Prepare for SHSAT Registration

By Huntington Learning Center

An Essential Guide to the SHSAT

 The Specialized High School Admissions Test is almost here and it is time to start helping your child prepare for exam day. This test is important to incoming freshman in the New York City Public School System and helps determine which high schools they will attend.

What is the SHSAT?
The Specialized High School Achievement Test (SHSAT) is an exam administered to nearly 30,000 eighth and ninth grade students in the New York City Public Schools. These students are all vying for approximately 3,000 seats at the city's Specialized High Schools of New York. The exam consists of two parts:

  • Verbal The verbal section has 45 questions and measures a student's ability to order sentences to form a paragraph, apply logical reasoning, and analyze, interpret, and understand written passages. 
  • Math The math section is comprised of 50 questions testing a student's computational skills and ability to apply mathematical knowledge to word problems.

Why is the SHSAT important?
The results of the SHSAT exam, along with other relevant academic information, help determine whether or not a student will be offered a seat at one of the city's nine specialized high schools. Students only have two opportunities to take the exam, in eighth grade for ninth grade placement and in ninth grade for tenth grade placement. 

What are the best ways to prepare for the SHSAT?
Preparing for the SHSAT doesn't have to be complicated. Spending time reviewing what has already been learned and preparing for the exam format will help ensure your child is ready. There are many effective ways to get ready for exam day, including:

  • Taking practice tests A great way to determine if your child is ready for the SHSAT is to administer a practice exam. This will help you determine your child's strengths and weaknesses and which areas to focus on. The New York City public school system has published two different sample tests that students can use. Many students take one of these exams as a preliminary benchmark and then take the second one several weeks later to measure growth.
  • Pacing the preparation Cramming rarely works. Your child will do best if the exam preparation is spread out over time. Create a study schedule that allows your child to pace the preparation and maximize the amount of time necessary to master the exam.
  • Understanding the exam format The SHSAT is a specialized standardized test that assesses math and verbal skills. Its format is very different from other exams. Using the sample questions available online, makes sure your child understands the exam format. Spend time discussing and reviewing the specific types of questions that will be asked. 
  • Prepping both body and mind It is just as important to prepare the body as it is to prepare the mind. Don't waste your student's careful preparation on a lack of sleep or an empty stomach. Make sure your child is getting plenty of rest in advance of exam day and is eating healthy meals. Avoid sugary foods the morning of the exam and prepare a breakfast with the nutrition      necessary for success.
  • Asking for help If SHSAT preparation feels overwhelming it is a great idea to ask for help. Customized tutoring sessions provide your child the space and time to learn from highly qualified professionals experienced with preparing students for the SHSAT. The staff at Huntington Learning Centers prides itself on understanding the local importance of the SHSAT exam and preparing New York City students for success. 

The SHSAT registration typically begins in September. Is your child ready? The professional tutors at Huntington Learning Center are available for exam preparation in advance of the SHSAT. These tutoring sessions are customized to your child's needs and the SHSAT exam. There are Huntington Learning Center locations throughout New York City and our tutors are known for their commitment to students and their success. 


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