How to Study for the SHSAT
If you’re planning to apply to specialized high schools, you’ll need to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). And if you’re planning to take the SHSAT, you’ll need to be well-prepared. The three-hour exam is only offered once, in eighth grade at the end of October, and there is no opportunity to retake it. For that reason, it’s important to start studying as soon as possible.
In our experience, test prep is all about practice. Here’s how you can get a leg up on the competition.
- Take as many practice tests as possible! A practice test is basically an older version of the test from a few years ago. It’ll give you a good sense of what you can expect on the actual test, and it can help to know what your strengths and weaknesses are before you really start studying. Visit the SHSAT page to get a free practice test, and pick up a free SHSAT workbook from the New York City Department of Education. Also, the website Khan’s Tutorial offers an archive of workbooks dating back to 2009.
- Focus on math skills! The SHSAT math section can be pretty challenging for students, so it’s important to know what to expect early. The math section asks students questions in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry, and it’s possible that you might not have learned some of these subjects in school yet. This page from the Department of Education can help you get a better sense of what you need to know.
- Focus on ELA skills! The English Language Arts section consists of about 60 multiple choice questions that assess reading comprehension and revision/editing skills. Check out the Department of Education’s guide to learn more about what you’ll need to know.
- Practice time management! Since you’ll only have three hours to complete the exam, it’s imperative that you exercise good time management. You can be the most knowledgeable student in New York City, but unless you’re able to finish the test in three hours, it won’t matter! Once you’re familiar with the content, time your practice tests to develop those skills.
- Talk to your GEAR UP coach! Don’t hesitate to reach out to your GEAR UP coach. They’re available to guide and help you study for the SHSAT. They can offer valuable insight into the admissions process.