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Nov 10 SSAT--What did you think?

paobs12paobs12 Posts: 112Registered User Junior Member
edited December 2012 in Prep School Admissions
My son took the SSAT in October as a placement test for his current school (scores not released yet). He also took the test today for boarding school applications, and thought that is was MUCH harder than the October test. In addition, it had 5 sections instead of 4. He usually knocks standardized tests out of the park, but he's feeling unsure about this one. For those of you who also took the Nov. 10 test, what did you think?
Post edited by paobs12 on
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Replies to: Nov 10 SSAT--What did you think?

  • SevenDadSevenDad Posts: 2,577Registered User Senior Member
    Note that each test is scaled...so that a lower raw score on harder test may result in the same scaled score as a higher score on an easier test.
  • preplovr22preplovr22 Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    I took the test today, but had nothing to compare it to. I did think it was weird to have a mixed set of 16 questions at the end from all of the categories. My test prep book did not tell me about this. For me the math and reading sections were as I expected, but the verbal section a bit more challenging. Others in my group did comment that they thought it was difficult and they would receive low scores.

    SevenDad: Is it true they scale a harder test? How do they determine how much to scale it?
  • SevenDadSevenDad Posts: 2,577Registered User Senior Member
    I had written to SSAT a few years ago about regarding scaling (actually my question is whether it is ever impossible to get an 800 on a given section). Here is their response, which speaks to the existence of a a range of difficulty from test admin to test admin:

    When creating many editions of a test, it is impossible to make them exactly the
    same level of difficulty. Though the differences are very small, there will
    always be "easier" and "harder" forms.

    Therefore, SSAT statistically determines the "level of difficulty" of each new
    test section through pretesting. Pretest takers write both a baseline form and
    a new test form. The sections are scored and the resulting data allows SSAT to
    create a difficulty factor. This factor indicates how much easier or harder the
    new test form is in comparison to the baseline form. This factor, which
    compensates for the very small differences in difficulty, is applied to a
    student's raw score just before it is converted to an SSAT Scaled Score.

    If a form is easier than the baseline form, the raw score will be slightly
    decreased. Likewise, if a form is harder than the baseline form, the raw score
    will be slightly increased. At the SSAT possible score range extremes (low and
    high) this anomaly is apparent, however, it can not be removed as long as the
    "level of difficulty" of each form is taken into consideration. It is simply a
    limitation of the scoring process.
  • preplovr22preplovr22 Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    That is very helpful! Thank you SevenDad!
  • PrepQWillPrepQWill Posts: 173Registered User Junior Member
    I thought that it was fairly odd for there to be a 5th section. None of my books told me that so it was astonishing in some way.
  • preplovr22preplovr22 Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    Is the fifth section new, my princeton review book had NOTHING about it.
  • SevenDadSevenDad Posts: 2,577Registered User Senior Member
    Here's what I'd hazard...that fifth section may have been a "test" section that SSAT put on some forms to see if "pretested" questions have similar curves in the real world.
  • paobs12paobs12 Posts: 112Registered User Junior Member
    SevenDad, thanks for that great explanation. I told my son that the 5th section was probably some sort of baseline test. Other kids who took it with him also thought that it was more difficult than they had expected. At least it's done!
  • phillipshopefulphillipshopeful Posts: 29Registered User New Member
    I took the test in October; the 5th section was also on that test...retaking in December. We'll see how that one turns out!
  • havenmummhavenmumm Posts: 3Registered User New Member
    I took it today and the math section was really hard on me because I never took any geometry. Some of the verbal parts were really complicated as well, but the reading section was fairly easy.
  • RileyFreemanRileyFreeman Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    I took the test in October and we had a 5th section. They told us it just random questions and not part of our scores. I am also going to take it in December to see if i can up my verbal
  • preplovr22preplovr22 Posts: 103Registered User Junior Member
    Did you guys do better or worse than you expected? I am just wondering for when I receive my results.
  • smiley66smiley66 Posts: 82Registered User Junior Member
    I thought it was pretty hard! I guess I'll know in a couple of weeks. :/
  • SharingGiftSharingGift Posts: 551Registered User Member
    It's called "Experimental Section" and, although it doesn't appear in practical tests, should be there in every real test. It's 16 Qs in 15 min, as explained in the page 20 of the official SSAT prep book. It won't be counted toward your score but used to develop future tests. This kind of experimental sections are common and you'll also see in SAT, GRE, etc.
  • girlgeekmomgirlgeekmom Posts: 461Registered User Member
    @Sharing -- I knew it was an experimental section from friends who took it this year, but neither our dd nor her friends encountered it when taking last year's tests, so perhaps it is only on "every real test" this year, or every few years, etc.

    Anyone know if this is the case or if the extra section is "the new normal?"
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