SSAT Math: The Content You Need to Know
High school math curriculums can be fairly variable.
Depending on the school, math programs can differ widely in their content and sequence. Some schools may offer more (or fewer) accelerated math classes than others.
This doesn’t necessarily put SSAT testtakers at a disadvantage.
But it is important to prepare appropriately for SSAT Math. Knowing what to expect in this section, especially in terms of content, can mean the difference between a low and a high SSAT score!
In this post, we break down the most common math topics you can expect to see on the SSAT.
Here’s what we discuss:
 SSAT Math: The Basics
 UpperLevel SSAT Math Topic SubLists
 MiddleLevel SSAT Math Topic SubLists
 Additional SSAT Math Question Types
 What’s Next?
SSAT Math: The Basics
Before we plunge into SSAT Math content, let’s start with some basics.
 There are two Math sections: a Quantitative 1 section at the beginning of the test after the writing sample, and a Quantitative 2 section at the end of the test after the Verbal section.
 Scores from these two sections are added together to give you your overall SSAT Math score.
 Both sections are comprised of 25 multiplechoice questions. Students have 30 minutes to answer these questions.
 You are NOT allowed to bring a calculator, and the test is designed to solve problems without one!
The SSAT.org online portal provides a list of math topics that appear in both quantitative sections:
UpperLevel SSAT Math  MiddleLevel SSAT Math 

Algebra  PreAlgebra & Algebra 
Computation  Data Analysis 
Geometry  Geometry 
Number Sense  Measurement 
PreAlgebra  Number Concepts & Conversion 
Statistics and Probability  Statistics and Probability 
You can see that Upper and MiddleLevel Math content is fairly similar!
The difference is that the UpperLevel SSAT deals with more advanced questions within the given topics.
(Note: Students must create a paid account with SSAT.org to access the portal.)
UpperLevel SSAT Math Topic SubLists
Now let’s actually delve into the more detailed sublists the SSAT.org online portal provides. This can serve as a topic checklist for reviewing and identifying where you might need some additional practice and preparation.
Algebra
Algebra Topic  Concepts 

General Problem Solving  Problems using rate = (distance)(time) formula
Interpreting variables Inequalities Ratios & Proportions 
Quadratic Equations & Functions  Finding the roots/solutions of quadratic equations
Functions 
Equations Based on Illustrations  Solving for an unknown length of a line segment 
Equations Based on Word Problems  Questions provide a formula with variables and ask the student to solve for a value 
Exponential Expressions  Exponent product rule, negative exponents 
Polynomial Expressions  FOIL
Factoring 
Radical Expressions  Rationalizing the denominator, nested radical expressions 
Rational Expressions  Multiplying rational expressions 
Linear Equations 
Use of the y = mx + b equation Finding slope using coordinate points Perpendicular/parallel slopes Slope 
Here’s a sample UpperLevel SSAT Math algebra question:
Correct Answer: B
Computation
A typical SSAT computation problem will likely test any (or all) of the following:
 Estimation
 Fractions, Decimals, and Percents
Here is a sample computation problem:
Correct Answer: E
Geometry
Geometry Topic  Concepts 

Coordinate Geometry 
Finding the midpoint of a line Dilating a shape 
Perimeter, Area, & Volume 
Area and circumference of a circle Area of triangles, rectangles, squares The volume of a cylinder 
Problems Using Shapes & Angles 
Sum of interior angles in an nsided polygon Parallel line transversals Pythagorean Theorem 
Transformations

Rotating points, lines, angles, and vertices of shapes about the origin 
Here is a sample SSAT Geometry problem:
Correct Answer: E
Number Sense
A typical SSAT number sense problem will likely test any (or all) of the following:

 Basic Number Theory
 Prime and composite numbers
 Rational numbers
 Greatest Common Factor, Least Common Multiple
 Computation/Order of Operations
Here is a sample SSAT number sense problem:
Correct Answer: E
PreAlgebra
A typical SSAT prealgebra problem may involve any of the following concepts and content areas:
Place Value Concepts 
Time/Money Concepts  Computation with Whole Numbers 
Computational Clue Problems  Sequences, Patterns & Logic  Unit Analysis 
Systems of equations  Reading Charts/Line Plots  Rules of Divisibility 
Interpret & Solve with Division  Reading Charts/Histograms  Reading Charts/Line Graphs 
Multiples in Word Problems  Operations with Negatives  Reading Charts/Bar Graphs 
Operations with Decimals & Fractions  Word Problems with Computation 
Radius and Circumference 
Here is a sample SSAT PreAlgebra question:
Correct Answer: C
Statistics and Probability
Statistics and Probability Topic  Concepts 

Counting  Arrangement problems 
Mean, Median & Mode 
Weighted averages Calculating the average of a set of numbers 
Probability  Calculating the probability of independent and dependent events 
Set Theory  Union and intersection questions/terminology 
Here’s a sample SSAT Statistics and Probability problem:
Correct Answer: E
MiddleLevel SSAT Math SubTopic Lists
Algebra Topic  Concepts 

Fundamental Algebra 

Data Analysis 

Geometry 

Measurement 

Number Concepts 

Number Conversion 

PreAlgebra 

Statistics & Probability 

Additional SSAT Math Question Types
There are some additional math question types that appear in many SSAT practice materials. These may or may not appear on the official exam.
These additional question types include:
 Identifying which figure can be drawn without lifting a pencil
 Figuring out how many small cubes will fit in a big cube
 Long division problems with a portion of the numbers represented by letters
 Absolute value
 “Weird symbol problems” where the SSAT includes a symbol such as * or # instead of x
Here is a sample “weird symbol problem” based on SSAT materials:
If a@b = 3a + b, what is 2@4?
Solution: sub in 2 for a and 4 for b. 3(2) + 4 = 10.
What’s Next?
As you can see, these are BIG checklists. What are the key takeaways with SSAT Math?
1. Start your test prep early.
Many students have not covered these math topics in school yet, so leave time for learning some new skills.
This is especially the case with some of the more advanced algebra and geometry topics such as factoring, polynomial expressions, quadratic equations, radical expressions, rational expressions, and even the Pythagorean Theorem.
2. Try a range of practice materials.
The SSAT does not release its tests, so exploring a variety of sources will provide you with the most coverage.
The SSAT itself offers online practice by purchasing an Official SSAT Guidebook or Official SSAT Practice Online subscription. Other recommended resources include texts by Tutorverse.
3. Focus on what you can do.
You might not have time to learn absolutely all of these topics. That’s totally fine!
Just focus on the major skills and spend less time on the esoteric questions that might only show up once per test. You can still get a good score even if you don’t answer a few questions.
4. Work with a tutor.
A tutor can help teach you important study habits and problemsolving approaches that you can use even beyond the SSAT. SSAT tutors can also hold students accountable by establishing a regular, effective study schedule.
Curious about what else is on the SSAT? Check out our general guide to SSAT content now!
Jess Welsh
Jess is a Princeton graduate who majored in English and minored in Visual Arts (Film). She has worked as an SAT/ACT/AP/SSAT/ISEE/HSPT tutor as well as a college counselor and loves getting to know students through her work. When not tutoring, she enjoys reading, writing, running, adding to her classic rock music collection, and exploring the West!
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