Private schools and boarding schools are increasingly popular options for families who would like to see their children get ahead. While some private schools are not geared for those who would like preparation for college, the vast majority of schools market themselves directly to the college prep market.

When it comes to the admissions process for boarding schools, one of the most commonly used placement or admissions tests is the Secondary Schools Admissions Test. Also known as the SSAT, this exam is similar in nature to the types of placement tests colleges use in their admissions process.

Each private school has their own admissions requirements, and they can vary greatly by the mission of the school. The SSAT examination simply provides a way for private schools and boarding schools to assess the academic skills of the applicants on a level playing field. Some private schools may have more flexible test score requirements while others will set the bar rather high. Doing well on the SSAT is key to getting your child into your first choice of private school.

To do well on the SSAT examination, students need to begin preparing early. Many experts and educational consultants recommend that SSAT prep begin about one year prior to the examination date. Not only does this allow time for an initial assessment of your student, but it allows your student time to refine their study habits, examine areas of weakness, and become a stronger test taker.

There are many ways that a student can approach SSAT prep. Some of the most common ways to prepare for the SSAT exam include reading study guides, taking online courses, or working with a tutor in a one-on-one setting. Each individual student will have different needs.

Some students may struggle with the math portion of the SSAT, while others will find writing a complete essay within the time limit to be difficult. Starting SSAT prep early will better enable your student to get comfortable with time constraints, as well allowing them to become familiar what type of material will be used on the actual exam.

It is important to make sure that your student feels supported, and not rushed during the preparation for the SSAT. While the exam will factor into their admission to private school, it is only part of the overall process. Starting early with less pressure is recommended for the best results from your student.