Note: The following FAQs refer to the Middle and Upper Level SSAT except the section specifically for the Elementary FAQs.
SSAT Registration FAQ
How do I register for the SSAT?
I have more than one child, do they each need to have an account?
Yes. Each student must have a separate account.
Can I use my SSAT account from last year?
Yes. Your student's previous SSAT is still active.
How can I find a test center in my area?
Use the test center search.
What is the difference between a Standard and Flex test?
The SSAT is offered on 8 Saturdays between October and June at hundreds of locations throughout the U.S., Canada, and around the world. These 8 administrations are called Standard tests.
A Flex test is an SSAT given on a day other than the 8 Standard test dates, usually with a member school or educational consultant.
What is the best way for my student to prepare for the SSAT?
In general, becoming familiar with the format of the SSAT is the best way students can prepare. This includes understanding the type and quantity of questions on the SSAT, the setup of the sections, and gaining experience taking a standardized test.
Middle & Upper Level
Two official SSAT preparation tools are available. The first is The Official Guide to the SSAT, which includes two full length practice tests. The second is the SSAT Practice Online service, which offers even more practice content and tools and will be available beginning September 1, 2016. Log in to your account to order or access these services.
A free half-length practice test is available in both the 3rd and 4th grade Elementary level Official Guides to the SSAT. Use the links below to access the free PDFs.
The Official Guide to the Elementary Level SSAT- Grade 3
The Official Guide to the Elementary Level SSAT- Grade 4
How can I update my student's information?
What level of the SSAT will my student need to take?
Your student's test level is automatically selected according to the grade you select at registration.
Students listed in 3rd grade will take the 3rd grade Elementary level test.
Students listed in 4th grade will take the 4th grade Elementary level test.
Students listed in 5th, 6th, or 7th grade will take the Middle level test.
Students listed in 8th, 9th, 10th, or 11th grade will take the Upper level test.
You may choose to list your student at a grade that is higher or lower than their actual grade. Often families will list their student as one grade higher near the end of the school year to gauge how they might perform the following year. Additionally, if a student is repeating a grade, a school may ask the student to indicate one grade lower, so they can be compared to their new classmates.
How many times can I take the SSAT?
You can take one SSAT Flex test per testing year (August 1st to July 31st), in addition to all eight SSAT Standard tests.
Can I register for a test without listing score recipients?
Yes. You may choose to register and test without listing any score recipients. Remember, you can list score recipients before or after testing free of charge.
What is an access code and do I need one?
Flex test administrations may either be open or closed to the public. For example, a school may choose to test only their own students and create a "closed" Flex test. For closed Flex administrations, the test administrator will provide an access code to those invited to test so they may register. That access code must be entered during registration.
How should I list my gender if I am transgender?
When creating an account, a student’s gender must be indicated as male or female. This is because SSAT percentiles have traditionally been reported based upon both the indicated gender and also for all students in that grade. This allows gender-specific scoring, which single gender schools find most accurate for admission.
For transgender students who identify as either male or female, indicate the gender with which they identify and are indicating on applications to schools. To support gender-expansive students who do not identify as either male or female, please contact us prior to creating an account. We are working to update our gender selection and technical systems and in the meantime will work with families to ensure their student’s preferred gender indication is reflected on score reports and is communicated to score recipients and to schools to which any application has been made through the SAO.
Are nicknames allowed?
No. Please use your child's legal name. NOTE: If your student is testing in an enhanced security area (China, Hong Kong, Korea, or Vietnam), ensure the name is entered exactly as it appears on their passport.
How do I print my student's admission ticket?
To print your SSAT admission ticket, log in to your SSAT account, click "My Tests", find the test date you registered for, and click on "Print Ticket."
Students are required to bring their admission ticket to the test center.
Can my student bring a snack or drink to the test?
Yes. Snacks and drinks are allowed but may only be accessed or consumed during scheduled breaks. Your student will be asked to place all snacks and drinks in a designated "Snacks" area prior to testing. For easy identification, it is recommended that each student's snacks and drinks be brought in a large zip top bag with their name on the bag.
What is an irregularity?
Is there a place I can find information about test center closures?
Yes. Closure information can be found on the SSAT news page. If your test center is closed or otherwise has an important update, an email will be sent to the address listed on your student's account.
When does the test begin and end?
Testing normally begins at 9 a.m. local time. However, please check your student's admission ticket, which may state a different start time. Students should arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before testing begins to allow for check-in. The standard test is 3 hours and 5 minutes in length and students are usually excused between 12:10-12:30 PM.
How can I change my student's grade level, so they can take the correct level of the test?
Contact SSAT customer service by email, phone, or chat to update your student's grade level for a specific test. Customer service will confirm your information and make the change in your registration. You will also need to ensure your student understands what test level they should take. Students are prompted during testing to confirm they are taking the right level.
If you have any concerns about your student remembering to take the right level on test day after making a change, ask customer service to email you a grade change reminder note. You can complete this note per your grade/level preference and have the student provide it to the proctor during testing.
My student can't test today. Can I change the test to a different date?
Yes. Changing your student's test date is easy. You can reschedule a test up until the Friday following the test.
To change the test date (and location if necessary), log in to your student's account and click on “My Tests”. Click the “Change Test” button for the test you need to change. Follow the prompts to select a new test. There is a $35 change fee for all test date or location changes.
Tests must be transferred within the current testing season (August 1st to July 31st).
How do I cancel a test registration?
Is identification required?
Identification is only required in enhanced test security areas including China, Hong Kong, Korea, and Vietnam. If identification is required, it will be noted on your student's admission ticket.
Is the test online or on paper?
The SSAT is a pencil and paper test. For each question, your student will use a pencil to fill in a circle for the answer they have chosen. For Elementary Level tests, students fill in the answer directly in the test book. For Middle and Upper Level tests, students fill in the answer on a separate answer sheet. Students from all levels will also complete a writing sample in pencil.
What are the deadlines for registration?
Deadlines vary depending upon whether your student will be taking an SSAT Standard or Flex test. Furthermore, if your student requires testing accommodations due to a disability, additional deadlines will apply. For the majority of students who will take the SSAT Standard test, find complete deadlines here.
I forgot my password. How can I reset it?
I put my name in instead of my child's name. Can this be corrected?
Do you offer webinars about the SSAT?
Yes. Webinars are regularly scheduled throughout the year. You can sign up to attend webinars live or watch prerecorded versions. Visit our help center for current webinar information and offerings.
Testing Accommodations FAQ
Can students receive testing accommodations on the SSAT?
Yes. Any student with an identified disabling condition or impairment which substantially limits their ability to perform a major life activity can apply to receive testing accommodations. Students must apply and be approved for accommodations before registering to take the SSAT.
What must I do for my student to receive testing accommodations?
Students in need of testing with accommodations are required to apply AND receive approval for any accommodations they may need when taking the SSAT. No testing accommodations will be provided on test day unless they have been approved by us in advance of test day. For more information regarding the application process for requesting testing accommodations for the SSAT, please visit SSAT.org/TA. (The most comprehensive overview can be found within the Testing Accommodations Guide for Students.)
Will equipment, materials, and/or personnel be provided by the test site to cover all of my student’s testing accommodations on test day?
My student was already approved for accommodations on the SSAT and I would like to have additional accommodations considered for approval. What should I do?
If my student tests again during the same testing season, do I need to reapply for testing accommodations?
No. Any accommodations approved during a testing season (August 1st to July 31st ) will remain valid for the entire testing season. When you register your student for another test within the same testing season, you must indicate that your student requires accommodations when registering. This will link automatically link your student's approved accommodations to the new test.
Does my student's score report indicate that he/she took the SSAT with accommodations?
No. SSAT score reports do not provide any indication that a test was taken with accommodations.
Where can I find more information regarding specifics for each of the common accommodations listed within the application?
Information about each common accommodation provided for students taking the SSAT may be found in the Testing Accommodations Guide for Students available at ssat.org/ta.
How long will it take for my student’s testing accommodations to be approved?
In general, allow two weeks or more for the review and processing of your student’s application/request for testing accommodations. Review and approval timelines are greatly affected by the amount of time taken by your indicated approver to complete their portion of the approval; the need to provide documentation; and/or the need to submit additional documentation in support of your student’s request.
What is an accommodations approver?
An approver is a qualified individual who can affirm that valid documentation meeting our requirements is on file with their school or organization, and that the student is known to have a disability requiring testing accommodations.
If the existing documentation on file with the approver is an IEP, 504, or formal private school documentation, the approver should be a practitioner or representative from your student’s current school (i.e. school psychologist, special education or 504 coordinator, school counselor, speech/language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, school administrator, learning specialist, social worker, etc.). If the approver will be attesting to other types of documentation, the approver should be an appropriate medical practitioner involved with the diagnosis, treatment, testing, or care of your student.
How do I register for testing with accommodations?
Students MUST be approved for their respective testing accommodations BEFORE they will be permitted to register for the SSAT with accommodations. Once you have received approval for some or all of your requested testing accommodations, you will be able to move forward with registration. You must be sure to indicate, when prompted during the registration process, that your student requires accommodations. By indicating that your student requires testing accommodations, our system will then identify the approved accommodations for your student and will apply them to the completed registration. Step-by-step graphical instructions for registering for testing with accommodations are available at ssat.org/ta.
How do I determine what accommodation(s) my student needs when taking the SSAT?
It is best to consult with your student’s teacher(s), therapy provider(s), and/or medical professionals familiar with your student’s current educational testing needs to assist in determining which testing accommodations may be necessary and/or reasonable for your student when sitting for standardized testing.
What types of documentation can be submitted to substantiate my student’s accommodation request?
Any documentation which highlights your student’s educational testing needs resulting from an identified disability or impairment may be considered. The documentation submitted MUST: list or reflect a history of a disability; illustrate that any disability substantially limits a major life activity; illustrate that the accommodations requested are necessary and/or reasonable; and be dated within the last three (3) years from the date your student’s request is submitted. If any further documentation is needed to move forward with approving your student’s application, we will contact you. For more information regarding documentation requirements, please review the Testing Accommodations Guide for Students available at www.ssat.org/ta.
Fees and Payment
What is a test fee waiver and how do I obtain one?
Test fee waivers waive some or all of the test fee and are issued by members directly. Please contact the member school to which you are applying to in order to request one. The school will determine if your family meets their criteria to receive a test fee waiver and will determine the value of the waiver if one is provided.
Test fee waivers only waive a portion or all of the test fee itself and cannot be applied to other products or services.
What are the payment options?
Payment can be made by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or SSAT test fee waiver.
Are refunds offered for SSAT products and services?
We do not offer refunds for cancelled products or services.
What is the fee to change my test date?
The fee to change your student's test date and/or location is $35.
Why do you charge late and rush fees?
Late and rush fees are charged due to significant additional costs incurred for expedited shipping and handling of test materials.
More About SSAT Testing
Is your website secure?
Yes. The SSAT web site is secure and safe for the submission of personal and payment information. SSAT utilizes Authorize.net and current SSL technology to ensure secure online transactions.
If you get an error message that says the page is not available:
How do schools use my child's scores?
Schools use your child's scores in different ways—to estimate your child's ability to do work in a private school, to compare your child's performance with other applicants for admission, and/or to compare the test score with your child's present academic record.
Each school evaluates a child's scores according to its own standards and requirements. Specific questions about how test scores are used in the admission process should be directed to the school's admission officer.
Are testing accommodations, such as extra time, available for the Elementary SSAT?
Yes, families who can provide documentation verifying that their child routinely receives testing accommodations in his/her current academic setting may apply for testing accommodations. Testing accommodations must be approved in advance of test registration. For more information, visit the testing accommodations section.
How many times can my child take the Elementary SSAT?
Your child may take the Third or Fourth Grade SSAT twice during the testing year (August 1- July 31). Standard Elementary SSAT testing begins in December.
Are snacks or drinks allowed on the day of the test?
Yes, your child may bring snacks and beverages for consumption during the break. Snacks and beverages must be in a clear plastic bag and may not be consumed during testing.
Can my child use the restroom during the test?
A 15-minute break is provided during the test for trips to restroom. A child may raise his/her hand to use the restroom at any time during the test, but the child may not make up the missed testing time.
Should my child guess if he/she doesn't know the answer?
Encourage your child to try to answer every question, making his/her best guesses about the questions of which he/she is unsure. There are no penalties for wrong answers.
How do I report my child's scores to schools?
You may indicate the school's name at the time of test registration, or you may wait to receive your child's scores before designating score recipients through your child's online SSAT account.
Are fee waivers available for the Elementary SSAT?
Yes, you may request a fee waiver from the school to which you are applying, if you are unable to pay the test fee due to economic hardship. A fee waiver covers the cost of the test registration only and can be used in lieu of a credit card during test registration. The Enrollment Management Association does not offer fee waivers directly to students/families.
Prepare for the SSAT FAQs
What is the best way for my student to prepare for the SSAT?
In general, becoming familiar with the format of the SSAT is the best way students can prepare. This includes understanding the type and quantity of questions on the SSAT, the setup of the sections, and getting experience taking a standardized test.
Middle & Upper Level
Two official SSAT preparation tools are available. The first is The Official Study Guide for the SSAT, which includes three full length practice tests. The second is the SSAT Practice Online service, which offers even more practice content and tools. Login to your account to order or access these services.
A free partial practice test is available for both the 3rd grade and 4th grades in the Elementary Level Official Study Guide for the SSAT.
Do the writing prompts change?
Why should I use official SSAT practice tools?
The Official Study Guide for the SSAT and SSAT Practice Online are built by the same team that creates actual test forms and questions. They understand the SSAT inside and out and work hard to ensure official SSAT practice aligns with the real SSAT. While others companies, services, and products may claim to know the content that is on the SSAT, the truth is that SSAT questions are never released.
Scores Logistics FAQs
When will my scores be available?
Scores are delivered approximately 2 weeks after a standard test administration date. Learn more about getting your scores.
How do I get my scores?
Log into your SSAT account, click on the "My Scores" button. A list of test dates your student is registered for, or already took, will be listed. Click on the "+" next to the test date. A "View Score Report" option will appear as the menu expands. Click on this to view your score report.
Can I get my scores by email or over the phone?
No. Scores are released to students online via the SSAT account. For an additional fee, a paper score report can also be sent via U.S. Mail or FedEx. A text or email alert can be ordered through the SSAT account which will alert you when your score is ready. SSAT customer service representatives do not have access to student scores. See the Score Services page for more information.
Will the school I'm in automatically receive my test scores?
No. All score recipients, including your current school, must be selected as score recipients, either in the Score Recipient section of the registration form when you register for the test, or added later using your SSAT account. Click here for instructions on adding score recipients.
What is the difference between an advisor and a score recipient?
An advisor is someone who is assisting you with your testing and application process. This is usually a placement director at your school, an educational consultant, or an access organization counselor. This person works with students for outplacement and, once designated, will have access to view and send test scores on a student's behalf. Your full score report (including the writing sample) is NOT automatically available to your advisor. If you would like your advisor to have access to your full score report, you must also list them as a score recipient.
A score recipient is a school to which you wish to send your scores for enrollment consideration.
Can I choose which individual section scores are reported to schools?
This is referred to as "super scoring" and students cannot do this on the SSAT. Ex: You cannot select a verbal score from one test and then a quantitative section from another test. You can send as many full score reports for each test to as many or as few schools as you wish. However, some schools will do this themselves. Contact the admission office at the school(s) to which you are applying to see if they will use the highest scoring sections from multiple tests.
Can I register for a test without listing any score recipients?
Can I send my scores to a school that is not listed under Score Recipients?
SSAT is not authorized to release scores to institutions that are not members of The Enrollment Management Association. Check the School Search for the most current list of member schools and organizations.
If I test multiple times during the year, which scores are reported?
SSAT will send official score reports for each test only to those schools you designate. If you are unsure about reporting your scores, it may be best to wait until after you have received them to designate the school recipients.
Are score reports flagged showing the test was taken with testing accommodations?
SSAT score reports do NOT include any indication a test was taken with testing accommodations.
Scores and Schools FAQs
When will my scores be available?
Scores are processed and reported within two weeks of our receipt of testing materials.
How will I receive my score report?
Once released, scores will be available in your account. Log in to your account and click on "My Scores" and then click on the "+" sign. Click the "View Score Report" button.
I need to send the scores to a school. How do I do that?
Scores can be sent from your account. Please login to your account, click on "my scores" and then click on the + sign. You will see "add recipient." Type in the school name & click on "search." When the name comes up, click on it and the scores will be sent immediately.
Do schools see if the student has taken more than one SSAT?
Can I send my scores to a school that is not listed under score recipients?
No. SSAT scores may only be reported to members of The Enrollment Management Association, which administers the SSAT.
What is a score advisor?
Many families choose to use the services of an educational consultant or a placement counselor at their current school to help with the admission process. In these cases, families can list a member school or consultant as a score advisor. This score advisor will then have the ability to view the scores and list score recipients on behalf of the family.
Did my student do "well"?
If you have any questions about your student's performance, contact a school to which they are applying. Each school has different requirements and can provide feedback about the importance of scores and how they factor into the admission process. It is important to remember that SSAT scores are only one part of your student's application.
How will I receive my student's writing sample that I purchased?
Once available, writing samples are provided in your student's account. They are not sent via mail or email. Please login to your student's account, click on "My Scores", and then click on the + sign next to the their test. Then click on "Writing Sample."
How long are scores kept on file?
Scores are kept on file and can be reported for two testing seasons (August 1st to July 31st).
Can I see the actual questions my student got wrong?
No. The SSAT is a non-disclosed test and questions may be reused in the future. Thus, the specific test questions from your student's test are not available.
How do I know if a school accepts the SAO?
To find out whether a school participates in the SAO, use the school search, selecting the "Accepts Standard Application Online" filter. The results will only show schools that accept the SAO. In addition, you can search for a school by name using your account’s “Apply to Schools" feature. The search results will reflect whether the school accepts the SAO.
When does the school receive an application through the SAO?
As a best practice, we recommend that you first complete your student profile and submit it to a school along with the application fee. As soon as you do that, the school will receive and begin tracking your application via their SAO system. Any components and forms completed after this initial submission will be delivered to the school in real time.
What are the system requirements to use the SAO?
PC (Windows version 7,8,10)
- Chrome: We recommend at least version 51,52
- Firefox: We recommend at least version 47,48
- Microsoft Internet Explorer: Version 11
- Safari: Version 8,9
- Chrome: We recommend at least version 51,52
- Firefox: We recommend at least version 47,48
- Cookies must be enabled.
To view and print PDF files, we recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader (latest version). While PDF files should work with most other PDF viewers, we can only guarantee full compatibility and support with Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Can I use the SAO to apply for multiple years?
What if a school that I am applying to doesn't accept the SAO, while others do?
Though close to 500 independent schools in the U.S. and Canada accept the SAO, you might find a school you are interested in that does not. In that case, you must submit a traditional application to that school. We recommend that you visit the school’s website to understand their unique application process. Please note that certain components of the SAO application, like the Student Profile, Student Essays, and Parent Statement, once submitted through the SAO, are available in PDF files on completion via your SAO dashboard. You can simply download those and use them to apply to non-participating schools if the receiving schools do not have any objection.
What are Standard Application Online common forms?
- Parent Evaluation Form: A standard section containing personal development descriptors to be completed by the parent or guardian. Usually used for students applying to PK-Grade 5.
- Student Evaluation Form (typically used for grades PK-1): A standard recommendation form containing personal development descriptors and classroom readiness to be completed by a teacher at the current school.
- Student Evaluation Form (typically used for grades 2-5): A standard recommendation form containing personal development descriptors and classroom readiness to be completed by a teacher at the current school.
- Student Essay: A standard section containing 5 writing prompts to be completed by the student.
- Parent Statement: A standard section containing 4 writing prompts and student character skill descriptors to be completed by a parent or guardian.
- Personal Recommendation Form: A standard recommendation form to be completed by an adult familiar with the student outside of the classroom, in the areas of athletics, performing arts, or extracurricular interests
- English Recommendation Form: A standard recommendation form requesting information about the student’s English language knowledge, skills, and personal development to be completed by an English teacher at the current school.
- Math Recommendation Form: A standard recommendation form requesting information about the student’s mathematical knowledge, skills, and personal development to be completed by a mathematics teacher at the current school.
- Principal Recommendation Form: A standard recommendation form requesting information about the student’s overall academic background and personal development to be completed by a principal or guidance counselor at the current school.
- Official School Report and Transcript form: This is a standard form used by schools to collect information about an applicant's current/previous school academic performance. It includes instructions to upload official transcripts and school reports. It must be completed by a guidance counselor or school administrator. Most schools require 2 full years of transcripts as well as the most updated grades for the current year. Check all to request reports from one administrator, or select individual administrators for specific years.
- Any Teacher Recommendation: A standard recommendation form requesting information about the student’s subject knowledge, skills, and personal development to be completed by a teacher at the current school.
What is a School Supplement form?
The SAO provides schools with an option to include an additional online component that will include any information that is important to their application process. If a school requires a supplement form, you will see the requirement under that school’s card on your SAO dashboard.
How can I change my grade or the residential status I selected on a school application?
How do I use my dashboard to track the status of my application components?
Individual required components can be tracked via the statuses posted under each component name and the associated button.
How do I complete applications for multiple children?
My workstation indicates that my application is complete, but the school is telling me their portal does not show the completed status. What am I missing?
What is “Interests and Activities”?
What can I upload and/or showcase as part of my multimedia tab on the Student Profile?
Recommendations and Transcript Forms
The person I listed did not receive a link to provide the recommendations. What should I do?
I assigned my recommendation form incorrectly. How can I undo it?
How do I follow up on teacher recommendations?
How does a teacher submit a recommendation outside of the SAO system?
How do I request transcripts and school reports via the SAO system?
First, click on “Sign Release” so that your administrators know that you have authorized them to release your reports and transcripts through the SAO system.
Next, request specific year reports from your school administrators. Your school administrator/s will receive a link to upload the reports and transcripts in PDF. The SAO dashboard will reflect year specific completion and overall completion of the requirement.
What happens if my report cards don’t come in before my school's application deadline?
If in doubt, please contact the school directly.
Can I edit a form after submission?
Working with Advisors
Who can I designate as an advisor?
If you are working with a placement counselor at your current school/organization or with an educational consultant, you can choose them as an advisor on your application/s to allow them to assist you with managing and/or monitoring your applications. Your school, organization, or educational consultant must be a member of The Enrollment Management Association to be eligible to be added as an application advisor.
Please note, you can only have one advisor for all your applications for a session year.
What is an advisor’s role on my application?
Many placement offices and CBOs place their “Advisor Instructions” within the SAO. Those can be found to the right of your advisor school or organization's name on the SAO dashboard.
Can I change my advisor?
You can do so by clicking “Remove Advisor,” located to the right of the advisor name. Once you remove, the former advisor will no longer be able to track the progress of your application.
Payment and Submission
Can I edit my Student Profile after submitting an application to a school?
You can continue to edit and update your student profile via your account or the SAO dashboard. Please note that any changes made after a profile is submitted to a school will not be delivered to that school.
How can I receive application fee waivers?
You can request for an application fee waiver from the school to which you are applying. Unlike a test fee waiver, an application fee waiver will only waive an application fee for the school that issued it. It also waives the $6 SAO administrative fee.
What is the $6 administrative fee per application?
The administrative fee is a nominal fee charged for online processing of the SAO. If you receive an application fee waiver from a school, the administrative fee associated with that application will also be waived.
In case I submitted something by accident or I change my mind, what’s your refund policy for applications?
Because applications through the SAO system are delivered to schools in real time, we have a 24-hour refund policy for applications that may have been submitted by accident. Once an application is refunded, the school will no longer receive any updates on your application.
Please note, school application fees are fully refundable within the 24-hour time window, but the administrative fee is non-refundable.
Also, we cannot refund an application fee once it has been disbursed to a school. In that case, we advise you to contact the school directly to cancel your application and request a refund.
If I have components pending at the deadline, will the school still consider my application?
As a best practice, we highly recommend that you track the completion of your application and components against the school application deadline. However, each school may have unique completion criteria and flexibility to consider pending or in-progress applications. If in doubt, check with the school directly.
How do I pay for and submit my applications?
How do I send updates to my Student Profile after submission?
What happens if my profile is incomplete?
What if I have an issue with my credit card?
If you can't find the answer to your question, feel free to contact us for more help.