A Guide to the SSAT and ISEE
While researching independent schools, you have likely come across the terms SSAT and ISEE and are wondering what’s in these standardized tests and how to prepare for them. For decades we have been working with families to help prepare young students for these tests, using our own evidence-based curriculum, and have built a deep understanding of the independent school admission process.
In this Guide to the SSAT and ISEE, we want to share a collection of informational resources on the key topics. Hopefully it will answer many of your questions about how to plan and prepare for the admission process. If ever you have questions, please feel free to contact one of our Program Directors (with no obligation) as they are experienced testing professionals and will be able to provide additional guidance and counsel.
Today’s independent school admission process is a holistic one. Your SSAT or ISEE scores are only one aspect of a multi-faceted application. School grades, rigor of curriculum, and teacher recommendations are usually the more important factors when deciding whether to admit a student.
Having said this, we realize that the tests are a consideration in the application process and are also a cause of stress and concern for families. At Summit, we want to help students achieve their full potential when it comes to these tests, while minimizing the associated angst.
Our best advice is to become familiar with the process, and then plan and prepare. With a test plan in hand you can avoid unwelcome surprises and rest assured that you know what is coming.
SSAT vs. ISEE
High schools often have a preference for the SSAT, and middle schools often prefer the ISEE, but some schools have no preference and will accept either test. You’ll need to visit each school’s website to determine which test is required.
TESTING TIMELINE FOR SSAT or ISEE
Both the SSAT and ISEE report scaled scores. However, admissions offices historically have relied more on percentile ranks than raw or scaled scores. Each school determines its own standards for what are considered strong SSAT or ISEE scores.
CHARACTER SKILLS SNAPSHOT
The Character Skills Snapshot has been developed by the Enrollment Management Association (makers of the SSAT) as a supplemental online tool for schools to assess the character of their applicants.
Check the school’s website to determine whether or not the Snapshot is required or recommended as part of the application.
WHAT’S ON THE TEST?
Here are two resources that give you a deeper dive into what’s on each of the tests and how they are structured.
OFFICIAL SITES FOR SSAT AND ISEE
- The SSAT is administered by the Enrollment Management Association (EMA). Visit SSAT website to locate a test center and to register for the test.
- The ISEE is administered by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB). Visit ERB website to locate a test center and to register for the ISEE.