What is the SHSAT?

Specialized High Schools in New York City

The Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT) is an exam 8th and 9th graders take for admission to Specialized High Schools in New York City. The SHSAT is the only criterion for admissions to eight of nine New York City Specialized High Schools.

SHSAT preparation

How is the SHSAT Scored?

Students earn a raw score based on the number of questions they get right. This raw score is converted into a scaled score for each section of the test and a composite score for the entire test. The highest possible composite score is 800.

How are the Results Used?

Students are ranked according to their scores on the test and assigned to a school depending on their rank on the list, the priority in which they placed schools and the seats available at each school.

SHSAT students studying

Schools that Require the SHSAT

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

What’s on the SHSAT?

In fall 2017, a variety of changes were introduced on the SHSAT in order to make it better aligned to the curriculum and instruction students experience in their classrooms on a daily basis. There are two sections, English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. The ELA section is composed of all multiple choice questions that, along with associated texts, assess revising/editing and reading comprehension skills. The revising/editing tests students’ ability to recognize and correct language errors and to improve the overall quality of a piece of writing. The reading comprehension has 5-6 reading passages and tests your ability to understand, analyze, and interpret what you have read. The mathematics section is composed of questions that assess math skills in the domains of equations and expressions, geometry, number systems, ratio and proportional relationships, statistics and probability, and functions. The SHSAT covers learning standards up through seventh grade for the eighth grade test, and up through eighth grade for ninth grade test.

tutoring students SHSAT

Preparing for the SHSAT


  • Students should know the format of the test.


  • Start preparing for the SHSAT the summer before the test. This should give students enough time to take practice tests, find tutors if necessary, and figure out which kinds of problems they struggle with.


  • Talk to a guidance counselor. A guidance counselor may be able to recommend specific books, classes, and tutor that can help.


  • Purchase an SHSAT study guide. There are several testing companies that provide practice questions and study tips in their published guides.


  • Take an SHSAT course.


  • If the student requires one-on-one attention in order to perform well on the kinds of questions asked on the SHSAT, the student can hire a private tutor.


  • Take a free academic enrichment course.


  • Take as many practice tests as possible.


  • Pay attention in class, do homework and study for schools exams.