SAT Suite

The difference between the SAT and the SSAT

During high school, you’ll come across many acronyms related to the college application process and education in general, such as SAT®ACT®, and FAFSA®

Two test acronyms are commonly mixed up by both students and parents: SAT and SSAT. In this post, we’ll try to straighten out this mix-up. We’ll tell you what these tests are, how they’re the same, and how they differ.


What’s the SAT?

The SAT is an admission test administered by College Board and is widely accepted by U.S. colleges and many international colleges and universities. It has a Math section and a Reading and Writing section. In some states, an essay section is part of the SAT School Day administration. The SAT is typically taken by 11th and 12th graders.

To learn more about why students take the SAT and how to register, visit


What’s the SSAT?

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

To learn more about the SSAT, visit


How are the tests similar?

The SAT and SSAT are both admission tests that help students get into schools of their choosing. Both tests are only one part of the student’s application for acceptance 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 grades 4−11 in certain private schools. The SAT helps students enter colleges and universities. The tests also differ because they’re administered by two different nonprofit entities. College Board administers the SAT, and the SSAT is administered by the Enrollment Management Association (EMA).

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