SSAT Preparation

The SSAT is an independent and private middle school and high school admissions exam.

Our SSAT Program

Our approach to the SSAT is educational: we emphasize the core verbal reasoning skills, math concepts, reading techniques, and vocabulary that comprise the foundation of material tested on the SSAT. The SSAT may be a student’s first major standardized test; we believe that by focusing on key concepts, our students can confidently achieve success both on the SSAT and in their future academic work.

Our tutors develop an SSAT program with close attention to how the content relates to each student's prior schoolwork. Through one-on-one instruction, practice drills, and homework, our tutors help students master the concepts underlying each question type. Full-length, proctored practice tests provide students opportunities to exercise the skills learned during tutoring sessions.

Contact us to speak to a program consultant and set up a diagnostic SSAT.

Program Length

We recommend that students start preparing for the SSAT several months before they intend to take the official test. We will design an appropriate and individualized program for each student based on diagnostic test scores and the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and goals.

The SSAT format is the same for all students, but the content is adjusted for different grade levels:

  • Middle Level is for students currently in grades 5–7
  • Upper Level is for students currently in grades 8–11

Our instruction focuses on the Middle and Upper Level SSATs. Contact us for more information about the Elementary Level SSAT (for grades 3–4).

Before deciding on whether to take the ISEE or SSAT, check the specific admissions requirements at the schools to which you are considering applying. Some independent schools accept either test, but many schools insist on one or the other.

Many of our students have benefitted from preparing for and taking both the ISEE and SSAT. Though the two tests have slightly different histories, they are similar in content and in purpose. We will help you decide which test to take given your student’s strengths, weaknesses, and application goals.

Middle and Upper Level SSAT


Number of Questions

Minutes per Section


Writing Sample

1 Prompt

25 Minutes

Student-produced response to a given topic

Quantitative 1

25 Questions

30 Minutes

Arithmetic, basic algebra, and basic geometry

Reading Comprehension

40 Questions

40 Minutes

Passage-based critical reading


60 Questions

30 Minutes

Synonyms and analogies

Quantitative 2

25 Questions

30 Minutes

Arithmetic, basic algebra, and basic geometry

How is the SSAT Scored?

  • The Verbal, Quantitative, and Reading sections are each scored on a scale of 440–710 (Middle Level) or 500–800 (Upper Level) with corresponding percentile ranks.
  • The Essay is not scored but rather sent to schools along with the SSAT score report.
  • The SSAT deducts a fraction of a point from the raw score for each incorrect answer.

When is the SSAT Taken?

The SSAT is given frequently throughout the year, usually in January, February, March, April, June, October, November, and December. For admissions purposes, schools typically consider the administrations in October, November, December, and January of the school year of the student’s application.

Upcoming SSAT Test Dates and Registration Deadlines

Test Date

Registration Deadline

Last Registration Deadline

January 7, 2017

December 17, 2016

January 4, 2017

February 11, 2017

January 21, 2017

February 8, 2017

March 4, 2017

February 11, 2017

March 1, 2017

April 22, 2017

April 1, 2017

April 19, 2017

June 10, 2017

May 20, 2017

June 7, 2017

Tutors in Washington DC

Joshua Kaplan

Joshua Kaplan

Tutor of: SAT, ACT, Math Level 1, Math Level 2, Literature, U.S. History, World History, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, SSAT; and more

J.D. from Yale Law School.
M.F.A. from University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.
B.A./B.S. in English and Film & Television from Boston University.
Mary Pickford Scholar; Phi Beta Kappa; Boston University Trustee Scholar; Florida Keys Emerging Playwright; Kodak Film Scholar.

Belinda M. Lai

Belinda M. Lai

Tutor of: SAT, Math Level 1, Math Level 2, LSAT, GMAT, GRE, MCAT, SSAT

M.B.A. in Marketing and Strategic Planning from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
B.S. in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Brown University.
Director of Advantage Testing of Washington D.C.

Jordan Schwartz

Jordan Schwartz

Tutor of: SAT, ACT, Math Level 1, Literature, U.S. History, World History, LSAT, GRE, SSAT, ISEE; and more

B.A. in Politics from Brandeis University.
Harvey S. Bodker Outstanding Leadership Award.

See SSAT tutors in all locations