If the SSAT is your student’s first experience with standardized testing, a trusted guide can demystify the test and help them to master the necessary academic content and learn the essential skills to help them thrive on Test Day. Over the past decade, Open Door has helped hundreds of students earn SSAT scores that they were proud to send to schools.
When your student works with a tutor at Open Door, they have a reliable partner in both accountability and confidence. Because each student is unique, your student’s tutor will provide individualized guidance to help your student to address their specific challenges with tried-and-true strategies that become second nature with practice.
Each student begins by learning the architecture and personality of the test, strategies for each section, and important patterns that improve both pacing and accuracy. As your student progresses, their tutor will provide increasingly individualized support, and your student will see their hard work pay off as they periodically complete full-length practice tests.
By the time Test Day arrives, your student will have the knowledge, the experience, and the confidence to earn scores that they are proud of.
Students who are applying to private schools that accept SSAT scores should plan to take the SSAT. Your student should start by taking a diagnostic SSAT to establish baseline scores and identify priorities.
There are three different levels of the SSAT. The Lower Level SSAT is for students applying for grades 4 and 5, the Middle Level SSAT is for students applying for grades 6 through 8, and the Upper Level SSAT is for students applying for high school.
The SSAT can be taken three different ways. Paper SSAT testing is offered on national test dates and also as Flex Tests that are administered by certian schools and eductional consultants. At-Home SSAT testing allows students to take a computer-based SSAT at home, and Prometric SSAT testing allows students to take a computer-based SSAT at a testing center.
The SSAT is broken into five sections in four content areas: Writing, Reading, Quantitative, and Verbal.
The Writing section of the SSAT allows students to choose between two different prompts and then write a short essay. One prompt is typically more creative while the other prompt asks students to make an argument. On the Upper Level SSAT, the Writing section is 25 minutes long.
The Reading section tests reading comprehension by presenting students with a series of short passages on a range of topics, typically including a poem or two as well as some passages from the 1800s and earlier. The most important underlying skill being tested is the ability to recognize paraphrasing, as most answers choices are summaries of or variations on what is already stated in the text. On the Upper Level SSAT, the Reading section includes 40 questions in 40 minutes.
The Quantitative section tests a range of math content from number properties and operations up through geometry and exponent rules. Students are not permitted to use calculators, and many of the questions are word problems that require careful reading. On the Upper Level SSAT, the Quantitative section is split between two sections, each with 25 questions to be completed in 30 minutes.
The Verbal section tests students knowledge of vocabulary as well as their ability to recognize the relationship between words and ideas. The Verbal section is split into two parts: Synonyms and Analogies. The Synonyms section asks students to find words with the same meaning, while the Analogies section tests students’ ability to recognize two pairs of words with the same relationship. On the Upper Level SSAT, the Verbal section is 60 questions in 30 minutes, with 30 Synonyms questions and 30 Analogies questions.
The SSAT also includes an experimental section, which does not count towards a student’s score.
It is best to begin preparing at least two-and-a-half months before your first SSAT. Students who meet with their tutor 8-10 times before their first test and then 4-6 times before each subsequent test typically see the greatest score improvements.
Building vocabulary takes time and requires consistent work. Students are wise to begin practicing vocabulary as much as six months before their first test.
The SSAT is scored on a scale of 1500 – 2400 points. The Reading section, the Quantitative section, and the Verbal section are all scored on a scale of 500 – 800 points, while the Writing section is not scored at all.
Most students and admissions professionals focus on the percentile rather than the scaled score, and this is the value that you will see referenced most when researching schools’ score ranges.