SSAT FAQ

Most Frequenly Asked Questions about the SSAT

What is the SSAT?

The SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) is an admissions test administered to students in grades 3-11 to help determine placement into private independent schools. It is administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board which can be reached on the web here.

The SSAT is administered on three levels, depending on the student's current grade:

How many times can I take the SSAT?

In most locations, a student can register to take the SSAT up to eight times per academic year. For students applying to schools in Ontario, the Ontario Testing Consortium only allows students to register for one SSAT test per academic year. For a list of SSAT test dates, locations, and policies, please visit www.ssat.org

Scoring

All questions on the SSAT 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 scaled score ranges from 500-800 for the Upper Level, and 440-710 for the Middle (formerly Lower) Level.

The SSAT score report provides scaled scores for each section as well as percentile ranks for each category, comparing a student's score to others' who have taken the test in the past three years. Also in the score report are estimated national percentile ranks for 5-9 grade test takers and projected 12th grade SAT scores for test takers in grades 7-10.

Scores are mailed to you and your school about two or three weeks after taking the test. Upon receiving his or her scores, students can send their results to the independent schools to which they wish to apply. Each school then evaluates the scores according to its own standards and requirements.

Median Scores

Grade Reading Verbal Math
Middle Level 5 569 584 563
6 593 614 593
7 611 638 614
Upper Level 8 629 662 647
9 644 683 668
10 656 695 686

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Practice SSAT Tests available here.

The following is the breakdown of the SSAT Elementary Level,
The total test time is 1 hours and 50 min (including a break).

Section Question Length
Quantitative (Math) 30 questions 30 min
Verbal 30 questions 20 min
Reading 28 questions 30 min
Writing Sample 1 writing sample 15 min

The quantitative (math) section is 30 minutes long and has 30 questions. It assesses a student's ability to solve mathematical problems involving number concepts and operations, as well as algebra, geometry and other math.

The verbal section is 20 minutes long and consists of 30 questions. It assesses a student's vocabulary, verbal reasoning, and ability to relate ideas logically. There are two different types of questions, synonyms and analogies.

The reading section is 30 minutes long and consists of 28 questions It assesses a student's ability comprehension ability after reading a passage. There are seven short passages each containing four corresponding questions

Students are shown a picture and they are required to write a written response to it. The response should tell a story and have a beginning, middle and end. The essay section is 15 minutes long, and students are given one side of a paper on which to write. The writing sample is not graded, but is instead sent to the private schools to which the student is applying for evaluation.

SSAT Middle and Upper Level
  • The total test time is 2 hours and 35 min (including a break)
  • All questions are multiple choice (A) to (E), except the essay
  • You are not allowed to use calculators, dictionaries or rulers
  • These sections do not necessarily appear in the order stated above
The following is the breakdown of the SSAT Middle/Upper Level:
Section Question Length
Math I 25 questions 30 min
Verbal 60 questions 30 min
Reading 40 questions 40 min
Math II 25 questions 30 min
Essay one essay 25 min

In the essay part of the test, students will be asked to support or disprove a topic statement by using examples from personal experience, history, literature and current events. The essay section is 25 minutes long, and students are given one side of a paper on which to write. The essay portion of the SSAT is not graded, but is instead sent to the private schools to which the student is applying for evaluation.

There are two 25 minute math sections with 25 questions each that require basic computations including some basic algebra and basic geometry.

The verbal section is 30 minutes long and consists of 30 synonym and 30 analogy questions for a total of 60 questions.

The 40 minute reading comprehension section has 40 questions based around seven given reading passages. These questions not only require test takers to read quickly but also comprehend what they are reading.