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If you are looking to enroll your student in an independent or private school, they may be required to take the SSAT. An Austin SSAT prep course provided by Varsity Tutors can help get them on the right track. The SSAT, or Secondary School Admission Test, is a standardized test used by private schools to evaluate applicants starting at a 3rd-grade level and continues to be used as an evaluation tool all the way through 11th grade. The test is split into three levels, depending on the age of student taking it: there is an Elementary Level test that is used at the 3rd and 4th grade level, a Middle Level test for students finishing up 5th, 6th, or 7th grade, and an Upper Level test that is taken by students from 8th grade to 11th grade. No matter where your student is in their academic career, and what section of the SSAT they're preparing for, an Austin SSAT course can be a great way to give your student support and can help them understand how to take the test in an effective way.

What will an Austin SSAT class cover?

As noted above, the exact form of the SSAT varies depending on what level your student will take. There are certain similarities, though. All three levels will assess quantitative, mathematical thinking as well as reading and writing skills. All levels require a writing sample, and all such samples are provided to schools as a sample of your student's work. Let's take a moment to look more closely at the sections of the test, and what your student can expect to encounter regardless of their grade level. The order of these sections will vary depending on the version of the test your student takes, and this is not necessarily representative of the structure of any one test.

First let's examine the Quantitative section. For Middle and Upper Level students, this section will cover arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. Both levels will test students on data analysis, probability, mathematical operations, and algebra, but the Upper level will be somewhat more advanced. For example, an Upper Level student will be required to answer questions about the areas and perimeters of circles and polygons, while a Middle Level student might be asked similar questions about simpler geometric shapes. At the Elementary Level, this section will cover basic properties of numbers and operations of math, and any questions dealing with geometry might be limited to knowledge of basic shapes and an understanding of measurement.

The second section we'll look at is the Reading section. Middle and Upper Level students will be asked to read and understand passages, and to be able to draw further information from them. Upper Level students will read passages from works of literature, as well as from the sciences and social sciences. They will have to be able to determine the contextual meaning of words and phrases, understand authorial intent and tone, and to evaluate the arguments presented in these passages. Middle Level students will be given simpler passages, and will have to extract somewhat less nuanced information from them. However, they will still be required to understand how context affects texts, and to be able to understand the main points and arguments made by an author. For Elementary Level students, the Reading section will be much shorter and will ask students to understand the central idea of a passage, to understand the context, and to differentiate between literal and figurative meaning.

The third section will be the Verbal section. For Upper Level students, this section will ask them to understand synonyms, antonyms, analogies, the meanings of suffixes and prefixes, and how context affects the meaning of words. Middle Level students will also need to understand synonyms and analogies to do well here and will have to be able to relate ideas and words, as well as having an understanding of word roots. For the Elementary Level, students will be asked to demonstrate an age-appropriate vocabulary, to understand analogy, and to understand the nuances in the meanings of different words.

The last section we'll discuss is Writing. The Upper Level version of the test will provide students with two prompts, one for a creative piece and one for an essay, and students will be able to choose a prompt to respond to. Upper Level students will have to show an ability to structure their work and show knowledge of the mechanical elements of written English. They will also have to be able to support their statements with further examples. At the Middle Level, students will choose between two creative prompts, and should show their ability to structure a written work, and to use correct spelling and grammar. At the Elementary Level, students will be given a picture prompt, and be asked to write a basic story with a beginning, middle, and end. Here schools will be reading for basic structural skill and proficiency in spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

What can an Austin SSAT course do for my student?

An Austin SSAT course is taught entirely online by a qualified, vetted instructor. Your student will participate in group discussions with their peers, under the instruction of their teacher. This online classroom functions just like an in-person class, and your student will see, hear, and speak with their classmates in a live class session. While an online classroom is functionally similar to a traditional course, it offers some real advantages. For starters, you and your student may have very busy schedules, and an online course can cut down on commute times and scheduling difficulties, with a classroom that's instantly accessible. There are also a variety of course times available, and new course sections begin on a weekly basis, so getting signed up is hassle-free. You can also choose between a 2-week and a 4-week section.

In an Austin SSAT class, your student will learn test-taking skills that may continue to be valuable throughout their academic career. While content knowledge is certainly important and will be covered in an Austin SSAT class, knowing the structure of the test and how to take it can be crucial to your student's pursuit of success in a private school. Even something as simple as understanding how the SSAT's scoring system works, how incorrect answers are penalized, and so on can be a key advantage to your student.

How can I get signed up for an Austin SSAT course?

Although the SSAT is a specific test that has a specific purpose - evaluating your student's academic skills for the purpose of admission to a private school - your student will likely encounter many standardized tests as they continue through the school system. No matter where they're at in their test prep and no matter their grade level, a high degree of confidence and proficiency with standardized tests can give them a definite advantage and can set them up for success not just for this single test, but also for success in life. Reach out to Varsity Tutors today, and we'll be happy to provide you with more information about an Austin SSAT course and get your student enrolled in a course that suits their specific needs.

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