Real Talk

It’s important to have realistic expectations going into the test, since preparing for it is a huge investment in effort, time and resources. Here are a few questions to consider.

How much can I improve my SSAT score?

This ranges from student to student, and also depends on how you’re measuring your score improvements. As mentioned in “Practice Tests”, there is no SSAT practice test out there that can 100% accurately predict what your score will be, so comparing a practice test to the real thing isn’t necessarily an accurate predictor of improvement. However, some students take the official test multiple times, and this is where you can evaluate real improvement.

If you are taking the test multiple times in a short time frame, here some factors that may improve your score:

Test-day emotions: If you know you became upset or unable to concentrate in the middle of the test and it wasn’t a good indicator of what you’re capable of, re-writing the test can certainly give you a chance of showing your best effort.

The reading section: This seems to be the section where there is the most fluctuation in scores when a student writes an official test multiple times. Because reading comprehension is influenced by background knowledge, sometimes there are multiple passages where you don’t understand the topic- these passages will seem “harder” to you than those on a different test. That being said, re-writing sometimes works the opposite way- you might find you understood the reading passages better the first time.

Guessing strategy: If you answer every single question and your score comes back lower than you imagined, a  more cautious approach could make a big difference in your score. However, the ¼ mark “guessing penalty” from a few questions won’t make or break your score.

Time-management: If you ran out of time because you spent too long on each reading passage or the hardest math questions, re-adjusting your strategy could help you reach more questions. It’s important to not spend too long on any one question, and knowing when to leave a question and come back is essential.

Where is it harder to improve on the SSAT in a short time period?

Verbal Reasoning, Synonyms: Yes, there are lists out there with SSAT words, but studying these lists is no guarantee that they will be on the test, particularly if you start working on them with just a couple of weeks before you write. Those who perform best in the verbal section have either been focusing on vocabulary building over an extended period of time, or are voracious readers who naturally have a strong vocabulary. If you’re looking to boost your vocab score in a short period, make sure you are already using strategies well to work with what you have.