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.
The standard online forms and recommendations cannot be edited once submitted. The forms and recommendations allow you and your recommender to save responses as drafts and continue to work on them until they are fully complete. Once you have reviewed them and are ready, the system will ask for your acknowledgement to submit. Once you submit those forms, they are delivered to all schools that require them as part of the SAO.
Schools prefer to see the most updated official reports and transcripts for the current year. If the deadline is fast approaching and the latest marking period reports are not yet available, ask your school administrator to upload the previous marking periods' reports. You will have another opportunity to submit most updated reports and transcripts at the time of enrollment.
If in doubt, please contact the school directly.
Most schools using the SAO require up to 2 full previous year transcripts and school reports and the most updated current year transcript and school report. In order to complete this section of the application, you must request and have your school administrators fulfill these requirements. To request transcripts and school reports:
First, click on “Sign Release” so that your administrators know that you have authorized them to release your reports and transcripts through the SAO system.
Next, request specific year reports from your school administrators. Your school administrator/s will receive a link to upload the reports and transcripts in PDF. The SAO dashboard will reflect year specific completion and overall completion of the requirement.
If your current teacher, recommender, or school administrator would like to include any additional narrative or documentation, or if the school requests any other form or report that is not supported by the SAO, please have them send those to the school/s directly. Those items will not be tracked as part of your SAO dashboard. Likewise, the receiving school will also not be able to manage those documents via the SAO system.
If the recommendation form has not been submitted by the initial recommender, simply resend the recommendation by clicking the “resend” button for the recommendation form via your SAO dashboard. This will resend an email to your recommender so they know they have to finish the recommendation. Additionally, it’s a good idea to remind your recommender personally when you see them at school!
If the recommendation form has not been submitted by the initial recommender, simply resend the recommendation by replacing the former recommender’s information with the new recommender’s information and clicking the “resend” button for the recommendation form via your SAO dashboard. The new recommender will receive an email with a request to complete the form and the previously assigned recommendation request will expire.
Confirm that the email address you entered for your recommender is correct. If in doubt, resend the request to the recommender by clicking the “resend” button. Please advise your recommender to look for an email from firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line containing the name of the form and your name.
The multimedia links tab is an optional tab on the Student Profile that can be used to provide links to any videos, portfolios, or other showcases of your achievements or work that you would like to share, like websites, blog pages, or a YouTube channel. Please be aware and respectful of the content of the links that you include, as they support your application.
Many schools like to know more about the student and their interests. Interests and activities, as part of your student profile, is an optional section that allows you to tell schools about your extracurricular interests and activities.
The SAO delivers applications and related components to school/s in real time. Though your SAO dashboard might show an application as complete for a school, the receiving school may have a lag in showing the correct status related to your application due to separate processes they might run periodically to update their portals.
Parents can complete and track applications for multiple children associated with their parent account. The parent can simply use the “Student Dropdown,” located under the top navigation bar on the webpage, to select the child for whom they want to complete the application. You will not be required to fill in your parent profile data multiple times. However, student profile and applications for multiple children must be completed and tracked individually.
You can track the overall completion of a school application via the completion meter placed on the top right of a school application card. Please note the completion meter only takes into account the required components. You may have certain applications that require optional forms, and those do contribute to completion of the application.
Individual required components can be tracked via the statuses posted under each component name and the associated button.
You can change your grade and residential status on all unpaid applications by clicking on the school card and scrolling down to “Edit Student Information.” Clicking on that link will open up a dialog box wherein you can change the grade and residential status.
The SAO provides schools with an option to include an additional online component that will include any information that is important to their application process. If a school requires a supplement form, you will see the requirement under that school’s card on your SAO dashboard.
The Standard Application Online contains a wide library of online common forms used by schools accepting the SAO to fulfill their school-specific requirements. The standard form list is as follows:
Though close to 500 independent schools in the U.S. and Canada accept the SAO, you might find a school you are interested in that does not. In that case, you must submit a traditional application to that school. We recommend that you visit the school’s website to understand their unique application process. Please note that certain components of the SAO application, like the Student Profile, Student Essays, and Parent Statement, once submitted through the SAO, are available in PDF files on completion via your SAO dashboard. You can simply download those and use them to apply to non-participating schools if the receiving schools do not have any objection.
Yes, you can apply for multiple session years with the SAO. You can search for schools by session year to see if they accept the SAO for the session year/s that you are interested in. Please note, each session year application requires that you complete and submit the application for that year individually.
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To view and print PDF files, we recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader (latest version). While PDF files should work with most other PDF viewers, we can only guarantee full compatibility and support with Adobe Acrobat Reader.
As a best practice, we recommend that you first complete your student profile and submit it to a school along with the application fee. As soon as you do that, the school will receive and begin tracking your application via their SAO system. Any components and forms completed after this initial submission will be delivered to the school in real time.
To find out whether a school participates in the SAO, use the school search, selecting the "Accepts Standard Application Online" filter. The results will only show schools that accept the SAO. In addition, you can search for a school by name using your account’s “Apply to Schools" feature. The search results will reflect whether the school accepts the SAO.
No. The SSAT is a non-disclosed test and questions may be reused in the future. Thus, the specific test questions from your student's test are not available.
Scores are kept on file and can be reported for two testing seasons (August 1st to July 31st).
Once available, writing samples are provided in your student's account. They are not sent via mail or email. Please login to your student's account, click on "My Scores", and then click on the + sign next to the their test. Then click on "Writing Sample."
If you have any questions about your student's performance, contact a school to which they are applying. Each school has different requirements and can provide feedback about the importance of scores and how they factor into the admission process. It is important to remember that SSAT scores are only one part of your student's application.
Many families choose to use the services of an educational consultant or a placement counselor at their current school to help with the admission process. In these cases, families can list a member school or consultant as a score advisor. This score advisor will then have the ability to view the scores and list score recipients on behalf of the family.
No. SSAT scores may only be reported to members of The Enrollment Management Association, which administers the SSAT.
No - there is no indication on the score report as to how many tests were taken. Families alone choose which/how many score reports to send to chosen schools.
Scores can be sent from your account. Please login to your account, click on "my scores" and then click on the + sign. You will see "add recipient." Type in the school name & click on "search." When the name comes up, click on it and the scores will be sent immediately.
Once released, scores will be available in your account. Log in to your account and click on "My Scores" and then click on the "+" sign. Click the "View Score Report" button.
Scores are processed and reported within two weeks of our receipt of testing materials.
SSAT score reports do NOT include any indication a test was taken with testing accommodations.
SSAT will send official score reports for each test only to those schools you designate. If you are unsure about reporting your scores, it may be best to wait until after you have received them to designate the school recipients.
SSAT is not authorized to release scores to institutions that are not members of The Enrollment Management Association. Check the School Search for the most current list of member schools and organizations.
This is referred to as "super scoring" and students cannot do this on the SSAT. Ex: You cannot select a verbal score from one test and then a quantitative section from another test. You can send as many full score reports for each test to as many or as few schools as you wish. However, some schools will do this themselves. Contact the admission office at the school(s) to which you are applying to see if they will use the highest scoring sections from multiple tests.
An advisor is someone who is assisting you with your testing and application process. This is usually a placement director at your school, an educational consultant, or an access organization counselor. This person works with students for outplacement and, once designated, will have access to view and send test scores on a student's behalf. Your full score report (including the writing sample) is NOT automatically available to your advisor. If you would like your advisor to have access to your full score report, you must also list them as a score recipient.
A score recipient is a school to which you wish to send your scores for enrollment consideration.
No. All score recipients, including your current school, must be selected as score recipients, either in the Score Recipient section of the registration form when you register for the test, or added later using your SSAT account. Click here for instructions on adding score recipients.
No. Scores are released to students online via the SSAT account. For an additional fee, a paper score report can also be sent via U.S. Mail or FedEx. A text or email alert can be ordered through the SSAT account which will alert you when your score is ready. SSAT customer service representatives do not have access to student scores. See the Score Services page for more information.
Log into your SSAT account, click on the "My Scores" button. A list of test dates your student is registered for, or already took, will be listed. Click on the "+" next to the test date. A "View Score Report" option will appear as the menu expands. Click on this to view your score report.
Scores are delivered approximately 2 weeks after a standard test administration date. Learn more about getting your scores.
The Official Study Guide for the SSAT and SSAT Practice Online are built by the same team that creates actual test forms and questions. They understand the SSAT inside and out and work hard to ensure official SSAT practice aligns with the real SSAT. While others companies, services, and products may claim to know the content that is on the SSAT, the truth is that SSAT questions are never released.
Every test administration offers new writing samples for students, so that the SSAT prompts are constantly changing, per the desires of member schools.
In general, becoming familiar with the format of the SSAT is the best way students can prepare. This includes understanding the type and quantity of questions on the SSAT, the setup of the sections, and getting experience taking a standardized test.
Middle & Upper Level
Two official SSAT preparation tools are available. The first is The Official Study Guide for the SSAT, which includes three full length practice tests. The second is the SSAT Practice Online service, which offers even more practice content and tools. Login to your account to order or access these services.
A free partial practice test is available for both the 3rd grade and 4th grades in the Elementary Level Official Study Guide for the SSAT.
Yes, you may request a fee waiver from the school to which you are applying, if you are unable to pay the test fee due to economic hardship. A fee waiver covers the cost of the test registration only and can be used in lieu of a credit card during test registration. The Enrollment Management Association does not offer fee waivers directly to students/families.
You may indicate the school's name at the time of test registration, or you may wait to receive your child's scores before designating score recipients through your child's online SSAT account.
Encourage your child to try to answer every question, making his/her best guesses about the questions of which he/she is unsure. There are no penalties for wrong answers.
A 15-minute break is provided during the test for trips to restroom. A child may raise his/her hand to use the restroom at any time during the test, but the child may not make up the missed testing time.
Yes, your child may bring snacks and beverages for consumption during the break. Snacks and beverages must be in a clear plastic bag and may not be consumed during testing.
Your child may take the Third or Fourth Grade SSAT twice during the testing year (August 1- July 31). Standard Elementary SSAT testing begins in December.
Yes, families who can provide documentation verifying that their child routinely receives testing accommodations in his/her current academic setting may apply for testing accommodations. Testing accommodations must be approved in advance of test registration. For more information, visit the testing accommodations section.
Schools use your child's scores in different ways—to estimate your child's ability to do work in a private school, to compare your child's performance with other applicants for admission, and/or to compare the test score with your child's present academic record.
Each school evaluates a child's scores according to its own standards and requirements. Specific questions about how test scores are used in the admission process should be directed to the school's admission officer.
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 (email@example.com) with information about the browser (i.e., Chrome, Internet Explorer) and platform (Mac, PC) that you are using, so that we may investigate the problem. We have found that the Firefox browser does not work well with our site, and the site is not optimized for mobile or tablet use.
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.
Late and rush fees are charged due to significant additional costs incurred for expedited shipping and handling of test materials.
The fee to change your student's test date and/or location is $35.
We do not offer refunds for cancelled products or services.
Payment can be made by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or SSAT test fee waiver.
Test fee waivers waive some or all of the test fee and are issued by members directly. Please contact the member school to which you are applying to in order to request one. The school will determine if your family meets their criteria to receive a test fee waiver and will determine the value of the waiver if one is provided.
Test fee waivers only waive a portion or all of the test fee itself and cannot be applied to other products or services.
Any documentation which highlights your student’s educational testing needs resulting from an identified disability or impairment may be considered. The documentation submitted MUST: list or reflect a history of a disability; illustrate that any disability substantially limits a major life activity; illustrate that the accommodations requested are necessary and/or reasonable; and be dated within the last three (3) years from the date your student’s request is submitted. If any further documentation is needed to move forward with approving your student’s application, we will contact you. For more information regarding documentation requirements, please review the Testing Accommodations Guide for Students available at www.ssat.org/ta.
It is best to consult with your student’s teacher(s), therapy provider(s), and/or medical professionals familiar with your student’s current educational testing needs to assist in determining which testing accommodations may be necessary and/or reasonable for your student when sitting for standardized testing.
Students MUST be approved for their respective testing accommodations BEFORE they will be permitted to register for the SSAT with accommodations. Once you have received approval for some or all of your requested testing accommodations, you will be able to move forward with registration. You must be sure to indicate, when prompted during the registration process, that your student requires accommodations. By indicating that your student requires testing accommodations, our system will then identify the approved accommodations for your student and will apply them to the completed registration. Step-by-step graphical instructions for registering for testing with accommodations are available at ssat.org/ta.
An approver is a qualified individual who can affirm that valid documentation meeting our requirements is on file with their school or organization, and that the student is known to have a disability requiring testing accommodations.
If the existing documentation on file with the approver is an IEP, 504, or formal private school documentation, the approver should be a practitioner or representative from your student’s current school (i.e. school psychologist, special education or 504 coordinator, school counselor, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, school administrator, learning specialist, social worker, etc.). If the approver will be attesting to other types of documentation, the approver should be an appropriate medical practitioner involved with the diagnosis, treatment, testing, or care of your student.
In general, allow two weeks or more for the review and processing of your student’s application/request for testing accommodations. Review and approval timelines are greatly affected by the amount of time taken by your indicated approver to complete their portion of the approval; the need to provide documentation; and/or the need to submit additional documentation in support of your student’s request.
Information about each common accommodation provided for students taking the SSAT may be found in the Testing Accommodations Guide for Students available at ssat.org/ta.
No. SSAT score reports do not provide any indication that a test was taken with accommodations.
No. Any accommodations approved during a testing season (August 1st to July 31st ) will remain valid for the entire testing season. When you register your student for another test within the same testing season, you must indicate that your student requires accommodations when registering. This will link automatically link your student's approved accommodations to the new test.
You may choose to either submit a new application/request for testing accommodations through your student’s SSAT account, or you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if the accommodation(s) you would like to have considered may be added without needing to submit a new application.
No. It is the responsibility of a student’s family to provide all equipment, materials, and personnel to support approved accommodations. This policy is focused on minimizing stress for the student on test day as they are permitted to work with individuals and equipment with which they are comfortable and familiar. If you have concerns about providing any of these for your student, please contact us immediately and well in advance of any test date at email@example.com.
Students in need of testing with accommodations are required to apply AND receive approval for any accommodations they may need when taking the SSAT. No testing accommodations will be provided on test day unless they have been approved by us in advance of test day. For more information regarding the application process for requesting testing accommodations for the SSAT, please visit SSAT.org/TA. (The most comprehensive overview can be found within the Testing Accommodations Guide for Students.)
Yes. Any student with an identified disabling condition or impairment which substantially limits their ability to perform a major life activity can apply to receive testing accommodations. Students must apply and be approved for accommodations before registering to take the SSAT.
Yes. Webinars are regularly scheduled throughout the year. You can sign up to attend webinars live or watch prerecorded versions. Visit our help center for current webinar information and offerings.
Yes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will assist you.
Deadlines vary depending upon whether your student will be taking an SSAT Standard or Flex test. Furthermore, if your student requires testing accommodations due to a disability, additional deadlines will apply. For the majority of students who will take the SSAT Standard test, find complete deadlines here.
The SSAT is a pencil and paper test. For each question, your student will use a pencil to fill in a circle for the answer they have chosen. For Elementary Level tests, students fill in the answer directly in the test book. For Middle and Upper Level tests, students fill in the answer on a separate answer sheet. Students from all levels will also complete a writing sample in pencil.
Identification is only required in enhanced test security areas including China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Vietnam. If identification is required, it will be noted on your student's admission ticket.
Yes. Changing your student's test date is easy. You can reschedule a test up until the Friday following the test.
To change the test date (and location if necessary), log in to your student's account and click on “My Tests”. Click the “Change Test” button for the test you need to change. Follow the prompts to select a new test. There is a $35 change fee for all test date or location changes.
Tests must be transferred within the current testing season (August 1st to July 31st).
Contact SSAT customer service by email, phone, or chat to update your student's grade level for a specific test. Customer service will confirm your information and make the change in your registration. You will also need to ensure your student understands what test level they should take. Students are prompted during testing to confirm they are taking the right level.
If you have any concerns about your student remembering to take the right level on test day after making a change, ask customer service to email you a grade change reminder note. You can complete this note per your grade/level preference and have the student provide it to the proctor during testing.
Testing normally begins at 9 a.m. local time. However, please check your student's admission ticket, which may state a different start time. Students should arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before testing begins to allow for check-in. The standard test is 3 hours and 5 minutes in length and students are usually excused between 12:10-12:30 PM.
Yes. Closure information can be found on the SSAT news page. If your test center is closed or otherwise has an important update, an email will be sent to the address listed on your student's account.
Irregularities are situations that occur during a test administration that do not follow standard test protocols and procedures. Irregularities include student misconduct, test administration errors, and other problems. If an irregularity occurs, be sure to report it as soon as possible to email@example.com.
Yes. Snacks and drinks are allowed but may only be accessed or consumed during scheduled breaks. Your student will be asked to place all snacks and drinks in a designated "Snacks" area prior to testing. For easy identification, it is recommended that each student's snacks and drinks be brought in a large zip top bag with their name on the bag.
To print your SSAT admission ticket, log in to your SSAT account, click "My Tests", find the test date you registered for, and click on "Print Ticket."
Students are required to bring their admission ticket to the test center.
No. Please use your child's legal name. NOTE: If your student is testing in an enhanced security area (China, Hong Kong, Korea, or Vietnam), ensure the name is entered exactly as it appears on their passport.
When creating an account, a student’s gender must be indicated as male or female. This is because SSAT percentiles have traditionally been reported based upon both the indicated gender and also for all students in that grade. This allows gender-specific scoring, which single gender schools find most accurate for admission.
For transgender students who identify as either male or female, indicate the gender with which they identify and are indicating on applications to schools. To support gender-expansive students who do not identify as either male or female, please contact us prior to creating an account. We are working to update our gender selection and technical systems and in the meantime will work with families to ensure their student’s preferred gender indication is reflected on score reports and is communicated to score recipients and to schools to which any application has been made through the SAO.
Flex test administrations may either be open or closed to the public. For example, a school may choose to test only their own students and create a "closed" Flex test. For closed Flex administrations, the test administrator will provide an access code to those invited to test so they may register. That access code must be entered during registration.
Yes. You may choose to register and test without listing any score recipients. Remember, you can list score recipients before or after testing free of charge.
You can take one SSAT Flex test per testing year (August 1st to July 31st), in addition to all eight SSAT Standard tests.
Your student's test level is automatically selected according to the grade you select at registration.
Students listed in 3rd grade will take the 3rd grade Elementary level test.
Students listed in 4th grade will take the 4th grade Elementary level test.
Students listed in 5th, 6th, or 7th grade will take the Middle level test.
Students listed in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade will take the Upper level test.
You may choose to list your student at a grade that is higher or lower than their actual grade. Often families will list their student as one grade higher near the end of the school year to gauge how they might perform the following year. Additionally, if a student is repeating a grade, a school may ask the student to indicate one grade lower, so they can be compared to their new classmates.
All of your student's profile information (except their name) can be updated through their account. For security reasons, if you need to update your student's name, you must e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In general, becoming familiar with the format of the SSAT is the best way students can prepare. This includes understanding the type and quantity of questions on the SSAT, the setup of the sections, and gaining experience taking a standardized test.
Middle & Upper Level
Two official SSAT preparation tools are available. The first is The Official Guide to the SSAT, which includes two full length practice tests. The second is the SSAT Practice Online service, which offers even more practice content and tools and will be available beginning September 1, 2016. Log in to your account to order or access these services.
A free half-length practice test is available in both the 3rd and 4th grade Elementary level Official Guides to the SSAT. Use the links below to access the free PDFs.
The Official Guide to the Elementary Level SSAT- Grade 3
The Official Guide to the Elementary Level SSAT- Grade 4
The SSAT is offered on 8 Saturdays between October and June at hundreds of locations throughout the U.S., Canada, and around the world. These 8 administrations are called Standard tests.
A Flex test is an SSAT given on a day other than the 8 Standard test dates, usually with a member school or educational consultant.
Use the test center search.
Yes. Your student's previous SSAT is still active.
Yes. Each student must have a separate account.