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Varsity Tutors is an industry leader when it comes to matching students with a Pittsburgh SSAT prep service that meets their needs. The SSAT is a standardized test that private and independent schools use as one criteria in their application processes. The exam is offered to students in grades 3-11 with the understanding that it is taken the year before they plan to enroll in a private or independent school. In order to provide an appropriate level of challenge for all students, the test is divided into Elementary Level (grades 3-4), Middle Level (5-7), and Upper Level (8-11) tests.

We can help your student build their study skills no matter which of those exams they are preparing for. If they could benefit from a structured classroom environment, we can enroll them in a comprehensive Pittsburgh SSAT prep course that covers everything you would expect it to. If they need private instruction, we can refer you to a one-on-one Pittsburgh SSAT tutor instead. Reach out today to learn more about the difference that professional test prep can make.

What content areas does Pittsburgh SSAT prep generally cover?

The SSAT has the same five sections at all Levels of the test: Experimental, Writing, Quantitative, Reading, and Verbal. The Experimental section is always unscored, serving to test out exam items for future assessments. As such, there's no reason to study for it specifically. The Writing section is also unscored, though it's still important since it is sent as a sample of your student's writing to every school you apply to. Here is a closer look at what you can expect on each section of the SSAT:


The SSAT's Writing component varies on all three tests. On the Elementary Level SSAT, children have 15 minutes to compose a short story based on a picture in the exam booklet. They are also advised to include a beginning, middle, and end in the proper order. On the Middle Level SSAT, students have 25 minutes to write a response to their choice of two creative writing prompts. On the Upper Level SSAT, students have 25 minutes and may choose between a creative prompt and a more traditional essay assignment. Private and independent schools are looking for accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation at all levels of the test, so students are encouraged to save some time to proofread their work.


The exam's Quantitative section is called "Math" on the Elementary Level SSAT, and it assesses age-appropriate mathematical skills. Young children are tested on topics such as shapes, fractions, multiplication tables, and long division and have 30 multiple-choice items to answer in half an hour. Older students taking the Middle or Upper Level SSAT deal with more advanced topics such as geometry, algebra, data analysis, and probability. Their Quantitative section is also split into Quantitative 1 and Quantitative 2 subsections, each of which contains 25 questions over a half hour testing sessions. Calculators are never allowed on the SSAT.


The test's Reading section consists of passage-based multiple-choice items at all three levels. Every test-taker is expected to pinpoint a passage's main idea, its supporting details, and differentiate between literal and figurative word meanings. Students may also be asked to define a term based on its usage in the passage. Older students work with more difficult reading selections than their younger counterparts and are asked to analyze and draw conclusions from the material. The Elementary Level SSAT's Reading section has 28 questions to answer in 30 minutes, while older students have to answer 40 questions in 40 minutes.


Finally, the exam's Verbal component assesses a test-taker's vocabulary skills through analogies and synonyms. Many words have hints to their meaning, so studying things such as word roots, suffixes, and prefixes can prove more beneficial than studying as many specific words as possible. Elementary-Level test-takers need to answer 30 multiple-choice questions in 20 minutes, while older students get 30 minutes to answer 60.

What are the advantages of each Pittsburgh SSAT preparation option available to me?

If you opt for a Pittsburgh SSAT prep class, your student will study on our live virtual platform with a knowledgeable teacher and several other students preparing for the same exam. Our platform facilitates real-time interaction, so your student can raise their hand and ask for help just as easily as they could in a more traditional learning environment.

Your student will also be able to communicate with their peers. While this may not seem like a good thing initially, it actually is. Group assignments such as outlining something for the Writing section can help students think of new ways to approach academics. If somebody else in the class picks up a great test-taking tip, they can also share it with your student so that more people benefit. For instance, reading the Reading section's questions before their corresponding passage can help students know exactly what they are looking for. Sharing your student's virtual classroom also means sharing the cost, making test prep more affordable than you might believe. If your student needs extra help with something, you can also arrange private study sessions with their teacher on an as-needed basis.

If you feel as though your student needs more individualized attention, working with a tutor may be a better option. A tutor can take the time to understand a pupil's unique needs and design sessions accordingly to improve their study efficiency. Private instruction also moves at your student's pace, whether that means blasting through something they find easy or taking the time to build a truly comprehensive understanding of an important subject.

We also try to make all of our products as convenient as possible. For instance, we start new classes every week so that you can get started on your terms. Similarly, you are in charge of when your student meets with a private instructor, mitigating scheduling conflicts.

Can I sign up for Pittsburgh SSAT prep today?

Contact Varsity Tutors today for more info on how to enroll in the Pittsburgh SSAT prep solution of your choice. Whether you want a comprehensive class or a private instructor, we are here for you!

Contact us today to connect with a top Pittsburgh SSAT instructor