The SSAT (Secondary School Admission Test) is generally the entrance exam required by boarding schools throughout the United States and Canada. However, it is also accepted by many New York City independent day schools as an alternative to the ISEE.
I recommend getting started at least six months prior to the test, but many students begin preparation a full year or more before the exam to help ensure they achieve their greatest potential.
Summer is a vital opportunity to prepare for this important exam and avoid cramming in the fall, which can generate additional anxiety as students experience the pressure of both returning to school and simultaneously adding SSAT preparation.
I understand the ways in which pressure can adversely affect test results, which is why my one-on-one SSAT tutoring approach is effective in building content knowledge and test-taking strategies, as well as diminishing anxiety. At the conclusion of each session, I send a session report to the student and parent(s) with notes about the session that ensures everyone is on the same page with respect to progress.
It is important to recognize that private school admissions are highly competitive, and for many students the SSAT (or ISEE) will be the first time they are taking a standardized test that will likely have a significant impact on their future. It may also be the first time they experience test-taking anxiety, which can play a key role in the outcome. Getting an early start can make a substantial difference in performance and results.
Schedule a complimentary consultation to answer all your questions about test preparation, take the mystery and guesswork out of the SSAT, and get on track to helping your child achieve his or her greatest potential.
In addition to children feeling significant pressure to do well on the SSAT, parents also feel concern, and sometimes a parent’s focus on the exam and their child’s preparation can inadvertently add pressure. My best advice to parents is to let me work with their child on the exam while they take a step back. That approach generally leads to both parents and children feeling less pressure, which can have a positive impact on performance and results. Of course I can’t guarantee outcomes, but I can promise that I will put your child in position to perform to the best of his or her ability.
One of the reasons I write and send a report after each tutoring session is to enable parents to have a glimpse of the session and an idea about progress without feeling compelled to pepper their child with questions and potentially risk ratcheting up the pressure. In the end, parents simply want their children to achieve their greatest potential, and that’s my goal as well.
While the SSAT and ISEE differ somewhat in structure and organization, both are designed to measure the student’s verbal and analytical skills against those of other students in the same grade. So how do you determine whether your child should take the SSAT or the ISEE? The answer is pretty straightforward: find out what the admission requirement is for the school(s) to which he or she is applying.
There is no hard and fast rule but, in general, the SSAT is required by boarding schools throughout the United States and Canada and the ISEE is typically required by New York’s independent day schools. While most boarding schools typically prefer the SSAT, some will accept the ISEE. If you are considering boarding schools and local private schools, I can help you decide which exam is the best exam for your child.
During a single testing year, a student may take the SSAT up to 8 times in the paper-based format and up to 3 times in the computer-based format. You can learn more about your testing options here. Students typically take the test two or three times, often beginning in summer or fall of 8th grade. You can register for the test online here.
SSAT scores are available approximately two weeks after the exam, either by mail or email. You can read more about the score release schedule here. You choose which scores you wish to send to schools, either before or after the exam.