Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)

The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) is a standardized admissions test administered to NYC students in grades 8-9 to help determine placement into a specialized high school.

What does it test and how is it structured?

The SHSAT is a timed multiple-choice test with two sections (each 75 minutes in length), verbal and math, which must be completed in a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes. There is no break during the test and it is up to the student to dedicate the right amount of time to each section, as needed.

Verbal Skills – 75 minutes

  • 5 Scrambled Paragraphs
  • 10 Logical Reasoning
  • 30 Reading Comprehension

Math Problem Solving – 75 minutes

  • Arithmetic
  • Probability
  • Statistics
  • Geometry
  • Algebra
  • Word Problems
  • Trigonometry (only for Grade 9 test takers)

Total Time: 2 Hours and 30 minutes

How is it scored?

There is no penalty for wrong answers. Students earn a “raw score” based on the number of questions answered correctly.

  • Scrambled Paragraph Questions: 2 points for every correct answer
  • Other Questions: 1 point for every correct answer

The total number of correct answers a student gets is known as the raw score. The highest possible “raw score” is 100. This raw score is multiplied by a formula known only to the Board of Education to arrive converting it into what is known as scaled score.

Scaled scores, therefore, are based on the number of questions that the student answered correctly, combined with the difficulty level of the questions. Students receive scaled scores for the verbal and mathematics sections of the test, which are added together to make their composite score. The results are reported as the scaled score; the highest possible composite score being 800.

Students are therefore ranked according to their composite scores and assigned to a school depending on their rank on the list, until all the seats at each of the schools have been filled.

Dolphin Academic Prep offers personalized SHSAT tutoring!

We are here to answer your questions, so give us a call or send us an email to see how personalized SHSAT tutoring with a private Dolphin Academic Prep tutor can help benefit your student.

We believe it’s unproductive for students to feel intense pressure, stress and anxiety surrounding a standardized test. Unfortunately, there will be plenty of time for that when applying to college and beyond. For that reason, our SHSAT tutors take extra care to foster a level of comfort and understanding during the tutoring sessions. We understand how competitive entrance is to these schools and will work with the student to ensure the student is confident on test day. In addition to developing the problem-solving techniques that are the staple of our test-prep tutoring, our Dolphin SHSAT prep tutors also take care to emphasize the specific knowledge, concepts, strategies and skill sets required for success on the SHSAT.

Diagnostic, Evaluation and Practice
Before the first SHSAT tutoring session, each student receives a diagnostic SHSAT test. The diagnostic test gives the student an introduction to the test and SHSAT test prep; it also allows for a baseline to be created. Moreover, based on the results, we formalize an evaluation that identifies the areas of strength, those areas that need the most help, specifies an optimal prep schedule, and sets specific goals. Throughout the SHSAT test prep our Dolphin SHSAT Tutors will continue to administer practice SHSAT tests so that your child becomes familiar with the format, style and speed of the test, so on exam day it minimizes any surprises they may face.

More information

You must live in the five boroughs of NYC to be eligible to take the SHSAT and can be used for admission for the following schools:

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

To register, you need to consult your school’s guidance counselor, who can give you an admission ticket. Electronic calculators and other calculation aids may not be used during the test.

When is the SHSAT offered?

The SHSAT is typically administered in late October/early November for 8th graders and the following Saturday for 9th graders, who took the SHSAT as 8th graders, but were not accepted to a NYC Specialized High School.