ABOUT THE SSAT
Please scroll down to see information on the SSAT test, its components, how the test is scored, how to make sense of your student's score, how to register and the latest test schedule and deadline dates. The information below is accurate to the best of our knowledge. More information is on the SSAT website www.ssat.org If you have a specific question regarding a school, it is best to contact them.
About The SSAT
What is the SSAT?
The Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) is used by private schools as part of the admission requirements. The SSAT is only a piece of the puzzle.
Who should take the SSAT?
There are 3 SSAT levels – Elementary (3rd and 4th grade), Middle Level (5th – 7th grade), Upper Level (8th – 10th grade). You should check with a school to see if they require the SSAT.
What are the sections of the SSAT?
NOTE: If your child has the accommodation for time and a half, the duration will be different
When is the SSAT?
SSAT Standard Tests are held on eight Saturdays during the testing year (August 1 - July 31). Upcoming test dates are:
Where do you take the SSAT test?
The National SSAT is given at different school(s) in Atlanta. Go to the SSAT website for the specific locations and dates.
Where do students take the tests at each school?
Each testing location is different - some schools have students take the tests in classrooms and some schools use their library or cafeteria area. If you are concerned about where your child will be taking the test, we suggest you contact the testing site directly to find out.
How is the SSAT test scored?
What counts on the SSAT is the SSAT Raw Score and then this is used to calculate the SSAT % for each section and the Total SSAT %.
SSAT Raw Score = (1 point for each correct answer (minus) 1/4 point for each wrong answer (and) 0 points for each omitted question)
SSAT Percent = The SSAT Organization will take your child's actual percentage and compare it to the last 3 years of scores for your child's grade and gender. In essence, SSAT is curving the scores.
In general a 5th grader needs to get over 50% of the answers counted as correct to score over a SSAT % of 50% or more. 6th and 7th graders need to get even more than 50% to score a SSAT % of 50% or more because the curve is tighter. Note, if your child gets too many wrong or omits too many, it will negatively impact their SSAT % score.
When does registration start?
Please check the official SSAT Website www.ssat.org for registration dates for 2015.
Is there an official SSAT guide book?
Go to www.ssat.org and order the SSAT Official Guide - Middle Level. (Only 8th - 11th graders should order the Upper Level SSAT Book.) This book is needed for the class and is the best book to use for preparation. (Please do not work any of the problems in the practice tests as this is the book we use during our class and they need to learn the test strategies first.) There is no reason to start working the problems right now; your child should learn the test strategies first.
When should you take the SSAT test?
It is a personal preference which date you choose and almost all students retake the test. The majority of students take the November National Test and then it in December and/or January.
Does the testing site matter?
This may be important if your child needs a certain type of environment or just wants to take the test at a certain school. Depending on the school, classrooms, cafeterias and/or libraries are used for testing sites. If the environment is important to your child, you may want to call the school to find out where testing is held. Also, remember some schools may have more of your child's friends taking the test on the same day. Again, if you think this will impact your child's performance, you may consider a different school.
Do you have to send your scores to a school?
When you register, you do not have to send your child's score to a school. You can wait to see their results and then send them. (The SSAT website has directions on how you can go back into their system and request that the scores be sent later).
What's the best way to receive your scores?
Mail? Email? Text? - Because the results are online, there is really no reason to use standard mail. Results are reported online and you can request for a fee to receive an email or text alerting you. Note, if you do not pay the additional fee to receive an email or a text alert, then you will need to keep checking your SSAT account about two weeks after the National Test Date. They sometimes will have the test results as early as 10 days. Also, on the day of the score release, it appears that text/emails are sent in alphabetical order, so an A may receive the email/text before an S.
Should I request a writing sample?
You can also request for a fee to have your child's writing sample sent to you. The essay/story is not graded; however, it may be beneficial to see how your child writes in a test situation and under a time contstraint. Most school request a student to write an essay/story during the interview process.
Can the SSAT be taken multiple times?
There is no limit to the number of times a student can take the test. The majority of students take the test multiple times. The test results will indicate there have been multiple tests taken but will not indicate how many times.
Are there special accommodations?
On the SSAT website www.ssat.org you can complete the paper work to allow your child to have extra time or other special accommodations. Your child must qualify for special accommodations.
What is Flext Testing?
You can choose to have your child take the test with a private consultant. With this option, you can pick your own testing time and your child will take the test at a private consultant's place in a private room. Some consultants do private while others do small groups, so be sure to ask the consultants about the number of students they test at one time when you contact them. This does cost more and this option can only be used once. The consultants who offer these services are located on the SSAT website.
Other SSAT books?
Optional books to purchase are the Princeton Review - Cracking the SSAT and the McGraw-Hill's SSAT/ISEE books. These can be purchased from Barnes and Nobles or other bookstores.
About The Scores
Which scores are schools interested in?
Schools are interested in the SSAT Percentiles and NOT the National Percentiles. This is located at the top of the test results.
What scores do schools want?
Most schools like to see the overall score be "around" 70%. Some schools like to see 80% and above. The "acceptable" score depends on the student's situation too. (siblings at the school? legacy? extracurricular and grades? interview?) Talking with the school is always the best way to determine what scores the want.
Do they want to see the scores "around" the same percentage?
Most schools do not want to see a big discrepancy between scores. For example, if math is 80% and reading is 52%, this is not great and a student probably should retake the test.
What other sections are important?
The Test Question Breakdown gives valuable insight on your child’s strategy. If there are any sections where your child is getting more than 5 to 8 wrong or is omitting less than 3 or more than 10, your child needs to practice more. For the synonym section a student tries to answer as many words as they know without getting very many wrong. It is hard to back into the answer. If your child does not score well in this section, then they need to do well in the analogies section in order to keep the overall verbal score from impacting the total SSAT score.
How is the SSAT Percent Calculated?
SSAT Raw Score=(1 point for each correct answer (minus) 1/4 point for each wrong answer (and) 0 points for each omitted question)
SSAT Percent = The SSAT Organization will take your child's SSAT Raw Score and compare it to the last 3 years of scores for your child's grade and gender. Then, a SSAT Percentage will be determined. In essence, SSAT is curving the scores. In general a 5th grader needs to get over 50% of the answers counted as correct to score over a SSAT % of 50% or more. 6th and 7th graders need to get even more than 50% to score a SSAT % of 50% or more because the curve is tighter. Note, if your child gets too many wrong or omits too many, it will negatively impact their SSAT score.
Why are students given the option of omitting?
The Middle Level Test is for 5th, 6th and 7th graders. All of these grade levels will take the same Middle Level Test. This is important to know because the test will contain questions for all grade levels which means there will be some questions that a 5th grader as well as a 6th grader will not know. They should be omitting.
The Upper Level Test is for 8th, 9th and 10th graders. Again, there are questions for all grades so the 8th and 9th graders should be omitting.
How many should a student get right, wrong, omit?
In general, if there are any sections where your child is getting more than 5 wrong or is omitting less than 3 or more than 10, your child needs to practice more. They should be getting a raw score higher than half the questions. The synonym section may be an exception. Your child may omit more in the synonym section because it is hard to use process of elimination. A student should try to get at least 15 correct.
Should you wait to send scores to the schools?
Most people do. You can wait to see the scores and then send them.
When do you receive the scores?
Usually the test scores are available online about 7 to 10 days after the National Test.
Do you need to register for a test well in-advance?
You will probably have enough time to get your child's scores, review them and then register for the next time if you need to do it. You can check the SSAT website to view the registration deadlines for each test date. Most people who go stand-by also get a spot.
Do the schools care if a student takes the test more than one time?
Schools usually do not care and most students take the test more than one time. The only way a school will know if a student has taken the test more than one time is it will say on the bottom of the test "Multiple Test Times." It does not indicate how many times.
Will retaking the test help?
You should look at your child's Test Question Breakdown. If they have a lot wrong, too many omitted, or not enough omitted, they can improve their strategy to help increase their scores. Sometimes just getting a few more right and/or omitting a few more will improve a score significantly.
Will schools look at the highest score from different tests?
This is called Super Scoring. Some schools will do this, but you need to check with the schools you are interested in to find out schools.
Should you retake the test right away or wait?
This really depends on the student and the your family situation. If you decide to take the February test, be sure your schools will accept the score because some schools deadline for submission of SSAT scores may be before the February National Test date. the deadline may before the National Test. Also, you always have the option to take the test once in a Flex Setting. This is when you contract with a consultant to have your child take the test in a private or small group setting test environment. You can schedule the test on any day or time the consultant has available. A list of Consultants is on the SSAT website. There is an additional fee for this service.