In the DC area, the SSAT is the most widely used academic assessment for independent school admission. There’s no doubt that this assessment produces a tremendous amount of anxiety as the most competitive schools want to see strong scores.
The SSAT is a strategy-based test, which is often very different from what a student is used to in the classroom. For correct answers, students gain one point. For incorrect answers, students lose one-fourth of a point. For answers left blank, there is no positive or negative effect, simply a zero towards the raw score.
The fact that students are penalized for wrong answers greatly affects test-taking strategy on the SSAT. Students are not necessarily expected to answer every question, and many sink their score by rushing to finish questions they may not answer correctly.
Because this test is tricky for even the brightest students, ensuring students are comfortable and understand the format and scoring is vital.
The Test and Structure
There are two different versions of the test, middle (for those applying to grades 5-8) and upper (for those applying to grades 9-12). Both versions are three-hour-and-15-minute academic assessment.
- Essay (25 mins). Not graded but reviewed by the admission team so that they can get a sense of the child’s writing ability.
- Break (5 mins)
- Quantitative multiple choice (30 mins)
- Critical Reading multiple choice (40 mins)
- Break (10 mins)
- Vocabulary multiple choice (30 mins)
- Second Quantitative multiple choice (30 mins)
- Experimental multiple choice (15 mins). Not graded.
One-to-One Test Preparation Tutoring
We provide highly trained SSAT test prep tutors throughout the DC Metro area and an innovative, proven curriculum designed specifically to help students prepare through one-to-one teaching. Our instruction is three-fold: content review, essential test-taking strategies, and simulated test practice.
How Our Program Works
We custom design an instructional program for each student.
- The first step in each of our tutoring programs is to have the student complete a comprehensive SSAT diagnostic test.
- We determine the student’s strengths and weaknesses using a computerized analysis of the test results.
- From there, we custom design a test prep program which will enable the tutor to focus on the areas in greatest need of improvement.
- One of our dedicated Test Prep Specialists hand-selects a tutor who will best suit the student’s academic needs and personality.
- Instruction is focused on verbal, writing, reading and/or math review, test-taking strategies, and practice with actual exams — the three proven ways to boost scores.
- Parents receive up-to-the-minute progress reports after each tutoring session, and have access to our online portal, which provides practice test scores and feedback, homework assignments, and scheduling information.