Learn about Kim’s SSAT prep strategy that got her a 2320 Score and how it can benefit YOU.
What does it take to be an SSAT Winner?
If you think it is only knowledge that will make you an SSAT Winner, think again. Knowledge can only take you so far!
There are scores of successful teachers, Math graduates and even Doctorates who, when they took the SSAT, could not get a 99 percentile.
You need the other ‘intangible’ qualities & smart Studying Strategies to make it work.
Go through this ‘Free‘ Website and:
Learn about the Common SSAT pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Get some practice solving typical ‘End-of-the-section’ tough SSAT Math questions.
Brush up your Grammar in our Special SSAT Grammar Section.
Of course, you cannot forget the all important ‘SSAT Vocabulary’ section.
This section does NOT give you thousands of ‘dry’ words with meaning.
It provides you with the 1100 Most Important SSAT Words, and clear illustrates their usage in sentences.
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And then there is the ‘Ways of the SSAT Winners’, an invaluable guide for anyone aiming at a 2200+ score.
Winner’s Guide to Core SSAT Math: This guide will let nothing come between you and a 99 percentile in Math.
Winners’ Guide to SSAT Reading Comprehension: Triple your reading speed with improved comprehension within a few days.
Kim, an SSAT Winner, describes her preparation strategy in her own words
Math is my weakest point, and I was worried.
But here is the good news: The test only covers the material covered in your algebra I, II, and geometry class.
I knew I just had to methodically go through each practice test and concentrate on my areas of weakness. I also had to review the math formulas that I hadn’t used for a long time.
The thing I knew about math being a math major my first year in college was that you have to practice enough problems in order to increase your speed and efficiency.
So it wasn’t enough for me to just do one or two question in each category as practice eachday. I had to do at least 5-10 in order for me to gain 90-100% mastery. There were days when I just did clusters of math problems in the same category and didn’t stop until I got five correctin a row.
I also find that what makes me good at math is my ability to take short cuts when I can.
For example, there are quite a few percentage questions that just require pure calculations.Instead of converting 15% to decimal form 0.15, I just skip the conversion step and look for my numbers to exist in the answer.
So, let’s just say for the sake of argument that the question is: What is 15% of 200? The ‘normal’ way you would do this is to calculate out 0.15×200. Then you have to move the decimal place over two to the left and end up with 30.00 as your answer.
Well, the short cut way is to recognize that 0.15×200 is the same as 15×2 and do the math mentally. Or, if you estimate and ask yourself what is 15% of 100 (15), then you know that the answer will be twice 15. You still get 30.
Sometimes the answers will give you a clue which shortcut to take.
If the answers you had to choose from were a) 45 b) 20 c) 30 d) 10 e) 3, then, the second way will get you the answer faster.
If there was no choice e), then you can calculate the problem without any regard to decimals and just choose the answer where ‘3’ shows up, which is c) 30. There are many other shortcuts,but this is just one easy example.
I had a ‘natural’ advantage since English was my major and I had the routine of reading through tons of material.
In fact, because I had to quickly scan through text to get to the main idea in order to keep on top of reading meant that I had lots of practice with reading comprehension.
I have heard others suggest people to read and get familiar with other topics that might be covered in this section as the topics vary a bit.
Yes, in general, reading regularly may help you increase your vocabulary and your overall reading comprehension, but I would not think this is a very efficient strategy per se.
This strategy is too broad. If you want to target your reading and get the most out of your time, then you should keep on doing practice tests.
I guarantee you that you will come across the same questions (not the same passage but same questions) on the real test. And read the explanations for why the correct answer is the BEST answer of the bunch.
I have ALWAYS read the questions before going back to the text to scan for the answer. Of course I did a quick scan of the test to get the broad, general idea of the topic first.
I have read advice that tells students to read the text in the entirety because according to the advice, some questions cover the deeper meaning of the text.
In my experience, I have only come across two or three passages where I had to read deeply to understand it to answer the question.
In most cases, the most efficient way I find is to scan the text to get a general idea, then read the questions, scan the text again, locate where the answer is, and choose the best answer. If that cannot be done on the first try, then you slow down and read the text more carefully.
In order not to waste time, I would first move on to the questions I can answer by scanning and locating the answers first before I do a thorough read of a passage.
The reason for this is because the answer may be located at the end of the passage, in which case, you have wasted all the time wading through the text before you reach the end.
If you wait until last possible minute to read through the text, then you can “skip” the parts where you already used to find the answers to your other questions, thereby only doing a ‘deep’ read of the sections you have not covered.
If you are a native English speaker, then I can’t imagine this section to be very difficult.
However, I can easily see how this section would be more challenging to students whose first language is not English.
This section covers basic grammar and sentence construction. You should be able to tell by ear what sounds right and what doesn’t. That’s how I approached all the questions on this section—by the ear.
I come across students who still consistently make errors in things like comma placement for the purposes of separating a dependent clause from an independent clause, not knowing the difference between ‘it’s’ (it is) and ‘its’ (possessive form), and knowing parts of speech.
If grammar has always been a weak point or you were never taught grammar in school, then you will find it useful to review these common grammar mistakes.
What I studied / Books that I followed
The Official Guide is the most trustworthy and reliable since it’s written by the ssat.org. I found the best thing about using it was the thorough explanations offered for each response.
If you really want to improve, you should study their responses and the reasoning behind the responses, especially for the math since you will most likely encounter a similar problem. If you can remember the reasons for selecting an answer over another during the test, then you can replicate the answer quicker under the test situation.
The Princeton Review book is my next recommendation, just because it gives you good examples and is very comprehensive.
I think I flipped through other books at the library, but did not pay attention to the titles. Really, all you need is one or two books to use.
If you need more than that, you are probably going through test after test but not really absorbing the information you need in order to retain some of the skills you need for the test.
In my opinion, the books I used (Official Guide and Princeton) sufficiently covered the SSAT. I also came across some free practice online math tests. One site even offers assessment tests in each of the math skills being covered, which is great. The downside is that most sites will have you register in order to access their tests.
My SSAT: The D Day Experience
I reviewed the math section the night before and did some more algebra questions. This was my weakest section on all my diagnostics, so I felt I needed to go over the problems in this category. I knew I would encounter similar problems on the test.
I encountered the same type questions in the section as in my practice tests. To my delight, I was able to ‘estimate’ and come up with the answer to at least two of the algebra questions without even doing any calculations.
I was going at a fast pace, so I had at least 5 minutes at the end to go back and check my answers. I did that with the ones I had circled as the most difficult questions I encountered.
I knew I was going to pass the math test, without a doubt, I just didn’t know if I would pass it with a high raw score. I did pass, like I predicted, and I missed only 2 questions in the math section.
Fortunately, I knew I didn’t have too much to worry about going into the Reading and Writing section, as English was my major in college. I did miss questions in these sections, and to my surprise, I didn’t get full points for my essay. But it could be because I was being too ambitious, and I tried to argue both sides of the argument instead of sticking to one side.
If I could do it over, I would not try to be overly sophisticated. I think that readers want to see a clear argument over one that is excessively intricate or convoluted.
SSAT Courses: Are they worth the money?
Well, a course doesn’t hurt, if have the money and time to spare. Nowadays, most “courses” are online, so you can do it in the privacy of your home. I have never taken an online course, but I have sat in a refresher/practice workshop sponsored at my school.
This covered very basic test materials and was geared for someone who had never cracked open a practice book before. It wasn’t that helpful, but if you are new to testing, then I can imagine this to be useful.
The thing to keep in mind is that with most courses, they will ask you to do homework. You will need to be disciplined so that you complete the homework assignments. Actually, if you aren’t disciplined to begin with and won’t study on your own, then going with a structured course may be what you need.
When I took the first practice test, it was evident to me that I didn’t have to study all that much.
I only needed to review some of the math. I guess I’ve always been a top scorer on tests, so I already had an advantage.
I’ve never been the recipient of private tutoring, but I’ve tutored students who wanted to brush up on portions of the SSAT.
In order not to waste your time or the tutor’s, you should have already done some tests and come to the session armed with specific questions.
For example, instead of saying, “I’m bad at math, I don’t know what to study or where to begin,” it would be more useful to say, “I took the diagnostic and what I have problems with are percentage and decimal questions. I also get my fractions mixed up.” This way, the tutor can start by teaching you some skills rather than having to diagnose your skills.
So, a good tutor will identify which step of the process you are having problems with and teach you a fast and simple way to get the answer. A tutor should also have you practice so that you can internalize the specific skill and then transfer that skill in a test situation.
So, that was how Kim did it.
Kim was a student of 99percentileprep and employed the exclusive strategies to increase her score dramatically.
She has since joined the 99percentileprep SSAT team and co authored books to help You get a high score.
You can find detailed strategies for each of the SSAT sections,
scoring 99 percentile+ in the ebook Ways of the SSAT Winners.
This guide was originally prepared exclusively for students who take private coaching from 99percentileprep.
Now it is being made available for anyone who is aiming at 99 percentile score on the SSAT.