The Best SSAT Tutoring

Information about the SSAT

SSAT tutoring prepares students for the SSAT or Secondary School Admission Test, used as an entrance exam for admission evaluation into private elementary, middle, and high school. It is administered seven times each year by the Secondary Schools Admissions Testing located in Princeton, New Jersey. Scores are accepted by more than 600 schools. Schools that accept SSAT scores include independent unaffiliated private day and boarding schools, non-diocesan Catholic schools or Catholic schools operated by religious orders, and non-Catholic religious-affiliated schools.

There are currently three levels of the SSAT for admission into different grades:

  1. Elementary Level
  2. Middle Level
  3. Upper Level


The scoring of the SSAT is as follows:

  1. You get one point (+1) for each correct answer, and you lose one quarter of a point (- 1/4 point) for each incorrect answer.
  2. Omitted answers have no effect (0 points) on your score. If you can eliminate one incorrect answer choice, then it is in your statistical favor to guess.
  3. If you cannot eliminate any answer choices, then we recommend leaving the answer blank to that question. (Note: the Elementary Level SSAT does not have a guessing penalty, so students should answer every question on this exam.)
  4. Calculation of right answers minus one fourth of wrong answer yields your raw score. 
  5. Do not worry that your standing on the exam may suffer in comparison to students in other grades taking the same upper-level exam. 
  6. SSAT scores are scaled and reported in percentiles that compare only students within the same age and grade group.
  7. The essay is not scored by the SSAT, but it is made available to read for the admission officers at the schools to which the student applies.

Frequently Asked Questions


If a student is applying to a private school, there is a good chance that the school will require students to submit standardized test results. The two most frequently accepted tests are the ISEE and SSAT.

Students should check with the schools to which they are applying which tests the schools accept or require. If the school accepts both the ISEE and SSAT, then students should take a practice test of each to determine which test fits them best.

To determine which test to take, students should take a diagnostic of both to see which one fits them best.

Note: Because the ISEE can only be taken once in any given testing season (Fall: August t0 November. Winter: December to March. Spring: April to July), students are likely to only have one try on the ISEE when they are fully prepared for it.

There is variability in any test date: Students could have a good or bad day, the content tested on that test date might fit them particularly well or not, etc. Given that variability, there’s higher risk inherent with going with the ISEE.

For that reason, if a student scores significantly higher on the ISEE, they should prepare for the ISEE. If they only score slightly higher on the ISEE diagnostic, then it’s still safer for them to prepare for the SSAT, because they can easily take the SSAT multiple times. And, if a student does prepare for the ISEE, they still might want to register for and take an SSAT as a back-up, just in case they get unlucky on the ISEE test day and the test does not go as planned.

Students cannot use a calculator on any portion of this exam.

There are usually two score reports. The first is the school score report, and the second is the student/parent report. The schools normally receive students’ scores about two weeks after the test, and they are released both by mail and online. For students, their scores are usually released online within two weeks of the exam and can also be sent by mail for an additional fee. When students and parents log into their online account on, they can click on the “Check Scores” button which will take them directly to their scores. For all info about scores (how to check, send, verify, etc), see the SSAT page by clicking here.

Elementary Level SSAT

Students in 3rd and 4th grade take this test for admission into 4th and 5th grade, respectively.
  • There are no guessing penalties on the elementary level test, so put an answer down for every question.
  • Students answer directly in the book (there is no scantron for elementary testing).
  • There is a picture prompt for the essay section (they are asked to give a response to a picture). The essay does not get scored by the SSAT, but admission officers can read a copy of the essay.


Click here for more info about the Elementary Level SSAT from the makers of the test.

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime
Mathematics3030 minutes
Verbal3020 minutes
Break015 minutes
Reading2830 minutes
Writing Sample115 minutes
Experimental Section15-1715 minutes
Total104-1062 hr and 5 min

Middle Level SSAT

Students in 3rd and 4th grade take this test for admission into 4th and 5th grade, respectively.

Click here for more information about the Middle Level SSAT from the makers of the test.

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime
Writing Sample125 minutes
Break05 minutes
Mathematics2530 minutes
Reading4040 minutes
Break010 minutes
Verbal6030 minutes
Mathematics2530 minutes
Experimental1615 minutes
Total1673 hr and 5 min

Upper Level SSAT

Students in grades 8-11 take this test for admission into grades 9-12, respectively.

Click here for more information about the Upper Level SSAT from the makers of the test.

SectionNumber of QuestionsTime
Writing Sample125 minutes
Break05 minutes
Mathematics2530 minutes
Reading4040 minutes
Break010 minutes
Verbal6030 minutes
Mathematics2530 minutes
Experimental1615 minutes
Total1673 hr and 5 min

After Acceptance to High School

Once you start high school (or before), we are here to support you if you need help in any academic subjects and/or if you are struggling to stay motivated and succeed. And, when you need it, we specialize in SAT and ACT prep and provide one-on-one, customized tutoring to over 1,000 students every year for these college entrance exams.

Timeline for SAT/ACT Testing and College Admissions

Fall of sophomore year:

Students take the PSAT in October and get results back in early December. These results do not count toward National Merit status, and we recommend that students do not prep for it (here’s more info one why we make that recommendation). But, the results do give us an early indication of where a student’s standardized test score is at, which can inform if we need to start SAT/ACT prep earlier than anticipated.

Summer after sophomore year:

In June, take our free diagnostic SAT and ACT exams to determine which test suits your child best and then start SAT prep or ACT prep (recruited athletes or those needing very large score increases sometimes need to start the process earlier).

Throughout junior year:

Take the SAT/ACT tests until you hit your score goal (ACT scores, in particular, can be deleted at any time, so there’s no downside to re-taking the test).

October of junior year:

Most students take the PSAT (this score does not matter for the vast majority of students) — the results for this test come back in early December of that year.

Summer after junior year and early fall of senior year:

College visits and applications.

November 1st and 15th of senior year:

Early application deadlines for most colleges.

A few tips for test day

Remember the order of difficulty on the Math sections. You’ll find the hardest questions at the end of the section, which means that the answers are more complex. Look carefully at the choices and really think about what the question is asking. But, because all questions have equal worth, there is no reason to rush through the easier questions to get to the hardest ones, since everyone has a lower probability of getting the hardest questions correct anyway.
Don’t read the directions during the test. You should have read and memorized the directions before sitting down to take the exam. So when the exam clock starts ticking, don’t waste time rereading directions you already know. Instead, go directly to Question 1.
Bring a watch. To pace yourself, you need to keep track of the time – and what if there is no clock in your room or if the only clock is out of your line of vision? So bring a watch just in case. A word of warning: Don’t bring a watch that makes noise (such as one that has an alarm) or a smartwatch — both can get you kicked out of the test.
Keep it moving. If you don’t know an answer, that’s ok. Don’t get stuck. There may be questions later on in the test that you can answer easily, and you don’t want to lose points just because you didn’t get to them. And, if you have time left over, you can go back to the questions you skipped.

over 99% five-star reviews

See what our students have to say

Molly and Neve talk about their experience at Summit Prep:

Margie B.
Read More
I can’t thank david for all his hard work and getting my son the score he was aiming for!! Summit prep is an unbelievable place to get your kids ready for their college prep Act and SAT courses!!! Thanks again for making this year end with a bang!!
Thomas S.
Read More
The entire experience from start to finish was excellent. The process was clearly outlined and understood. Scheduling was a breeze and our teacher come not have been more flexible.
Georgia B.
Read More
Eva was wonderful. With her help I was able to get into my top school and receive and scholarship. I loved her help and spending time studying.
Jeanine L.
Read More
We were lucky enough to be referred to David at Summit Prep! My son enjoyed working with David as he felt that he really helped him prepare for the ACT. He explained concepts covered on the test as well as the test itself. My son felt confident taking the test and did so well that he only had to take it once!
Ben H.
Read More
David helped me improve my SAT from a 1480 to a 1570 over the course of about 2 months. Each session made me feel more and more confident.
Jill B.
Read More
Eva took on an almost impossible task and seriously worked a miracle! We found out we were moving, and our son had to take the ISEE exam asap. From his practice test to the exam, his scores went up exponentially. We give her 5 enthusiastic stars!
Rachel F.
Read More
My twins have had a wonderful experience with Summit Prep preparing for the ACT. David is extremely knowledgeable and connects individually in a very relatable and helpful manner for each student. I highly recommend Summit Prep!
Janice B.
Read More
All three of my children have used Summit Prep for their test prep and, I believe, reached their full potential as a result of the outstanding guidance of David and Ryan. His ongoing support went above and beyond. Many thanks!
Kwesi A.
Read More
My son just got accepted into MIddlebury!! He could not have gotten a better tutor than Eva!!! She is the best!
Arlene S.
Read More
Summit Prep are professional, enthusiastic, encouraging and most importantly successful in helping our son achieve his goals. We would strongly recommend using David and his team and want to convey our thanks for all of their help!

We are experts at both in-person and online tutoring.

From the Summit Prep Blog