the score report are estimated national percentile ranks and projected 12th grade SAT scores for test takers in grades 8-11.

Upon receiving their scores, students can send the results to the independent schools they wish to apply to. Each school then evaluates the scores according to its own standards and requirements.

Students may take the exam on Standard test dates multiple times; the SSAT "Flex" test can be taken only once per testing year (August 1 - July 31).

External links[edit]