SSAT Test Dates for 2023 and 2024

Students in much of the country, as well as those above a certain age, may be looking at the title of this post and thinking, “How did bro manage to misspell ‘SAT’, it’s literally just three letters.” I can assure you, however, that though I make (more than) my share of mistakes, this is not one of them. The SSAT is indeed its own entity, and is in fact another test that is used in the admissions process for many schools. if you’re in the process of registering for the SSAT or just doing initial research before beginning to prepare for the test, one of the most important things to know is when the SSAT test dates are. In this post, we’ll cover the SSAT test dates for 2023 and 2024; let’s dive in.

Understanding the SSAT

As I alluded to above, the SSAT is one of two main tests—along with the ISEE—that are used as part of the admissions process for private elementary, middle, and high schools in certain areas of the country. There are some other narrower assessments that are also used, such as the HSPT, but the SSAT and ISEE tend to be the most common due to their applicability across a range of age groups.

Forms of the SSAT

There are three different levels of the SSAT—Elementary, Middle, and Upper—each of which is taken by students comprising a range of ages. The version of the test that you sit for will be determined by the grade into which you’re applying: the Elementary Level (EL) is taken by students applying into grades 5-6, the Middle Level (ML) by students applying into grades 7-8, and the Upper Level (UL) by students applying into grades 9-12.

Structure of the SSAT

While each level of the SSAT has a slightly different format, all three contain the same three scored multiple-choice sections: Quantitative, Verbal, and Reading.

  • Quantitative: This section assesses students on their mastery of mathematical concepts, often testing them on above-grade-level content. The Elementary Level will assess topics such as the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, along with concepts such as place value, fractions, and fundamental geometry. The Middle Level expands upon the depth and degree of the concepts on the EL test, while the Upper Level assesses more advanced algebra and geometry. A calculator is not permitted for the Quantitative Section without an accommodation. 
  • Verbal: This section assesses students’ vocabulary knowledge and verbal reasoning in two formats—synonyms and analogies. Synonyms questions test students on their knowledge of “vocabulary in a vacuum”, providing them with a single word and challenging them to pick the answer choice that has the most similar meaning. Analogy questions give testers a relationship between two words and require them to select another pair that has an identical relationship (or at least as close to identical as is present in the oftentimes poorly written answer choices).
  • Reading: The content of this section is very similar to how reading comprehension is often assessed on other standardized tests or even sometimes in school: students read through a variety of passages covering a range of topics, answering a series of follow-up questions after each passage. Problems will test students on how well they grasp the main point of the text, how quickly they can locate certain details within the passage, etc.

SSAT Test Dates 2023: When Are This Year’s SSAT Test Dates?

Now that we’ve covered what this test actually is, let’s talk about when and how it’s administered, as these two questions are inextricably linked. One of the few good things to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic was an increase in the availability of at-home testing for many standardized exams, including the SSAT. As a result, there are now four different ways that you can take the SSAT; see the table below for details.

Paper-and-Pencil TestDigital Test
StandardFlexAt-HomePrometric Test Center
-The SSAT is offered on six Standard test dates each testing year; not all levels of the test are offered on every date

-Test dates are scheduled roughly once a month beginning in September/October

-Standard tests take place at official test centers, which are typically schools approved by the EMA

-Students in the US and Canada can take up to 5 Standard tests (UL and ML) or 2 Standard tests (EL)
-Flex tests are scheduled by the student directly with an Educational Consultant or school

-As a result, Flex test dates are typically less crowded, which may provide an advantageous environment

-Students in the US and Canada can take up to 1 Flex test (UL and ML) or a max of 2 Standard and Flex tests combined (EL)
-Available on multiple test dates each month, typically clustered around one or more weekends

-Students are monitored by a proctor via webcam

-Only available for UL and ML tests

-Students can take a total of 2 digital tests each year, counting tests taken both at home and at a Prometric test center
-Available in the US, Canada, and many international locations

-Proctored, computer-based test taken in person at a test center

-Only available for UL and ML tests

-Students can take a total of 2 digital tests each year, counting tests taken both at home and at a Prometric test center

As you can see, which version of the test you’re taking has a direct impact on SSAT test dates in 2023 and beyond. Since Flex tests are scheduled directly with an EC or school and digital tests are available on multiple dates each month, you mainly need to worry about keeping track of the testing schedule for Standard dates. Take a look at the table below for an outline of Standard test dates for the SSAT in 2023 and 2024, as well as some associated deadlines.

Test DateRegular Registration DeadlineLate Registration DeadlineRush Registration DeadlineAvailable Testing LocationsAvailable Testing Levels
Oct. 14, 2023Sept. 23, 2023Sept. 29, 2023Oct. 11, 2023US, Canada, ChinaUpper, Middle
Nov. 11, 2023Oct. 21, 2023Oct. 27, 2023Nov. 8, 2023US, Canada, InternationalUpper, Middle, Elementary
Dec. 9, 2023Nov. 18, 2023Nov. 24, 2023Dec. 6, 2023US, Canada, InternationalUpper, Middle, Elementary
Jan. 6, 2024Dec. 16, 2023Dec. 22, 2023Jan. 3, 2024US, Canada, InternationalUpper, Middle
Feb. 3, 2024Jan. 13, 2024Jan. 19, 2024Jan. 31, 2024US, CanadaUpper, Middle
Apr. 20, 2024Mar. 30, 2024Apr. 5, 2024Apr. 17, 2024US, Canada, InternationalUpper, Middle

For more information about Standard test dates, as well as a search tool that will allow you to find and sign up for dates to take the test at home or at a Prometric test center, head over to the SSAT’s website.

SSAT Test Dates 2023: Things to Consider When Choosing Test Dates

One of the first things to think about when planning out your SSAT testing calendar is make sure you allow enough time to test more than once. If you’re taking the Upper Level test in the US or Canada, you could theoretically test eight times: 5 Standard tests, 1 Flex test, and 2 digital tests. Let me be clear: eight tests is definitely too many for any one student to take, and you absolutely should not do this to yourself. With that being said, only testing once is also not usually the best approach for most students. It’s often very difficult for a student to perform at their highest level when put into a testing environment for the first time: blanking, test anxiety, pressure to do well, and other fears can impact your ability to perform. This can be especially difficult for younger students to cope with, as many times it will be their first standardized test experience.

That’s why I highly recommend that SSAT students test at least twice, and typically more as needed. This gives students a chance to overcome some of the nervousness they might have the first time they take the test and then perform better during subsequent administrations, once some of that anxiety has subsided and they know exactly what they’re up against.

This goes hand-in hand with my next recommendation: take advantage of your one Flex test. A Flex Test occurs outside of the six designated Standard test dates, and it’s often administered at an Educational Consultant’s office. This small-group environment is typically more comfortable for students and therefore more conducive to better results. My preferred strategy is to have students take a Standard administration as their first test, as it’s best to save the Flex test for a time when you’re likely to perform your best. Use your first test or two to get acclimated, then set up a Flex Test when you feel more comfortable and confident with the test-day pressure.

My final recommendation: assuming that you’ll be testing more than once, create an SSAT testing schedule by working backwards from your application deadlines. Be sure to start testing early enough to leave time for 2-3 test dates before your applications are due in order to give yourself as many chances as possible to maximize your score; to bolster those chances even more, build in plenty of time to study for the SSAT before your first administration. Remember that every level of the test is designed for students of multiple ages, which means there’s a good chance you’ll see some material with which you’re unfamiliar. You don’t have to know every single concept to get a great score on the test, since you’re only scored relative to other students your own age; however, the more mastery you can build prior to testing, the better your chances of crushing it.

SSAT Test Dates 2023: How to Register for SSAT Test Dates

Registering for SSAT test dates is very simple. The first thing you’ll need to do is create an account at SSAT.org if you don’t already have one, then log in. Once you log in, you’ll click on ‘Register for the SSAT’. At that point, you’ll be prompted to answer some questions about potential test accommodations; all accommodations need to be applied for and approved prior to registering for a given test date, so that’s your next priority if applicable.

Once you’ve completed that potential detour, you can move on to the actual registration process. You’ll first select the medium in which you want to test (see the table above for the available options), and your choice there will affect how the rest of registration proceeds. If you’re testing in a test center, either digitally or on paper, you’ll search for and select a test center and test date before completing the checkout process. If you’re testing at home, you’ll check out and pay before selecting a test date, as the list of options is wider and seats aren’t as limited. And if you’re taking a Flex test, you’ll typically enter a special registration code given to you by the EC or school where you’re testing.

One important note is that each of the SSAT test dates has a registration deadline, and deadlines vary depending on the medium of the test. At-home tests have a registration deadline of only 24 hours before the test date; Standard paper test dates, on the other hand, typically require students to register several weeks in advance. It’s important to remember as well that the earlier you register for an SSAT that will be administered in a test center, the more options you’re likely to have as far as where (and, in the case of digital tests, when) you take the test. Make sure you’re exploring the registration process well in advance of your actual test to ensure that you’re not limited in your testing options.

Dealing with Postponed or Missed SSAT Test Dates

As we all know, the best laid plans of mice and SSAT testers something something poetry. If life has the temerity to interfere with your plans to take the SSAT, you may be wondering what to do. Fortunately, you do have some recourse, but the cost of modifications to your scheduled test will depend on your test medium and the nature of your test date conflict.

SSAT At Home

If something comes up and you are no longer able to make your scheduled SSAT At Home test date, you can call 1-609-683-4440 or email [email protected] to cancel or reschedule. As long as you contact EMA at least 72 hours before your test date, you’ll be able to reschedule your At Home test for another date at no additional cost; inside of that 72-hour window, however, you’ll have to cancel your test and you won’t receive a refund.

If you have technical issues during the test itself, such as an internet connectivity issue that results in your testing application shutting down, don’t worry—as long as there’s a record of you logging into the testing app and trying to begin the test within 15 minutes of your scheduled start time, you’ll receive an email from EMA with instructions for rescheduling your test date for no additional charge.

Prometric SSAT

If you discover you need to reschedule your test at least 29 days before you’re scheduled to take it, you can do so at no additional cost; rescheduling inside of that 29-day window will require you to pay a $35 fee to Prometric. Once your test date is 0-2 days away, you’ll no longer be able to reschedule your test at all.

Paper SSAT (Standard or Flex)

You’re allowed to change the date, location, and even format of your test up to 72 hours before you’re scheduled to take the test; however, making any of these modifications will require you to pay a $45 fee.

Check out the SSAT website for more information about cancelling or rescheduling your test date.

SSAT Test Dates 2023: Preparing for the SSAT

Once you’ve decided when your first SSAT test date will be, the next step is preparation. One of the most important tips that I can give you when it comes to SSAT preparation is that you should allow more time for this process than you think it will require.

Why does this test require so much prep? Simply put, because it’s pretty dang hard. Unlike many other tests, each level of the SSAT is intended for students of a variety of ages, and though you’ll only be scored against students your own age, everyone gets the same version of their respective test: an 11th grader taking the UL SSAT will see the same questions as an 8th grader taking the UL SSAT on the same day. This means that on test day, you may very well be asked about material you’ve never seen before in school.

The main reason for this is that different schools cover the same material at different times in a class curriculum, and sometimes even in different classes and therefore different years. This means that not every 4th grader will know how to multiply fractions, and not every 8th grader will know the slope-intercept form of a linear equation. However, the SSAT doesn’t adjust their content based on what you’ve learned in school because admissions officers don’t adjust their expectations based on that, either.

This means that you’ll have to be prepared to tackle concepts you’ve never seen in math class in order to be on the same playing field as students from other schools. Because of that fact, it often takes more time to fully prepare for the SSAT or ISEE than students anticipate; it’s important to expect this possibility when you begin prepping. I usually recommend that students allow 2-3 months to study before their first test date.


Want To Achieve Your Highest Possible Score On The SSAT?


Making the Most of Your Study Time

Simply putting a lot of time into studying isn’t necessarily enough to earn you a good score on the SSAT; it’s important that you work smart, not just work hard. One important aspect of SSAT preparation is the balance between mastering techniques for the different sections and practicing concepts with which you’re unfamiliar. This juggling act is complex, and it often looks slightly different for every student, but my two general rules are as follows:

1. Technique trumps all but the most fundamental content. There’s no amount of plugging in answers that can help you if you don’t know how to multiply, and there’s no magic wand you can wave in the Verbal section that will compensate for your not knowing basic vocabulary words. Beyond those extreme scenarios, however, learning a section-specific technique is almost always a better use of your time than trying to master a particular piece of content. Most techniques are applicable to a wide range of questions, whereas a given concept may appear once or even not at all, so you’ll get more reward by focusing on the “how” before putting in the time to learn the “what”.

2. When you do move on to learning content, prioritize it in order of importance. Questions covering concepts that look particularly intimidating tend to stick in students’ minds more than problems dealing with less visibly difficult material; however, that doesn’t mean you should focus on the former over the latter. You may see a question asking you to simplify a fraction composed of eight different variables, all raised to different exponents, on every practice test you take, and it may drive you nuts that you’re never able to answer it. If you’re also having trouble with one-variable algebraic equations, though, you should put time into reviewing and mastering that before moving on to variables with exponents. Core algebra skills come up significantly more often than do those crazy exponent-simplification questions, which means that they’re worth more points to you and therefore should be a higher priority.

Choosing the Right Materials

One of the most challenging aspects of SSAT prep is figuring out what the heck is on the test. In comparison to other standardized tests, the SSAT releases relatively little new official material each year, which doesn’t give students too much to work with when it comes time to prepare. Even so, this official content should always be your first stop when starting to prep for the SSAT.

Once you’ve exhausted the Official Guide, you’ll need to turn to third-party content in order to have enough practice material. When doing this, however, it’s important to look for material that is as close as possible to the actual test.

The best place to start is probably the Test Innovators (TI) platform. TI has been an official partner of the EMA (creators of the SSAT) for a number of years now, and their site includes official practice exams for the SSAT alongside hundreds of practice exercises. Because this material has the endorsement of the test-writers, it has to be taken as the best representation—outside of the Official Guide—of what students are going to see on test day.

Beyond TI, there are also a number of books and online resources available from the usual suspects: Kaplan, Princeton Review, McGraw-Hill, etc. These materials all have some weaknesses, however. Many of them combine their SSAT review material with ISEE prep material, which means that not all of the content in the book you pay for will actually be relevant to you. Additionally, unlike the official materials, multiple levels (both Upper and Middle) of the SSAT are combined into some of these books. Each offers an overview of the test, strategies, at least one full practice test, and some practice exercises.

SSAT Test Dates 2023: Wrapping Things Up

Due to the complexity of the SSAT testing calendar and the different formats of the test itself, it’s important that students and parents stay on top of SSAT test dates as much as possible, in 2023 and beyond. Knowing when and how the test is offered is a crucial first step in the prep process, so check in with us periodically for updates about the SSAT testing schedule and other aspects of this exam. And if you’re looking for someone to help you achieve your best possible score on the test, look no further—we know some people who can help with that.

SSAT Test Dates 2023: Frequently Asked Questions

When should I start preparing for the SSAT?

The first Standard SSAT administration of the year typically occurs in September or October, with application deadlines for many private schools falling in December or January (though the requirements for the schools you’re looking at may vary). I typically recommend that students aim to test for the first time as early in the season as is feasible, since you want to be sure to allow a large enough window to test multiple times (as necessary) before applications are due. On top of that, as I mentioned earlier, it’s often a good idea to give yourself 2-3 months of prep time before your first test, since some of the content on the SSAT may be totally unfamiliar to you.

Putting all of that together, a “typical” student might start preparing sometime during the mid-to-late summer, with the goal of testing for the first time in early fall and then making further testing plans based on their results. As I alluded to above, however, this might vary depending on the application deadlines for your schools, how much or little of the content on the test is new to you, and several other factors.

Can I take the SSAT multiple times?

Absolutely, and it’s often a good idea, as many students perform better upon repeat testing simply by virtue of having more familiarity with the test and the testing environment.

Students taking the UL or ML SSAT in the US or Canada can take a maximum of 8 tests each year (5 Standard tests, 1 Flex test, and 2 digital tests); students taking the EL SSAT can take a total of 2 tests each year (counting both Standard and Flex).

What’s a decent score on the SSAT?

The answer to this question depends entirely on the schools to which you’re applying and the scores that you need to be a competitive applicant to those schools. Check the admissions websites for your top schools for more information about what they’re looking for with regards to test scores, and don’t forget that your SSAT score is only one part of a much larger application—admissions officers will also consider things like your grades, application essays, and interviews.

SSAT Test Dates 2023: Related Reading

Understanding Your SSAT Score Report

SSAT Testing Accommodations: What You Need to Know

Super Scoring the SSAT: What You Need to Know

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