Is the HSPT Test Hard?

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Are you wondering what is on the HSPT test or how you can pass it? Here’s an article that covers everything you should know about the HSPT. The HSPT is a standardized test that qualifies students to study in some of the top high schools in the United States. But how hard is the HSPT test? Is the HSPT multiple choice? We’ll find out in this article.

What Areas are Covered in the HSPT?What Areas are Covered in the HSPT?

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is a 2-hour and 23-minute test that measures candidates’ abilities to answer questions related to reading comprehension, language, mathematics, and certain verbal skills (like vocabulary and simple logic). The test features 298 questions. Divide this number by the total time allotted for the exam, resulting in an average of 29 seconds per question. The HSPT is a paper-based test administered live at one of your chosen schools. The whole exam typically takes 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on how long it takes to start and the length of breaks you’re allowed. Below is a breakdown of the different sections in the test and what each entails.

HSPT Verbal 

This section used vocabulary and a bit of basic logic to measure students’ verbal English skills. Questions under this section can come from different topics, including:

  • Synonyms
  • Antonyms
  • Analogies
  • Logic
  • Verbal classifications, etc.

HSPT Quantitative

Although this section is similar to the mathematics section, they must not be confused. The quantitative section typically presents mathematical questions as word problems (not equations). The exam board expects students to apply mathematical concepts in comparison questions. You’ll also find several sequence-based questions in this section.

HSPT Reading

This section features two main parts – vocabulary and comprehension. Questions from this section are standard, so you’ll find nothing unusual.

HSPT Mathematics

This section is also straightforward, with mathematics questions from topics like mathematical operations (subtraction, addition, division, and multiplication), measurements, and some basic geometry and algebra. You may encounter a few odd questions, but there’s nothing too big for you to attempt.

HSPT Language

Finally, the HSPT language section features questions on punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and other similar concepts.

HSPT Scoring System and High School Admission

HSPT Scoring System and High School Admission

Now that we’re clear about what is on the HSPT test, you’re probably wondering what the scoring system would look like. The HSPT exam consists of different subtests. The examiners will add the correct answers from each section to derive a raw score. They’ll then convert the raw score from each section into a standard score.

The standard score is then compared to the test results from a national sample of students from which a national percentile ranking will be derived for each section. The NPR indicates the percentage of students who scored less. So, if your NPR is, say, 37, it means you performed better than 37% of students in the sample. On the other hand, a 90% score puts you better than 90% of students in your sample. Information available on

Most high schools use the HSPT results in processes related to admission and for selecting eligible students for scholarships. So, it’s important to score as high as possible in the test, considering the number of test takers who apply for the test yearly. The higher your percentage, the more likely you will get into your school choice.

How Hard is the HSPT Test?

How Hard is the HSPT Test?

One of the first things to consider when considering how to pass the HSPT test is its difficulty level. The test varies in difficulty depending on your strengths and weaknesses. However, most people consider it a challenging test, especially since the questions are designed to determine your ability in different subjects. It also measures your readiness for high school while determining the appropriate placement in different schools.

What Part of HSPT is More Challenging?

The answer to this question is relative, and that’s why we typically say it depends on many factors. One of these factors is the subjects you’re good at. Students who are good in quantitative subjects will find the other sections of this test more challenging and vice versa. So there’s no one answer to the question, “How hard is the HSPT test?” However, after reviewing answers from a sample size of students and their performance in different test sections, we’ve found that most students find the math section to be the most challenging. With over 60 multiple-choice questions in this section to answer in a 45-minute time frame, it’s easy to see why many students consider it the most challenging, especially considering that the calculations are done manually.

How Do You Prepare for the HSPT Test: 5 Practical Tips

How Do You Prepare for the HSPT Test: 5 Practical Tips

Questions like “How long is the HSPT test?” are a testament to how worried students get as the test approaches. But you can help your kid gain self-confidence by guiding them through their preparatory stage. Here, take a look at useful tips you can adopt to help your teen prepare better for the HSPT.

Review All Materials

It’s usually tempting for teens to focus on the subjects they’re good at when preparing for tests like this. However, focusing on certain subjects while ignoring others is a recipe for failure. You must encourage your teen to focus on all the subjects they’ll be tested on. In fact, it makes sense to focus more on difficult subjects so that they can properly grasp them as they prepare for the exams. The goal is to find the right balance between different subjects.

Review Test Preparation Books 

Most local bookstores offer HSPT preparation books. However, if you can’t find the best HSPT preparatory books in your local bookstore, you can always order them online. Some of the best HSPT preparatory books and guides include:

Use HSPT Practice Questions

Practice questions are the simplest way to prepare for any exam because they offer a real-life example of what you should expect on the test. The best way to use practice tests is to first study materials on a subject before taking loads of practice tests in the subject. This way, you can reinforce your areas of strength and improve on your weaknesses. Most practice tests also include detailed answer explanations so you can know how they arrived at their answers.

Get Study Aids

In addition to textbooks and study guides, you also want to get study aids like flashcards. Different people assimilate information differently, so it’ll be best to find what suits your study strengths and make the most of them. Most of these study aids are available online and in public libraries, and accessing them doesn’t have to cost too much.

Take Care of Yourself

Don’t get so lost preparing for the HSPT that you forget to care for yourself. Make sure you’re sleeping, exercising, and eating well. These activities are scientifically linked to better brain performance. You want to be in the best condition when stepping in for this exam.

Wrapping Things Up: Is the HSPT Test Hard?

So far, we’ve seen that the HSPT is not the easiest test out there. It gets even more difficult when you learn that you can only take it once unless you have valid reasons to retake it. However, “How hard is the HSPT test?” can only be answered individually, as different people have different thresholds for reviewing difficulty. One thing is sure – if you can diligently follow all the test prep tips we’ve listed in this article, you’ll be well placed to do well in the test.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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