The following strategies to improve SSAT scores will help students best prepare for the test to ensure that they are ready to ace the test on exam day.  Follow these tips and their scores are sure to increase!

1.  Make a study plan

Making a plan is the most important step to improve SSAT scores.  The earlier students can begin studying the better! Ideally, they should begin studying and practicing for the SSAT at least 3 months before their scheduled exam.  Students should set aside 10 minutes each day to review vocabulary words and 1-2 hours twice a week to practice strategies and complete practice problems. By doing this, they will slowly build their vocabulary and gain new skills without being overwhelmed.  As the exam date approaches, they can practice more than 2 hours twice a week. Consistent practice is the key to increased test scores!

2.  Guessing

There is a ¼ point penalty for each incorrect answer on the SSAT.  Therefore, if students get a question wrong, their score will decrease ¼ of a point for each incorrect answer. This doesn’t mean that students should never guess.  It just means that they should know when to guess and when to skip a question.  If students can cross off at least one answer choice, then it would be a good idea to take a guess.  If they are unable to cross off any answer choices, they should leave it blank and move on.

3.  Crossing out


Crossing out answer choices is a great strategy to use when students are unsure what the answer is.  The more answer choices they can cross off, the better chance they have of choosing the correct answer. If students are able to cross off at least one answer choice, then they have a higher chance of getting the correct answer with only four options left.  In the verbal reasoning section, use strategies such as prefixes and context to eliminate answer choices.  In the math sections, use estimation and working backwards to eliminate answer choices.  These strategies will enable students to cross out some answer choices to have a better chance of choosing the correct answer.  

4.  Timing each practice test


Each section of the SSAT has a designated amount of time in which students need to complete the questions.  One of the easiest ways to ensure a higher score is to be able to complete all the questions in the allotted time.  Students should time themselves during every practice section to get an idea of how long it takes them to complete each section.  If they finish well before the time is over, they should slow down to ensure higher accuracy.  If they are unable to finish the section before the time is over, they should continue to take timed practice tests to ensure that they can finish on time.

5.  Building vocabulary


Verbal reasoning is typically one of the more difficult sections for students because it contains a variety of vocabulary words that students may or may not have heard of.  One of the easiest ways to improve their score on this section is to learn new vocabulary words.  By following a study plan and practicing vocabulary 10 minutes each day, they will start to embed new vocabulary into their memory.  Cramming as many vocabulary words the night before the SSAT is not recommended! Start early and students will be able to recall a higher number of vocabulary words.  Another great way to build vocabulary is through regular consistent reading. This will provide exposure to new words in context which will allow for better retention of definitions.  

Download the Top 100 SSAT vocabulary words to help improve SSAT scores.

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