The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT)

The gold-standard test for independent school admission.

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Without a reliable test of cognitive skills,

it is impossible to compare applicants from a variety of diverse backgrounds.

Admissions professionals need an equitable way to assess applicants, regardless of their background or experience.

Since 1957, the SSAT has been their indispensable solution. 

Developed by EMA to standardize the admissions testing process, the SSAT measures the basic verbal, math, and reading skills students need for favorable performance in independent schools. It has proven to be an exceptionally valid indicator of first-year student success.


Quality test development requires

a rigorous scientific approach.

EMA administers the SSAT
to more than 80,000 candidates each year.

Our testing experts continually monitor the SSAT to ensure it remains:


The SSAT is written and reviewed by independent school educators and content and testing experts. Every question goes through a rigorous standardized process of validation.


SSAT’s scaled score reliability is higher than .90 (out of a possible 1.0) for both the verbal and quantitative sections and is approaching .90 for the reading section.


EMA has offered millions of dollars in fee waivers for the SSAT and the SAO each year for students in need who are seeking educational opportunity with our member schools.


The processes and procedures for the SSAT’s administration are the same for every student, at test sites around the world.

“The SSAT is critical to our work in the admission and financial aid offices. We have two merit scholarships tied to the SSAT, and our admission office appreciates the standardized data point the SSAT gives us when most of the other application data is student-or school-specific.”

Joshua Clark
Director of Admission
Hawai’i Preparatory Academy (HII
Added Value

SSAT Customized Score Services

We help you establish a baseline with which to compare incoming applicant scores by testing the cognitive skills of current enrolled students.
Benchmarking Instructions



There are tons of multi-purpose options.
We develop a custom report that gives you a better understanding of where each applicant’s scores fall in relation to currently enrolled students and the previous year's applicant pool. 
How it Works


Applicant Comparison Data

There are tons of multi-purpose options.

Schools need reliable assessment tools to make
confident decisions about applicants.

The SSAT Resources

Some of the Schools Benefitting From The SSAT

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Frequently Asked Questions

SSAT FAQ Question
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Student Prospect List Success Stories

Eric Barber
Crossroads School
for Arts and Sciences (CA)

For Crossroads School in Santa Monica, the admission entry point at sixth grade is particularly challenging. With applicants coming primarily from public schools, there is significant price sensitivity and less of an orientation to the value of an independent school education and the admission process. In addition, the information the admission team receives about students varies widely, depending on whether the student is coming from a public school or private school.

Eric Barber, director of enrollment management at Crossroads, believes The Character Skills Snapshot will help level that playing field. It will also help us “differentiate our admission process from the competitor schools, in that we really are showing that we care about the entire brain and the entire kid, because that's who we are as a school.”

Add The SSAT to Your Enrollment Toolkit.

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