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Mom of 2
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About the SSAT Reading Comprehension

The SSAT Reading Comprehension section consists of grade appropriate passages and follow-up, multiple-choice questions. The passages and their respective follow-up questions assess a student’s ability to comprehend what s/he has read.

The passages on the SSAT consist of two different types of writing: narrative (excerpts from novels, prose, poetry, essays, etc.) and argument (presenting a clear point of view about a topic). In the follow-up questions, students are asked to find certain pieces of information and to interpret the text. Additional questions require students to demonstrate an evaluative, literal, and inferential understanding of an assortment of texts. Students are asked to identify details and key ideas as well as to figure out the text’s main idea. Other questions may ask the reader to define words or phrases found in the text.

The SSAT Elementary Level Reading Comprehension section is made up of seven passages, each with four follow-up questions. It is to be completed in 30 minutes. The SSAT Middle & Upper Level Reading sections contain passages, each between 250-350 words in length (the amount of passages on these levels vary) and have a total of 40 follow-up questions. This section must be completed in 40 minutes. 

Possible Passage Topics Possible Follow-Up Question Types
Literary fiction Recognize main idea
Humanities (biography, art, poetry) Find details
Science (anthropology, astronomy, medicine) Make inferences
Social studies (history, sociology, economics) Definitions of words
Author’s purpose
Understand and evaluate opinions/arguments
Make predictions based on text

SSAT Practice Test

Help your child succeed on the SSAT test! Make sure to set aside time to prepare with TestPrep-Online. We currently offer child-friendly upper SSAT practice tests and soon we will offer packs for the other two levels, to help your child succeed on the test. The SSAT prep packs include realistic practice tests and helpful study guides, allowing your child to become familiar with the test structure. Your child can start preparing for the SSAT test with TestPrep-Online today! 


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