What is the HSPT?

High School Placement Test

high school placement test preparation

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is administered locally by individual private high schools and dioceses as part as their student admissions process. This test is designed to be taken by eighth grade students.

Versions of the HSPT

Open HSPT – older versions of the HSPT. It measures students’ verbal and quantitative skills, reading, mathematics, and language. Schools which offer the HSPT own the testing materials and administer and score the examination locally.


Closed HSPT – newer versions of the HSPT. It measures students’ verbal and quantitative skills, reading, mathematics, and language, and individual high schools may choose to add optional tests for science, mechanical aptitude, or Catholic religion. Schools which offer the Closed HSPT lease the testing materials from Scholastic Testing Service and return the completed tests to STS for grading.


E-Score – electronic version of the Closed HSPT, enables students to take the examination online and receive same day scoring results.


Pre-HSPT – a practice version of the Closed HSPT, may be offered to seventh graders.

HSPT Content

The HSPT contains five multiple choice sections: Verbal, Quantitative Skills, Reading, Mathematics, and Language Skills. Depending on the school, the HSPT might also feature an optional section covering Science, Mechanical Aptitude or Catholic Religion. The Verbal Skills section focuses on synonyms, antonyms, analogies, logic, and verbal classifications. The Reading section focuses on vocabulary and comprehension when it comes to reading passages. The Language section focuses on grammar, such as punctuation, spelling, and capitalization. The Mathematics section focuses on problem solving, arithmetic, algebra and geometry.

HSPT for private high schools

HSPT Scoring

Raw scores on each section of the HSPT are based on the number of correct answers, so there is no penalty for guessing. The standard scores on each section of the HSPT range from 200 to 800, with 500 being the average score. Schools also receive each student’s skill area Grade Equivalents (GE), the GE scores measure students’ levels of achievement in reading, mathematics, and language to determine how that student compares with average students in other grades in those skill areas.

Preparing for the HSPT


  • Take practice tests, doing so, will help you master your timing, and help you identify your problem areas.


  • Study each section individually to reinforce and build your HSPT content knowledge.


  • Determine in what areas you need help and write down what you learn. Create flashcards that you can reference during your prep.


  • Read a book, it will help build your vocabulary, foster your comprehension skills and enhance your understanding of grammar.


  • Do not procrastinate!


  • Try studying at a library, a nice quiet place where you can focus.


  • Get plenty of sleep the night before test day and eat a balanced breakfast to ensure that you’ll do your best on the test.


  • Hire a tutor who can work with you on a one-on-one basis and help guide you in the right direction.