What is it?

  • The SSAT is the Secondary School Admission Test
  • A standardized test used by admission officers to assess the abilities of students seeking to enroll in US boarding schools
  • Standard SSAT is given on 8 designated Saturdays during the academic year at worldwide test sites (1 August to 31 July)
  • Once every month from Oct each year through Jun, except May
  • Registration for tests (of all dates) begins on 1 Aug each year and closes 3 days before the actual date of test

Three levels – Elementary Level, Middle Level, Upper Level 

  • Elementary Level SSATStudents currently in Grades 3-4 (i.e. P3 – P4 in HK) 
  • Middle Level SSAT: Students currently in Grades 5-7 (i.e. P5 – F1 in HK) 
  • Upper Level SSAT: Students currently in Grades 8-11 (i.e. F2- F5 in HK)



  • Multiple Choice questions
    • 5 choices
    • 1 mark for each correct answer
    • no marks deducted for unanswered questions
    • ¼ marks deducted for each incorrect answer 
  •  Pencil and paper test
  • Five sections: (1) Writing Sample, (2) Quantitative (Math), (3) Reading Comprehension, (4) Verbal, and (5) Experimental Section
  • Duration: 3 hours and 5 minutes

1. Writing Sample

(i) NOT scored, but is included in the score reports sent to schools

Elementary: Only 1 picture prompt

Middle level: Choice between 2 creative essay questions, in 25 minutes

Upper level: Choice between 2 questions: creative or traditional essay, in 25 minutes

2. Quantitative (Math)

(i) Calculator not allowed

(ii) Include algebra, geometry, and other quantitative concepts

Elementary: 30 questions in 30 minutes (basic math concepts)

Middle level: 50 questions in two 30-minute sections

Upper level: 50 questions in two 30-minute sections

3. Reading Comprehension 

Elementary: 28 questions in 30 minutes (7 short passages, each with 4 questions)

Middle level: 40 questions in 40 minutes Reading passages range from 250 to 350 words

Upper level: 40 questions in 40 minutes Reading passages range from 250 to 350 words

4. Verbal

(i) Asks students to identify synonyms and interpret analogies

Elementary: 30 questions in 20 minutes

Middle level: 60 questions: 30 synonyms and 30 analogies in 30 minutes

Upper level: 60 questions: 30 synonyms and 30 analogies in 30 minutes

5. Experimental

(i) NOT scored

Elementary: 15-17 questions in 15 minutes

Middle level: 16 questions in 15 minutes (contains 6 verbal, 5 reading and 5 quantitative questions)

Upper level: 16 questions in 15 minutes (contains 6 verbal, 5 reading and 5 quantitative questions)

Test Results

  • Results are released to students online approximately 2 weeks after a standard test administration date.
  • Results can be released to schools designated at registration by you as a score recipient. You may also select recipient schools after you have received the scores.

Ampla’s Preparation Courses

Following our initial assessment, students will receive a customised plan based on the following curriculum which is designed to imitate US school assessments.

Verbal Skills

  • Develop vocabulary base
  • Enhance knowledge about word roots (e.g. suffixes and prefixes) in order to figure out relationships between different words (e.g. synonyms and analogies)

English Skills

  • Learn various strategies, and identify the most suitable techniques to use
  • Efficiently extract information and grasp the main idea of passages about history, literature and sciences 
  • Practice planning and writing a range of essay  topics

Maths Skills

  • Practice mental arithmetic
  • Master fundamental concepts from algebra to geometry
  • Strengthen ability to answer complicated questions tactically
  • Become familiar with a range of different types of questions

Ampla’s SSAT Course Highlights

  • 24/7 on-demand tutoring with our experienced team of US boarding school specialists
  • Flexible scheduling: online/ face-to-face lessons available
  • Tailor-made lesson plan complemented by weekly timed quizzes and progress reports

Strategic Plan

A week-by-week study plan specifically designed for you.

Targeted Approach

Review each topic with a focus on weaker areas, with condensed notes and study materials provided.

Practical Skills

Cover test-taking strategies including time management, making informed guesses and how to handle stress.

Exam Drill

Familiarize with different exam styles/ techniques/ mark schemes through practice papers.

US Schools Admissions

From consultation, school selection, applications essays guidance to SSAT/ ISEE preparation and interview coaching, Ampla supports your family along the application process.

Consulting Services

Admissions Success

Our consultants have helped students gain admission to Andover, Exeter, Choate, Deerfield, Loomis Chaffee, Dana Hall, Stevenson, The Webb School and more.

US Boarding School Applications

Entrance Exams

Designed and delivered by Ampla's Ivy League and Oxbridge tutors, our customized courses provide excellent preparation for students taking SSAT/ ISEE.

Exam Prep

Complimentary Consultation

Contact us now to schedule a mock test and arrange a complimentary meeting with our dedicated US boarding school specialists.