Students applying to Specialized High Schools in New York City take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). You are the only factor in admission to eight out of nine of these schools based on your SHSAT scores.

Why SHSAT is Important?

In order to gain admission to NYC’s Specialized High Schools, residents of New York City must take the SHSAT. It is administered by the New York City Department of Education. In addition to the general high school application process, these public high schools have an admission process that is highly selective. The SHSAT was taken by over 28,000 students in 2018, but only about 18% of them were offer seats at Specialized High Schools.

SHSAT Content and Length:

The SHSAT is a timed, pencil-and-paper test and has two 57-question sections: English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Students have 3 hours to complete the test and may use their judgment in determining how much time to spend on each section. There are 4 multiple choices per question. One raw point is given for each correct answer. No points are taken off for wrong answers.

What Does the SHSAT Cover?

There are two main sections on the SHSAT. They are using to assess a test-takers English language arts and Mathematical skills.

English Language Arts: This part of the test contains 57 multiple-choice questions. Ten questions are not scored.

Question TypeNumber of QuestionsDescription
Revising/Editing20To improve the quality of your writing, you must be able to recognize and correct language errors  
Reading comprehension37You will be tested on your ability to comprehend, analyze, and interpret the information you have read.  
Experimental10There are no points awarded for these questions, and they are only used for research purposes.

Mathematics: This portion of the SHSAT also has 57 questions, and only 47 questions are scored. Five are computational questions, referred to as ”grid-in” questions. All of the other questions in this section are multiple-choice questions offering four answer options that test-takers must choose from.

Question TypeNumber of QuestionsDescription
Grid-In5These questions require the student to “grid in” their numerical answer choice in a chart of numbers.
Multiple Choice52These questions test what the student has learned in math class through the 8th or 9th grade. Each question has 4 choices.
Experimental Questions10These questions are interspersed throughout the test and do not count toward the student’s final score.

How Are SHSAT Exams Scored?

A total of 94 raw points can be earned from the two sections of the SHSAT exam. For every correct answer, a student receives a point. This is called the raw score.

Raw scores are used to determine the scaled score a student earns for each section of the test. The conversion process adjusts for the differing levels of difficulty that may occur between test versions. Once the scaled scores are determined, they are added together to produce the student’s composite score, which is typically no higher than 700.

If you already know about SHSAT and preparing for the upcoming SHSAT test, do the practice test.

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