Elementary Level SSAT

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The top private elementary school admission test for students currently in grades 3–4 (students may test up or down) includes math, verbal, reading, and writing sections.

The age-appropriate assessment for elementary students.

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The SSAT is available as a paper test at the Elementary Level. Use the Test Center Search to find a suitable test date and location, or choose the Flex test option given by schools requiring the SSAT. Accommodations and fee waivers are also available, and students can prepare using our free Study Guides.

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U.S. & Canada Pricing

Elementary Level (grades 3-4)

  • Standard or school Flex: $109
  • Flex with an educational consultant: $169
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International Pricing

Elementary Level: $229 (grades 3-4)

  • Paper-based Testing
  • Flex Testing
* A surcharge fee is applied to credit card purchases (some exclusions apply).

What’s on the SSAT?

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  • Quantitative (Math): Composed of math computation.
  • Verbal: Vocabulary and analogy questions.
  • Reading: Reading passages.
  • Writing Sample: The writing sample is not scored, but schools use it to assess writing skills.
  • Experimental: Mixed content questions (verbal, reading, and math). This section does not count toward reported scores.
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SSAT Sections

Total Duration: 2 Hours, 5 Minutes

Select the items below to learn more about the content in each section of the Elementary Level SSAT. Please note that the allotted time for each section may vary for students with approved testing accommodations.

Part 1: Quantitative (Math)

  • Number of questions: 30
  • Scored section: Yes
  • Time allotted: 30 minutes

The quantitative section consists of thirty items that are a mixture of basic mathematical concepts familiar to students and a few that may be a challenge. Questions on number sense, properties and operations, algebra and functions, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, and probability are included. 

These questions assume an understanding of:

  • Basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division
  • Place value
  • Ordering of numbers (greater than, less than)
  • Fractions
  • Basic concepts of geometry (shapes and their attributes)
  • Basic concepts of measurement
  • Interpretation of graphs

Students aren't permitted to use calculators in this section.

Part 2: Verbal

  • Number of questions: 30
  • Scored section: Yes
  • Time allotted: 20 minutes

The verbal section consists of two parts for vocabulary and analogies. It tests the understanding of language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings by relating them to words with similar but not identical meanings (synonyms).


Synonyms are words with the same or similar meanings. For example, large and big are synonyms, as are beautiful and pretty. The Elementary SSAT focuses on vocabulary appropriate to all third- and fourth-grade study areas, including science, technology, and social studies.


Analogies are comparisons between two things with similarities. These comparisons play an important role in problem-solving and decision-making skills, perception and memory, communication and reasoning, reading, and vocabulary building. Analogies help students process information actively, make important decisions, and improve understanding and long-term memory. These questions require students to demonstrate an understanding of nuances in both word meanings and relationships.

Categories of analogies include:

  • Opposites or antonyms: Up is to down as short is to tall
  • Synonyms or words with identical or similar meanings: Big is to large as little is to small
  • Characteristic: Pillow is to soft as blanket is to warm
  • Part to the whole: Trunk is to tree as stem is to flower
  • Uses: Broom is to sweep as pencil is to write
  • Users: Hammer is to carpenter as brush is to painter
  • Category: Robin is to bird as shark is to fish
  • Product to Producer: Poem is to poet as sculptor is to statue
  • Degree: Snow is to blizzard as rain is to hurricane
  • Homonyms: Four is to for as see is to sea

Part 3: Break

Students are allotted a 15-minute break.

Part 4: Reading

  • Number of questions: 28
  • Scored section: Yes
  • Time allotted: 30 minutes

The reading section consists of seven short passages with four multiple-choice questions in each. These passages may include prose, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction from diverse cultures. Questions ask students to locate information and find meaning by skimming and close reading. They are also asked to demonstrate literal, inferential, and evaluative comprehension. 

The reader must demonstrate an understanding of key ideas and details to determine the text's main idea. Additionally, the reader must determine the meaning of words and phrases, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.

Part 5: Writing Sample

  • Number of prompts: 1
  • Scored section: No
  • Time allotted: 15 minutes

The writing sample gives students a chance to express themselves by writing a response to a picture prompt. The student is asked to tell a story about an image that includes a beginning, middle, and end. The writing sample is not graded, but schools receive a copy with the student’s score report. The writing sample is unavailable to families.

Part 6: Experimental

  • Number of prompts: 15–17
  • Scored Section: No
  • Time Allotted: 15 minutes

The experimental section quality tests future SSAT questions to ensure they are reliable, secure, and acceptable. A mixture of verbal, reading, and math, this section isn't scored. 

Free SSAT Study Guides

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Prepare with The Official SSAT Study Guide for elementary grades three and four. Available for free via the buttons below, the guides include section overviews, study tips, and practice test questions.

Test Day Expectations

Testing typically begins promptly at 9 a.m. unless noted otherwise in the "Special Instructions" section of the admission ticket. Plan to arrive 30–45 minutes early for check-in; late students cannot get admitted once testing begins.

Check your email and the SSAT Alerts page before leaving in case there's a cancellation. In the rare case of a cancellation, you can attend the rescheduled date, transfer to another date and location, or get refunded.

You must have your child's SSAT admission ticket printed or available to display on your phone to check in at the test site. Please note that parents aren't permitted in the test room.

Cell phone policy: Students may bring phones to coordinate transportation, but they must be turned off and kept in the prohibited items area during testing.

What to Bring


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  • Admission ticket (printed or displayed on a phone)
  • Several #2 pencils
  • Snack in a clear bag
  • Water bottle


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  • Electronics: calculators, media players, watches, etc.
  • Personal items: backpacks, bags, large jewelry, books, erasers, mechanical pencils, notepaper, pens, etc.
  • Clothing: coats and hats

Elementary Scoring

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EMA typically releases Elementary Level SSAT scores within two weeks of the test date; scores are released to schools and families on the same day. In some rare circumstances release may take up to three weeks from the test administration. Scores are available for free in the portal; however, parents may receive scores via mail or FedEx for an additional fee. You can also order score alerts via text or email in your SSAT account.

Please note: Parents must log in and submit a Testing Experience Statement after the test for scores to get released.

The score report contains:

  • Number of items (questions)
  • Total correct, incorrect, and unanswered items
  • Percent correct
  • Scaled score: A score with a range of values from 300 to 600, listed as "Your Score" on your score report. The mean value of the content sections' scaled scores is 450.
  • Scaled score percentile rank: A score with values from 1 to 99 that compares performance to other students taking the same examination.
  • Total scaled score: The sum of all scaled scores for the quantitative, verbal, and reading sections. It has a low value of 900, a high value of 1800, and a mean of 1350.

Questions about SSAT test options, scores, and more?