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The SSAT: A look at the test's format, structure, and question types

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is a standardized test that many students take when applying to private or independent middle or high schools. The SSAT is offered at two levels: Lower and Upper. Students currently in grades 5-7 take the Upper Level Test; students currently in grades 8-11 take the Lower Level Test.


SSAT Test Format, Structure, and Question Types

The SSAT includes three main sections: verbal, quantitative, and reading. It also includes an unscored writing sample. The test is broken down into six sections—one writing sample, one verbal section, two quantitative sections, a one reading section, and one experimental section to test new questions. Total testing time is 3 hours and 5 minutes. The breakdown of each section is as follows:

Section Total Testing Time & Breakdown Number of Questions & Types Content/Skills Covered
Verbal 30 minutes (one section) 30 synonym questions vocabulary

30 analogy questions

vocabulary and verbal reasoning skills

Quantitative

60 minutes (two 30-minute sections)

50 multiple-choice questions

math computation and reasoning

Reading

40 minutes (one section)

7 reading passages and 40 questions

reading comprehension

Writing Sample

25 minutes (one section)

1 essay prompt

writing skills

Experimental Section

15 minutes (one section)

16 Questions

Sample questions: 6 verbal, 5 reading, 5 quantitative

Related Topics

  • For more information about the SSAT Verbal section, visit the SSAT Verbal page.
  • For more information about the SSAT Quantitative section, visit the SSAT Math page.
  • For more information about the SSAT Reading section, visit the SSAT Reading page.

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