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A comprehensive guide to the SSATs

The SSAT: what it is and how to prepare for it

The SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test) is an admissions test required by a number of private and independent schools across Canada. It's one important step on the path to an independent school education. Read more


List of private schools requiring the SSAT

 
FILTERS:
Type
Grades
 
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — Crescent School is a Toronto independent day school for boys in Grades 3 to 12. Our relational learning environment develops students' characters through academics, arts, athletics, business, outreach and robotics. View School Profile.


  • Emphasis on leadership and character education
  • Strong alumni community
  • Generous financial aid
  • Enhanced service & mentoring opportunities
  • World champion robotics team and technology courses
Grades:
3 to 12 (Boys)
Type:
Traditional
Tuition:
$35,075
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
769
Avg. Class:
15 to 20
Crescent School 35075 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
 
 

Ottawa, Ontario — Elmwood School is Ottawa's pre-eminent school for girls from PreK to Gr. 12. Our high academic standards, small class sizes and safe, supportive environment ensure that each girl is inspired to reach her full potential. View School Profile.


  • Recognized for academic excellence
  • Welcoming, inclusive and diverse community
  • International Baccalaureate World School (PYP, MYP, DP)
  • Round Square and Apple Distinguished school
  • Merit- and need-based scholarships available
Grades:
PS to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$14,800 to $28,300
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
370
Avg. Class:
15 to 17
Elmwood School 14800 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — The York School is a JK to Grade 12 International Baccalaureate school in midtown Toronto. Our mission is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are engaged citizens of the world. View School Profile.


  • International Baccalaureate World School (JK - Grade 12)
  • 100% university placement rate
  • Co-educational learning environment
  • Progressive, contemporary approach
  • International community
Grades:
JK to 12 (Coed)
Type:
Progressive, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$30,000 to $33,000
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
730
Avg. Class:
16 to 22
The York School 30000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — Located in the heart of Toronto, Upper Canada College is the oldest independent boys' school in Ontario. Our IB graduates are highly regarded by top universities and post-secondary institutions worldwide. View School Profile.


  • High-achieving, all-round boys
  • Challenging but rewarding IB program
  • First rate academics, athletics and arts
  • 19 different sports and 65+ clubs
  • Boutique urban boarding program
Grades:
SK to 12 (Boys)
Type:
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$34,135 to $66,835
Living:
Day/Boarding
Enrollment:
1170
Avg. Class:
20 to 25
Upper Canada College 34135 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Boys
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous, and compassionate. View School Profile.


  • Girls' school, founded in 1901
  • Enriched and balanced academics at all grade levels
  • Unrivaled Advanced Placement course offerings
  • 100% university acceptance
  • Extensive athletic, arts, and co-curricular programs
Grades:
1 to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Liberal Arts
Tuition:
$31,900
Living:
Day
Enrollment:
460
Avg. Class:
16
St. Clement's School 31900 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
 
 

Toronto, Ontario — Branksome Hall is Toronto’s only all-girls, all-years International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. View School Profile.


  • 13-acre downtown campus
  • Athletics and Wellness Centre
  • IB programs: JK to Grade 12
  • Leadership opportunities
  • Tennis courts, playing fields, saltwater pools
Grades:
JK to 12 (Girls)
Type:
Liberal Arts, International Baccalaureate
Tuition:
$34,650 to $69,850
Living:
Boarding/Day
Enrollment:
964
Avg. Class:
12 to 22
Branksome Hall 34650 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Spadina/St Clair Ave W
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,830 to $64,090

The Bishop Strachan School is a leading independent JK-Grade 12 day & boarding school for girls. Students build the academic skills to thrive at university and beyond. Over $1.6 million available in financial assistance.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
The Bishop Strachan School 33830 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Lawrence Avenue West/Avenue Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $35,000 to $64,000

Havergal College has been preparing young women to make a difference since 1894.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
Havergal College 35000 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bayview/Lawrence
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $20,360 to $35,320

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.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
TFS - Canada's International School 20360 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • King City, Ontario
    Keele St./King Rd.
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • $19,100 to $19,800

Villanova College is York Region's only independent Catholic school offering Grades 4 to 12 in King City, Ontario. Average class size is 18 students. Specialty programs include STEM and AP.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Villanova College 19100 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road West/Fourth Line
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $38,850 to $77,540

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.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
Appleby College 38850 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed

TMS  

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Bayview/Hwy 407
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $17,485 to $31,350

TMS is a leading, accredited independent school that offers a unique design of Montessori and International Baccalaureate programmes. Our students thrive in academics while building a foundation of Significance.

  • Day
  • Montessori
  • International Baccalaureate
TMS 17485 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • King, Ontario
    King Road/Dufferin Street
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $30,400

The Country Day School offers JK-12 in a co-ed, non-denominational environment located on 100 beautiful acres just north of Toronto in King.

  • Day
  • Traditional
The Country Day School 30400 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Maple Ridge, British Columbia
    240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $23,500 to $33,500

Meadowridge is an IB Continuum World School that supports the development of the whole child in a safe, supportive and challenging environment.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Meadowridge School 23500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Vaughan, Ontario
    407/Dufferin
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,500 to $19,500

Balanced Academics, Arts, Athletics & Character Development. We value best practices & evidenced based approaches. University preparatory & 21st Century Tech Rich & Future Proof school. Enriched and rigorous curriculum.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Delano Academy 18500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Cawthra/Lakeshore
  • PS to 7 Coed
  • $11,310 to $28,170

TFS - Canada's International School (West Campus) offers programs from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 7. Its average class size is 12 to 22 students.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
TFS - Canada's International School (West Campus) 11310 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Okotoks, Alberta
    Range Road 12/306 Ave W
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $16,548 to $24,028

Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School is an independent, private coeducational, full IB (primary, middle, and diploma programme) day school for Kindergarten - Grade 12 close to Calgary, AB.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Strathcona-Tweedsmuir School 16548 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
    Blackfoot Trail S.E/Glenmore Trail
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $18,026

West Island College offers post-secondary preparatory programs from grades 7 to 12 in Calgary. It's class size varies from 15 to 25 students. French Immersion is offered alongside the English program

  • Day
  • Traditional
West Island College 18026 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Ridley Road/Henrietta Street
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $18,870 to $72,165

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.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Ridley College 18870 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $25,200

With over 120 years of excellence in all-girls’ education, our rigorous academic program is complemented by strong arts, design technology and athletic programs. Financial assistance is available.

  • Day
  • Progressive
Crofton House School 25200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Avenue Road/St. Clair Ave.
  • 5 to 12 Coed
  • $15,225 to $15,650

De La Salle College is a Catholic, co-educational, university preparatory school in Toronto from grade 5 to 12, with average class sizes of 23 students and tuition at $13,325.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
De La Salle College 15225 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    14th Ave/Kennedy
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $7,600 to $41,500

Trillium School is a private school that offers programs from pre-school to grade twelve in Markham with Montessori-based kindergarten.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
  • Montessori
Trillium School 7600 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
    Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $17,000 to $25,000

Mulgrave School offers programmes from Preschool to Grade 12 in West Vancouver to all genders. Its average class size is 20 students with teacher to student ratios of 1:8.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Mulgrave School 17000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Fort Erie, Ontario
    Central Avenue/Wintemute Street
  • 6 to 12 Coed
  • $30,000 to $57,875

Our East Meets West environment fosters global awareness and advances our student body into responsible and globally aware citizens who are well-equipped for life beyond academia.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
Fort Erie International Academy 30000 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John's Sideroad/Yonge Street
  • 5 to 12 Boys
  • $37,655 to $70,095

St. Andrew's College offers programs from grades 5 to 12 in Aurora. Its average class size is 17 students.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
St. Andrew's College 37655 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
  • New York, New York(USA)
    Broad St/Exchange Pl
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • US $5,500 to US $93,000

Léman Manhattan - the only boarding school in Manhattan, New York that delivers academic excellence that inspires your child for a lifetime. IB Diploma program and unique internship opportunities offered in the city.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Léman Manhattan Preparatory School 5500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Queen St./Ossington Ave.
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $28,173

University of Toronto Schools (UTS) offers a transformative education to high-achieving students in Grades 7 to 12 from all backgrounds. UTS graduates take initiative and innovate as socially responsible global citizens.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
University of Toronto Schools 28173 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Donald St/Frances St
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,200 to $10,700

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: $8,800-10,300. Extracurricular activities: $600-$650.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • Reggio Emilia
Academie Providence 9200 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./St. Clair West
  • 7 to 12 Boys
  • $20,900

St. Michael's College School offers students in Grades 7-12 an enriched, Catholic, liberal arts education complemented by a diverse co-curricular programme.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
St. Michael's College School 20900 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • 8 to 12 Boys
  • $52,570 to $71,490

St. George's School in Vancouver offers university-preparatory program to Canadian and International boarding students from Grade 8 to 12. The School's mission: Building Fine Young Men. One Boy at a Time.

  • Boarding
  • Traditional
St. George's School 52570 HighSchools Boarding Boarding Boys
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $10,300 to $18,350

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.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Delta West Academy 10300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $13,500 to $19,175

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 an enriched, personalized education.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Rundle College & Rundle Academy 13500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,250 to $26,500

Collingwood creates infinite opportunities for our students to excel. Our four Strand approach is delivered through university preparatory programs that are collaborative, interdisciplinary, relevant and pioneering.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Collingwood School 22250 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Montverde, Florida
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • US $7,875 to US $51,350

Founded in 1912, Montverde Academy is an elite college preparatory school for students in grades Pre-K3 through post-graduate studies with a distinct student population from over 80 countries worldwide.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
Montverde Academy 7875 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Don Mills Rd/York Mills Rd
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $4,501 to $12,800

Now offered online, the PK – Grade 6 program is a visible expression of the philosophy embodied in Ledson's books, Raising Brighter Children and Teach Your Child to Read in Just 10 Minutes a Day.

  • eSchool/Day
  • Traditional
Sidney Ledson Institute 4501 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary eSchool Day Coed

While SSAT results are taken seriously, they're only one part of the admissions process. You should try, then, not to put too much emphasis on them. 

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In this guide, we answer several important questions about the SSATs. We discuss the format of the test, how to prepare for it, and offer tips for success. To view a list of schools requiring the SSAT, click here.

Why do some schools require students to take the SSAT?

A number of schools across Canada require applicants to take the SSAT. The aim of the test is to assess a student’s verbal, quantitative, reading, and writing skills.  It can sometimes be a good indicator of potential academic success.

That said, SSAT tests are not meant to measure all traits that can contribute to academic success. For instance, the test doesn't directly assess motivation, persistence, or creativity.

Who designs the SSAT?

The test is developed by committees made up of education experts and independent or private school teachers. The questions are rigorously reviewed to make sure they're the appropriate degree of difficulty. 

How reliable is the test?

According to SSAT.org, very. The verbal and quantitative sections of the SSAT have a reliability score of higher than .90. The reading section has a slightly lower scoreThese scores are considered above average by widely recognized educational  standards.

What makes the SSAT a norm-referenced test?

The SSAT is a norm-referenced test. This means it interprets each individual score in relation 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 over the past three years. 

The SSAT reports percentile ranks, which are calculated relative to the performance of the norm group. It's important to remember that the SSAT norm group is a highly competitive group.

Among the flurry of private school application requirements, the SSAT test is one of 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 your child is as prepared as he or she can be.

Tips for SSAT Success

Timing is key

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 these vary between schools.

Once you know you will need to take the SSAT test, ensure you do the following:

Order a prep test

Help is only a click away. The Secondary School Admission Test Board publishes a book of full-length practice tests, available online.

It contains:

The guide currently costs $30. Once you've received the test, go 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.

Prep courses

Some organizations offer prep courses for the SSAT, which may help prepare your child. It's important to note, though, that prep courses are not endorsed by the SSAT's governing body.

Work together with your child

Parents can help by going over test-taking strategies with children and helping them practice. After giving your child a timed test, go over the wrong answers with your child, to help him or her figure out how to do better when taking the actual SSAT.

Get familiar with the test format

Section Testing time Questions Skills tested
Verbal 30 minutes (one section) 30 synonym questions Vocabulary

30 analogy questions

Vocabulary and verbal reasoning

Quantitative

60 minutes (two 30-minute sections)

50 multiple-choice questions

Math reasoning and computation

Reading

40 minutes (one section)

7 reading passages and 40 questions

Reading comprehension

Writing Sample

25 minutes (one section)

1 essay prompt

Writing

Verbal
Quantitative (math)
Reading comprehension
Writing sample

Sample SSAT questions

Below, are some sample SSAT questions for each section: verbal, quantitative, and reading. (Source: the Study Point, a test preparation and tutoring institute.)

Verbal


Answers: 1. (D), 2. (C), 3. (A); 1. (E), 2. (A), 3. (B), 4. (D)

Math
 





Answers: 1. (B), 2. (C), 3. (C), 4. (C)

Reading

Answers: 1. (C), 2. (C), 3. (B)

Levels of the SSAT

There are three SSAT levels:

  1. Elementary Level SSAT: For children currently in 3rd and 4th grades who are applying for admission to 4th and 5th grades.
  2. Middle Level SSAT: For children currently in grades 5-7 who seek admission to grades 6 through 8.
  3. Upper Level SSAT: For children currently in grades 8-11 who are applying for admission to grades 9 through PG (Post Graduate).

The day of the test

On test day, don't forget:

Standardized test-taking can be very stressful. It's important to remember the test is just one element of an independent school's admissions criteria. Many other factors will affect a school's decison.

Answers: 1. (B), 2. (C), 3. (C), 4. (C)

 
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