Paper-Based SSAT:
Our Traditional Testing Option

Online & Printed Practice

Continue to take the paper-based SSAT in person at one of our test centers, where available.

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The Paper-Based SSAT has been the trusted admission assessment for independent schools.

This paper-based test is administered at test centers or by educational consultants. For each question, students use a pencil to fill in a circle for the answer they have chosen, and students also complete a writing sample in pencil. 

Test administrators follow precise instructions for proctoring of the SSAT — which will continue even as we expand our testing to include two new computer-based SSAT options: the SSAT at Home and the SSAT at Prometric test centers.

View Steps

Is the SSAT at Home right for my student?

Learn about our three safe and convenient ways to take the SSAT.

Find Your Testing Options

There are two types of traditional paper-based SSAT administrations: 

Standard: There are typically eight SSAT Standard dates during the academic year at test sites around the world. In the U.S. and Canada, paper-based testing will not be an option on these dates. Internationally, we will have five paper-based test dates.

Flex: These tests are given to an individual or group by member schools or approved educational consultants on any date other than the Standard dates. Students may take one Flex test in a testing year.

Learn More

2020–2021 Paper-Based Test Dates

We will continue to offer the paper-based SSAT for Flex and Benchmark tests. Elementary testing and Middle and Upper testing in select international markets will be supported by paper-based testing only for the 2020–2021 testing year. Those 5 paper-based testing dates are below.

September 5, 2020
Registration Deadlines:
Regular Registration:
August 15, 2020
Late Begins:
August 16, 2020
Rush Begins:
August 23, 2020
Last Day to Register:
September 2, 2020
September 26, 2020
Registration Deadlines:
Regular Registration:
September 5, 2020
Late Begins:
September 6, 2020
Rush Begins:
September 13, 2020
Last Day to Register:
September 23, 2020
October 31, 2020
Registration Deadlines:
Regular Registration:
October 10, 2020
Late Begins:
October 11, 2020
Rush Begins:
October 18, 2020
Last Day to Register:
October 28, 2020
November 21, 2020
Registration Deadlines:
Regular Registration:
October 31, 2020
Late Begins:
November 1, 2020
Rush Begins:
November 8, 2020
Last Day to Register:
November 18, 2020
December 19, 2020
Registration Deadlines:
Regular Registration:
November 28, 2020
Late Begins:
November 29, 2020
Rush Begins:
December 6, 2020
Last Day to Register:
December 16, 2020

Testing Accommodations

We are committed to ensuring that test takers with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations when taking the SSAT at Home.

Review Testing Accommodations Details

Registering for the Paper-Based SSAT

Parents/guardians must have an SSAT account to register a student for the SSAT. Use your account to: 

  • Print your admission ticket (if required for your testing option)
  • Change your test date, location, and contact information
  • Add or cancel score recipients
  • Track your test registrations, school inquires, and applications
  • Receive your SSAT score report(s)
  • Order study guides and additional services
  • Participate in SSAT Practice Online

Please note: When creating an account, students must indicate their gender as male or female. This is because SSAT reports percentiles based upon both the indicated gender and also separately for all students from that grade. Transgender students should indicate the gender with which they identify and are indicating on applications to schools.​

Use the Student Login to create or access your account.

View Step-by-Step Instructions

Test Day Expectations for the Paper-Based SSAT

Check-in: You will show your admission ticket and confirm your student’s information, and staff will remind both you and your student of testing rules and any COVID-19 requirements. Parents/guardians can retain any student belongings or store them in a designated area. 

Security & Admission: Students will be asked to temporarily roll up sleeves to show they are not wearing a watch and turn out pockets to show they don’t have prohibited items. In some locations, students may walk through a metal detector, or a hand-held wand detector may be used, prior to entering the testing room. Staff will ensure proper social distancing throughout.

Testing: Students will receive an SSAT answer booklet and verify all personal information is correct. When testing begins, students will be given a specific amount of time to complete each section, will be provided breaks of varying times between test sections, and will be given a five-minute warning before a section ends.

View Checklist

Scores for the Paper-Based SSAT

Typically, scores will be released to schools indicated during the registration process approximately two weeks after completed test materials are received. Families can then access them online, and allow an additional week for delivery by U.S. first-class mail. 

Scoring services, such as score alerts and the ability to review your student’s writing sample, are available for additional fees.

View Scoring Details
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


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


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


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


Schools use Snapshot insights to better understand applicants.

There are tons of multi-purpose options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way for my student to prepare for the SSAT?

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.

Elementary Level
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.

Do the writing prompts change?

Every test administration offers new writing samples for students, so that the SSAT prompts are constantly changing, per the desires of member schools.

Why should I use official SSAT practice tools?

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.

Questions about SSAT test options, scores and more?