The Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) is a standardized test that measures basic verbal, math, and reading skills. Developed, administered, and scored by the nonprofit The Enrollment Management Association (EMA), the SSAT is just one part of your complete application to an independent school.
No. Identification is not required. However, you will need to confirm your information and your student’s information during check-in.
No, Wi-Fi will not be available in Prometric waiting rooms.
The score results from the computer-based SSAT will be equated to paper-based scores to adjust for any small impact of test modality (computer vs. paper).
Yes! EMA understands that receiving scores as fast as possible is very important. Families should generally expect scores within four days of testing.
After registration is complete, it may or may not be possible to add testing accommodations. Please email email@example.com as soon as possible to inquire.
If you decide to stay on site during the exam, it may be helpful to many students for parents and guardians to help their student keep track of time during breaks. Students have 10 minutes for each of the two breaks, from the time they end the previous section to the time they need to be seated and resume testing. Students should allow a few minutes to put away any snacks and drinks, go through security again, and walk the few short steps to their computer in the testing room. If your student is late, they will miss time during the next section that they will not be able to make up.
During the two breaks, your student may leave the testing room and access their snacks and drinks that can be kept in your possession or put in a provided locker. You may talk with your student; however, you should ensure you do not provide them access to any prohibited items, discuss or ask about specific test questions or content, or provide any possible test-related information, such as vocabulary definitions. It is fine to reassure them or ask general questions such as, “How are you doing?”
No. Your student will take the computer-based SSAT on a Prometric computer to ensure a consistent test experience and for test security reasons.
If you had canceled your existing 2019–2020 registration or were not registered and need testing during this period, please contact customer service at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Where Prometric test centers are available, students are able to take the computer-based SSAT at Prometric up to two times. It is important to note that there may be situations where a student’s ability to test at a Prometric test center is limited.
It is very important for students to be aware of the sections and types of questions on the SSAT. These are identical for both paper- and computer-based SSATs. Using The Official Guide to the SSAT or online practice, both available through your account, are great ways to do this. It is important to note that the computer interface for online practice and the computer-based SSAT do vary.
Yes. Access the Prometric sample user interface to try out the system. Please keep in mind that the tutorial may vary from the actual SSAT but will provide students with a general idea of what to expect on test day, as well as an opportunity to answer a few sample questions. Students will need to enable Flash in their browser in order for this tutorial to properly launch. Please note that the interface for taking the SSAT at Prometric is slightly different that the SSAT at Home interface.
After check-in, but before proceeding to security and the test room, your student must put all restricted items in a locker provided by Prometric. If you, the parent/guardian, will be staying on site for the duration of the exam, your student can also give you all of their prohibited items.
Parent/guardians may either stay or sign a waiver allowing them to leave during testing. Parents/guardians will need to be present for check-in.
Check out the What to Expect at a Prometric Test Center section above for more information.
Beginning August 1, 2020, through July 31, 2021, both the Middle-Level (grades 5–7) and Upper-Level (grades 8–11) SSAT will be available at Prometric test centers.
Both the Middle and Upper level SSAT are available through Prometric test centers. The Elementary level SSAT is only available as a paper-based exam. Throughout most parts of the world students can take the SSAT at a Prometric test center, however, some international locations are instead serviced by a paper-based SSAT.
No. Because the scores from a paper-based and computer-based SSAT are equivalent, no distinction is made on the score report. However, score recipients will be able to see that the writing sample section was typed instead of handwritten.
Yes! The Enrollment Management Association, provider of the paper-based SSAT, has developed this new testing option, which provides equivalent scores to the paper-based SSAT. Score recipients will receive their scores in the same way they always have.
You can search for nearby Prometric test sites here. After you register for an SSAT at a Prometric test site, you will use a similar search to schedule your test from your account. Please note that availability is live and may change.
To help protect test takers and staff, Prometric test centers are taking steps and have specific requirements related to COVID-19. You can read more about social distancing guidelines. All requirements apply equally to students and their parent/guardian. When you reschedule your registration to a Prometric test center, you will be required to complete a family COVID declaration as part of the process.
We are excited to announce a computer-based version of the SSAT that is taken at a Prometric test center. This computer-based version of the SSAT follows the same design of the paper-based version, however, it is taken on a computer instead. The computer-based version of the SSAT will be available at Prometric test centers around the world.
Yes. Prior to any test, a parent/guardian will need to read, complete, and submit a completed declaration to the test center. You can access a copy of the declaration here.
Application deadlines and requirements are determined by each individual school. As such, any questions specifically related to deadlines should be directed to the school in which a student is applying. However, given the nature of this evolving global health situation, EMA encourages schools to monitor international and national advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the pandemic and to communicate clearly and proactively with families regarding any changes in admission requirements. The EMA membership team is available to assist schools in determining their plan of action for impacted students.
Yes, it is possible. We are urging all test takers suffering from any illness to reschedule their test. If a test administrator, proctor, or staff member observes a student exhibiting symptoms of illnesses that could impact other test takers, the student will not be permitted to test or, if observed after testing begins, will be asked to stop testing and leave the test center.
We have currently suspended testing at all test centers in the United States and Canada, and most test centers internationally. For any operating EMA test centers that administer the paper-based SSAT, we are making sure that test center staff themselves are healthy and have not been exposed to potential contagions, and looking to identify any students who may be exhibiting symptoms of illnesses that could impact other test takers. These students will not be permitted to test or, if observed after testing begins, will be asked to stop testing and leave the test center. Test center staff with any symptoms of illness or exposure to potential contagions will not be permitted to administer the SSAT. Finally, we are requiring all test centers to follow applicable cleaning and disinfecting guidelines issued by the CDC and WHO.
We are continually and carefully monitoring guidance and advisories issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as state and local health authorities. We encourage students and families to bookmark and monitor our website for the latest information as it relates to the SSAT, and to check the WHO and CDC websites.
We encourage test takers and their families to bookmark and monitor this EMA alerts page for the most up-to-date information as it relates to the SSAT. For information related to COVID-19, EMA recommends that you refer to your state and local health authorities.
Regulations and guidelines intended to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 vary greatly by region. It is the responsibility of students, parents/guardians, and all test center staff to comply with all applicable regulations and guidelines issued by state and local health authorities, which may include but are not limited to:
- Wearing a cloth face mask that fully covers the mouth and nose at all times
- Maintaining minimum physical distance between people
- Ensuring that the number of people in any given space does not exceed a specified maximum
- Abiding by travel restrictions
- Self-quarantining upon potential exposure to COVID-19 or following travel from certain locations
- Complying with stay-at-home orders
- Submitting to body temperature screening
- Submitting to COVID-19 testing
- Self-reporting symptoms that could be related to COVID-19
Prior to the date of any SSAT test administration, test center staff will communicate with parents and guardians about location-specific safety requirements and conditions, including whether tests will be administered individually or in small groups, and other steps to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19.
We are happy to accommodate those who want to change their test date and location. You may opt to reschedule to any test offered before July 31, 2020, free of charge, via your online account. You may also email us regarding a free test change at email@example.com.
Following guidelines from national and local health authorities, many standard testing dates have been cancelled. However, EMA is making the SSAT Flex Test available on a limited basis, enabling test centers to administer the Flex option if it is appropriate and allowed based on state and local public health regulations and guidelines. We've made this decision out of recognition that different regions are reopening on varying schedules, making it feasible to restart testing availability in some areas. Throughout, we will require our test centers to follow a safe, methodical approach that prioritizes the health and safety of our students, parents and test-center staff while adhering to all applicable regulations and guidelines. Parents and guardians should carefully consider the risks before registering, and contact test centers directly for more information about availability, testing conditions, and safety requirements. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EMA continues to make changes to testing availability and procedures to help mitigate risks of the COVID-19 pandemic. The health and safety of our test-taker families, test center administrators and staff, members, and our employees is our highest priority.
Yes, a student’s Character Skills Snapshot results will change over time, as s/he grows and develops. However,The Character Skills Snapshot is meant to be taken only once per testing year, prior to admission to a school.
Parents/guardians alone may choose to send their student’s Snapshot report to a school. Reports are sent in the same method as SSAT scores, using the online SSAT account. Schools will receive results in real time once scores are released, following selection as a recipient by the parent.
As The Snapshot is designed solely to measure skills at a very specific moment in time, realize that it is not meant to be a determinant of your student's ability to develop a certain skill or skills. Also important to remember: students complete The Snapshot with answers that they feel best describe themselves, which may be quite different from how parents and teachers observations. Each skill measured will fall in its own space on the development spectrum, and will change over time as children grow, learn, and mature.
Your student’s Snapshot results will provide admission teams with a better idea of the skills with which s/he already identifies strongly, as well as those that a school's community can help build and nurture.
Additionally, if you are using the Standard Application Online to apply to schools, you will be asked to complete a parent/guardian character perspective section that will allow you to provide narrative on your perception of your student's character skill development.
The Snapshot’s reports are quite user friendly and include information about how to read the results. You may also sign up for one of the free webinars we provide.
The Snapshot report is very user friendly. View a sample report primer here.
The Snapshot results are released according to the timeline found on The Character Skills Snapshot chart at the bottom of the page.
Each forced-choice question includes three statements (e.g., "I work hard" might be one), and no two statements within the same question measure the same Snapshot skill. For analysis, the responses are coded as either 1, 2, or 3 (from most like me to least like me). Since there are three possible comparisons to make in each forced-choice question, there are three new variables that describe the ranking of each statement, relative to another in the question (e.g., statement 1 is ranked as more like me than statement 2). A single statement is involved in two comparisons, which means two of these new variables will capture information about each skill. Once this is complete, each Snapshot skill is defined using the variables that inform it, and we utilize additional parameters to ensure the model is stable. These data are analyzed using a set of statistical models based on L. L. Thurstone's Law of Comparative Judgment.
Situational Judgment Questions
Admission staff and teachers from across the country rated the situational judgment items in the same manner as the students (i.e., rate the appropriateness of each possible response to the scenario presented). Student response analysis on the situational judgment questions reflects the extent of alignment with the median of those ratings. In other words, the situational judgment results describe how well a student is able to gauge the appropriateness of particular behaviors, with appropriateness set by the experts (who are, in this case, admission staff and teachers).
Please note that it is possible for a child to be in one category for all character skills.
There are two types of questions on The Snapshot. View sample questions here.
Students may take The Character Skills Snapshot one time per testing year (August 1 - July 31).The Character Skills Snapshot is intended to capture a snapshot of the student at the moment when they apply and the results are valid for one year.
Log in to your parent/guardian SSAT account and click on the "Manage Accounts" tab to make sure your student has a username and password in his/her profile. Your student cannot access The Snapshot if s/he does not have a username and password.
NOTE: Parents/guardians must create accounts for both themselves and their students. The Snapshot may only be taken through the student SSAT account; it cannot be accessed through the parent account.
If you would normally apply for accommodations for your student when registering for the SSAT, please email TA@enrollment.org in order to receive more information about accommodations and The Snapshot.
If your child will take the SSAT, register for that first. Then follow these directions.
If your child will not take the SSAT, follow these directions.
NOTE: Parents/guardians must create accounts for both themselves and their students. The Snapshot may only be taken through the student's SSAT account; it cannot be accessed through the parent account.
Students may take The Snapshot at home, or any location with an internet connection with which you are comfortable. It is not available on mobile devices, and is not given at schools.
Admission teams use the information provided from The Character Skills Snapshot to complement other information required as a part of the application process, including admission test scores, interviews, grades, letters of recommendation, and other information. It is simply one piece of the student’s larger overall application. As with other facets of your application, Snapshot results will be used differently by each school according to their admission process. If you are curious as to how a particular school will use Snapshot results, we suggest you contact the school directly and inquire.
Hundreds of schools use The Character Skills Snapshot. To determine how The Snapshot fits into a school's admission criteria, contact the school's admission office and inquire.
If you are curious about why schools require The Snapshot, remember that one of the reasons you’re seeking to enroll your student in an independent school is because you’re interested in an education that focuses on instilling character values and encouraging personal growth. Similarly, schools know that a complete picture of your student contains much more than grades and test scores. That’s why they are asking your student to take The Character Skills Snapshot as part of the application. It will give them richer holistic information and show them areas where their communities can help your student grow.
For testers registered to take the SSAT, The Snapshot is free of charge. For those not registered to take the SSAT, the cost to take The Snapshot is $40. If your student will not take the SSAT, simply create parent and student accounts on ssat.org to access The Snapshot. You will be prompted during the registration process to provide the $40 payment.
Fee waivers are available from participating schools for students who require financial assistance to take The Snapshot and are not registered to take the SSAT.
The Snapshot takes approximately 25 minutes to complete online. It must be completed in one sitting.
The Snapshot was designed by test experts and independent school admission professionals to measure skills they deemed important when considering applications: intellectual engagement, teamwork, initiative, resilience, self control, open-mindedness, and social awareness.
The Snapshot is designed for students in grades 5 through 11 applying to grades 6-12.
The SSAT at Home can be taken on a Mac or PC operating system.
See complete details on technical, room, and other requirements.
Paper-based testing is available in locations where it’s safe to do so following local guidelines. EMA will continue to work hard to meet the needs of all of its test takers. Please email email@example.com if you need additional assistance.
When you schedule your SSAT at Home you will receive instructions on how to run a system check and ensure your computer is compatible with the remote proctoring system.
You will also be required to download and install a secure browser that is used for testing.
No, you will not have to submit a photo to take the SSAT at Home. However, a photo will be taken of the test taker during check-in and that photo may be referenced in the event an irregularity is detected. Note: If your student is requested to show ID, they should instead simply take another selfie.
Yes. Your SSAT At Home testing session will be video and audio recorded. Those videos will be retained for quality assurance and test security purposes.
You can prepare for the SSAT at Home like you would the paper-based test.
Yes. Students are able to use two pieces of scratch paper and a regular pencil. They will be asked to show their scrap paper is blank during check-in.
Yes, you may take the SSAT at Home up to 5 times in a testing year (August–July).
Your score report will not be labeled with the type of test you took for the SSAT. Please note, that since the writing sample will be typed instead of handwritten, your student's test mode will have an indication that this was a computer-based SSAT.
The SSAT at Home is available to middle-and upper-level test takers in the U.S. and Canada for the 2020-21 academic year.
Currently, the SSAT at Home, like all versions of the SSAT, is only offered in English.
In these difficult times, EMA is working harder than ever to provide equal access to all individuals. If you do not have access to the equipment or resources required to take the SSAT at Home, please learn about SSAT Equity Tech Kits.
The SSAT at Home will be available in the U.S. and Canada for the 2020-2021 testing year.
Multiple testing modes are available for the SSAT during the 2020-2021 testing year. These options include the computer-based SSAT at Home, as well as paper-based and computer-based testing in test centers where local guidelines can be met safely.
The testing fee is the same for the SSAT at Home as it is for the paper-based SSAT or to test at a physical Prometric test center. The fee for all SSAT at Home tests is $149.00.
The SSAT at Home is the same standardized test as the SSAT, but it is delivered digitally to test takers in the convenience of their homes. Delivered by our partner PSI, the SSAT will be administered via a secure web application with continuous AI monitoring, data forensics, and live remote proctoring.
In general, the SSAT at Home will be offered every Saturday with additional Sunday dates and occasional weekday availability during peak testing times. See more scheduling info.
Due to the age of our test takers, students will not need to present an ID. However, a photo will be taken of the test taker upon onboarding and that photo may be referenced in the event an irregularity is detected.
If a student is requested to take a picture of their ID during testing, they should simply take an additional selfie.
The SSAT at Home is a permanent option to families beginning in August of 2020.
Application fees for schools can be paid via Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards. If you are using one of these cards and experience issues submitting your application fees, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If your profile is incomplete, you will not be able to submit or pay for your application/s. The profile completion can be tracked through the completion meter shown alongside the profile component. You can click on the update button to complete your profile. Once the profile is 100% complete, you will be able to pay for and submit your school application/s.
Once the student profile is submitted to the school, your edits and updates to the profile will not be sent to the school. Please send any critical updates to the school directly. They will be able to accommodate them in your file.
A SAO can be submitted to a school simply by completing your student profile and submitting the application fee for that school. At that time, your student profile and any other completed components will be delivered to the school. You can pay for the school application fee via a credit card or an application fee waiver if you have received one from the school.
As a best practice, we highly recommend that you track the completion of your application and components against the school application deadline. However, each school may have unique completion criteria and flexibility to consider pending or in-progress applications. If in doubt, check with the school directly.
Because applications through the SAO system are delivered to schools in real time, we have a 24-hour refund policy for applications that may have been submitted by accident. Once an application is refunded, the school will no longer receive any updates on your application.
Please note, school application fees are fully refundable within the 24-hour time window, but the administrative fee is non-refundable.
Also, we cannot refund an application fee once it has been disbursed to a school. In that case, we advise you to contact the school directly to cancel your application and request a refund.
The administrative fee is a nominal fee charged for online processing of the SAO. If you receive an application fee waiver from a school, the administrative fee associated with that application will also be waived.
You can request for an application fee waiver from the school to which you are applying. Unlike a test fee waiver, an application fee waiver will only waive an application fee for the school that issued it. It also waives the $6 SAO administrative fee.
You can continue to edit and update your student profile via your account or the SAO dashboard. Please note that any changes made after a profile is submitted to a school will not be delivered to that school.
Yes, you can change your advisor if you have added an incorrect one or have changed your advisor.
You can do so by clicking “Remove Advisor,” located to the right of the advisor name. Once you remove, the former advisor will no longer be able to track the progress of your application.
If you are working with a placement counselor at your current school/organization or with an educational consultant or community-based organization (CBO), they will help with the overall application process - from advising on the schools that could be a good fit, to ensuring that you are on track in terms of meeting application deadlines. Placement counselors and CBOs can also assist with your application by completing certain sections of the application, like uploading transcripts and writing principal/counselor recommendations.
Many placement offices and CBOs place their “Advisor Instructions” within the SAO. Those can be found to the right of your advisor school or organization's name on the SAO dashboard.
If you are working with a placement counselor at your current school/organization or with an educational consultant, you can choose them as an advisor on your application/s to allow them to assist you with managing and/or monitoring your applications. Your school, organization, or educational consultant must be a member of The Enrollment Management Association to be eligible to be added as an application advisor.
Please note, you can only have one advisor for all your applications for a session year.