What do you get when you cross a challenging vocabulary word with a question format that no student has ever seen before because it doesn’t show up on any other standardized test?

The correct answer is ‘an SSAT analogy’. If you said ‘confused’, though, you’re not alone. The defining feature of the SSAT is the difficult blend of content knowledge and mastery of technique that it requires from students. That’s why our SSAT prep programs blend content and strategy in whatever proportion is optimal for each individual student – all while using the best online learning tools available. 

An OVerview of the ssat

The Secondary School Admissions Test is used for admission to private elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the United States. There are three levels of the test – Elementary, Middle, and Upper – and each level is taken by students across a range of ages, with the most common being the Upper Level taken by students currently in grades 8-11. 

Inspirica’s approach to SSAT prep starts with the fact that a student’s experience with the test will vary significantly depending on their age, which means that the optimal course of preparation will vary as well. Your tutor will help determine the best way for your student to prepare and then use that plan to ensure that they’re in the best possible position going into test day.


The Middle and Upper Level tests are administered on eight Standard test dates each year, while the Elementary Level test is administered on five of those dates. Standard testing is administered at official test centers, which are typically schools approved by the SSAT. You can search for the test center closest to you using the SSAT’s test center locator.

To register for the SSAT, visit their site and follow the corresponding instructions. Testing accommodations must be approved prior to test registration. Please note that it is the responsibility of each family to provide the equipment, materials, and personnel necessary to support approved accommodations. For more information, take a look at the Testing Accommodation Guide for Students on the SSAT’s website. All students are also allowed to schedule one Flex test date. Flex tests are typically administered at the offices of independent Educational Consultants rather than at schools. Make an appointment with your EC to get started!

For advice on navigating the complexities of the test scheduling and registration process, check out our blog post on the subject, or make an appointment to speak with one of our Program Coordinators at the day and time most convenient to you.


Each of the three levels of the SSAT is composed of an essay prompt and several multiple-choice sections that fall into one of three categories: Quantitative, Verbal, and Reading. The number, order, and length of the sections differ significantly between the three levels, however; visit the SSAT’s website for detailed information on the level of the test that your student will be taking.


First, your student’s raw score will be calculated for each of the three types of multiple-choice sections on the SSAT. The SSAT will then produce a scaled score for each type of section; these scaled scores take into account the difficulty level of the sections that your student completed relative to the difficulty levels of sections that previous test-takers have completed. Finally, the SSAT will compare your student’s scaled scores to those of previous test-takers and produce a percentile for each type of section, as well as an overall percentile. The essay is unscored and will simply be included in the application as a timed writing sample.

For a detailed breakdown of SSAT scoring, check out our blog post on the subject here.


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The application process can feel like a whirlwind: you’ve got a lot to think about, and things can move very quickly. Fortunately, our Test Experts are experienced, knowledgeable, and ready to help – whether this is your first time through the process or your fifth, we'll help you select the program that best fits your goals, timeline, and budget.

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