The SHSAT (New York City Specialized High Schools Admissions Test) is an exam that 8th and 9th graders take as part of their applications
Test Prep

The SHSAT (New York City Specialized High Schools Admissions Test) is an exam that 8th and 9th graders take as part of their applications to:

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

Sometime in late September or early October, 8th and 9th graders in New York City are given specific information about the specialized high schools above, along with applications for admission. The SHSAT is usually administered to 8th graders in late October and to 9th graders in mid-November. The only way to register for the test is through your guidance counselor.

Students should take the SHSAT at their first-choice specialized high school to which they will be applying. The test is 2 hours 30 minutes long and consists of two 75-minute multiple-choice sections:

  • Verbal, which contains 5 scrambled paragraph questions, 10 logical reasoning questions, and 30 reading comprehension questions.
  • Mathematics, which contains 50 problem solving questions in arithmetic, algebra, probability, statistics, and geometry.
The Bespoke Approach to Preparing for the SHSAT

For many students, the SHSAT is the first high-stakes standardized test they will take and a prelude to tests such as the ACT and the SAT. Doing well on this test not only assures students entrance into the specialized high school of their choice, but it also imparts skills and confidence that will help them on future high-stakes tests. By taking a practice SHSAT at our office, students can see whether they already have the skill set they need to ace the exam. If we find that they could benefit from tutoring, their performance on the practice test allows us to match them with the tutor best suited to addressing their particular strengths and weaknesses.

Some students are not natural standardized test takers, and will perform better after learning strategies specific to standardized tests. Other students have trouble getting through the sections on time, and need help learning how to handle reading passages or how to recognize and save the hardest questions for last. Or they may make careless errors by rushing through the sections, and need help learning how to pace themselves better and double-check their work. Finally, most students will benefit from specific content tutoring to address areas of deficiency in math or verbal skills. Because New York City’s specialized high schools emphasize math and science, the math content tutoring students receive can be particularly helpful in their future studies.

Our tutors are available to work with students one-on-one or in small groups. This individualized attention gives our tutors the freedom to adjust their teaching methods to a variety of learning styles. We focus on students’ areas of weakness, while constantly building on their areas of strength. Students are encouraged to take several practice tests, which allows them to gain confidence through repeated exposure to the test. Feedback from these practice tests helps tutors locate areas where students can still make improvements. Our tutors provide structured study with homework assignments that students complete between sessions. The end result of this mentoring relationship is that students acquire the test-taking skills, strategies, content knowledge, and confidence that will allow them to do their very best on the actual SHSAT.