Admission Tests Preparation

SSAT Reading Comprehension Section Explained

The SSAT Reading Comprehension section is one of the four subjects assessed on the SSAT. Read on to learn more about the SSAT Reading Comprehension section.
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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 TopicsPossible 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

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