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After so many years of preparing students for the SAT and PSAT, I finally got an opportunity to work with students on the SSAT.

As part of the Stevenson Summer Camp, I put on a five-week workshop for rising 8th Graders on the ins and outs of the SSAT. The SSAT, for those that don’t know, is an assessment that independent high schools use to qualify their applicants. Think of it as the SAT for high school applicants.

There are some differences between the SSAT and the SAT. First of all, the SSAT tests your vocabulary via analogies and synonyms. The SAT, on the other hand, tests vocabulary primarily via Sentence Completion questions in which you must fill in the correct blank by using contextual clues in a sentence. The SAT also assesses writing much more than the SSAT since there is a whole section on the SAT dedicated to writing.

Despite these differences, the tests are quite similar. Both the SSAT and the SAT have similar Reading Comprehension questions, both have similar Math questions and both are scored in a similar way. And since the PSAT is just the SAT Jr., students can get a jump on their SAT preparation by preparing for both the SSAT and the PSAT.

There is no question that the students in my workshop learned a great deal about how to attack the verbal sections of any standardized test. They have also learned individual strategies to help them improve their scores. Sometimes this has meant reworking individual test-taking techniques because the SSAT, like the PSAT and the SAT, require unique strategies that may not be used on the typical school-based assessments.

Prepping for the SSAT may not be the most popular summer activity, but those that do will not only get a leg up on their high school applications, they will also gain a greater understanding of what the PSAT and SAT are all about. SSAT prep is not needed for everyone, but the sooner you start understanding this type of assessment, the more comfortable you will be on SAT  test day.

CROSSWALK, located in Pacific Grove, CA, provides private tutoring and Boot Camps for SAT, ACT as well as private tutoring in all academic subjects. Contact us here to learn more. 

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