What Is Considered a Good SSAT Score?
Are you looking to have your child take the SSAT tests to get them into the best possible private school? If so, you will need to get ahead by preparing yourself by reading up on what are considered good SSAT scores, what the test scores involve, and, most importantly, how you can prepare your child to get good SSAT scores.
Unfortunately, the SSAT score is often not defined clearly. This article will help us eliminate some of that uncertainty. In this article, we will look at what the SSAT scoring comprises of, how the typical SSAT score report works, as well as how you can help a student into the upper percentile ranking through test preparation.
Read on to make sure your child is among the successful applicants for your choice of schools by making sure they score higher and get the required test scores.
Table of Contents
How Does SSAT Scoring Work?
The SSAT section scores are calculated starting with a raw score received by test takers.
Raw test scores are calculated by totaling each point gained for the number of questions answered correctly and then subtracting a quarter point for every wrongly answered question. The raw score is then turned into the scaled score for each of the three sections, indicating how well students performed compared to other students.
Understanding Your SSAT Score Report
The results are broken down in the Question Breakdown area of the score report that is given after the exam is taken, detailing the correct answers, incorrect responses, and questions that were not completed.
The SSAT section scores are calculated as a scaled score report:
- Elementary Level SSAT score: 300-600 for each section, totaling 900-1800
- Middle Level SSAT score: 440-710 for each section, totaling 1320-2130.
- Upper Level SSAT score: 500-800 for each section, totaling 1500-2400.
SSAT Percentile Rankings
SSAT score reports compare the results to that of other students in the same grade who took the test in the previous three years. They provide a percentile ranking for each of the three categories assessed by the test.
The SSAT percentile ranking can be found on the typical SSAT report. The percentile of the results is measured against a pool of first-time students in similar grades who have taken the SSAT in the past three years.
Most private schools will look at the student’s percentile rank as part of the admissions process.
Knowing your child’s percentile ranking on the SSAT can help you measure their performance throughout the test. This provides an accurate assessment of how your performance compares to that of other students and helps you identify strengths and weaknesses in areas such as verbal, reading, and math skills, all measured by taking the test.
By understanding your percentile score, you can track your progress over time and gain confidence in approaching future exams.
What Are Good SSAT Scores?
A good SSAT score is generally accepted to be in the 50th percentile ranking range, though there is no absolute standard.
This indicator of a student’s scores can give schools an idea of their aptitude and assist them in determining whether they are prepared for the rigor of private education.
While many schools use SSAT scores as part of their criteria for admission, it is only one part of a holistic evaluation process that takes into consideration various assessments, grades, teacher recommendations, and more.
After a particular point, a student would be considered for admission depending on additional factors, including their GPA, teacher recommendations, and extracurricular activities they take part in.
Having said that:
Most Schools Want SSAT Scores Above the 50th Percentile
The SSAT exam is incredibly useful for private schools seeking to evaluate applicants objectively and in an unbiased manner. Research has shown that aptitude scores from this test are highly reliable indicators for predicting academic success in the first year of school, suggesting its efficacy for admissions professionals.
This comprehensive assessment offers a fair basis for those considering applying to a competitive private school, allowing them to measure their academic potential accurately and with appropriate means.
SSAT scores are critical for a student’s future success, as they serve as important benchmarks in gauging academic qualifications and have direct implications for college admissions.
Students who consistently score higher than the 50th percentile on their SSATs often gain priority when being accepted into schools, with an improved chance of getting into their college of choice.
These standardized tests serve as objective measures of a student’s aptitude and comprehension; as such, they remain one of the most important factors considered by universities during the screening process.
Some Schools Want SSAT Scores in the 80-90th+ Percentile Rank
Students looking to attend prestigious and competitive schools such as Philips Exeter Academy, Andover, and Groton School should be aware of the average SSAT scores expected at these institutions. According to the Lawrenceville School’s website, applicants typically score in the 85th percentile or higher, with an average of around 80%.
This relative consistency across admissions is a testament to the high competitive standard at these schools and serves as a reminder that preparing for rigorous entrance exams is an essential step for those seeking entry into top-tier schools.
Even though having an SSAT score that is 81% and above may seem like a necessary requirement to attend a prestigious school, it is not necessarily the deciding factor for admission. This can be due to many factors, such as exemplary performance in related activities or courses or exceptional personal character and qualities of the student.
It is also possible that schools are looking for students who have complementary skills or experiences that they feel would add to their already well-rounded student population.
Therefore, despite having an SSAT score below 81%, students should not rule out the possibility of being admitted into those competitive schools if they demonstrate the qualities and characteristics sought by those institutions.
What Is The Average SSAT Score?
Between 2008 and 2011, more than 99,000 8th-grade students were among those taking this exam, yielding an average scaled score of 1995. Interestingly, SSAT scores have risen in recent years due to advancements in educational resources and instruction.
The SSAT score range is from 720–990: the average national SSAT score for students entering sixth grade is 810. More specifically, 790-850 is considered an ‘above average score’ and 850+ puts a student in the ‘high above average score’ category.
Is Scoring In The 99th Percentile On The SSAT Good?
Scoring in the 99th percentile in SSAT tests is an impressive feat, placing you among the top 1 percentile of students who succeed in SSAT exams. This places you at the highest percentile level and as a result, your SSAT score indicates great potential for future success.
Consequently, when designated to participate in SAT rankings for an upcoming job opportunity, you are sure to be recognized for standing out from the competition.
What Is The SSAT Test?
SSAT stands for Secondary Schools Admissions Test, which is an entrance exam taken by students applying to get into private high schools and middle schools. Seeing as these are generally focused on preparation, schools require prospective students to be in certain SSAT score percentile rankings for their admissions process.
The SSAT exam is an important preparatory tool for students looking to enter a private school. It helps familiarize them with the rigor of a more intensive curriculum that requires more in-depth study and the ability to think critically about complex ideas.
Learning how to self-motivate and take initiative are also key skills learned through this type of educational environment. With the SSAT, students can jumpstart their intellectual growth and prepare themselves for higher expectations. Proper preparedness is vital; proper practice leads to greater performance!
The Format Of The SSAT Exam
The SSAT test can be taken by students in elementary, middle, and high schools, from grades 3 through 11. As stated previously, the test is used to measure a student’s verbal, mathematical, and reading abilities.
These are broken down into individual sections and the overall average SSAT score is calculated. The tests are also compared and scaled scores are given, allowing results to be analyzed over the test taker’s school career.
The tests are standardized so that comparable results are produced among students as they progress in their education. This allows results to be analyzed over time and cuts across geographic boundaries with similarly scaled scores.
The middle and upper level test are both divided into six sections as follows: one for writing, one for verbal, two for mathematics, one for comprehension, and one for testing new questions. The middle and upper level tests take 3 hours and 5 minutes to complete.
The elementary level test comprises five sections that take 2 hours and 5 minutes to complete. It only has one mathematics section.
Two sections are unscored: the writing sample and the experimental question section.
Wrong Answer Penalty
SSAT scores are not just straight-converting questions. The SSAT is structured in such a way that questions answered incorrectly result in a penalty. For every correct answer, 1 point is awarded.
However, if a question is answered incorrectly, 1/4 point will be deducted from their total SSAT score. They will not gain or lose points if they leave a question unanswered.
Accommodations For SSAT Test Takers
The SSAT provides students with the following accommodations: 1.5 times more (extension of the exam length to 4.5 hours from 3.25 hours), use of alternative test equipment (laptop with spelling help, calculator, etc.), response directly in a book, use of a reader or other computer.
Extended time is the most commonly requested type of accommodation. This modification extends the time given to the test taker by adding half of the designated time to each section.
The reading session normally lasts 45 minutes or longer, although it might last up to 60 minutes.
Generally, if test takers are given a similar accommodation at their current school, they will be given the same when taking the SSAT test.
Preparing To Take The SSAT Test
Preparing for the SSAT can seem daunting for students and parents alike, but taking the time to adequately ready your child for this important exam could be the difference between them having a better chance of getting into their dream private schools or missing out altogether.
Knowing what to expect from the test will help to minimize stress and provide confidence while gaining an understanding of the target score needed to hit the desired percentile rankings is also crucial in increasing one’s chances for acceptance.
Therefore, if you are looking to apply to specific private schools, you must give consideration to preparing your child appropriately in advance of taking the SSAT.
When preparing your child to take the SSAT, there is one big difference they should be aware of. Unlike the standardized tests they may have taken in public schools, such as the SOLs, they will now incur a penalty for answering incorrectly on the SSAT.
While being careful and thoughtful with each answer is always recommended, it’s especially important on SSAT test day – guessing incorrectly could cost them precious points in their overall score. Knowing this difference between an SSAT exam and a state assessment could make a huge impact on your child’s SSAT results.
First and foremost, do your research. Reach out to your preferred schools and ask about the average SSAT score of other successful applicants.
Next, your best bet is to begin test prep. You can get your child to take practice tests so they know what to expect before heading in to take the real one.
Even though SSAT tests can be an anxiety-inducing challenge for many students and their families, TestPrep Online provides a helpful and affordable solution. Offering live tutoring, online video lessons, and practice materials, TestPrep Online’s services will help your child best prepare for SSAT admissions, gifted tests, or placement tests.
Their simulations are designed to offer a realistic testing experience so that students have an understanding of the material and become more comfortable with what to expect on test day. With TestPrep Online’s accessible services, you and your entire family can access the resources you need to feel confident and perform your best!
Studying for several months before an SSAT test can help raise SSAT scores and should be considered part of the admissions process into most private schools.
It’s a great idea to read statistics for SSAT scores, but remember that they are not perfect. Scores depend largely on private schools. Usually, colleges require a higher score on the SSAT. It’s not just the individual student SSAT score that helps determine whether students gain admission to a particular school.
Many schools evaluate student GPA, extracurricular activity, or volunteer options against test results. Also, make sure you research the scores of the schools in which you are interested.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.