In Part #1 of our guide to acing the SHSAT, a New York City eighth grader explained how your summer would be ruined thanks to test prep. It doesn't just have to be the summer, though. It could be the whole year prior to taking the test. Or even several years.
Test prep comes in many forms. There are formal, group courses, one-on-one tutoring services, independent study and multiple combinations of all three.
The SHSAT prep courses aren't cheap, however. For those who would like to save money as well as study on their own, rather than someone else's schedule, here's more advice on how to prepare for the SHSAT, kid to kid:
You're probably wondering by now, “ How do I practice for this terrifying test?” The answer is simple, take a lot of practice tests (some people only take 2 or 3 and they get a super high score while others take tens or even hundreds more). I, for one, took one nearly every day for two months in the summer.
Like real estate, some test prep books are better than others. Here is my rundown:
My personal favorite, in terms of information, clarity, paper color and font would be McGraw Hill’s New York City SHSAT. This book provides problems that are most like the ones on the SHSAT in terms of content and difficulty, and it offers many tips to help you succeed. This book has three practice tests and hundreds of practice problems with explanations spreading across the spectrum of possible questions.
Another prep book that also has a similar quality to the former book is Barrons’ New York City SHSAT Specialized High School Admissions Test. This book also has many practice tests and mini tests (75 minutes tests) to practice with. The questions in this book are much harder than the questions on the actual SHSAT, in my opinion, so don't fret if you can't understand a really complicated question in this book.
There are other SHSAT prep books out there, but you should be wary.
Learning Express - There are only a few short tests with not much explanation. Also many of the claimed answers are wrong and many typos are present all over this book.
Petersons - This book has many simple, to the point 45 minute practice tests that are filled with useful questions. I would suggest buying this book if you are strapped for time and would like to practice decent problems without losing up to 3 hours of your life.
The last place to get additional practice tests and information is from the Department of Education’s Specialized High School Handbook, which is available as a download on their website. This guide provides two practice tests and information on how to properly fill out the bureaucratic forms.
Coming up in Part#3 - Test Day Tips!