Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished teaches you a key technique for mastering the analogy portion of the SSAT test.

First connect the stem words with a concise, meaningful, dictionary-style definition, and then apply this definition to the answer choices.

The trickiest section on the Secondary School Admission Test has got to be the analogy section. Still, with some help learning some tips and strategies, you can easily make the analogies section your best section.

Here’s the master strategy to doing really well on these analogies questions. Now, you want to find a bridge between the two stem words by creating a sentence that is concise and meaningful, that defines one word in terms of the other, similar to a dictionary definition, and that is illustrated and visual.


Okay. Let’s try this example. Now, this is a classic analogy, where there is a clear connection between these two stem words, and you have to be a detective and find out what that connection is. So this is an example of not a very good connection.

If you were to say, “A trunk is part of an automobile,” what you’re going to do is apply “part” to all of your answer choices and see how many choices you can eliminate.

Now, is grass a part of a lawn? Yes, it is, so you have to keep it. Is a button part of a calculator? Yes, it is. Is paper part of a pen? Okay. Well, we’re able to eliminate at least one choice. Is closet part of a house? Sort of. You have to keep it, but it’s not very good. Is the part of a body? Yes, it is. But do you see how you left four choices open? That’s a reflection on a bad sentence that you created between your stem words, so what you have to do is refine your bridge. You have to really think of one word in terms of another as if you’re looking at a dictionary, and you look up the word “trunk,” and it’ll say something about an automobile. You’ve got to think like a dictionary.

Try another word

Now, a better sentence would be to say, “A trunk, as a function, stores things in an automobile.” So we’re going to use the word “stores.” It’s concise, it’s meaningful, it’s a dictionary definition between the two words. Now you’re going to see exactly what happens. A grass is a place that stores things on a lawn. Kill it. A button is a place that stores things in a calculator. Get rid of it. And we can already get rid of C. A closet is a place where you store things in a house. Looks awesome. We’re going to keep it. And a toe is a place where you store things in a body. I doubt that. We’re going to go with D. It’s a clear analogy to the stem words above.

So remember, if you nail the bridge, the connection between the two stem words, you’ll almost always be able to narrow in on the right answer. So work on your bridges, and I guarantee you’ll be successful on SSAT analogies questions.

I’ll talk to you soon. Good luck.

Did you find this SSAT analogy tip helpful? What is your strongest/weakest section on the SSAT test?

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