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Our customized one-to-one tutoring has helped hundreds of students earn top scores on the SSAT, an admissions test used by boarding and independent schools. We'd love to help your child achieve their best scores!

Our Approach

The SSAT is a tough test! It's not uncommon for students to feel intimidated by the complex reading passages, unfamiliar vocabulary, or abstract math problems. We work hard to help students overcome any stress to feel confident and in control whether they'll take the test at school, a test center, or at home. First, we focus on tutoring a combination of academic skills and test-taking strategies. Once those skills are mastered, we incorporate timing and and test anxiety strategies. This thorough approach enables students to shine on test day!

Test Levels of the SSAT

We offer 1:1 in-person and online tutoring for all three levels of the SSAT:

  • Upper Level: The upper level test is taken by current 8th - 11th graders who are applying for admission to 9th - 12th grades.
  • Middle Level: The middle level test is taken by current 5th - 7th graders who are applying for admission to 6th - 8th grades.
  • Elementary Level: The elementary level test is taken by current 3rd and 4th graders who are applying for admission to 4th or 5th grade.

Sections of the SSAT

We tailor our tutoring to address the skills tested on each section of the SSAT:

  • Verbal: The vocabulary tested on this section is very challenging, so we focus on vocabulary development through word roots, as well as strategies for tackling synonyms and analogies.
  • Quantitative: On the two quantitative sections, we emphasize building core math skills, as well as teaching strategies for word problems, geometry, and algebra.
  • Reading: Our approach to the reading section involves practicing active reading comprehension and question-answering strategies on increasingly challenging reading passages .
  • Essay: The essay is not graded but is sent directly to schools. We'll help students develop and polish their writing skills for the essay upon request.

Scoring and Admissions

Most students’ percentile scores will be 20-40% lower on the SSAT than on other standardized tests. This is because their scores are compared only to the elite group of students who take the SSAT. Selective schools typically look for SSAT scores between the 50th and 80th percentile; highly selective boarding schools look for scores in the 90th percentile or above.

It's important to note that SSAT scores are only one piece of the admissions puzzle as schools really look for all-around best fit. They also consider grades, teacher recommendations, interviews, and essays. Our tutors are able to help students prepare for interviews and essays!

Our students are admitted to their top-choice schools, including Exeter, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Lake Forest Academy, Culver, and NMH.

Testing Accommodations

Nurturing Wisdom tutors have successfully worked with many students with SSAT accommodations. Our tutors are knowledgeable about how to adapt our tutoring strategies for accommodations such as extended time, calculator use, and having a reader. Our tutoring directors are here to help parents as well! Learn more about SSAT accommodations here.

Getting Started

We recommend that students taking the SSAT from November through January begin tutoring during the summer before their test, but we’re happy to start working with students in the fall! All students begin by taking an SSAT pre-test. After the pre-test is complete, we'll provide a detailed score analysis, as well as a tutoring timeline that outlines how much tutoring we recommend, goal scores, and potential test dates.

Sign up for one of our proctored pre-tests, a great opportunity to get a feel for the real test day. If you're unable to make a proctored test date, you can take a free practice pre-test on your own!

Why Nurturing Wisdom?

Nurturing Wisdom's focus on a strong tutor match and customization means that your child will have an excellent tutoring experience. Our students not only see solid increases in their scores, but they also gain confidence and look forward to tutoring sessions! SSAT tutoring extends beyond the test: The academic and test-taking skills gained through tutoring have a direct impact on a student's work in academic classes as well.

We also offer support and advice for parents! Your tutoring director is always available to help you understand every step of the SSAT testing process. They will help you choose optimal test dates, remind you of important deadlines, update you on your child's progress and answer any questions you have along the way. If your child will need to take more than one type of high school entrance test, a director will help you figure out the most effective and efficient way to prep. (Learn more about high school entrance tests in general here).

Seventh Graders

While seventh grade is too early to start tutoring for the SSAT itself, we do help seventh graders improve the academic and general test-taking skills they'll need to do well on the test (and beyond)! Many students also come to us for executive functioning tutoring.


Need some help navigating high school entrance tests and admissions? Our tutoring directors will be happy to answer your questions and help you decide on next best steps. Contact us at 312.260.7945 x2 or one of these ways!