Fundamental Preparation Tips for Your SSAT SuccessThe Secondary School Admission Test, or SSAT, is a placement exam for students in grades 5-11 seeking entry into independent or private schools.

The test is designed to measure how students' compare with their peers academically. The best preparation plan is simply giving yourself ample time to familiarize yourself with the exam, master the content and equip yourself with an arsenal of strategies to succeed.

Practice is the most important ingredient for your SSAT prep success. There is no replacement for taking full-length practice tests. The best prep tests are the real past exams only available in the official SSAT Study Guide published by SSATB. Create an organized study timeline, but don't be afraid to readjust your plan of attack based on what you identify as your strengths and areas for greatest opportunity. Make sure to tackle the sections that challenge you first!

When taking full length tests, it's important to get used to the environment, timing and format. Be cognizant of your fatigue levels, academic deficiencies, common distractions and other factors that can influence your test performance.

Find a quiet room or library to take the test with no distractions or breaks. Do you best to duplicate the real test-like situation. This way, when test day arrives the process and environment feel routine and casual, eliminating a lot of potential stress.

Always use a clock and evaluate where you are making mistakes. Are you slipping up near the end of sections? This most likely means you are getting tired or distracted. Are you having trouble finishing sections? Then it's important to focus on your timing, or deciding to eliminate a certain question type that particularly challenges you.

Trick questions are synonymous with the SSAT. While taking practice tests, pay attention to the types of questions that get repeated. Take note of how they are phrased and try to "trick" you. Many of these problem-solving tricks are repeated. Review all your wrong answers and analyze not only what you did wrong, but ask yourself if and how the examiner tricked you.

Make lists of material and words that are difficult for you. Review these lists regularly and watch as your scores steadily improve. Always take the time to identify what the questions ask. Many mistakes aren't made from the actual work, but from answering a question that the test doesn't ask. Get familiar with common SSAT wording.

Finally, get into a good routine and stick to it. Do at least a little bit of reading everyday and give yourself SSAT-related assignments to complete. Couple this preparation strategy with a healthy lifestyle and you are sure to surpass your goals, good luck studying!

David Greenberg is an SSAT Tutor and SAT Tutor with Parliament Tutors, a home tutoring company.

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