Anna Tsioulias: Grade 8
For seventh- and eighth-graders, the November and December SSAT is coming up. The Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT, is a standardized test taken by students for admissions officers to assess the abilities of the students who want to apply to their secondary school. There are six parts to the SSAT: one verbal, two math, one reading, one essay, and one experimental section. There are three levels of the SSAT: the Elementary Level SSAT (Grades 3-4), Middle Level SSAT (Grades 5-7), and the Upper Level SSAT (Grades 8-11). Students are scored on the SSAT by comparing their test scores to other people’s test scores.
The SSAT is difficult, so you should prepare once registered. Here are some tips, study methods, and suggestions on how to study for the SSAT.
Buy study books
There are many practice SSAT books that you can purchase online. There are different books for the Upper Level and Middle Level. Some companies that sell books for the SSAT are Barron’s, Princeton Review, Peterson’s, Ivy Global, Kaplan, and even a book from the Official SSAT.
Focus on the areas that need improvement
You can figure out which sections of the test you need to work on by taking a practice test from one of the books. You can see if you get a lot of the questions wrong on the Math or Verbal sections and then do practice specifically to improve on that section, instead of practicing everything.
If you have trouble on the math section, you can do math practice from the practice books, or ask your math teacher why you got something wrong in one of the problems.
If you are struggling with the Verbal section, then there are a few options:
- Reading – Reading will increase your SSAT score, because you see words in context. This helps you remember words, and you can determine what they mean by analyzing the context of the story. So, if you see the words on the standardized test, you will remember the sentences where you saw the word in the book you read. Reading 20 minutes a day is an extremely helpful strategy.
- Memorize vocabulary words – memorizing vocabulary words will boost your verbal score, because the section is pretty much all vocabulary. You could buy the Vocabulary Cartoons Book for the SAT, Book One and Two. This book is particularly helpful.
- Another way to memorize words is to do an online program. A good website to memorize SSAT words is com. You can log in with your Buckley Google email and gain access to thousands of study sets that help you memorize SSAT words. The website keeps track of your progress, so you can compete against other students (in your class or in the United States) to see how many words you can memorize in a week or a month in comparison to other people. This website is free, and you can create a study set, too, if you want to study certain words.
The night before you take the test, do not do practice or review for it. Let your brain rest and get a good night’s sleep. When you wake up, eat a healthy and energizing breakfast. Sharpen five #2 wooden pencils (non-mechanical) and pack a healthy snack, like an apple, so you can eat something that will give you energy when there is a break.
Do not forget to bring your admission ticket when you are going to take the test, because you cannot take the SSAT without it.