The SSAT | Format, structure, and question types

The SSAT: A look at the test’s format,
structure, and question types

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is a standardized test that many students take when applying to private or independent middle or high schools.  The SSAT is offered at two levels: Lower and Upper.  Students currently in grades 5-7 take the Upper Level Test; students currently in grades 8-11 take the Lower Level Test.

SSAT Test Format, Structure, and Question Types

The SSAT includes three main sections: verbal, quantitative, and reading.  It also includes an unscored writing sample. The test is broken down into six sections—one writing sample, one verbal section, two quantitative sections, a one reading section, and one experimental section to test new questions.  Total testing time is 3 hours and 5 minutes. The breakdown of each section is as follows:


Total Testing Time & Breakdown

Number of Questions & Types

Content/Skills Covered


30 minutes (one section)

30 synonym questions


30 analogy questions

vocabulary and verbal reasoning skills


60 minutes (two 30-minute sections)

50 multiple-choice questions

math computation and reasoning


40 minutes (one section)

7 reading passages and 40 questions

reading comprehension

Writing Sample

25 minutes (one section)

1 essay prompt

writing skills

Experimental Section

15 minutes (one section)

16 questions

Sample questions: 6 verbal, 5 reading, 5 quantitative

Related Topics

  • For more information about the SSAT Verbal section, visit the SSAT Verbal page.
  • For more information about the SSAT Quantitative section, visit the SSAT Math page.
  • For more information about the SSAT Reading section, visit the SSAT Reading page.

StudyPoint is a national leader in one-to-one, in-home test prep and academic tutoring. The test-taking techniques and strategies taught in our SAT tutoring and ACT tutoring programs enable students to earn higher test scores and gain admissions to competitive colleges and universities. Our expert subject tutors and personalized lesson plans help students earn better grades and become happier, more confident students. Whether you’re looking for a math tutor or any other type of academic tutoring, StudyPoint can help. To learn about tutoring programs in your area, feel free to contact us for more information.


SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. ACT® is the registered trademark of ACT, Inc. StudyPoint has no affiliation with ACT, Inc., which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. PSAT/NMSQT® is a trademark jointly owned by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which were not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. All test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with StudyPoint or this website.

Ready to Enroll? Call 1-87STUDYPOINT (1-877-883-9764) Find a tutor in your area