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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


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List of private schools requiring the SSAT

 
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Type
Grades
 
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bayview Avenue/Lawrence Avenue East
  • 3 to 12 Boys
  • $34,150

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

  • Day
  • Traditional
Crescent School 34150 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Spadina/St Clair Ave W
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $32,860 to $62,250

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.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Progressive
The Bishop Strachan School 32860 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Vaughan, Ontario
    407/Dufferin
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $15,995 to $19,995

D.A. is a K-12 university prep, coed IB candidate 21st Century school. Enriched and rigorous curriculum. Balanced academics, arts, athletics & character development. We value best practices & evidenced based approaches.

  • Day
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Delano Academy 15995 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed

TMS  

  • Richmond Hill, Ontario
    Bayview/Hwy 407
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $18,300 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 18300 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bloor Street East/Mount Pleasant Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,630 to $66,805

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

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Branksome Hall 33630 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Girls
  • Oakville, Ontario
    Lakeshore Road West/Fourth Line
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $37,350 to $74,550

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 37350 MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Lawrence Avenue West/Avenue Road
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $33,850 to $61,900

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.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Liberal Arts
Havergal College 33850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Girls
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Buena Vista Road/Springfield Road
  • PS to 12 Girls
  • $13,960 to $26,960

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Elmwood School 13960 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    St Clair Ave W/Avenue Rd
  • SK to 12 Boys
  • $33,300 to $61,860

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.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Liberal Arts
  • International Baccalaureate
Upper Canada College 33300 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Boys
  • King, Ontario
    King Road/Dufferin Street
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $28,850 to $29,850

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 28850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • King City, Ontario
    Keele St./King Rd.
  • 4 to 12 Coed
  • $18,700 to $19,400

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 18700 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Mississauga, Ontario
    Cawthra/Lakeshore
  • PS to 7 Coed
  • $18,820 to $33,970

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) 18820 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Maple Ridge, British Columbia
    240th Street/Dewdney Trunk Road
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $22,500 to $32,500

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 22500 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Yonge St./Eglinton Ave.
  • 1 to 12 Girls
  • $30,750

St. Clement's School develops outstanding women who are intellectually curious, courageous, and compassionate.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
St. Clement's School 30750 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Queen St./Ossington Ave.
  • 7 to 12 Coed
  • $26,960

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

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
University of Toronto Schools 26960 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $10,200 to $18,250

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 10200 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Don Mills Rd/York Mills Rd
  • PS to 6 Coed
  • $4,501 to $12,800

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.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Sidney Ledson Institute 4501 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Day Coed
  • Okotoks, Alberta
    Range Road 12/306 Ave W
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $16,100 to $23,580

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 16100 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Donald St/Frances St
  • NS to 8 Coed
  • $9,000 to $10,300

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 9000 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools Day Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bathurst St./St. Clair West
  • 7 to 12 Boys
  • $20,150

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 20150 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boys
  • West Vancouver, British Columbia
    Upper Levels Highway/Cypress Bowl exit
  • PS to 12 Coed
  • $19,980 to $24,820

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.

  • Day
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
Mulgrave School 19980 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • 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
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Bayview/Lawrence
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $19,760 to $33,970

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
  • Progressive
  • International Baccalaureate
TFS - Canada's International School 19760 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • Markham, Ontario
    14th Ave/Kennedy
  • NS to 12 Coed
  • $10,500 to $36,000

Trillium School is a montessori school that offers programs from pre-school to grade eight in Markham.

  • Boarding/Day
  • Montessori
Trillium School 10500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • K to 12 Coed
  • $12,900 to $18,500

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.

  • Day
  • Traditional
Rundle College 12900 Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • St. Catharines, Ontario
    Ridley Road/Henrietta Street
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $17,850 to $70,000

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 17850 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Boarding Day Coed
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • JK to 12 Girls
  • $22,900

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 22900 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Girls
  • Aurora, Ontario
    St. John's Sideroad/Yonge Street
  • 5 to 12 Boys
  • $36,920 to $68,720

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

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
St. Andrew's College 36920 MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Boys
  • Calgary, Alberta
  • JK to 12 Coed
  • $13,300 to $15,100

Clear Water Academy is a private Catholic school that stands ready to meet and expand the minds and passions of some of the brightest students in Calgary, and exchange students from around the world.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
Clear Water Academy 13300 Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Coed
  • 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.

  • Day/Boarding
  • Traditional
  • International Baccalaureate
Léman Manhattan Preparatory School 5500 Preschool Kindergarten Elementary MiddleSchools HighSchools Day Boarding Coed
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Avenue Road/St. Clair Ave.
  • 5 to 12 Coed
  • $14,975 to $15,175

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 $14,575.

  • Day
  • Liberal Arts
De La Salle College 14975 MiddleSchools HighSchools 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. 

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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