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Preparing for the SSAT

Professional SSAT Preparation Services

Formal instruction for the SSAT is available from a number of commercial test prep firms. These companies usually offer their SSAT teaching either in group course format or in one-on-one tutoring plans. Furthermore, many of these companies provide test prep instruction online, which can be highly practical. Cost is often an issue with professional SSAT prep, but in general, formal study with a qualified teacher is the most effective way to achieve high scores on all test sections. Students who live in or near a major city will probably have little difficulty finding a suitable SSAT preparation option that works with their needs and schedule.

Online SSAT Preparation Resources

The SSAT website should be considered a required resource for test-takers. Students can search for available test centers and test dates, register for the exam, and use a variety of preparation and practice materials, including a free online practice test. Additionally, students may purchase study materials and study aids. The Official SSAT Practice Online ($69.95) comes with three full practice tests, 15 section tests, short quizzes, and instructional videos from SSAT test creators.

SSAT Guides

Official guides have been published for every version of the SSAT at every level. The Official Guide to the Elementary Level SSAT may be downloaded free of charge from the SSAT website (there are separate publications for the 3rd and 4th grade tests). The Official Guide for the Middle or Upper Level SSAT may be purchased for $37-$85, depending on method and location of delivery. Shipping is $37 by domestic mail or $54 by international mail, while domestic and international FedEx delivery is $54 and $85, respectively. Middle and Upper Level Official Guides include two full practice tests. The Elementary Level Official Guide comes with a half-length practice test. All guides also include exercise answers and answer explanations, scoring instructions, and test content descriptions.

Online SSAT Practice Tests

Test prep companies commonly offer free online practice tests for the SSAT. Some of these are high-quality representations of actual test content and structure, while others are less reliable. All of these materials, however, should be regarded as unofficial, because they are not written by the Enrollment Management Association and its official consultants. Unofficial practice tests can supplement SSAT study, but these materials should not be central to any preparation plan and should not be considered substitutes for the official versions of the exam.

Other SSAT Resources

The SSAT Candidate Handbook is published for each testing year and is available as a free PDF from the SSAT website. This document offers a valuable overview of SSAT policies and procedures with respect to test registration, test taking, score reporting, and requesting accommodations for disabled students.