Because there are limitations and requirements related to foreign students attending public secondary/high schools (grades nine through twelve) under U.S. law, most students who want to transfer to or enter a secondary school in the United States choose to attend a private school.
There are many things to consider and much preparatory work needed when choosing the right school, but most schools with a high standard of academic achievement require students to take the 'Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)’. The SSAT is not an achievement test. Used by admission officers to assess the abilities of students seeking to enroll in an independent school, the SSAT measures the basic verbal, math, and reading skills students need for successful performance at school. It consists of multiple choice questions written and reviewed by high school teachers, university professors, and experts at ETS who manage SSATB (Secondary School Admission Test) for the SSAT and the TOEFL. The SSAT is divided into the Upper Level SSAT, Middle Level SSAT, and Elementary Level SSAT. The Upper Level SSAT is for students currently in grades 8-11 who are applying for admission to grades 9 through PG (Post Graduate). The Middle Level SSAT is for students who seek admission to grades 6 through 8. Elementary Level SSAT is for students who seek admission to 4th and 5th grades.
The SSAT consists of 4 subjects: verbal (vocabulary), quantitative (math), reading comprehension, and an unscored writing sample. Most Korean students score high on the quantitative section, but struggle with writing and vocabulary. As a result, it is desirable to spend time to improve these sections steadily. American high schools are increasingly emphasizing group discussions and writing. Therefore, students without sufficient training and confidence in writing would find immense difficulty following the class even if they do manage to get admission into a private U.S. high school.
The SSAT Exam Format
- MathI: 25 questions(25min)
- Verbal: 60 questions(25min)
- Reading: 40 questions(25min)
- Math II: 25 questions(25min)
- Essay: One Writing prompt(25 min)
Writing Sample: Students must write an essay either supporting or refuting a topic. Students receive different topics that require them to support arguments with specific examples from their personal experience, current affairs, history, and culture. The sample is not graded, but it is sent to the school along with the SSAT score, so students do need to try their best. The allotted time is 25 minutes. Because of the tight time restraint, students need to write concisely.
Reading Comprehension: This section is composed of 7 passages with a total of 40 questions. Reading Comprehension tests your ability to infer and understand the general topic and content of the passage.
- Quantitative - This section is composed of 2 sections, each with 25 questions concerning basic arithmetic problems (such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; percent and ratio; sequences and series; frequencies and estimation), elementary concepts of algebra, geometry, data analysis, and probability. Most Korean students find these concepts relatively easy, and have little difficulty solving them as long as they understand the questions posed in English.
- Verbal - This section is composed of 30 synonym questions and 30 analogy questions. Students must select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word given in the question in synonym questions, and in analogy questions, students must determine relationships between words. The verbal section is relatively difficult for Korean students. Studying prefixes and suffixes is helpful.
Incorrect answers are penalized in the SSAT. Specifically, each correct answer awards one point, and each wrong answer deducts a quarter point. The penalty aims to prevent test takers from making random guesses. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that students shouldn’t ever guess. Even a completely random guess has a 20% chance of answering the question correctly. If you can eliminate two possibly incorrect answer choices, the probability of correctly answering the question rises to 1/3. At this point, it makes sense to make an educated guess. If you can eliminate three incorrect answer choices, the probability jumps to 50%. However, if you can’t eliminate any possibly incorrect answers, it is best to leave the question blank.
How to register
How to apply for SSAT over the Internet - http://www.ssat.org
- Check the registration deadline
- Click "Register Online"
- If you have previously taken the exam: Enter Web Login ID & Birth date
- Enter Student Information, Test Information, and Score Reporting Information
- Enter Visa / MasterCard information. Click ‘Confirm’ if all information displayed on the screen is correct
- Print "SSAT Admission Ticket"
Interpreting the Score Report
The top of the score report contains basic information about the applicant, such as the applicant’s name, registration number, grade, and test level. The second part of the report provides information on the test result. The results are conveyed in four ways
- Scaled Score:
Each student will receive scaled scores for the Reading Comprehension, Verbal, and Quantitative sections of the SSAT, as well as a total scaled score. Each of the three main Lower Level test sections is scored on a scale of 440 to 710, with a total scaled score range of 1320 to 2130. Each of the three main Upper Level test sections is scored on a scale of 500 to 800, with a total scaled score range of 1500 to 2400.
- Percentile Ranks:
The SSAT score report provides percentile rankings for each category. Ranging between 1% and 99%, the percentile rankings show how a student performed compared to the other students in the same grade who have taken the SSAT during the past three years. For example, the best performing students would be in the 1% percentile.
- Estimated National Percentile Ranks:
Estimated National Percentile Ranks show an estimate of how the student performed compared to the national student population, not just the students that took the SSAT.
- Predicted 12th Grade SAT Score:
SBased on the SSAT score, you can figure out your predicted SAT score. Generally speaking, private American middle schools and high schools value the verbal, quantitative, and the overall score the most. Although the required scores vary depending on the school, top-tier schools in the east coast require a score over 70-80%.
The SSAT score will be sent to your school 2 weeks after the examination, and the parents’ copies will be sent home 4 weeks after the scores are sent to school. Currently, to register and take the exam in Korea, it costs $162, and although you can check your score 2-3 weeks later, applicants can pay an extra $20 to be notified within a week. This payment can be made in the test center in the form of a check.
Test Service Centers
Secondary School Admission Test Board 12 Stockton Street. Princeton, NJ 08540 Tel: (609)683-4440 Fax:(609)683-4507, 800-442-SSAT(7728)
Keeping pace with the rapidly changing educational trend, Steven academy offers a variety of classes preparing not just for the high schools and universities in the United States and other parts of the world, but also for the domestic international schools and universities admissions. The classes are offered in various levels so that the students not only can prepare for the admission tests which include recognition evaluation, English in-depth interview, and essay, but also can keep up with the intensive classes for SAT, AP, IBT, and other school subjects.