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Changes to the SHSAT, Now Similar to the SAT

The SHSAT given in 2017 will be significantly different than previous tests. The good news is that overall the changes seem to be for the better. One of the reasons for the redesign was to better align the test content with school curriculum. The changes to the SHSAT make the test more similar to the SAT, which was also recently redesigned.

To understand the changes, let’s first quickly go over how the SHSAT was administered. The test was made up of 95 questions: 45  in the verbal section and 50 in the math section. The verbal section included 5 scrambled paragraphs, 10 logical reasoning questions, and 30 reading comprehension questions. Total time allowed for the test was 150 minutes.

The major changes are:

  • Elimination of the five scrambled paragraphs
  • Elimination of the ten logical reasoning questions
  • Addition of revising/editing questions
  • Testing time is increased to 180 minutes
  • The multiple choice questions will now have four answer choices instead of five.
  • The math section will now include five grid-in questions
  • The name of the verbal section is now the English Language Arts section
  • Addition of 10 field test questions in each section that will be used to test questions for future tests but will not count for the administered test. Students will not be able to determine which of the questions are field test questions.
  • Total of 57 math questions and 57 English Language Arts questions, including the 10 field test questions in each section

The new SHSAT very closely resembles the new SAT. Both tests are broken down into two main sections: one for English/verbal and the other for math. In both test the English/verbal sections tests students’ ability to find errors in writing and choose the best revision and answer reading comprehension questions based on a given passage(s). Both tests require the students to answer complex math questions and choose from four answer choices for the majority of the questions or grid-in answers for a select number of questions.

The SHSAT is administered to determine admission into the specialized high schools in New York City, except for Fiorello H. Laguardia High School. For the specialized high schools, other than Laguardia, the SHSAT is the only item used in determining admission. This admission process is judged to be the least biased means of admission, in which teacher favoritism, differences in grading policies, and other factors are left out.

Caddell Prep offers SHSAT Prep online for $19.95/month. Test prep includes lessons and practice problems to help students become more familiar with and ready for the SHSAT.