The SSAT—or Secondary Schools Admissions Test—is an entrance exam used by independent private middle and high schools throughout the U.S., created and administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board.
Because the SSAT is used for students across a broad spectrum of grades, it’s offered at three different levels depending on where a student is in their education:
- Upper Level: for students currently in grades 8–11
- Middle Level: for students currently in grades 5–7
- Elementary Level: for students currently in grades 3–4
All questions on the SSAT have the same score. The raw score is calculated for each section and then the SSAT percentile (1-99) is given for relative performance evaluation. It is to note that the SSAT has a negative marking.
What’s on the SSAT?
Regardless of what level of SSAT test a student is taking, the same five core competencies are assessed: Quantitative Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Verbal Reasoning, writing, and experimental. However, the upper and middle versions of the test contain two Quantitative Reasoning sections, while the elementary level has just one.
- Quantitative Reasoning questions on upper- and middle-level exams test mathematical concepts including algebra, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and probability, while the elementary exam tests addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills.
- Reading Comprehension questions evaluate a student’s ability to identify main ideas, themes, and tone, and to understand the author’s purpose.
- Verbal Reasoning tests vocabulary and the ability to relate ideas by identifying synonyms and interpreting analogies.
- Writing Sample: The writing sample is not scored, but schools use it to assess writing skills.
- Experimental: Mixed content questions (verbal, reading, and math). This section does not count toward reported scores.
There are three levels to the exam:
|Current Grade||Appropriate Test Level||Test Duration|
|Grades 3-4||SSAT Elementary-Level Test||2 hours, 5 minutes|
|Grades 5-7||SSAT Middle-Level Test||3 hours, 10 minutes|
|Grades 8-11||SSAT Upper-Level Test||3 hours, 10 minutes|
Elementary Level SSAT Test Breakdown:
|Section||# Of Question||Type of Question||Duration|
|Quantitative/Math||30||Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, Place value, Ordering of numbers (greater than, less than), Fractions, Basic concepts of geometry, Interpretation of graphs||30|
|Verbal||30||Vocabulary, Verbal Reasoning, Ability to Relate Ideas Logically||20|
|Reading||28||Main Ideas, Details, Inferences, Word Meanings, Author’s Purpose, and Tone, Opinions, Arguments, Predictions||30|
|Writing Sample||1 prompt||A topic statement that you will be asked to respond to (support or argue), using specific examples from personal experience, current events, history, or literature||15|
|Experimental Section||15-17||Verbal, Reading, and Quantitative-style questions||15|
Middle/Upper-Level SSAT Test Breakdown:
|Section||# Of Question||Type of Question||Duration|
|Writing Sample||1||A topic statement that you will be asked to respond to (support or argue), using specific examples from personal experience, current events, history, or literature||25|
|Quantitative/Math||30||Number Concepts and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis, Probability||30|
|Reading||40 multiple choice (7 passages)||Main Ideas, Details, Inferences, Word Meanings, Author’s Purpose, and Tone, Opinions, Arguments, Predictions||40|
|Verbal||60 multiple choice (30 synonyms and 30 analogies)||Vocabulary, Verbal Reasoning, Ability to Relate Ideas Logically||30|
|Quantitative (Math)||25||Number Concepts and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis, Probability||30|
|Experimental Section||16||Verbal, Reading, and Quantitative-style questions||15|
Here are some test-taking tips:
- Pay attention to all the testing directions.
- Read the questions thoroughly, but do not spend too much time on one question.
- Select the best choice and try to answer as many questions as possible.
- There is a penalty for a wrong answer, so be careful while attempting the question.
- Ensure that you select the answer for the right test question on your answer
- After you finish the test, review your answers.
How Is the SSAT Scored?
There will be a section score for each of the three sections of the SSAT, as well as a total score, which is the sum of all three areas.
Each level is scored on a different scale. Section scores for the elementary level range from 300 to 600. For the middle class, section scores range from 440 to 710. Finally, scores for each section range from 500 to 800 for the upper level.
At all levels, you’ll get one point for every correct answer, zero for a skipped answer, and a deduction of ¼ points for wrong answers. There is no penalty for incorrect answers on the elementary-level exam. The raw score is simply calculated by adding the number of correct answers. Raw scores are then scaled.
SSAT Scaled Scores by Level:
- Upper Level: Section scores between 500-800 and quantitative scores between 1500-2400.
- Middle Level: Section scores between 440-710 and quantitative scores between 1320-2130.
- Elementary Level: Section scores between 300-600 and quantitative scores between 900-1800.
If you already know about SSAT and preparing for the upcoming SSAT test, then check the Socrato YouTube channel for Practice Test scoring and diagnostic report. To Prepare smartly for the SSAT, download our free e-book “Smart and effective way SSAT Prep”.