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The Advantages of the SSAT Flex Test

While planning for independent school applications, one of the many things to consider is your student’s timeline for taking the SSAT. As we’ve written before, we recommend students take the SSAT twice: once in November and once in December or January, depending on application deadlines for your schools. It can be challenging to align your student’s schedule with the available standard test dates. The Flex Test can provide greater flexibility in scheduling.

In this blog post we’ll explain the SSAT Standard versus Flex Test and describe some advantages of the Flex Test.

What’s the Difference Between SSAT Standard and Flex Tests?

The Standard and Flex SSAT are the same test, and your student’s reported score is not reflected differently in their application if they take a Flex Test. The key difference is that the SSAT Flex Test has more options for test dates, which may accommodate your schedule.

  1. A Standard SSAT is given on 8 designated Saturdays (and Sundays for those with approved accommodations for religious observance) during the school year at test sites around the world. See the schedule of Standard test dates here:
  2. A Flex SSAT is given to an individual or small group, and is administered by an approved member school or educational consultant, on any date other than the Standard dates. You may only take one Flex Test in a testing year (August 1 – July 31). After taking a Flex Test, any additional SSATs you take in the same testing year must be Standard tests. ​ Ask the school to which you are applying if they provide Flex Testing, or visit SSAT Test Center Search to locate organizations & consultants offering the SSAT Flex Test.
  3. There are two categories of Flex Tests:
    • An “Open Flex Test” is a test administered by a school on a non-Standard date and makes registration open to the public via the SSAT website.
    • A “Closed Flex Test” is a test hosted by an educational consultant or member school that is not open to public registration. To register, you need to obtain an access code directly from the group or individual administering the test. Flex Tests administered by educational consultants are typically closed. Note that there is an additional administrative fee associated with Flex Testing by educational consultants.

Reasons for Taking the SSAT Flex Test

SCHEDULE CONFLICTS – The Flex Test can be used in place of a Standard test date for which the student has a scheduling conflict.

TESTING ENVIRONMENT – Often, the Flex Test is given to a small group or individually, offering the advantages that a smaller setting provides, such as less noise and fewer distractions. Students with learning differences who require accommodations as part of their exam setting may benefit from taking the Flex Test.

FLEXIBLE TIMELINE – The Flex Test might be the best option for a family facing a compressed admission timeline, or in the midst of a school change or entrance mid-year.

STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITY – The Flex Test can give students the chance to take the test one more time, which may be especially important when applying to selective schools. For example, if they took the test on the Standard test dates in November and December and don’t want to wait for the January test date (which could put them up against the application deadline), they can use the Flex Test. Remember that students can take only one Flex Test in a testing year.

When you are ready to build a testing plan for your student, or if you have questions about the tests themselves, please give us a call. You may also leave a message in the comments box below.

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