What is SHSAT

Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT).

Current eighth and ninth grade students who live in NYC can participate in Specialized High Schools admissions during November or December of the academic year. The nine Specialized High Schools are one way that New York City supports the educational needs of students who excel academically and/or artistically, 

Who Can Apply?

Everyone is eligible to apply to high school is also eligible to apply to the Specialized High Schools. To register a student must be both of the following:

  • A NYC resident
  • A current eighth grade student or first-time (not repeating the grade) ninth grade student 

What are the Nine Specialized High Schools ?

Nine Specialized High Schools take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) scores as a criterion for Admission . These schools are:

  • The Bronx High School of Science : Total no of Students = 3000+
  • The Brooklyn Latin School : Total no of Students = 330+
  • Brooklyn Technical High School : Total no of Students = 5100+
  • High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College of New York :

                     Total no of Students = 400+

  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College : Total no of Students = 370+
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College : Total no of Students = 400 +
  • Staten Island Technical High School : Total no of Students = 1000+
  • Stuyvesant High School : Total no of Students = 3200 +
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

( One Audition High School—Audition to Apply , Visit school website for more details)

What does the test consist of ?

Test is based on 8th grade math, even though the SHSAT itself is only given between October to   December of Grade 8. Test format is multiple choice with few grids in questions. Test is aligned with common core curriculum.

Total time: 2 hour and 30 minutes

English :

          Reading Comprehension, Logical Reasoning, Unscrambling Paragraphs.

Math :

          Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry.

Is there a negative marking ?

   No there is no negative marking for wrong or missed questions.

How many students take the test each year ?

The SHSAT is an exam that over 30,000 eighth graders and 3,000 ninth graders take each year to gain admission to the best high schools in New York City.

How many students get admission each year?

 About 4,000 students or 13.33% get admission into their dream school through the eighth-grade exam.

 About 3.5% of 9th grade students who apply get admission.

Consistent practice , time and effort, practice is the key for getting high scores. Motivation is another important aspect not only for getting admission but also to succeed at the specialized school and beyond.

What does the test consist off?

The English Language Arts (ELA) section consists of two parts—Revising/Editing and Reading Comprehension—as described below. The section contains 57 multiple-choice questions that assess revising/editing skills and reading comprehension. These questions are aligned to the New York State Learning Standards. 

Revising and Editing

  • Number of Questions: between 9 and 19 
  • Skills assessed: ability to recognize and correct language errors and improve overall quality of writing
  • Format:
    • Part A: each question is based on its own sentence/paragraph
      • The language skills assessed in this section are based on the Language section of the New York State Learning Standards for Grade 7, as well as skills or standards that may have been introduced in earlier grades, such as the Language Progressive Skills. Each question directs you to read a sentence, a list of sentences, or a paragraph with numbered sentences. Then you are asked to address issues related to conventions of language or punctuation. Examples include:
        • selecting the best correction for an error
        • identifying a sentence with an error
        • improving the writing by combining sentences or revising part of a sentence
    • Part B: all questions are based on a single, multi-paragraph text
      • Questions in Part B assess your ability to read a text and then make decisions that improve the overall quality of the writing. The subjects presented in these texts will include historical and current events; people, places, and technology; and phenomena in the biological sciences, physical sciences, and social sciences. Each sentence is numbered so that you can quickly locate and refer to specific parts of the passage. The text may contain errors such as
        •  language misuse
        • missing or unnecessary supporting details
        • missing or inappropriate transitional words, phrases, or sentences
        • a missing or an unclear introductory statement or concluding statement
        • confusing or illogical organization
        • other errors related to language and writing standards  

Reading Comprehension

  • Number of Questions: between 38 and 48
  • Skills assessed: ability to understand, analyze, and interpret texts from a variety of genres
  • Format: 5-6 texts, including informational and literary, followed by 6–10 questions each
    • Informational texts for ELA may include any of the text types that middle school students should have experience with, such as: exposition, argument, and functional text in the form of personal essays, speeches, opinion pieces, essays about art or literature, biographies, memoirs, journalism, and historical, scientific, technical, or economic accounts written for a broad audience. Literary texts for ELA may include any of the text types that middle school students should have experience with, such as: poetry, adventure stories, historical fiction, mysteries, myths, science fiction, realistic fiction, allegories, parodies, or satire.

Math section :

This consists of word problems and computational questions in either a grid-in or multiple-choice format. There are five grid-in questions and 52 multiple-choice questions. The Math questions involve application of mathematical skills, mathematical terms, and general concepts from the New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics. However, as one of the purposes of this test is to identify students who will benefit from an education at a Specialized High School, the SHSAT Math items will require you to apply familiar Math skills to complex, multi-step problems.

  • Math questions on the Grade 8 test forms are based on the New York State Learning Standards through Grade 7.
  • Math questions on the Grade 9 test forms are based on material through Grade 8.

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