About the SSAT:
Testing Details

Online & Printed Practice

Learn more about scores, format, and accommodations across all testing options.

Download Datasheet

The SSAT is now offered year-round using multiple testing options.

A standardized test focused on verbal, math, and reading skills, the SSAT is not an achievement test or a measurement of personal characteristics. It is one component of a complete application.

Depending on the level, students can take the paper-based Flex SSAT at a school or test center, the computer-based SSAT at Home, or the computer-based SSAT at a Prometric test center.

Registration will open as follows:

  • August 1: Paper-based testing — Flex, International, Elementary, and Benchmark options
  • August 8: Computer-based testing — SSAT at Home and Prometric test centers options
Find Your Testing Options

What’s on the SSAT? 

  • Quantitative (Math): One section of 30 questions composed of math computation.
  • Verbal: One section of 30 vocabulary and analogy questions.
  • Reading: One section of 28 questions based on reading passages.
  • Writing Sample: There is one story-writing prompt. This story is not scored, but schools use it to assess writing skills.
  • Experimental: One section of mixed content questions (verbal, reading, and math). This section does not count toward reported scores.
Learn More

Middle/Upper Level SSAT Test Breakdown

Total duration of 3 hours, 10 minutes.

Writing Sample
Timing
25 minutes
Break
Timing
10 minutes
Section 1
Quantitative
Timing
30 minutes
Section 2
Reading
Timing
40 minutes
Break
Timing
10 minutes
Section 3
Verbal
Timing
30 minutes
Section 4
Quantitative
Timing
30 minutes
Section 5
Experimental
Timing
15 minutes

Elementary Level SSAT Test Breakdown

A total of 104-106 questions, with a duration of 2 hours, 5 minutes.

Section 1
Quantitative/Math
Number of Questions
30
Timing
30 minutes
Section 2
Verbal
Number of Questions
30
Timing
20 minutes
Break
15 minutes
Section 3
Reading
Number of Questions
28
Timing
30 minutes
Writing Sample
Number of Questions
1 prompt
Timing
15 minutes
Experimental Section
Number of Questions
Varies from 15-17
Timing
15 minutes

The SSAT has proven to be an exceptionally valid indicator of first-year student success.

70,000+ students take the SSAT each year.

EMA testing experts continually monitor the SSAT to ensure it remains:

Relevant

The SSAT is written and reviewed by independent school educators and content and testing experts. Every question goes through a rigorous standardized process of validation. 

Reliable

SSAT’s scaled score reliability is higher than .90 (out of a possible 1.0) for both the verbal and quantitative sections and is approaching .90 for the reading section.

Accessible

EMA ensures that test takers with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations when taking the SSAT. 

Secure

The processes and procedures for the SSAT’s administration are the same for every student at test sites around the world. 

Admission Process Webinars

We offer a number of free webinars for families to assist them during the admissions process and provide more information about the SSAT, the Standard Application Online, and the Character Skills Snapshot.

View Webinars

Preparing for the Test

We offer SSAT Practice Online and The Official Guide to the SSAT​.

Learn More

SSAT Pricing

The Character Skills Snapshot is included with all SSAT registrations.

Domestic Testing
Elementary Level: $90
• Paper-based Testing
• Flex Testing
Middle Level/Upper Level: $149*
• SSAT at Home
• Flex Testing
• SSAT at Prometric Test Centers

International Testing
Elementary Level: $203
• Paper-based Testing
• Flex Testing
Middle Level/Upper Level: $287
• Paper-based Testing
• Flex Testing
• SSAT at Prometric Test Centers

SSAT Scoring

The SSAT is a norm referenced test, which means that a student’s SSAT scores are compared to a hypothetical average student from a norm group. The SSAT norm group consists of all first-time test takers over the past three years in the U.S. and Canada. 

This group is highly competitive; a student’s results are compared only with other students of the same grade and gender who are applying to some of the most selective independent schools in the country.

Interpret Your SSAT ScoresView Checklist

Testing Accommodations

We are committed to ensuring that test takers with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations when taking the SSAT. To take the SSAT with testing accommodations, families must:

  1. Apply online 
  2. Receive approval
  3. Register for an SSAT with testing accommodations

A student's family is responsible for providing all equipment, materials, and personnel necessary to support approved accommodations on test day. 

Review Testing Accommodations DetailsView Checklist

SSAT Fee Waivers

If you cannot pay the full amount of the test fee due to economic hardship, you may be eligible to receive a fee waiver. Simply request a fee waiver from the admission office at a school to which you are applying and follow the directions on ssat.org when you register for the test. A fee waiver applies to the test fee only — it does not cover late fees or service fees. A fee waiver can be used for any digital or paper-based SSAT.

Interpret Your SSAT ScoresView Checklist

Refund Policy

We do not offer refunds for registrations, late or rush fees, canceled tests, or related fees. If you cannot test on the date for which you registered, you may reschedule to a different test date for a $35 change fee.

How to Change Your Test RegistrationView Checklist

Are you working with a placement director or educational consultant?

If you are currently enrolled at a school that is a member of The Enrollment Management Association and are working with the school's placement director, or if you are using an educational consultant to help you manage your admission process, you may permit them to manage your student registration account. Follow the directions in the tutorial below to include your advisor during the registration process.

How To Designate an Advisor
Learn about the steps in the enrollment process.

Get Started:

Determine what your must-haves are in your ideal school. Would you feel comfortable in a large or small school? Are you planning on staying at home or living on campus? What academic and extracurricular do you want from the school? How diverse would you like the community to be? Do you need a program that can accommodate learning differences?
Review Step-by-Step Registration

1

Create a wishlist.

There are tons of multi-purpose options.
Each question on The Snapshot was written by assessment development specialists and subject matter experts in psychology and education, as well as members from the independent school community.
View Sample Questions

2

Students answer two types of questions.

There are tons of multi-purpose options.
The Snapshot measures a student’s preferences, attitudes, and beliefs about their character. It does not measure their behavior and is not an achievement test.

Member schools using The Character Skills Snapshot will receive reports from those parents/guardians who select them as report recipients approximately two weeks following Snapshot completion. Families have the opportunity to review their report before it appears on their selected schools’ Member Access Portal (MAP).
Access Snapshot Results

3

Snapshot Reports summarize results.

There are tons of multi-purpose options.
The Snapshot is meant to complement, not replace, a holistic admissions process that includes information from cognitive tests (such as the SSAT), recommendation letters, interviews, etc.

It is not intended to determine if a student should or should not be admitted. Instead, it offers context to help you better understand the whole student.
Learn How to Interpret Results

4

Schools use Snapshot insights to better understand applicants.

There are tons of multi-purpose options.

More than 70,000 students take the SSAT each year. 

Questions about SSAT test options, scores and more?