What Is the SHSAT

The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, also known as the SHSAT, is used as a high school placement test in eight out of nine of New York City’s Specialized High Schools:

  • Bronx High School of Science
  • Brooklyn Latin School
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at the City College of New York
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

The other of New York City's Specialized High School, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, does not use the SCAT for admissions. Instead, admission is based on an audition or artistic portfolio.

The test is produced by American Guidance Service and is administered to 8th and 9th grade students who reside in New York City during October and November. The scores are released the following March, and by the middle of March, students can decide which school they would like to attend.

The student may take the SHSAT only twice—once in 8th grade (when applying for 9th grade) and once again in 9th grade (when applying for 10th grade). The SHSAT is the only admission tool that Specialized High Schools may use. Therefore, it is highly important to prepare for the SHSAT.

SHSAT Sections

The SHSAT assesses logical thinking as well as quantitative and verbal reasoning. It contains two main sections. The SHSAT test takes about two and half hours to complete and is comprised of 95 questions, all multiple choice:

SHSAT English Language Arts (45 questions)

  • Reading comprehension - 30 questions
  • Logical reasoning - 10 questions
  • Scrambled paragraphs - 5 questions

SHSAT Math (50 questions)

  • Arithmetic
  • Algebra
  • Probability
  • Data Analysis
  • Factoring
  • Substitution
  • Geometry 
  • Basic Coordinate Graphing
  • Logic
  • Statistics
  • Word Problems
  • Trigonometry (9th grade)

Students may choose which section they would like to start with, and they may also go back and check their answers in either section.

SHSAT Results

Students earn one point for each question answered correctly and two points for every Scrambled Paragraph Question, which means that the highest possible raw score is 100. (There is no penalty for incorrect responses.) The raw score is then converted into a scaled score between 200 to 800.  Each applicant to Specialized High Schools makes a ranked list of preferred schools. In order to be admitted into a Specialized High School, a student's scores must be in the top number of spots available. The highest-scoring student on the SHSAT is placed in his or her first-choice school, and then the next-highest scoring student, continuing to honor preferences as best as possible until all spots are filled. Thus, there is no need to "strategize" about the ranking of schools you and your child prefer; you may rank schools simply in order of interest.

Specialized High Schools

The Specialized High Schools of NYC are selective schools that focus on enhancing and promoting the skills of gifted children. Each school endorses a specific academic field, such as math, science, humanities, and more. The following is a list of schools that utilize the SHSAT as a high school placement test. Each applicant to Specialized High Schools makes a ranked list of preferred schools. The highest-scoring student on the SHSAT is placed in his or her first-choice school This list also includes admission information (from 2015).:

  • Bronx High School of Science
    • Low score admitted: 510
    • High score admitted: 703
    • Percent admitted: 5%
  • Brooklyn Latin School
    • Low score admitted: 477
    • High score admitted: 552
    • Percent admitted: 2%
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
    • Low score admitted: 483
    • High score admitted: 689
    • Percent admitted: 9%
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
    • Low score admitted: 503
    • High score admitted: 603
    • Percent admitted: 1%
  • High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College of New York
    • Low score admitted: 503
    • High score admitted: 633
    • Percent admitted: 1%
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
    • Low score admitted: 505
    • High score admitted: 580
    • Percent admitted: 1%
  • Staten Island Technical High School
    • Low score admitted: 508
    • High score admitted: 703
    • Percent admitted: 2%
  • Stuyvesant High School
    • Low score admitted: 556
    • High score admitted: 703
    • Percent admitted: 4%

Note that the minimum scores vary from year to year and that admission depends on how a student's score fares in comparison to other applicants' scores.

SHSAT Prep Online

COMING SOON: TestPrep-Online will soon offer a SHSAT practice pack to help your child prepare for test day. The SHSAT practice pack will include realistic practice tests and SHSAT study guides. Help your child start preparing for the SHSAT test with TestPrep-Online so that s/he can test with confidence and achieve the score necessary to enter the school that's right for him or her.

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