The SSAT, or Secondary School Admission Test, is a common standardized exam used to evaluate eighth grade applicants interested in private or Catholic high schools. The test is a very important part of an eighth grader’s application. Unlike college admissions counselors who look at resumes, writing, and recommendation letters as large contributing factors in a student’s application, high school admissions counselors focus on test scores.
That’s right! In order to get into a highly selective private school, you must boost your SSAT/ISEE, HSPT or BCA admission test scores.
The SSAT contains Essay, Reading Comprehension, Verbal, and Math sections. The essay, however, is not scored. This means your writing does not impact your overall application test score. You are still required to complete this section of the exam.
So, why is the essay important?
Even though the essay section is not scored, high school admissions counselors review it along with the rest of the test. You will have the opportunity to choose from a creative and an analytical prompt.
This section allows those reviewing your application to see if you…
- follow directions
- organize your thoughts
- write well
Well-written, organized essays show admissions counselors that you are ready to take on challenges that require critical thinking once in high school. You will only have 25 minutes to answer the prompt, but the clearer you convey your ideas, the better you will look to high school admissions counselors.
MEK offers SSAT/BCA Dual Prep to give students interested in private or magnet schools the complete high school admissions test training experience. Starting during the Summer semester, students develop foundational skills relevant to all high school entrance exams in Exam Prep 8. These students work through the following January to perfect all aspects of high school applications thanks to exam prep, one-on-one academic counselor meetings, essay revision, and interview prep.
Interested in SSAT Exam Prep? Call (855) 346-1410 to register today!
Article by Rachel Karach / Exam Prep, High School Admissions, SSAT
Writing Sample for the SSAT Essay
Brief Introduction to the SSAT Essay and a Sample Essay
The SSAT stands for the Secondary School Admission Test. It is a standardized test that is taken by those school students of USA who are planning to enter into private or independent schools across USA. This article focuses on the Writing sample section of the SSAT test and also includes a sample essay. Hence, go through the article carefully to acquire complete knowledge of the Writing Sample test.
SSAT Writing Test
For the Elementary Level, a simple essay has to be written for which the students are given 15 minutes. The test at this level contains a picture prompt and the student has to express himself or herself through a written response based on that prompt. This sample is not scored but a copy of it is sent to the chosen schools for evaluation.
Middle and Upper Levels
In the SSAT, at this level, you are provided 25 minutes for this section and are given a choice of two writing prompts. This writing sample is used by admission officers of various schools to evaluate your writing skills. Although the essay is not scored, a copy of it is provided to each school you select as a score recipient.
SSAT Essay Prompts
The essay prompts are written in such a way that the student is able to tell the school something better about himself or herself. Two pages are given to you in order to write an essay on the given essay prompts. For more clarity on the types of topics that you may encounter, you can go through a few SSAT essay prompts that are available on the official website (http://www.ssat.org/ssat/test/test-prep-sample.html):
- Elementary Level
The essay prompt given to Elementary Level test-takers is in the form of a picture. The students have to make sure that the story they form on the given picture has a complete beginning, middle and an end. For this level, no copy of the sample is available for purchase by the student's family later.
- Middle Level
Both these prompts, taken up from the official website, are creative in their tone.
- I looked into its eyes and suddenly...
- The classroom was empty.
Your response to such prompts must be creative and must use vivid explanations. Additionally, the grammar and vocabulary that you use must be in accordance with the conventions of Standard English.
- Upper Level
The following sample prompts have been taken up from the official test website for your reference. One of these prompts is creative and the other one is an essay.
- If you could do something over again, what would it be and why?
- He couldn't believe they wanted his help.
For the creative prompt, your response must be equally imaginative and creative. For the essay prompt, your response must be supported by well-developed examples.
The essays you write are not scored by the SSAT Board. In fact, it is not scored at all. However, a copy of your written essay is sent to all the schools the names of which you mentioned at the time of registration. It is these schools that evaluate your essay. You may purchase a copy of the writing sample later for a fee of 20$.
SSAT Sample Essay:
Here is an essay written for a prompt that is ideal for a Middle Level essay:
Essay Prompt: Where there is a will, there is a way.
Sample:There is truth in the saying "Where there's a will, there's a way." According to me, if people have some hope even in an abject situation, they will always find a way by working hard or by putting in more efforts. Whenever they need help and then work hard, and if they really do aspire to achieve the best that they can do in such a given condition, then they can always find the correct way that will lead them to success.
There is an example I would like to quote here. When I was ten years old, I used to play handball with my elder brothers. However, one day while playing with them, I got hit while catching the ball. My brother had thrown the ball for fun straight into my face, and subsequently, my face started hurting a lot. It also swelled and became red in color. However, I did not give up at that moment. Instead, I kept on playing, and eventually my side won the game.
Another example I can quote here is of the story of Robert, the Bruce and the spider. Once during a war, Robert, the Bruce took shelter in the cave as he was very scared. However, he saw a spider making his web painstakingly. The spider would fail every time, yet he would start making the web again. This act of the spider and his zeal to overcome his failures inspired Robert, the Bruce. He gained the will to win the war and so he went and fought bravely. In the end, he had found a way and had won
In conclusion, the phrase "Where there's a will, there's a way" is a really good phrase to learn from. If we work hard and have faith in our hard work, we can achieve the impossible. The reason is that due to our hope, we start working towards our goal. And when we work, we accomplish many tasks. By doing so, we can be sure that we will not fail because now we have a will. It is this will that will create a way for us.
Hence, remember that even though the written essay is not scored, it is advisable to attempt it in the best possible way. The reason is that a copy of the response will be sent to all the schools you selected when you registered for the SSAT. For ensuring this, there are a few important tips that you must keep in mind:
- Always remember to start the essay with the sentence given to you in the essay prompt.
- You must also write neatly and eligibly within the margins provided.
- The grammar and vocabulary that you use in the essay must be correct and in accordance with the rules of Standard English.
- The writing sample may have more than one meaning. However, you must stick to the meaning that you have understood.
- Creativity is always encouraged as long as it is appropriate and effective.
- You need to support your statements with relevant and specific examples. These examples could be derived from your personal experience, studies, literature, science or arts.
- The essay must contain a clear introduction, at least two paragraphs in the main body and a well-defined conclusion.
- The essay must also be at least 350 words in length.
So, start preparing and brushing up your skills for this section!