The SSAT is an admissions test required by a number of private and independent schools across Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia and is one important step on the path to an independent school education.
While the SSAT score is an important part of the entire admissions process, it’s not the be all and end all, so don’t stress too much over it.
Below are a number of frequently asked questions about the SSATs that will help you become better acquainted with what the test is, why it’s important and how the process works: pre-test, during the test and post-test.
As well, there are a number of tips to help your child prepare for the test.
A number of schools across Canada require prospective students to complete the test as part of their admissions package. The purpose of the test is to determine a student’s verbal, quantitative and reading skills, all things schools have expectations for in order for students to be offered entrance. The test provides important and meaningful information about the potential academic success of students, removing background and experience from the overall equation: meaning coming from money or a wealth of experience aren’t part of the test and don’t play a role in how the standardized test is scored.
SSAT tests are not designed to measure other characteristics, such as motivation, persistence, or creativity that may contribute to a students’ success in school.
The SSAT measures three things: verbal, quantitative, and reading skills that students develop over time, both in and out of school. There is an emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving that schools who require the test believe are crucial aspects of one’s academic success. The questions vary in difficulty and are distributed in a way that will be different for every test taker, bringing their levels of ability into account.
The test is developed by committees made up of education experts and independent or private school teachers that help shape the test with questions that are rigorously reviewed to make sure they appropriately indicate a potential students’ strengths and weaknesses.
According to the New Jersey-based company, very. The score reliability is higher than .90 for both the verbal and quantitative sections and is almost at that level for the reading section. These reliability results are considered above average by educational field standards.
A norm-referenced test, like the SSAT, interprets each individual score to the distribution of scores for a comparison group, referred to as the norm group. The SSAT norm groups consist of all scores from the same grade and gender who have taken the test for the first time on one of the Standard Saturday or Sunday SSAT administrations in North America over the past three years.
The SSAT reports percentile ranks, which are referenced to the performance of the norm group. It is important to remember that the SSAT norm group is a highly competitive group.
Among the flurry of private school application requirements, the SSAT test may be among the most nerve-wracking. Luckily, it's never too soon to begin preparing for this standardized aptitude test.
Here are some tips to ensure that you or your child is as prepared as he or she can be.
Keep in mind that many schools like to receive SSAT scores no later than the February before the school year begins in September. Make sure you fully understand the requirements and essential deadline dates for your preferred school(s), since both of these vary from school to school.
Once you know the SSAT test will be required for a desired school, follow these steps:
Help is only a click away. The Secondary School Admission Test Board publishes a book of full-length practice tests, Preparing and Applying, available online.
The guide currently costs $30. Once you have received the test, run through it. It will give you a strong indication of what to expect from the SSAT. You should be able to breathe a sigh of relief at this point.
Some member organizations offer prep courses for the SSAT which may be helpful to prepare your child. It's important to note, however, that prep courses are not endorsed by the SSAT's governing body.
Parents can help by going over test taking strategies with children and helping them practice. After issuing your child a timed test, go over the wrong answers with your child to help him/her figure out how to do better when taking the actual SSAT.
Note: there are many editions of the test to ensure students won't take the same test twice.
Standardized test-taking can be particularly stressful. It's important to remember the test is often just one element of an independent school's admission criteria. Not everything hinges on the SSAT. It's not you who is being tested, it's the education you have received.
Elmwood School (est. 1915)
Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from JK to Grade 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$12,956 to $22,980||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||12956|
Appleby College (est. 1911)
Appleby College in Oakville is recognized globally as one of Canada's leading independent schools. Breadth, excellence, innovation and caring are the characteristics that define the essence of the Appleby experience. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$33,510 to $65,980||MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Boarding Day||33510|
Branksome Hall (est. 1903)
Branksome Hall is an all girls school in Toronto, from JK to Grade 12, including 56 boarding students. Tuition ranges from $28,995 to $31,245 for day students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$29,590 to $56,855||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||29590|
Crescent School (est. 1913)
Crescent School is a Toronto independent school for boys only, Grades 3 to 12. Tuition starts at $30,750. Crescent offers a variety of extra-curricular activities including sports, arts, outreach and robotics. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$32,350||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Day||32350|
Upper Canada College (est. 1829)
Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$30,860 to $61,560||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding Day||30860|
The Country Day School (est. 1972)
The Country Day School offers JK-12 in a co-ed, non-denominational environment located 40 minutes north of Toronto on a beautiful 100-acre campus in King. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$24,100 to $27,950||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||24100|
TMS (est. 1961)
Internationally recognized since 1961, TMS is a not-for-profit independent university preparatory school located in Richmond Hill where students, faculty and staff regularly Go Beyond. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$14,075 to $25,440||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||14075|
TFS - Canada's International School (est. 1962)
TFS - Canada's International School offers Canada's only bilingual IB programs from PK to Grade 12. Average class size is 12 to 22 students. Entrance Scholarship to Grade 7 is available. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$17,600 to $31,100||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||17600|
St. Michaels University School (est. 1906)
Independent K-12 boarding & day school in Victoria, BC, Canada focusing on university prep. Find out how a SMUS education can benefit your family. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$17,235 to $61,590||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Boarding Day||17235|
Meadowridge School (est. 1985)
Meadowridge is an IB Continuum World School that supports the development of the whole child in a safe, supportive and challenging environment. See for yourself and join us for a tour every Friday from 9:00am to 11:00am. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$20,400 to $30,400||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||20400|
The Bishop Strachan School (est. 1867)
Located in Toronto, The Bishop Strachan School is Canada's oldest independent JK to Grade 12 day and boarding school for girls, welcoming students from Toronto and around the world. [View profile]
|Student-paced||$31,740 to $60,130||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||31740|
St. Andrew's College (est. 1899)
St. Andrew's College offers programs from grades 5 to 12 in Aurora. Its average class size is 17 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$30,120 to $63,500||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Boarding Day||30120|
Trillium School (est. 1991)
Trillium School is a montessori school that offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Markham. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$9,400 to $33,000||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Boarding Day||9400|
Ridley College (est. 1889)
Ridley College is an acclaimed co-educational boarding and day school that prepares meaningful and flourishing lives by teaching the habits of mind, body, and spirit, and the values needed to lead in a global society. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$15,500 to $63,700||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Boarding Day||15500|
Crofton House School (est. 1898)
Crofton House School in Vancouver, BC is a university preparatory school with JK to grade 12 classes. Tuition starts at $16,000. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,960||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||18960|
University of Toronto Schools (est. 1910)
University of Toronto Schools offers programs for grades seven to 12. Its average class size is 25 students. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$23,590||MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||23590|
Havergal College (est. 1894)
Havergal College is an all-girls school in Toronto for students in JK to Grade 12. Preparing Young Women to Make a Difference Since 1894. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$31,725 to $58,000||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||31725|
De La Salle College (est. 1851)
De La Salle College is a Catholic, co-educational, university preparatory school in Toronto from grade five to 12, with average class sizes of 22 students and tuition at $12,950. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$14,150 to $14,550||MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||9999999999|
St. Michael's College School (est. 1852)
St. Michael's College School offers students in Grades 7-12 an enriched, Catholic, liberal arts education complemented by a diverse co-curricular programme. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,700||MiddleSchools HighSchools Boys Day||9999999999|
Mulgrave School (est. 1993)
Mulgrave School offers programmes from Preschool to Grade 12 in West Vancouver. Its average class size is 20 students with teacher to student ratios of 1:8. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$17,195 to $21,370||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||17195|
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School (est. 1905)
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is an independent, private coeducational day school for Grades K-12 close to Calgary, AB. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$18,780 to $21,660||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||18780|
St. Clement's School (est. 1901)
St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous and compassionate. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$28,350||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||28350|
Rundle College (est. 1985)
Rundle College is a university preparatory school from Kindergarten-Grade 12 in Calgary, Alberta. Our small class sizes of 12-16 students, gives our students the advantage of and enriched and personalized education. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$11,900 to $16,300||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||11900|
Brockton School (est. 2004)
Brockton is a co-ed, JK to Grade 12, IB Continuum World School located in beautiful North Vancouver. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$16,400 to $23,700||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||9999999999|
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|Accelerated||$11,900 to $26,150||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Coed Day||11900|
Buffalo Seminary (est. 1851)
Independent day and boarding school for college-bound girls. Our STEAM curriculum is unique, and creative, independent thinking is valued. Located in Buffalo, NY, girls access the best of city living. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$19,840 to $46,715 USD||HighSchools Girls Boarding Day||19840|
York House School (est. 1932)
York House School offers programs from junior kindergarten to grade 12 in Vancouver. Its average class size is 16 to 20 students. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$19,600 to $20,300||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Girls Day||9999999999|
Southridge School (est. 1995)
We place equal value on the development of academics and character. Our program is built around authentic, experience-based learning that develops the mind, body and spirit. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$14,750 to $25,250||Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||14750|
Delta West Academy (est. 1993)
Accomplished, confident and innovative - adjectives that describe not only our programs but more importantly, our students. Developing critical thinking, creative problem solving and academic excellence for everyone. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$9,900 to $17,550||Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Day||9900|
Academie Providence (est. 2002)
Providence Academy is the only Private French Catholic School offering a trilingual program of study in Ontario with classes from nursery to grade eight. Tuition starts at $8,050 [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$8,300 to $9,800||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Coed Day||8300|
Duke Academy (est. 2013)
Duke Academy 4576 Yonge St. Unit 602, Toronto, ON, M2N 6N4 [View profile]
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Foxcroft Academy (est. 1823)
Day & Boarding school with all boarding for International students Academic & Sports Grade 9 - 12 Tuition International $41,000 USD [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$22,000/semester to $41,000 USD||HighSchools Coed Boarding Day||22000|
Southwestern Academy (est. 1924)
Southwestern Academy is a coeducational boarding and day school with a location in San Marino, California and Rimrock Arizona. We offer small class instruction with personalized lessons and an international student body. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$19,850 to $48,850 USD||MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Boarding Day||19850|
North Broward Preparatory School (est. 1957)
North Broward Preparatory School is a K-12 co-educational day and boarding school located in S. Florida located minutes from the beach with IB, AP, and LD classes set on 80 acres with year round hockey. [View profile]
|Accelerated||$24,200 to $58,000 USD||Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Coed Boarding Day||24200|
Oxford Tutorial College (est. 1988)
Oxford Tutorial College is a leading independent college specialising in A-level and GCSE tuition for students grade 10 to 12, intending to go on to higher education at a good British University. [View profile]
|Standard-enriched||$33,255 to $39,447||Coed Boarding Day Homestay||33255|