Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is the required admission test for various independent schools.

Please note: Not all 8th or 9th grade students need to take the SSAT as some schools do not require it. Please consult with the Carroll Placement Office if you are unsure whether your child needs to take the SSAT.

SSAT Description

The SSAT consists of verbal, quantitative (math) and reading comprehension sections. The test also includes a writing section which asks students to write an essay in response to one of two prompts. The essay is not graded; however, a copy accompanies each SSAT score report that is sent to a school or consultant. The SSAT is a norm-referenced test. It compares a student’s performance on the SSAT with that of other students of the same grade/gender who have taken the SSAT in the United States and Canada on a standard test date in the previous three years (norm group). It is important to note that the norm group is a highly competitive group. The SSAT score is one part of a student’s complete application, and while it is important, it is not the only criteria for admission. Visit the SSAT website to learn more.

SSAT Test Prep Resources

According to SSAT, the best way to prepare for the SSAT is “to become familiar with the content, format, timing, and scoring of the test.”

The following are several options to help a student prepare for the test:

1. Test Prep Book:

The Official Guide to the Upper Level SSAT

  • For students currently in Grades 8-11
  • Available for purchase on the SSAT website
  • Includes: Two full-length Upper Level practice tests; Information about registering for, preparing for, and taking the Upper Level SSAT; Scoring instructions and explanations; Descriptions and exercises for each question type

2. SSAT Website

The SSAT website includes an SSAT Online Practice Program to help students prepare for the test.

3. Private Tutorial

There are many private tutoring/prep courses available in the Boston area.

4. Carroll School SSAT Prep Course

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the structure of the SSAT as well as strategies to use when taking the test. PLEASE NOTE: this overview course is NOT designed to provide instruction on the content of the test; it is to provide students with strategies for taking the test. This year the course will be offered from 3:15 to 4:45 on November 13, 15, 20 and December 4. These dates were chosen because there are limited afterschool activities scheduled. If your current 8th or 9th grade student is interested in attending the course, please email Charlene Kmetz to reserve a spot.

Requesting Accommodations for the SSAT

SSAT is committed to ensuring that test takers with diagnosed learning disabilities receive reasonable accommodations when taking the SSAT. The best resource is the SSAT Testing Accommodations webpage.

Please note that all accommodations must be requested and approved before you can sign up for a specific test date and that not all test centers can support requested accommodations. Therefore, it is important to request accommodations as soon as it is determined that your child will be taking SSAT.

How to Request SSAT Accommodations

SSAT provides this Guide for Requesting Testing Accommodations for the SSAT. When requesting accommodations, you will be asked to provide the following Carroll specific information:

1. When asked to “Select the nature of your child’s disability (select all that apply)”

Please select Learning Disability (LD)

2. When asked to “Provide a brief statement that explains the functional limitations resulting from the listed disabilities”

Please keep your statement brief. Example: My student’s disability makes it difficult for him/her to effectively access standardized tests due to issues with decoding, encoding, written output, math calculations, and time management.

3. When asked to “Select all required accommodations”

Carroll students generally require and are approved for the following accommodations:

  • Ruler
  • Highlighter
  • Fifty Percent Additional Time (1.5x)
  • Graph Paper
  • Small Group Setting (10 or fewer students in a room)
  • Answer Directly in Book
  • Calculator (basic 4 function calculator only)
  • Personal Laptop with Spell Check for Writing Sample

Note: All listed materials, ruler, highlighter, etc. must be brought to the testing center by the student - these materials are not provided by the center.

Note: Parents do have the option of requesting a “Reader” as an accommodation. Approval for this accommodation is based on a review of the student’s most recent neuropsychological evaluation (must be within the past three years of the request date). If the accommodation is approved, the Reader must be provided by the family. Reader must be:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • CANNOT be a family member or guardian, and
  • CANNOT be an individual who has served as a SSAT tutor for your child
  • Reader MUST sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement: Individuals who will use a test book in order to provide accommodations to a student, such as a reader, will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before testing. This NDA is a legal agreement indicating that the individual will not disclose SSAT test content.

4. When asked to provide “Approver Details” please provide the following:

Name: Christine Torigian
Job Title: Director of Placement
Credentials: Director of Placement
Relationship to Student: School Educational Professional
Telephone Number: 781-314-9712
Organization Name: Carroll School
Re-type Email:
Carroll School Address: 25 Baker Bridge Road, Lincoln, MA 01773

5. When asked to provide “Approver’s Documentation”

PLEASE CHOOSE OPTION 1 - If you choose Option 2, you will be required to submit documentation to SSAT and they will then make the determination about accommodations. This is a much longer process.

6. Once you submit your request for accommodations, Carroll will review and approve your request and you will receive an email from Enrollment Management (SSAT) stating that your accommodations are approved and you can register for a test.

Registering for the SSAT

SSAT provides this Guide for Registering for the SSAT. Before you register for the SSAT, please note:

  • IMPORTANT: When registering for the SSAT, please list Carroll School as a score recipient and as an advisor. The Carroll School Score Recipient Code is 2134.
  • Only certain test sites can support special accommodations. Search for SSAT test centers. In addition, certain educational consultants provide small group testing with accommodations. However, taking the SSAT outside of a listed site does have some restrictions, please review the information contained on the SSAT website or contact the Carroll School Placement Office for more information.
  • List all schools that you would like to receive your child’s scores. This can also be done after the test has been taken.