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Your student's SSAT score serves as an important factor in the admissions process at select competitive elementary, middle, and high schools. Your student can score higher on the SSAT, and Kaplan can show you how. Explore our options, and get started today.

Learn about the SSAT

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is developed and administered by the Secondary School Admission Test Board (SSATB). The exam was designed as an aptitude test to measure a student's ability in core subject areas independent of a student's school record.

The SSAT is administered on three levels:

Current Grade

Appropriate Test Level

Grades 3-4

SSAT Elementary Level Test

Grades 5-7

SSAT Middle Level Test

Grades 8-11

SSAT Upper Level Test

The Anatomy of the SSAT

Total testing time is 2 hours and 55 minutes, plus two short breaks. Both the middle and the upper level tests include 170 multiple choice questions divided into four scored sections and one (unscored) Essay prompt located in the Writing Sample section.


Number of Questions

Question Types


Writing Sample

1 (unscored) prompt

Topic statement which you will be asked to respond to (support or argue), using specific examples from personal experience, current events, history or literature

25 minutes


5 minutes

Quantitative (Math)

25 multiple choice

Number Concepts and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis, Probability

30 minutes


40 multiple choice (7 passages)

Main Ideas, Details, Inferences, Word Meanings, Author’s Purpose and Tone, Opinions and Arguments, Predictions

40 minutes


10 minutes


60 multiple choice (30 synonyms and 30 analogies)

Vocabulary, Verbal Reasoning, Ability to Relate Ideas Logically

30 minutes

Quantitative (Math)

25 multiple-choice

Number Concepts and Operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis, Probability

30 minutes


16 multiple choice

Verbal, Reading, and Quantitative-style questions

15 minutes


167 questions

3 hours, 5 minutes

Testing normally begins at 9:00 am, and test dismissal normally takes place between 12:30–1:00 pm. Make sure you arrive at least ​30 minutes early.

Registration Details

The SSAT middle/upper level test fee is $127 ($45 late fee, $35 change fee). The international fee is $247 (outside the US, Canada, Am. Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and USVI). You may be eligible for a fee waiver if you are unable to pay the test fee due to economic hardship. A limited number of fee waivers are available directly from a school that is a member of The Enrollment Management Association. The test maker does not offer fee waivers directly to students/families. If you are a student applying to a school that is a member, contact their admission office and ask them about fee waiver availability. Only one fee waiver can be applied at the time of registration.

Interpreting Scores

All questions on the SSAT are equal in value. Raw scores are based on the number of questions answered correctly minus one-quarter point for each question answered incorrectly.

The SSAT score report will include multiple sets of scores and percentiles:

Scaled Scores

Scaled score for each section (Verbal, Quantitative, Reading, and Total)
Grades 5-7 (Middle Level): 440-710 (V/Q/R), 1320-2130 (Total)
Grades 8-11 (Upper Level): 500-800 (V/Q/R), 1500-2400 (Total)

SSAT Percentile Ranks for each category (1-99%)

The SSAT percentile ranks compare your scores to those of other students of the same grade and gender who have taken the SSAT in the past three years.

NOTE: While the Essay section is not graded, a copy of the essay accompanies each SSAT score report that is sent to a school or consultant.