Are you or your child taking the SSAT to apply to private school? If so, this blog will give guidance on how to begin prep so you can get into your top choice.
What SSAT Test Should I Take?
Note: The way SSAT divides levels is different from the way the ISEE divides levels. For the SSAT
- If you or your child are currently in grades 3-4, then take the elementary test for entering 4-5 grade.
- If you or your child are currently in grades 5-7, then take the middle-level test for entering 6-8 grade.
- If you or your child are currently in grades 8-11, then take the upper-level test for entering 9-12 grade.
The SSAT is more flexible than the ISEE in terms of when and where you can take the exam. You can take the SSAT up to five times at home.
How to Begin Prep for the SSAT
The SSAT has released four official practice tests on their website, which you have to pay for. The SSAT allows you to purchase the online module and their book. We recommend you only buy the online module because buying the book as well is redundant.
1. Take a Practice Test
Taking a practice test is the best way to see where you are at and what goals you need to achieve.
2. Figure Out What You Need to Work On
There are multiple sections on the SSAT.
For the Verbal Section – the test is full of synonyms and analogies. Memorizing vocab using flashcards and word lists are the best way to study. For analogies, it can help to get a tutor, take a class, or purchase prep books that specifically go over how to answer analogy questions.
For the Math Section – Identify the types of questions you are missing and continue practicing them. Purchase math books to practice the questions often. If you are studying for the upper-level SSAT exam, it can help to use SAT/ACT prep books.
For the Reading Section – Because this is a test based exam, your best tactic will be to look back in the passages often. Approach this as an open note test. Similar to the math section, you can use SAT/ACT books to studying for the reading section.
For the Unscored Essay – It’s always good to make an effort on this section, but make sure you know the school you apply to’s policy on the essay section. Some schools read it while others don’t consider it.
3. Obtain Prep Materials
The official test maker has quite a few official tests and practices sections. It’s also good to go to other testing companies for additional test prep books. Don’t just look for an SSAT book; make sure it’s for your correct grade level. You will likely need to purchase multiple books since not one book will be comprehensive enough to study from.
Start Studying and Good Luck!