Overview of The SSAT and ISEE Tests

Overview of The SSAT and ISEE Tests

Although there are some private academies and boarding schools that accept almost anyone who applies, the better ones have a screening process.  This includes a pair of High School Entrance Tests:  the Secondary School Admissions Test (SSAT) and the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE).  The better you do on this test, the better his chances of being accepted into the academy.  Both exams are similar in that they measure the student’s learned skills in key academic competencies (math, English, reading, etc.).  However, each also has some subtle differences.


If you’re applying to a boarding school, private school,  or military school for your child, it’s likely that he or she will be required to take the SSAT.  A few private secondary schools also require it.  Main SSAT Site.  The exam is administered every month, one day, between November and April, as well as once in June.  There are numerous locations where the exam is offered, in most regions of both Canada and the United States.

The test consists of a writing sample and four multiple-choice areas.  These areas are designed to test the student’s verbal, reading and quantitative skills.  The writing sample tests students’ ability to express his thoughts and knowledge in a practical way.  Students are given 155 minutes to complete the entire exam.

The questions break down as follows:  The Quantitative section (Mathematics) has 25 questions.  The student is expected to finish this in 30 minutes or less.  The Verbal section, which includes analogies, has 60 questions, testing the student’s knowledge of vocabulary.  Student have 30 minutes.  The Reading Comprehension section has 40 questions covering student’s ability to read and comprehend brief selections.  He / she will have 40 minutes to complete the section.  For the essay, the student has 25 minutes.


The ISEE is the exam that you’re child will likely be asked to take if you’re seeking to enroll him in a private middle or high school that is non-residential in nature.  The ISEE is administered by ERB.  It’s given on multiple Saturday mornings from fall through winter, and as with the SSAT, it’s offered in every region throughout North America.

The student is allowed three hours for the exam, which consists of four sections, all multiple-choice.  The sections are Verbal Reasoning, Reading Comprehension, Quantitative Reasoning, and Essay.

There are 40 questions in the Verbal section, which tests the student’s knowledge of vocabulary and correct sentences. Twenty minutes are allotted for the section. Reading Comprehension has 40 questions which test the student’s ability to understand short reading passages.  He / she has 40 minutes.  Quantitative Reasoning / Mathematics Achievement has 80 questions total on general math concepts and data comparison.  There are 75 minutes allowed. And the essay is to be completed in 30 minutes.

Preparing for Test Day

Smart parents will require that their children prepare for either the ISEE or SSAT before the day of the test.  This will help clear the cobwebs from the child’s mind regarding concepts that he or she has not used in a while.  What to do before you take a Test. More importantly, it helps them know what to expect on the test so that they don’t freeze in the middle of it. Test preparation experts recommend that they take at least three practice tests before taking the real one.  Also, inform your child that if he or she has no idea what the answer is, to leave it blank (Both tests penalize for wrong answers). More about Guessing.  However, help them to see how good they are at narrowing down the possibilities to just one or two good answers.  If the practice tests show that they’re good at this narrowing-down process, encourage them to go ahead and guess–if they can safely eliminate two or more possibilities.

Test Preparation for the SSAT and the ISEE

Reading Comprehension
Tips for Improving Reading Comprehension
Help with Reading Comprehension

Essay Questions
Studying for an Essay Exam
The Ultimate Guide to Answering Essay Questions

Test Preparation
The Ultimate Guide to Test Preparation

Dealing with Test Anxiety
How to Overcome Test Anxiety

2 thoughts on “Overview of The SSAT and ISEE Tests”

  1. Hey, I don’t think telling you this on your post Private School Entrance Exams – The ISEE and SSAT is the right place but I couldn’t find a contact form in your somewhat cluttered theme

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *