SSAT Stragetigies by Summit Educational Group
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Use Process of Elimination (POE)
Each SSAT question is a puzzle to be solved. Eliminate answer choices by using clues in the question. Each eliminated answer choice gets you that much closer to solving the puzzle. You've also increased your odds of answering the question correctly. Instead of making a random guess, make and educated guess by using POE.
SAMPLE QUESTION:

If 3 of every 10 people have red hair, how many redheads will there be in a group of 15,000 people?

(A) 500
(B) 3,000
(C) 4,500
(D) 5,000
(E) 45,000

Right off the bat you can eliminate answer choice (E) because it would be impossible to have more people with red hair than total people in the group. You can also safely eliminate choice (A) because it's simply too low a number. Even if you aren't sure what to do next you can take an educated guess between the remaining three options. (C) is the correct answer.

Watch out for ATTRACTORS
SSAT Test PrepOn difficult questions, attack the answer choices that immediately seem right. You could be falling for an attractor! On difficult problems, the test writers set attractive traps for the unsuspecting student.

SAMPLE QUESTION:

EXHAUSTIVE:

(A) tired
(B) polluted
(C) thorough
(D) extreme
(E) excessive

This is a difficult synonym question. Notice how (A) and (B) attract your attention because both tired and polluted seem related to EXHAUSTIVE. It's easy to think of exhausted or exhaust, as in car exhaust. But EXHAUSTIVE has a different meaning: thorough. The correct answer is (C).

A Logical Approach to Analogies
Analogies can be intimidating but a little structure goes a long way. For most analogies, create a short and clear sentence that contains both of the stem words and defines one word in terms of the other. Then, simply apply the same sentence to each of the answer choices until you find the one with the same relationship.

SAMPLE QUESTION:

Helmet is to head as:

(A) drug is to disease
(B) lace is to shoe
(C) apron is to stain
(D) field is to goal
(E) thimble is to finger

First, create your stem word sentence: A helmet it worn to protect the head. Next, apply it to each answer choice: A drug is worn to protect a disease, A lace is worn to protect a shoe, etc. Answer choice (E) reads: A thimble is worn to protect a finger. Bingo!

PLUG IN the answer choices
The beauty of a multiple-choice test is that you can work backward as well as forward. Don't get tunnel vision. If you can't solve the problem in the forward direction, try solving it in the reverse direction by plugging in the answer choices.

SAMPLE QUESTION:

Megan ate 1/3 of her jellybeans, and then threw away five. If she had 25 jellybeans left how many did she start with?

(A) 32
(B) 35
(C) 40
(D) 45
(E) 50

An algebra ace could set up a quick equation. For those who haven't yet mastered this skill, it may be easier to work backward from the answer choices. Take answer (B), for example, and step through the problem. If Megan started with 35 jellybeans and ate 1/3 of them, she would have eaten 11 and 2/3 jellybeans. Throwing away 5 from those that remained, she'd be left with fewer than 25. That doesn't work, so move on to another answer choice. Choice (D) will emerge as correct.

Synonyms - Find the Familiar in the Unfamiliar Sometimes, a stem word may look unfamiliar and it is tempting to immediately throw in the towel. Instead, take a closer look. Break down the word and look for a familiar root or word part. Often, you'll find something familiar that will quickly lead you to the right answer.

SAMPLE QUESTION:

EQUANIMITY:

(A) nobility
(B) level-headedness
(C) sweetness
(D) cowardice
(E) imbalance

The stem word, equanimity, is scary. It is tempting to give up before giving it a shot. Look for the familiar: the first 4 letters of equanimity are the same first 4 letters of the word equal. Equal can mean balanced, level. Choice (B), level-headedness, is the right answer!

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