SSAT Test FAQ

 Test - FAQs

​​​​Note:  these FAQs refer to the Middle and Upper Level SSAT.  For more information about the Elementary Level SSAT, please click here.

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About the SSAT 

What is the Purpose of the SSAT?

The SSAT is designed for students who are seeking entrance to independent schools worldwide. The purpose of the SSAT is to measure the basic verbal, quantitative, and reading skills students develop over time—skills that are needed for successful performance in independent schools. The SSAT provides independent school admission professionals with meaningful information about the possible academic success of potential students like you at their institutions, regardless of students’ background or experience.

The SSAT is not an achievement test. A classroom math test, for example, is an achievement test: the teacher specifically designed it to evaluate how much students know about what has been covered in class. The SSAT, on the other hand, is designed to measure the verbal, quantitative, and reading skills acquired, instead of focusing on  mastery of particular course materials.

Further, SSAT tests are not designed to measure other characteristics, such as motivation, persistence, or creativity that may contribute to your success in school.

How is the SSAT designed?

The SSAT measures three constructs: verbal, quantitative, and reading skills that students develop over time, both in and out of school. It emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential for academic success.

The SSAT is constructed to be of middle difficulty for those who take the test. In other words, about 50% of the examinees will get the average test question correct. The distribution of question difficulties is set so that the test will effectively differentiate among test takers, who vary in their level of skills.

In developing the SSAT, the SSATB convenes review committees, composed of content experts and independent school teachers. The committees reach consensus regarding the appropriateness of the questions. Questions judged to be acceptable after the committee review are then pretested and analyzed. Questions that are statistically sound are ready to be selected and assembled into test forms.

Is the SSAT reliable?

The SSAT is highly reliable. The scaled score reliability is higher than .90 for both the verbal and quantitative sections, and is approaching .90 for the reading section, which is considered quite high in the educational field.

 

Registration

How do I register for the SSAT?

You may only register for the test online. Click here to begin.

Which level SSAT should I take?

Use your current grade level when registering for the test, not the grade you're applying for.  If you are in 3rd or 4th grade, you'll take the Elementary Level SSAT.  If you're in grades 5 through 7, you'll register for the Middle Level SSAT, and if you're in grades 8 and up, you will register for the Upper Level SSAT.

Can I use my SSAT account from last year?      

Yes, your previous web login ID will still work. 

Here are easy step by step instructions to login using last year's ID:

  1. Please log into your ssat.org student account. You can find the log in link at the top right hand corner of SSAT.org at the Student Login link or simply visit portal.ssat.org.

  2. Once you are on the log in page, enter your log in ID from 2012-2013.

  3. Your password is that login ID with an exclamation point on the end. Click "Log In."

  4. You will then be on your SSAT portal homepage. From this page, you will be able to register for tests, look at your scores, order the Official Guide to the SSAT, and more.

  5. Be sure to update your profile information, specifically your current grade. Click on the yellow button labeled "My Profile" to make these changes.

  6. Once you have reviewed and updated, please click "Save Changes" on the bottom of the screen. Your profile will then be updated and saved into our system.​

How do I update my SSAT profile? 

It's vital that your profile information is complete and accurate. Here are easy step by step instructions to update and change your profile:

  1. Please log into your ssat.org student account. You can find the log in link at the top right hand corner of SSAT.org at the Student Login link or simply visit portal.ssat.org.

  2. Once you are on the log in page, enter your unique username and password and click submit.

  3. You will then be on your SSAT portal homepage. Click on the yellow button labeled "My Profile."

  4. Your personal information will appear including your name, address, and other vital information. Please update this information and review for accuracy.

  5. Once you have reviewed and updated, please click "Save Changes" on the bottom of the screen. Your profile will then be updated and saved into our system.​

​How do I locate an SSAT Test Center?

To find a test center, please follow the directions below:

  1. From the SSAT.org web site, click on the "Test" link at the top of the page. Then click on Registration from the drop down navigation that appears.

  2. Once on the Registration page, click on the "Find a Test Center" link on the left hand side of the page (located under the blue "Registration" button).

  3. You will then be on the "Test Center Search" page. Here you can search for test centers by name, country, state, or zip code.

  4. On the left hand side, you also have the option to search for a site based on the test date. Please select the test date you are interested in from the drop down menu.

  5. If you are looking for sites that have seats for special accommodation testers, please check the box labeled "Test Centers that accept students with special accommodations" on the left hand navigation bar, under the search filters.

  6. Once you have found the test site you are interested in, click the blue "Read More" link on the right hand side, opposite the school name and address. You will then see all the information and test dates for this location.

  7. In order to register for a test at this location, simply log into your SSAT or create an account at portal.ssat.org.

After you log in, click on the blue "My Tests" button and then click "Register for a Test."​

How do I register for a test in China?

You will still register for a test through your ssat.org student account following the directions above. However, please note SSATB has partned with only one exclusive partner ​that is authorized to administer the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) in China—the Ameson Education and Culture Exchange Foundation.  Ameson is the ONLY organization in China authorized to administer the SSAT. You can find more information about Ameson and the SSAT in China by visiting Ameson's website​.

Can I register for a test without listing score recipients?

Yes. You do not have to list any score recipients when you register. You may designate recipients using your SSAT account at any time at no charge.

How can I confirm my registration?

Your SSAT admission ticket confirms your registration and is required for entrance to the exam. The ticket will appear for downloading and printing when a registration is successfully completed.  A printable version of the admission ticket is also available on your SSAT account.

Can I change something on my registration?

 Yes. Log onto your SSAT account  to make changes to your registration(s).  From there you can:

 - Add or cancel score reports online free of charge

 - Order additional score report services

 - Change your test date or location (Note: $35 change fee applies)

Are special testing accommodations available for the SSAT?

Yes, students who routinely receive special accommodations in their current school may apply for similar accommodations for the SSAT. These testing accommodations must be approved prior to registering for the test.   Click here for details.

I cannot test on a Saturday for religious reasons. What are my options?

SSAT schedules Sunday testing at a limited number of locations only for students who observe a Saturday Sabbath. These sites are for those students pre-registered with appropriate clergy documentation. Testing on a Sunday due to religious observance must be approved prior to registering for the test.

I can’t attend any of the Standard test dates. Can I still take the SSAT?

Yes. SSATB-member schools and educational consultants can administer the SSAT Flex Test by appointment on a limited basis.  See the Flex Test page for more information.

How many times can I take the SSAT?

A student may take the Middle/Upper Level SSAT on all eight Standard test dates. A student may only take one SSAT Flex Test per testing year (August 1 - July 31), in addition to the Standard Tests.

Can I bring a snack or drink to the test?

Students may bring snacks and beverages for consumption during the breaks. Snacks and beverages may not be consumed during testing. Any snacks brought to the test center must be in clear plastic bags.

Why can't I bring a calculator?

The SSAT is a basic, norm-referenced test designed to assist school admission officers in the evaluation of applicants for admission. Consideration has been given to the use of calculators, as well as spell checkers, electronic dictionaries and computers, as elements of the SSAT process. Given the time constraints of the test, its nature and its intended use, the decision has been made not to add these elements.

With respect to calculators, the primary reason for not permitting their use is that this test requires the test taker to do only the slightest amount of calculation. Complex math problems are not a part of this test. The test taker is given a statement (problem) and the answer choices to the question. If test takers know what to do with the facts, they will be able to identify the best answer with very simple calculations, if any. The test is not designed to measure proficiency in the use of calculators and its focus is on basic mathematical reasoning.

SSATB recognizes and respects the use of calculators and other technologies in the curricula of schools. But the SSAT is not designed to suggest a particular curriculum or component. From the perspective of the SSATB, criterion-referenced tests are much better positioned to deal with calculator proficiency than is the SSAT. Criterion-referenced tests abound, from classroom exams to standardized SAT IIs and APs. While these tests, too, have their limitations, they are generally oriented to a curriculum and are designed to measure a well-defined competence.

Why are cell phones, electronic watches, mechical pencils, and other items/devices prohibited? 

Many of these items can include recording devices which compromise test security. In addition, many have sounds that can disrupt testing. Please leave these devices at home. 

​When does the test begin and end?

Testing start times may vary. Check your admission ticket for more information regarding the start time for the test. The test length for the Middle and Upper Level SSAT is close to 3 hours, plus two small breaks. The Elementary Level test is 110 minutes in length.

How do I print my Admission Ticket? 

It's vital that you print your admission ticket in order to receive entry for the test.  If you do not have an admission ticket, you will not be allowed entry to the test site.

Here are easy step by step instructions:

  1. Please log into your ssat.org student account. You can find the log in link at the top right hand corner of SSAT.org at the Student Login link or simply visit portal.ssat.org.

  2. Once you are on the log in page, enter your unique username and password and click submit.

  3. You will then be on your SSAT portal homepage. Click on the blue "My Tests" button.

  4. A list of the tests you registered for will then appear organized by date. 

  5. Click on the "Print Admission Ticket" link corresponding to the test date. This will allow you to print the admission ticket from your computer.

  6. Please note any special instructions about the test center indicated on your admission ticket. This may include the name of the building where the test will occur, parking instructions, and more.

  7. If you registered for special accommodations remember that this information WILL NOT appear on the admission ticket. ​You must bring the confirmation email you receive from SSAT with you to testing for verification.

I printed my Admission Ticket and my special accommodations information is not included on the ticket. Is this correct?

Your special accommodation information will NOT be indicated on your admission ticket. Bring a printed copy of the SSAT confirmation email you receive when your special accommodations are approved with you to the testing center for verification. Please notify the check-in desk at the test center site that you have registered with special accommodations and they will direct you to the correct location at the test site. 

Fees and Payment

 

How can I cancel a test that I will not attend?

If you have to miss the test for any reason, please note that refunds are not available. You may, however, change your test date and/or site for a $35 fee.  Normal registration deadlines apply. Use your SSAT Account to change or cancel a test registration. Go to the "My Tests" section, select a test date, and click the "Cancel Test" button.  Click here for more information regarding the cancellation policy.

How do I pay for the test?

Test fees can be paid online using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or SSAT fee waiver.

What is a fee waiver and how do I obtain one?

If you cannot pay the test fee due to economic hardship, you may be eligible to receive a fee waiver. Fee waivers are available from schools only. SSAT does not offer fee waivers directly to students and families. To request a fee waiver, contact the admission office at the school to which you are applying prior to registering for the SSAT. A fee waiver provides access to the SSAT and may cover the full or partial domestic/international test fee, as decided by the issuing school. It does not include publications, score reports, writing samples, or late registration fees.   Only one fee waiver can be applied at the time of registration.

Does SSAT offer refunds?

No, but you may reschedule to a different test date or site for an additional fee. 

   

Website/Troubleshooting

Is your website secure?

Yes. The SSAT web site is secure and safe for the submission of personal and payment information. SSAT utilizes Authorize.net and current SSL technology to ensure secure online transactions. 

If you get an error message that says the page is not available:

Your browser may have cached an older version of the registration; sometimes, simply clicking on "Refresh" will access the updated page.  If you continue to experience difficulty, please email us (info@ssat.org) with information about the browser (i.e., Firefox, Internet Explorer) and platform (Mac, PC) that you are using, so that we may investigate the problem.