The SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) is given by NYC's Department of Education in the fall for all eighth graders who wish to apply to the following schools:
Bronx High School of Science
Brooklyn Latin School
Brooklyn Technical High School
High School of American Studies at Lehman College
High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
Staten Island Technical High School
Stuyvesant High School
In October of 2012, approximately 28,000 students took the test. 5,229 received an offer to one of the above schools. (All schools have different result cut-offs and families are asked to rank them in order of preference.)
Some students choose to simply take the test cold. Others cram the week before, or the summer before or even years before. Parents can sign their kids up for extensive private tutoring, buy prep books or attempt to do the work themselves. But, in the end, it all comes down to the child.
For those just gearing up for high-school admissions, the NY Gifted Education Examiner offers Part #1 of our tutorial on How to Ace the NYC SHSAT Test for Specialized High School Admissions by an NYC 8th grader who's just been through it. Enjoy, and spread the word!
For those of you who aspire to attend a specialized high school, or for those of you whom your parents want to attend a specialized high school, let me tell you something: Your summer will be ruined.
Some students have prepped since sixth grade, while others like myself have prepped only over the summer between seventh and eighth grade. The SHSAT is a test like no other. It has 95 questions: 45 Verbal and 50 Math, with five of them being worth double. The test lasts for 2 hours and 30 minutes with no break in between; also you can do any section at any time. The SHSAT ( specialized High School Admissions Test) is composed of the following sections:
1. Scrambled Paragraphs - An idiotic section that involves you having to be able to somehow reassemble a paragraph that has presumably fallen into a paper shredder. The paragraph consists of six sentences with the first one provided, and you must then order them appropriately. This section is the most dangerous, since even if you get only one sentence mixed up, the entire paragraph will be marked wrong. Also these five paragraphs are worth a raw score of two points instead of one, so be wary.
To practice this section, I suggest to purchase this quite helpful guide, How to Solve SHSAT Scrambled Paragraphs by Five Points Learning.
2. Logical Reasoning - This section is illogically (no pun intended) placed in the verbal section. while in reality it is just plain math. This math is a bit different from the math in the actual math section, since it involves quite a lot of ordering and brain challenges. This can easily be one of the most challenging sections of the test, and, by the way, there are 10 Logical Reasoning questions on the test.
3. Reading Comprehension - This section is more or less the only section of this test that we’ve all done ever since 1st grade. Here there are 5 stories with 6 questions about the reading. Each question correct is worth a raw score of one.
Before I proceed to the math I would like to tell you that on the SHSAT, unlike other standardized tests, no points are taken off for a wrong answer. In other words if you honestly do not know the answer, it is best to guess.
In this section, different types of mathematical questions are present, but in no prescribed order.
1. Algebra - This is by far the largest number of questions which includes graphs, slope intercept problems, factoring, some basic functions and other types of Algebra 1 problems.
Geometry - These questions are fewer in number but they are much trickier. For these problems you must know formulas and many types of two and three dimensional objects. These problems are quite challenging and these should be a top priority when studying for the math of the SHSAT.
Word Problems - The last type of possible math problems are word problems, which combine logic with algebra with geometry into one confusing mess that you must try to shed some light upon in order to raise your score. To succeed in these problems you must have a solid understanding of geometry and algebra.
Stay tuned, there's more! Coming up, the best test prep books, plus what the actual day of the test is like!