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If you have a student getting ready to apply to private schools, Varsity Tutors can provide SSAT support with a Houston SSAT prep course. The SSAT is used by private school admissions boards for a range of ages, from 3rd-graders applying as they enter 4th grade all the way to 11th-graders applying to enter private school for their 12th-grade year. This means that the exact structure and content of the test varies depending on the grade level of your student, but there are certain touchstones that remain constant for all ages. No matter the grade level of your student, or where they are in their SSAT prep, Varsity Tutors can provide a course to fit their needs and schedule, with accessible online courses that can accommodate diverse needs.

What sort of content will a Houston SSAT class cover?

The SSAT, or Secondary School Admission Test, is divided into three levels, depending on the age of the student. Students entering the 4th or 5th grades will take the Elementary Level Test, while students entering grades 6 through 8 will take the Middle Level test. For 9th through 12th grade admissions, students will take the Upper Level version of the SSAT. Let's spend some time looking at the details of the test, and what a Houston SSAT course will cover depending on the grade level of your student. As the SSAT changes in duration and structure depending on the level of the test, the test your student takes may differ from the order detailed, but this can serve as a guide to the general nature of the test.

First, the Quantitative section of the test. This section will test students on general mathematics as is appropriate to their grade level. For the Elementary Level test, your student will be asked to demonstrate a basic knowledge of math, using concepts like arithmetic, place value, fractions, and measurement skills. At the Middle Level, questions will cover basic algebra concepts, data analysis skills, and geometric principles like area and perimeters of shapes. The Upper Level is similar, but demands a higher level of knowledge of these concepts. So, for example, while the Middle Level might ask students to show basic algebra using variables, the Upper Level might instead ask for students to understand how these equations can be used to plot lines.

Second is the Reading section. For Elementary Level students, this section will mean reading short passages and answering questions about the general ideas in the passages, as well as being able to understand the difference between literal and figurative language. At the Middle Level, students will be asked to answer questions about what sort of information can be inferred from passages, how context affects words, and what can be determined from the tone of the author's writing. For the Upper Level, students will read more complex passages from literary fiction, as well as nonfiction works in the humanities and sciences, and will have to infer information, understand authorial intent, and evaluate the arguments of a passage.

Third up is the Verbal section. The Elementary Level of this part of the SSAT will ask students to understand synonyms and demonstrate an age-appropriate vocabulary. The Middle Level test will cover synonyms and analogies, and will ask students to understand the roots of words and how words are related to each other. At the Upper Level, students will have to additionally show knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Anglo-Saxon suffixes and prefixes, understand antonyms, and use context to determine the meaning of phrases.

Last is the Writing section. This section is not scored, but your student's work here be submitted to schools as an example of their writing skills. Elementary Level students will be given a picture prompt and be asked to write a simple story with a beginning, middle, and end. Schools will be looking for an understanding of spelling, grammar, and punctuation. For Middle Level students, the Writing section will provide two creative prompts that students can choose between and will base a story upon. Here, students will be expected to be able to structure a written story and will have to show skill in English writing mechanics. For the Upper Level test, students will again be provided with two prompts, but one will be for a creative story, and the other will be for an essay. Students can choose which they'd prefer to write. Admissions boards will be reading for English mechanical skill, but also for the persuasive abilities of your student's writing, and their skill in structuring and supporting their work.

How will a Houston SSAT course help my student prepare?

We know you and your student may have full schedules. That's why a Houston SSAT course is taught in a live virtual classroom led by a knowledgeable instructor. The flexibility of an online course should not be understated; over the internet, commute times can be instantaneous, and there are a range of class times to pick from. Your student will interact with their teacher and classmates just as if they were sitting around a table together, participating in group discussions where they'll be able to see and speak with other students getting ready for the SSAT. Group learning has been proven to increase students' ability to learn and retain new information, and can be a useful tool in getting your student ready for the test.

Of course, there are definite advantages to one-on-one instruction as well, which is why a Houston SSAT course allows students to reserve time with their teacher to go over difficult material privately. These courses have been specially designed so that they can help your student pursue success on the SSAT to the best of their ability. The course will cover content material and can also help your student get familiar with the structure and expectations of this sort of standardized test, and can build up their confidence and test-taking skills.

What can I do to get signed up for a Houston SSAT class?

Although the SSAT can be a challenging obstacle standing between your student and admission to a private school, it can also be an opportunity to develop skills that may continue to improve their academic prospects for years to come. Standardized testing, as well as testing more generally, is an important part of scholastic life. No matter the grade level of your student, strong content area knowledge combined with test-taking skills can be a powerful tool to get a leg up on the competition. Contact Varsity Tutors today and we'll be able to provide you with more information about our course offerings, and can get your student set up with a course that can point them towards success in private school.

Contact us today to connect with a top Houston SSAT instructor