Are you a New York student looking to go to a specialized high school? Are you concerned that you do not have what it takes to pass the SHSAT? If this is you, then you have come to the right place.
We will help you find the information you are seeking and understand how scoring on the SHSAT works. We will also provide you with information on the test’s purpose as a whole and the SHSAT cutoff scores.
If you’re considering taking the exam, then you are in the right place. All you have to do is keep reading for more information. As a bonus, we will also provide you with tips on how to improve your score.
What is the Purpose of the SHSAT?
If you are looking for information on the SHSAT test, it is likely not by accident. SHSAT stands for Specialized High Schools Admissions Test. This test is given to ninth and eighth-grade students to determine their admission into eight specialized high schools. These high schools include the following:
- Stuyvesant High School
- Brooklyn Latin School
- High School of American Studies at Lehman College
- Bronx High School of Science
- Brooklyn Technical High School
- Queens High School for the Science at York College
- Staten Island Technical High School
- High School of American Studies at Lehman College
This list includes 8 of the nine specialized New York high schools. The last remaining high school is Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. This school uses an audition to determine admission rather than an exam.
When taking the exam, students will select which schools they would like to apply to. Students may choose the maximum amount, eight, and they are placed according to their attendance preference. Though the test is given to both grades, the majority of the test takers are in eighth grade looking to gain admission for the first time. The test is administered all over the five boroughs making it possible for students all over New York to participate.
This exam is the only means for admission to these highly sought-after schools. The test is given to students in the fall, October for eighth-graders, and mid-November for current Freshmen. Students taking the exam in 9th grade may be students looking to retake the exam or even first-timers. However, students waiting until ninth grade to take the examination have slimmer chances for admission due to the smaller number of 10th-grade slots.
Students are able to get more information about the exam and the specialized schools it is intended for by talking with their middle school guidance counselor. To register for the exam, you or your student will need to get an admission ticket from this counselor.
How is SHSAT Score Calculated?
The one thing you may be ready to hear is how your score on the SHSAT is calculated. The SHSAT is made up of 114 questions and two sections. These sections include English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, with 57 questions in each one. The SHSAT does not penalize guessing. Therefore there is no penalty for getting answers wrong. Students who do not have special accommodations are given 180 minutes to complete the exam.
Though there are only 57 questions per section, only 47 of them are scored. The other ten is used as experimental questions.
The test provides students with two scores; this includes a Raw score and a converted or scaled score. A student’s scale is used to determine their standing. This score ranges between 200 and 700; it is not directly proportionate to the student’s raw score. However, this score is not released to the public; you can perform a SHSAT score conversion yourself. Conversion charts and breakdowns are available online to make the process simpler.
The Department of Education converts the raw score to a scaled score for each section. Each score is then out of 400 points with the conversion, making the total possible 800 when scaled.
Upon completion of testing, all the students who have taken the exam will be ranked by their composite scores, with the list being ordered from highest to lowest. The student will then be assigned to their first-choice school until there are no longer any slots left. This will continue until all of the designated slots are filled.
What is Raw Score on SHSAT?
Your raw score is simply calculated by knowing the number of questions that you answered correctly. Based on the number of questions, each item is worth one point. Things that are blank or incorrect provide the student with zero points.
What is a Cutoff Score on SHSAT?
When taking the SHSAT, cutoff scores refer to the lowest score that a school will consider for admission. These scores may vary by high school and are determined by each individual school. To ensure that you are able to meet the average cutoff scores, there are thresholds which you should reach before taking the exam. To ensure that you are on track, students are advised to be at a score of 400/800 by the start of their 7th-grade year. This score should gradually increase until they are able to receive at least a 600 by the beginning of eighth grade, with their goal being a 650. The test is scored out of an 800-point scale
To get an idea of what the cutoff scores were for the 2021 school year, see the list below:
- In 2021 Queens Science’s lowest admitted score was 475, and their highest score a 592.
- Brooklyn Latin high school had the lowest admitted score of 481 and a highest admitted score of 568.
- Brooklyn Tech’s lowest admitted score was 492, and the highest was a 710.
- HSAS at Lehman College had the lowest admitted score of 507 and the highest score of 617.
- In 2021, Bronx Science had the lowest admitted score of 517 and a high score of 696.
- Staten Island Tech High school had a low score of 525, whereas their high score was 688.
- Lastly, Stuyvesant’s lowest admitted score was 560, and their highest was 690.
The list above will give you an idea of the ranges the schools will accept and a general idea of how students are performing. These cutoff scores vary by year, and there are often several factors that may contribute to them being higher or lower. For example, in 2020, there was not only a decrease in the number of students taking the exam but an increase in the number of available seats for students.
What is Considered a Good SHSAT Score?
The SHSAT can be a challenging exam if you are not adequately prepared. However, when making a goal to take the exam, you should be aiming to obtain at least a 650 on the exam. This will place you at a good threshold for admittance into the school of your choice. If you begin to prepare for the exam sooner rather than later, it will not be hard to reach this score.
9 Helpful Tips to Improve Your SHSAT Score
- Take your practice exams – One sure-fire way to ensure that you will do well on the SHSAT exam is to make sure you take your practice exams. This can mean taking a different practice exam each year to measure your progress, depending on when you start preparing for the exam. Students will find a variety of practice exams online as well as in some of the best SHSAT study guides. However, you should not only be practicing the exam, but you should also be taking the practice exams timed and simulating the test-taking experience.
- Become familiar with the exam’s format – Another helpful tip to improve your score is to make sure that you are familiar with the format of the exam. Though there are 57 questions per section, you should also know the format of these questions. For example, in the ELA section of the test, there are generally between nine and eleven revising & editing questions and six reading passages. Each of these passages has between six and ten questions. The math section of the exam boasts 52 multiple choice questions and five grid questions.
- Along with being familiar with the exam’s format, you should also be familiar with the information you can expect on the exam. For example, know that the math portions of the exam are based on the NY State Learning Standards through seventh grade and ultimately know what those standards are so that you may practice them.
- There is no harm in guessing, do not leave any answers blank – Unlike some other standardized exams, you are not penalized for guessing. If you find that you are out of time or running out of time, taking a couple of educated guesses may be the difference between admission into your top school or not.
- Read more books outside of the required school options – You must have an excellent grasp of reading comprehension and are able to dissect a passage quickly and effectively. The exam will have six reading passes, one being a poem, three to four as information, and two as literary passages.
- Read for comprehension even on the math portions – Reading for comprehension is just as important in mathematics as it is on the reading exam. Make sure you understand the questions and use the answer options to help you work backward.
- Focus on the information you don’t know – As you prepare for the exam and take practice tests, make sure you spend time working on the items you got wrong. Do not spend too much time focusing on questions that you got correct. Instead, look to build your skill in the areas that will give you additional points.
- Keep track of time – Wearing a watch on the day of the exam is an excellent idea. This allows you to focus and keep track of how much time you are spending on certain questions. Waiting for a proctor to provide a time check may cause you to lose valuable time rather than working efficiently.
- Obtain a study guide – One major aid that you should grab early is a study guide or prep book. There are several options available to you, and some facilities even offer to tutor or live SHSAT prep courses. Some of the best SHSAT study guides are provided by Barron’s or the Princeton Review. These are both two very popular and trusted companies for test prep materials. These two options include Barron’s New York City SHSAT: Specialized High Schools and Cracking the New York City SHSAT.
- Check the cutoff scores from previous years – If you are wondering how you may match up to some of your classmates or students from previous years, it may be helpful to check the cutoff scores from previous years. This gives you an idea of the range the schools accept, and the highest score achieved and admitted to a school.
It is also essential to use your resources. The administrators of the SHSAT test place a lot of valuable information online. This information should be adequately taken advantage of and includes tips for math grid problems, answering multiple-choice questions, and much more. Students can even learn further strategies to increase their performance. These are all excellent tips to ensure that you do your best on the SHSAT exam.
Wrapping Things Up: What is a Good Score for SHSAT?
If you are looking to gain admission into a specialized high school, getting the highest SHSAT score possible is imperative. You must be able to rank high on the list of all test takers. Ranking high means that you have a better chance of getting into your top-choice school.
This test is only given to students who are interested in one of New York’s specialized high schools. These students must receive a code from their guidance counselors to register for the exam. Special interest must be shown. Otherwise, registration information may not be provided.
THE SHSAT cutoff scores vary by school and have the potential to move up or down each year. Ensuring that you are using the best SHSAT study guide and preparing in advance is the only way to ensure that you are really ready for the test.
We hope you found this information helpful and are already preparing to score the highest SHSAT score ever. Good luck!
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