Top SSAT FAQs

  • What is the SSAT?
    SSAT stands for Secondary School Admission Test. It is used to inform the admissions decisions of independent schools throughout the United States and Canada. There is an elementary level and a middle/upper level SSAT. Over 70,000 students take the test annually.
  • What’s on the SSAT?
    The SSAT is comprised of three scored question types:
    • Verbal
    • Reading
    • Quantitative (Math)
    A writing sample and experimental section are also required, but these sections do not count towards the test taker’s score.
  • How long is the SSAT exam?
    It depends on which version of the test you take. The total length of the middle and upper level tests is 3 hours and 10 minutes. All sections of the test are timed, and students are allowed two 10-minute breaks. Here is the breakdown:
    • Writing Sample: 25 minutes
    • Break 1: 10 minutes
    • Quantitative Section 1: 30 minutes
    • Reading: 40 minutes
    • Break 2: 10 minutes
    • Verbal: 30 minutes
    • Quantitative Section 2: 30 minutes
    • Experimental: 15 minutes
    The elementary level test is shorter and lasts only 2 hours and 5 minutes.
  • How many questions are on the SSAT?
    There are a total of 167 questions on the test, but only 150 of these are scored. The unscored portion of the test includes one writing prompt and sixteen experimental questions.
  • How is the SSAT scored?
    The SSAT is a norm-referenced test. Students will receive a scaled score as well as score percentiles compared to first-time test takers in Canada and the U.S. over the last three years.
  • Does a high SSAT score guarantee admission?
    No, but it certainly helps during the admissions process. School admission is decided based on a number of different factors, including test scores, interviews, teacher recommendations, a character skills assessment, and extracurricular activities.
  • How do I register for the SSAT?
    To register for the test, simply create an account at SSAT.org, and follow the on-site directions. Keep in mind that no refunds are issued for test cancellations.
  • What are my SSAT testing options?
    Both paper-based and computer-based tests are available, and you can take the SSAT at home or at an approved test center. Standard tests are paper-based tests administered on Saturdays between October and April. Flex testing is also available for eligible test takers.
  • How much does it cost to take the SSAT?
    Depending on where you live and which testing option you choose, the fee varies from approximately $100-$300. Fee waivers are available for qualified test takers.
  • How can I prepare for the SSAT test?
    Practice tests like the ones provided by Peterson’s can help you prepare for success on the SSAT. We recommend at least six weeks of preparation prior to your test date.