SAT Suite

The difference between the SAT and the SSAT

During high school, you will come across many acronyms related to the college application process and education in general, including SAT, ACT, FAFSA® and more.

In this post we break down two acronyms that are commonly mixed up by both students and parents: SAT and SSAT.


What is the SAT?

The SAT is an admissions test administered by College Board and is widely accepted by U.S. colleges and many international colleges and universities. It features three main sections: math, reading, and writing (which includes an optional written essay). The SAT is typically taken by 11th and 12th graders. Many students prepare for the test using the Official SAT Practice at Khan Academy®.

To learn more about what is on the SAT and how to register, visit


What is the SSAT?

The SSAT is a standardized test offered to students who are looking to apply to private schools. The tests are offered for students in three levels: elementary (3rd and 4th graders), middle (5th to 7th graders) and upper (8th to 11th graders). The SSAT covers math, reading, and verbal skills. The test was created to measure the ability in particular skills and is not considered an achievement test, and SSAT scores are not a part of your college application. The SSAT is administered by the Enrollment Management Association (EMA) and not College Board.

To learn more about the benefits of the SSAT, visit


How are the tests similar?

The tests are similar in that they are entrance exams that help students get into schools of their choosing. Both the SAT and SSAT are only considered to be one part of the student’s application when looking to get accepted by a school. A student's grades and extracurricular activities are still important in both application scenarios.


How are the tests different?

The main difference is the type of school the test taker is looking to attend. The SSAT helps students enter private schools from grades 4 through 11. The SAT helps students enter colleges and universities. They are also administered by two different nonprofit entities. College Board administers the SAT, while the SSAT is administered by the Enrollment Management Association (EMA).

For more information on the SAT and college planning process, visit