Admission Tests Preparation

SSAT Writing Section Explained

The SSAT Writing section is one of the four sections on the SSAT. Each student is required to write one essay, which is not scored. Read on to learn more about the SSAT Writing section.
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About the SSAT Writing

The SSAT Writing section is not scored. On the SSAT Elementary Level, students are provided with one picture prompt and 15 minutes to complete the essay. The SSAT Middle* and Upper** Levels provides students with a choice of two written prompts and 25 minutes to write the essay.
*SSAT Middle Level is provided with a choice of two creative writing prompts
**SSAT Upper Level is provided with a choice of one creative writing prompt and one essay prompt

The SSAT Writing section provides students with the opportunity to express themselves. Though it is not graded, the SSAT essay is provided to the admissions departments of the schools to which the students have applied. This allows admissions department to assess students’ writing skills. The essay is not included in the score report, unless it is purchased to be included in the student’s online score report (except for the Elementary SSAT essay, which cannot be purchased).

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SSAT Writing Prompts

The SSAT essay prompts are written in a way that allows students to tell admissions departments more about themselves. Students are provided with two pages to write their essays.

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Elementary Level

Elementary SSAT test-takers are provided a prompt in the form of a picture. Students must write an essay based on the picture prompt and make sure that their writing sample is complete, with a beginning, middle, and end.

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Middle Level

The two Middle Level SSAT Writing prompts are both creative. The response to the prompts must also be creative and make use of animated explanations. Students are expected to use grammar and vocabulary which conform to Standard English.

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Upper Level

The Upper Level SSAT Writing section provides students a creative prompt and an essay prompt to choose from. If a student decides to respond to the creative prompt, the response must also be creative and make use of animated explanations. If s/he responds to the essay prompt, the response must be supported by strong examples in the text.

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SSAT Writing Tips

Though the SSAT essay is not scored, it is still recommended that students write their essays as well as possible, as a copy of each students’ essay will be submitted to the schools selected during the SSAT registration process. Here are some helpful SSAT Writing tips:
  • Begin the essay with the same sentence provided in the prompt
  • Write neatly in the space provided
  • Use proper grammar and vocabulary, conforming to the rules of Standard English
  • Stay on topic
  • It is good to be creative, provided that it is suitable
  • Provide supportive information (statements, examples, etc.)
  • The essay should include a clear introduction, a minimum of two paragraphs in the main body, and a clear conclusion
  • The essay must be at least 350 words long

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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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