The Secondary School Admission Test

The SSAT is the required admission test at many of the best independent schools in the world. This test is one important step on the path to an independent school education. Your SSAT score is one part of your complete application to an independent school; and while it is important, it is not the only criteria for admission.

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Test Dates

The SSAT is designed for students who are seeking entrance to independent schools worldwide. The purpose of the SSAT is to measure the basic verbal, quantitative, and reading skills students develop over time—skills that are needed for successful performance in independent s​chools. The SSAT provides independent school admission professionals with meaningful information about the possible academic success of potential students like you at their institutions, regardless of students’ background or experience. The SSAT is not an achievement test. Your most recent classroom math test, for example, was probably an achievement test: Your teacher specifically designed it to evaluate how much you know about what has been covered in class. The SSAT, on the other hand, is designed to measure the verbal, quantitative, and reading skills you have acquired, instead of focusing on your mastery of particular course materials. Further, SSAT tests are not designed to measure other characteristics, such as motivation, persistence, or creativity, that may contribute to your success in school.

The SSAT measures three constructs: verbal, quantitative, and reading skills that students develop over time, both in and out of school. It emphasizes critical thinking and problem-solving skills that are essential for academic success. The overall difficulty level of the Middle and Upper Level SSATs is built to be at 50%. The distribution of question difficulties is set so that the test will effectively differentiate among test takers who vary in their level of abilities. In developing the SSAT, the SSATB convenes review committees composed of content experts and independent school teachers. The committees reach consensus regarding the appropriateness of the questions. Questions judged to be acceptable after the committee review are then pretested and analyzed. Questions that are statistically sound are ready to be selected and assembled into test forms.


About the Test:

The SSAT is designed for students in grades 3 through PG and is administered on three levels (Elementary, Middle, and Upper​​). There are two types of SSAT test administrations: the Standard administration, which is given on eight designated Saturdays during the academic year at test sites around the world, and the Flex administration, which is an individual or group test administered on any date other than the eight Standard dates.


Learn more about the content and structure of the SSAT: