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SSAT Question

Kenneth1960Kenneth1960 98 replies18 threadsForum Champion Harvard Forum Champion
DD3 want to go to a private school and is studying for the SSAT. She is going into 8th grade and has not yet had any algebra. Will she be required to take the upper level SSAT with the algebra questions? How do schools adjust for the differential rate at which math is taught?
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Replies to: SSAT Question

  • squ1rrelsqu1rrel 365 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    Yes, she will be required to take the upper level SSAT with algebra, but it is simple algebra and can be learned easily.
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  • Kenneth1960Kenneth1960 98 replies18 threadsForum Champion Harvard Forum Champion
    Thank you for your prompt response.
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 1025 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hello @Kenneth1960 - As noted above, your DD will have to take the Upper SSAT but the Algebra is really basic and more like Pre-Algebra items. Know the basic rules of the various properties...
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  • PrepDad2018PrepDad2018 60 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I found the SSAT.org online resources (pay but cheaper than the independent companies) were best for the Math prep. My son was in the same boat in 8th grade. The verbal he skipped practice but the Math was a challenge to prepare for. We hired a Math tutor and together they took the SSAT practice tests online and went over the responses he missed. We probably did 4-6 weekly sessions total and that got him through. The schools do not consider the middle school course load. You have to do well regardless. Good luck.

    BTW - The tutoring with the online tests were a HUGE help for my son not taking Pre-Alg or Alg 1.
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1752 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Don't worry too much. Our school district doesn't offer Algebra 1 until 9th grade and our 8th grader scored in the 90th percentile.
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  • RedLionessRedLioness 103 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Be aware of basic algebra 1 topics (when I took it, I remember distinctly wincing in sympathy with the kids who didn't have any algebra under their belt...) such as slope-intercept form and solving a quadratic in the form ax^2 + bx + c where a = 1. Otherwise, you should be good to go!
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  • GarandmanGarandman 218 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 6
    Our middle daughter took test prep. Immense improvement in math scores
    edited August 6
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  • dogsmama1997dogsmama1997 460 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    I don’t quite agree that the math is easy or simple and can/should be learned at test prep. My kid did test prep and they explicitly said their goal is to teach kids to take the test, not teach kids math they haven’t learned in school (obviously every test prep is different). However, your rising 8th grader will be scored only against other rising 8th graders, most of whom have had a fairly similar math background. That’s how the ssat adjusts for the younger kids taking the upper level test.

    FWIW my kid thinks math in school is pretty easy but did not think the ssat math was super easy. I do agree with doing some prep work alone, we also liked the ssat online prep, actually especially the verbal.

    Also, plan to have her take the test more than once if possible. Mine took it twice and raised her verbal score by more than she should have been able to (based on the ssat predictions).

    Good luck to your daughter!
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  • eekeekeekeek 23 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    A few trouble areas for someone who hasn't taken algebra yet IMO are:
    counting
    probability
    slope/distance
    x y intercepts
    transformations
    quadratics (factoring is good but quadratic equation should be if your child feels comfortable with it or not)
    sets
    functions
    I also agree that the official online practice helps a lot (It's $70 but worth it).
    Good luck!
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1375 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Seems like some kids are far more advanced than others in math depending on their school system. Having more advanced topics under you belt certainly can't hurt.
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  • swparentingswparenting 16 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hi all. Re: SSAT test registration, has anyone signed up for "The Application Process to Independent Schools - On-Demand Webinar Series" as part of the test registration? If so, did you find it helpful? We're applying this fall, for 9th grade in fall 2020.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5691 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^^ I don't think this existed when we went through the process, but as a family doing this out of a public school (which sent almost everyone to the LPS), I would have loved this kind of an overview. We had a lot of those "we didn't get the memo" moments in our search, and although I had some good resources to turn to (and would like to think that I am now a good resource myself), I often didn't know what to ask!

    This CC community is terrifically helpful, and I am certain you'll get good advice here, but we all came at if from our own places and with our own kids. I don't know what the cost is, but it sounds like a very well thought through introduction to the process.
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1375 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @gardenstategal Agree. A friend told me sone things I never would have guessed. Those “in the know” have a distinct advantage.
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1752 replies34 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Happytimes2001 What kinds of things did your "in the know" friend share?
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1375 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @CaliMex Rather not go into too much detail. But she told me how the entire process worked. What to do and what not to do. She told us how to present our kid in terms of strengths and how each school "worked" Having a parent friend whose child attends a school is like having access to a faculty member. One can ask questions and find out information not on the website. For example, before the process began, I thought SSATs were very important. But they aren't. Even at the top schools. As long as the kid meets a certain threshold having very high scores isn't going to help. Or, letting your kid who loves reaching the top and stretching--- isn't that helpful in a school that has no grades or awards. This is an actual example.
    Candidates if you know someone who attends these schools ask the parent questions. IF you know a faculty member or admin ask questions. Read about that specific school.
    There is a lot to know. I read learned some of it on CC and learned much from private school parents. Also, if you listen to the people at the school, they will essentially tell you what they are looking for. You just have to be open to the information. I could summarize each school in a sentence after the visits. And after the revisits we had an even better idea.
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  • ChoatieMomChoatieMom 5240 replies240 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ...I thought SSATs were very important. But they aren't. Even at the top schools. As long as the kid meets a certain threshold having very high scores isn't going to help.

    This. Should be a bold banner quote permanently scrolling at the top of the Prep School Admissions forum. Let’s stop the meaningless score-chasing madness and understand that the purpose of that test is simply to indicate to each school whether or not the applicant can do the work. Period. Nothing more. No school hair-splits among desirable applicants by SSAT, and SSAT scores are not what make any applicant desirable. Meet the threshold and move on. Ditto for college.

    <endrant>
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  • Happytimes2001Happytimes2001 1375 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @ChoatieMom I'd add this too....you/your kid might be a superstar but there are thousands of super star kids whose lights burn as bright in lots of categories. These are the kids whom your child will be compared to and vetted against. Be aware that you are competing against others like you. And that's why the process has such mixed results.
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  • dogsmama1997dogsmama1997 460 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    Totally agree about SSAT scores not mattering that much. I was literally told this by an admissions person. I saw a number of kids, who thought that their very high scores would get them an easy in, be very disappointed on acceptance day. Kids who score super high immediately think they are all set and it just is not the case.
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  • CaliPopsCaliPops 340 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    I tend to think the schools do care about SSAT in aggregate, though not necessarily for an individual. Just like the top colleges have kids in a range of scores and GPAs, I think the same generally holds true for boarding schools. It can't be an accident that the schools report very similar SSAT percentile numbers year after year.

    That said, I fully agree that no one should believe that high scores alone are a strong indicator of admittance. Speaking anecdotally--and I know we are not alone--DC did not receive admission offers from some schools with SSAT medians (I think they report medians, not averages, but I could be wrong) significantly below DC's. And I don't think that just about yield management. It was our impression that, similar to what Happytimes2001 states, the the schools have different visions of themselves and how an applicant seems to fit in that vision is very important.
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  • dogsmama1997dogsmama1997 460 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    Well put, I agree that is the most logical way of thinking about it.

    Every kid needs to be seen as bringing something to the school but just SSAT scores aren't enough of a "thing to bring" because lots of kids have very good scores.
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