“90% Percentile at a bare minimum” for Exeter
You could easily argue that prospective students should score as high as 99% Percentile for the SSAT for Phillips Exeter Academy. At the same time, as we’ll repeat time after time, it depends on all the other aspects of a student’s application/profile. For example, if you’re an Olympic grade sprinter or child prodigy that’s discovered a new element to add to the Periodic Table, you may not need to score as high as a student who lacks other characteristics Exeter may be looking for in a future alum.
With that said, most future applicants are still looking for guidance (as well as their parents). Without further adieu, we’ll provide all the guidance that’s been documented online.
Test Prep Company Argues 90 or 94% Percentile as an Average for Exeter
In a 2013-14 guide provided a test prep company that provides insights re: boarding school admissions, they identified the above as their bottom line. At the same time, in another online publication of theirs, they point out that 94% Percentile is their average.
91% Percentile is Argued by Exeter Student
As you can see in the first subpoint, a student who answered the question: “How can I get admitted to Phillips Exeter?” on Quora says the average is 91% Percentile. It’s hard to argue against inside information.
92% to 99% Percentiles Divulged by other Exeter Alumni
Answering the following question, several current and past Phillips Exeter Academy students shared their marks:
What SSAT percentile did you get that got you into Phillips Andover/Exeter? Past & Current Alum Divulge their percentiles & scores
As a disclaimer, standardized testing was (and I cannot stress this enough) in no way the sole factor Exeter considered when they accepted me, and I was waitlisted at Andover.
Under the 9th Grade curve, I was at the 99th percentile, with a scaled score of 2394.
If you do intend to apply, do make sure you put passion into your essays. You’re more than your test scores—make sure the admissions officers know that! Good luck!
96th percentile (raw score was around a 2330ish, if I recall correctly). Though, keep in mind this was on the 9th grade curve not the customary 8th grade curve.
However, this was in no way why I was accepted; I have a friend who was accepted with a ~70%. Thus, this goes to show that the SSAT matters less compared to other aspects of your application such as ECs, interview, grades, and essays.
I wish you the best of luck! 🙂
97th. same w. SAT. But it ended up hurting me because I was in the middle of my class. Great test scores + mediocre grades = laziness, at least to many college admissions officers.
92nd percentile — with slightly higher math and lower reading scores.
Test scores are more of a benchmark than anything, and to most schools, all scores above 92 are treated roughly the same. What matter more for boarding schools are your grades and recommendations, which more accurately reflect who you are as a student and your potential for success.
Joy Wei, no date highlighted when attended
98th — “I got my acceptance letter to Phillips Exeter this morning! My SSAT percentile was 87th percentile for reading comprehension, 95th percentile for math, 99th percentile for verbal. 97th percentile overall.
My parents and I agreed that my reading score was way too low, and I needed at least 9s in all categories. Math could be better as well. So I took the SSAT a second time, and got 98 percentiles in all categories. I submitted this score to the admissions office.“
Angie, no date highlighted when attended
98th — “HOWEVER this was under the 9th-grade curve as I applied to go in 10th grade.
Keep in mind this is NOT the only reason I was accepted. Yes, even though the SSAT is important, focus more on your essays and interviews. This is the only time the schools get to see you and gain a snapshot of your character!“
Jennifer Bratton, Classics Diploma from Phillips Exeter Academy
85-89% — “Standardized tests were never my strong point, and l know the SSAT was the weakest part of my applicication to Exeter. I can’t remember the exact number but it was 85-89%. I am thinking it was closer to 85%, because l remember being a little concerned about it. l wouldn’t say my SSAT score got me into Exeter. It was my whole application. Exeter looks at the entire picture, and that score was good enough in the context of my whole application. I don’t know the context of why you are asking but don’t get caught up thinking you need to get 99% to have a shot.”
Sarah Pan, Expected graduation 2024
Answered July 6, 2021
2337 — “I got a 2337, and to be honest, I don’t remember my scores on the individual sections. A good SSAT score helps your application, but one that isn’t exceptional can’t hurt if the rest of your application is solid. Best of luck nevertheless!“
Source for answers above
And the following was shared from another college and boarding school admissions site:
As you can see from this post later in the thread:
I am applying to repeat ninth grade next school year at Exeter and Andover. Recently, I have taken two SSATs and have no idea which one to submit. I’ll summarize the differences in the tests below:
1st Test, January 2018
93% Overall all genders, 92% Overall just males
94% Verbal (same for all genders and just males)
77% Quantitative all genders, 75% Quantitative just males
92% Reading all genders, 93% Reading just males
My essay was terrible (if that matters)…
2nd Test, February 2018
94% Overall all genders, 93% Overall just males
92% Verbal (same for all genders and just males)
73% Quantitative all genders, 70% Quantitative just males
97% Reading (same for all genders and just males)
In this one, I knocked my essay out of the park.
Now, I have no idea which SSAT result to send, considering that I have a higher overall and a better essay in one, but everything else is better except for the reading section and the essay in the other.
Even with that, I’m scared about them not even looking at my application because I got less than a 90% in math, but I’m not sure if that’s a realistic concern or not.
Thank you all for your help with this issue.
At a bare minimum, aim for 85% or Higher
Most admissions officers/directors of boarding schools will say publicly that the 85% Percentile level is the minimum. I recorded a number of them saying that here on this Youtube playlist:
Looking to do SSAT Prep for a top US boarding school within the Eight Schools Association? Or do you need SSAT Test Dates? We have all the information you want for the SSAT including what’s a perfect SSAT score to what are average SSAT scores here on SSAT Master.
For other SSAT Averages of Top Boarding Schools:
Future questions we’ll answer and post guides for you:
What SSAT scores can get you into the Kent School?
What SSAT scores can get you into the Lakeside School?
Disclaimer: As with all of our guides, they are ONLY meant to be for reference and are by no means definitive. Our goal is help save you a significant amount of time in your process of trying to obtain admissions to these top boarding school programs. Through our many years of experience in the industry, we find these estimates to be acceptable range approximations and standards.