Admission to the Specialized High Schools of New York City is basely solely upon one single exam, the New York City Specialized High School Admission Test, often referred to as the SHSAT. Admission to any of these schools is highly competitive. There are more than 20,000 students competing for a limited number of places available in these specialized schools each year. Preparation for this unique exam is essential to improve your chances of admission to the school of your choice.

When Should You Begin to Prepare?

Remember, admission to the specialized high schools is highly competitive. Often students start preparation as early as the 7th grade, a year in advance. Others start the summer before entering 8th grade. The sooner you begin, the more time you will have to prepare.

What's on the Test?

The test includes two major sections: Reading Comprehension & Mathematics. Both sections are made up of multiple choice questions. Each section is worth 50 points. There is a time limit of 150 minutes.

When is the Test Administered?

The test is typically given the last week in October or first week in November for admission the following September. Be sure to verify this year's test dates and locations. The test is administered to current 8th graders seeking admission into the 9th grade. Another form of the exam is administered to current 9th graders seeking admission to the 10th grade.

How and When Do I Obtain Information and Application Forms?

Information about the exam can also be obtained through your guidance counselor. A copy of the Specialized High Schools Student Handbook can be also obtained through your guidance counselor or from the Department of Education Office of High School Admissions. The handbook will contain additional current information regarding the test sites and other information.

What Score Do I Need?

Your total number of correct answers is your raw score. The raw score is converted by a special formula to a scaled score between 200 and 800. The cut-off score is determined by how many seats each school has available and can't be predicted.

The SHSAT is a unique test comprised of types of questions not normally encountered in your child's studies. Preparation is extremely important. At Book Smart we offer a systematic approach to answering the SHSAT style questions. The timing structure of the SHSAT is also unique and we teach students how best to manage their time, so that they can complete the test in a timely fashion.

Instruction Includes:
  • Reading comprehension utilizing active reading skills
  • All math from arithmatic to geometry
  • A diagnostic exam to best evaluate the student's strengths and weaknesses
  • One-on-one instruction
  • Introduction to the unique questions encountered on the SHSAT
  • Test taking strategies for each of the sections
  • Timing strategies
  • Practice sections both timed and untimed