The SSAT (“Secondary School Admission Test”) is the prime entrance exam for students seeking admission to prep schools in the Northeast. The SSAT measures students’ abilities in three areas: Reading, “Verbal”, and Quantitative, on a 500 to 850 scale.
The Reading section tests students’ understanding of succinct, but dense, passages. The multiple choice questions that follow include many nuanced answers that seem strikingly similar to the correct one. Our instructors work on understanding the true intention of the questions and also scrutinize the tempting-but-wrong answers.
“Verbal” is split into a 30 question set of analogies and a 30 question set of synonyms. Success on these sections depends on a strong vocabulary, so our tutors introduce and define tough words every session. We further assign words in spreadsheets for students to study at home.
“Quantitative” refers to math that’s expected for the age group. It involves arithmetic, algebra, geometry, number properties, and some math that does not relate into the above categories. The multiple choice wrong answers typically include some trap answers for students who have made a wrong turn in the calculations. Our tutors introduce or reinforce correct math, and point out how to avoid the wrong answers.
Recommended SSAT Texts
Why take the SSAT?
The SSAT is given as a “Middle Level” test for students wishing to enter grades 6, 7, or 8, and as an “Upper Level” test for students wishing to enter grades 9, 10, 11, or 12. The difficulty curve is higher in all test sections for the Upper Level SSAT, but the format remains the same.
Students typically have one of two SSAT goals: get a “threshold score” or an “astounding score”. The threshold is for entering schools that are almost certain to admit you based on grades, athletics, and character, but need to know you are also an adequate standardized tests taker. The astounding score is for entering a highly competitive prep school where your great GPA or really impressive athletics does not guarantee admission.
“Threshold score” seekers typically enlist for just 10 – 12 hours of tutoring. “Astounding score” aspirants typically enlist for 35 – 45 tutoring hours. If a “Form Your Own” session seems preferable, you can tailor the number of class hours to suit your group and you can choose to embed practice test sessions into your schedule. We suggest holding these on Saturday or Sunday mornings.