Coughing during SSAT?

While I was taking my SSAT (Feb. 8th), about 25 of the 30 kids in the room were coughing and sniffling, all incredibly loudly. I could barely focus on my test, and because of that I got a lower score than I wanted. It’s been (obviously) a while, but is it reasonable to file a complaint now? What are the rules for being a distraction during the SSAT?


You’re not in a private soundproof booth. Distractions are expected to happen.

I was almost feeling sorry for you till I saw you got a 99 and are just upset that your math subscore is 97. You really need to chill, if you don’t get in it certainly won’t be because of your math score!

FYI. it’s attitudes like this that BS are trying to avoid.


I was just wondering, especially because I’m sure it impacted other kids in the room too. I saw people all around me trying to plug their ears so they could focus.

Also, this wasn’t just normal occasional coughing and throat-clearing and sniffling.

It sounded like people were trying to hack up gigantic hairballs, and the noise was CONSTANT for the entire test.

Based on the flu thread over on the Parents forum, I’m betting the same hairball cacaphony is going on in many BS classrooms as I write this. Just something you’ll have to get used to.

Yup, and you are upset because you got a 97% on math? That is the attitude I’m talking about. People chasing grades and numbers are not the people that BS gravitate towards. I am just telling you, you can take it or leave it. Numbers hungry kids aren’t the kids that BS like.

EVERY boarding school AO I spoke with - and keep in mind that I live in MA so that means basically the top ten list no matter how you cut it - told me that they reject MANY kids each year with a perfect GPA and perfect SSAT scores. Stop worrying about your score. I absolutely promise it will not affect your admission at this point.

My son had a sub 90% in math and he currently has a 100 grade in honors math in a school where NO senior last year achieved a 4.0 GPA. SSAT score just isn’t a true reflection of talent, after a certain point, and schools know that.

Let me beat the drum yet again (old-timers, cover your ears or go get another cup of coffee):

Once your scores are at or above the average for the schools to which you are applying, you’re done. Move on. Nothing else to see here. The purpose of the SSAT is simply to indicate to a school that an applicant can do the work. That’s it. Nothing more. No school is splitting hairs on an application based on SSAT scores. Your scores get about a ten-second look. Top scores are not a hook especially when so many are achieved by superscoring.

Ah, superscoring… Many applicants take the SSAT as many times as they can to get the best possible superscore they can. Why not? I think it’s great that a kid who might have been sick (coughing up a hairball?) during the first attempt, or misbubbled, or had never taken a standardized test in their life can have another go of it. But understand that if it takes you three, four, five tries to get the best score, that only proves you’ve worked on your test-taking ability; your understanding of a general body of knowledge has not changed – and, depending on the school, you may be competing against students who got those top scores in one sitting with no prep. Will you feel comfortable in that cohort? This may be one reason so many “top-scoring” kids are not accepted by some schools. Just a theory.

Merely “agreeing” or clicking on “helpful” is not enough for your post.

Thank you! Thank you!