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About the SSAT Verbal

The SSAT Verbal section has both an analogy section and a synonym section. The synonym section assesses one’s strength in vocabulary, while the analogy section is used to assess one’s ability to logically relate different ideas to one another. Together, the SSAT vocabulary and analogy sections test one’s understanding of language and nuances in word definitions.

  • The SSAT Elementary Verbal section is made up of 30 questions to be completed in 20 minutes
  • The SSAT Middle and Upper Verbal section is made up of 60 questions (30 synonyms and 30 analogies) to be completed in 30 minutes

SSAT Synonyms

The SSAT utilizes synonyms as a means of assessing a student’s vocabulary, as synonyms do not necessarily have the same exact meaning, thus allowing students to discern between words with slightly different definitions. This improves both precision of speech and writing as well as the comprehension of nuances in the speech and writing of others. In these questions, you are given a word in bold, and then you need to choose one correct answer choice (out of five answer choices). The correct answer must be the word with the closest meaning as of the bolded word.

Here are some tips for dealing with synonyms questions:

  • Try to write down a definition of the bolded word. Then go over the answer choices and see which one of them fits into the definition you have written, or at least gets close to this definition.
  • If you are not sure which answer choice to choose, try to rule out answer choices you are sure are wrong. This way you will increase your chances to get the answer right.
  • You can also define shortly the words in the answer choices and then think whether the bolded word is close to one of the definitions you have written.
  • If you do not know the meaning of a word, try to break it down into its components – the root and any additional prefixes and/or suffixes.
  • Synonyms questions are mainly designed to test your vocabulary. Thus, try to broaden your vocabulary as much as possible: read books, journals and newspapers, solve crossword puzzles, engage in conversations with others, use the dictionary to check out words you do not know, and so on.
  • A powerful tool for expanding your vocabulary is to learn new words as part of a context, as just memorizing words from a list is not an easy task. This is the reason why reading is so important, as this way you encounter new words as part of a story and in relation to other words and concepts.

SSAT Analogies

Analogies are used on the SSAT Verbal section to assess a student’s ability to logically relate different ideas to one another. In an analogy question, a student must determine the relationship between two concepts, using prior knowledge. Such comparisons improve problem solving, decision-making, perception, memory, communication, and reasoning skills as well as reading and vocabulary.

Through analogies, students learn to actively process information and improve long-term memory and comprehension. Analogies stimulate both creative and critical thinking, and they require students to demonstrate an understanding of word definitions, variations, and relationships.

Here are several different types of analogies:

Analogy Type Example
Antonyms/Opposites Hot : cold :: night : day
Synonyms Happy : joyful :: cold : chilly
Characteristic Ice cream : cold :: soup : hot
Part to Whole Screen : computer :: wheel : car
Uses Chair : sit :: bed : sleep
Users Pencil : student :: chalk : teacher
Product to Producer Book : author :: bread : baker
Degree Fantastic : good :: miniature : small
Homonyms There : their :: two : too

Some tips for dealing with analogies questions:

  • Try to define the relationship between the first pair of words and write it down. Then check which one of the pairs in the answer choices maintains the same relationship.
  • Sometimes, after you have already defined the relationship between the first pair, you still cannot figure out the correct answer, or you are left with two possible answer choices that both make sense. In this case, try to narrow your definition and make it more accurate. For example, you can say that a screen is part of a computer, but in case this definition is not enough, you can narrow the definition by saying that a screen is an essential part of the computer (as without it a person cannot use the computer).
  • Expanding your vocabulary can also help you in solving analogies quickly. Therefore, try to expand your vocabulary as much as you can by implementing the tips explained above under the "synonyms" section.

SSAT Practice Test

The SSAT Test is one of the three most widely used admission tests for independent school programs. Coming prepared is a way to help ensure your child’s success. Our practice packs are specifically designed to match the material of every section of the test, including the SSAT Verbal section. Through a variety of practice material and study guides, your child is sure to gain the knowledge he or she needs for the deserved score.

The SSAT and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with TestPrep-Online or this website.

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