The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is used as an entrance exam by independent schools, mostly in the United States and Canada. Along with the ISEE, the SSAT is one of the premier admission tests for independent schools.
If your child is seeking admission to an independent school that requires the SSAT, the best way to prepare is by answering official practice questions.
To help you and your student get started, we will provide you with SSAT sample questions, and guidance on how to find SSAT practice tests in printable format for the middle level SSAT. In addition, we will share some useful information about the middle level SSAT, including content, format and test prep tips.
What Kind of SSAT Material is Available for Free?
There is a limited amount of free SSAT practice material on the web. However, you can find some official mini-practice tests, as well as download a complete free SSAT practice test PDF, if you don’t mind using an unofficial version.
Where Can I Find SSAT Sample Questions?
The company that creates the SSAT is not very generous with free sample questions. You can access only about 10 questions by downloading their middle-level SSAT PDF.
Download the SSAT 10-question sample PDF now by clicking the button below, and we will also send you our 5 proven test prep strategies for using official SSAT practice tests to effectively prepare.
These strategies are the ones we use in our test prep practice and have been culled from 16 years of preparing hundreds of students for this challenging test.
Where Can I Download Free SSAT Middle Level Practice Test?
You can register on the SSAT website in order to get access to a free online middle level practice test. The middle level test has three sections, with a total of 30 question. This means that the test is not a full-length practice test, but just more sample questions, albeit with a timer clock ticking away as you work (you have 30 minutes to complete the online test).
You can only see one question per screen, so this is not printable PDF. Please also note that the online SSAT mini-test does not include a writing component, so you’ll have to find other resources if you want practice on the SSAT essay.
If you want more material, you will have to get it through a third party seller. The main site that provides free SSAT materials is IvyGlobal.com, where you can access a middle level full-length practice test with answer keys.
Where can I Find A Full-Length Printable SSAT Practice Test?
You might be thinking that the dearth of free practice material means it might be time to buy a practice test or test prep book. If so, your best bet is to stick with the publishers of the SSAT itself, and buy their official test prep guide from the SSAT website.
The SSAT Middle Level official guide (for students currently in grades 5 through 7 applying for entry into Grades 6 through 8) has 2 full length practice tests, as well as helpful information on SSAT content, format and scoring. The best thing about the guide is that the tests can be taken with a pencil, which is how your child will take the actual test. At the time of writing this article, the guide costs $37.
You can also get the same guide and tests at as an ‘online package’ for $49.95. If you buy the online version of the official guide, you will also get a few bonuses including an extra practice test, fifteen SSAT mini-tests on each section (quantitative, reading, verbal), videos, additional exercises and quizzes.
That’s it for the official SSAT material.
Now we’ve discussed SSAT practice tests, and where you can find them, let’s take a look at the test itself:
SSAT: The Basics
The SSAT is a highly reliable assessment that is written by independent school educators in collaboration with experts on testing and content. Each test question undergoes thorough review by a committee.
The assessment is designed to measure basic verbal, math, and reading skills that are necessary for academic success.
The test is available in three different levels:
The SSAT can be administered individually or in a group setting. The majority of students take the test on one of 8 designated Saturdays during the school year at test sites worldwide. Flex administrations are available on additional dates if needed.
SSAT Middle Level: Question Types
Although we’ve shared an SSAT Practice Test Middle Level PDF, we’d also like to take some time to provide information about the question types your child will encounter on the test.
The Middle Level SSAT is composed of five sections:
In total, the Middle Level SSAT requires candidates to answer 167 questions within 3 hours and 5 minutes. Two 5-10 minutes breaks are provided during test administration.
With the exception of the writing sample, all SSAT sections are multiple choice. Each question is accompanied by five potential answer choices.
On the Middle Level SSAT, incorrect answers are penalized. Students gain 1 point for correct answers and lose ¼ point for each incorrectly answered question. Omitted questions do not count for or against a student’s score.
For this reason, you should advise your child to avoid making random guesses. However, making an educated guess is reasonable if at least two answer choices can be eliminated.
Although unscored, the writing portion of the SSAT is designed to give school admissions officers an idea of a student’s ability to organize and express ideas. On the Middle Level assessment, students are given a choice between two creative story starters.
Students then have 25 minutes to respond to the prompt.
While the essay is not scored, it is sent to your child’s schools of interest along with the SSAT score report. The importance placed on the essay will vary from school to school.
There are two Quantitative sections on the Middle Level SSAT. Each section consists of 30 questions that must be answered in 25 minutes.
The Quantitative section of the test is designed to measure problem solving skills related to arithmetic, basic algebra, geometry, and other quantitative concepts. A calculator is not necessary to solve these problems, and calculator use is not permitted on the test.
Questions may address the following mathematical topics:
(Suggested Image 2: Sample question-Quantitative or Reading Comprehension)
Middle Level students are given 40 minutes to answer 40 Reading Comprehension questions. This section evaluates a student’s ability to analyze and comprehend reading passages.
The SSAT uses both narrative and argumentative passages. Narrative passages may be excerpts from novels, short stories, poems, or essays.
Provided passages typically range from 250-350 words. Passages may be related to the following:
Comprehension questions may ask your student to:
The Verbal section of the SSAT is comprised of 60 questions, and 30 minutes are provided to complete them. The questions assess vocabulary, verbal reasoning, and the ability to identify relationships between ideas and words.
There are two types of Verbal questions: synonyms and analogies.
Synonym questions require students to determine the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the provided word.
To answer analogy questions, students must first determine the relationship between a provided pair of words. Students are given an additional word and must pair it with the word choice that creates the same relationship as that of the original pair.
Students may also be given an Experimental section asking 16 additional questions. These questions are being evaluated for use on a future SSAT and will not impact your child’s score.
How to Prepare for the Middle Level SSAT
(Suggested Image 3: Parent and middle school student talking, middle school student reading a book or paying attention in class)
We’ve provided test prep information in your SSAT Practice Test Middle Level PDF, but here are a few additional tips to help put your child on the path to success.
Since some SSAT questions are based on knowledge of reading and mathematics, remind your child to remain focused in English and Math classes and to keep up with class notes, homework, and classwork throughout the year.
We also recommend having your child read a certain amount of minutes or pages weekly in order to improve reading comprehension and expand vocabulary. You may also consider using vocabulary flash cards or teaching your child common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
Most importantly, help your student complete practice tests and work through practice questions in order to increase confidence and become more familiar with test content and structure.
If you downloaded SSAT sample questions or a Middle Level practice test PDF from the links above, then this is a great way to get started!
With the practice test, tips, and information provided here, your child should be well on the way to a successful performance on the SSAT.