Many parents and students ask about cut-off scores. The important thing to realize is that the specialized high schools don’t decide their cut-off scores and that there isn’t a set score to beat. Instead, students compete against each other for a spot in the school.
Each year, tens of thousands of students take the SHSAT in hopes of being accepted into the specialized high schools of New York City. If you are a middle school student aspiring to be part of these elite institutions, you need to score high in the SHSAT.
But before you can start preparing for the test, the first step is to learn about its scoring and structure.
What is the SHSAT?
The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) is an exam taken by eighth and ninth graders who are residents of New York City. This test is used to determine a student’s admission to all (except one) of the nine Specialized High Schools in the city. Exam takers should reach the cutoff scores designated by each school for the year’s exam.
The New York City Department of Education is in charge of administering the SHSAT, which can only be taken by residents of New York City who are in the 8th grade. There’s another version of the SHSAT that students in the 9th grade may take but only a very limited number of slots are offered by the Specialized High Schools.
Registration for the SHSAT
Students who want to be considered for admissions at one of the Specialized High Schools in New York (not including LaGuardia) can register for the test through their campus counselor. You should show interest in any of the schools by putting the correct information on their ticket.
After that, the guidance counselor will give students an admission ticket. This document will indicate the specific time and date of your SHSAT. During the test day, students will be asked to arrange the Specialized High School according to their preference.
What are the SHSAT Cut-Off Scores for 2019?
The SHSAT scores indicated below are out of 800 points. Take note that numbers may vary from year to year, depending on school capacity and the talent pool’s competitive nature. The schools are listed in no particular order.
- Brooklyn Latin School
Lowest score: 488, Highest score: 505
- Staten Island Technical High School
Lowest score: 525, Highest score: 688
- Stuyvesant High School
Lowest score: 560, Highest score: 665
- Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
Lowest score: 514, Highest score: 524
- High School of American Studies at Lehman College
Lowest score: 524, Highest score: 617
- High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College
Lowest score: 519, Highest score: 620
- Brooklyn Technical High School
Lowest score: 498, Highest score: 639
- The Bronx High School of Science
Lowest score: 525, Highest score: 696
SHSAT Test Prep Benefits
The SHSAT can be quite a challenge for most students, and it’s in your best interest to be as ready as possible for the difficulty of the exam. If you will soon take the SHSAT, investing in SHSAT test prep increases your chances of passing the exam and joining the high school you want.
Here are some of the ways test prep can help you:
1) Proper Student Assessment
In a test prep class, a student will be thoroughly assessed by an educator to determine any academic areas that need more focus. The key to passing the SHSAT is the right preparation and a proper evaluation of your needs as a student will highlight any subjects that require additional focus. This enables the student to feel more confident in their skills and abilities, which results in a positive effect on their SHSAT journey.
2) Customized Learning Environment
Individualized learning is one of the best things about test prep classes. Since there is always a small student-to-teacher ratio, you are sure to have a customized learning environment that is tailored to the specific academic needs of every student.
It also promotes an atmosphere with minimal pressure so students can feel more comfortable when asking questions. They can easily find solutions because they are in an encouraging and supportive setting. Additionally, they will not have a hard time overcoming various kinds of academic challenges.
3) Mock Tests
Before a student tackles a real exam, it helps to conduct trial runs that are offered in test prep classes. This is an effective way to equip students with all the skills necessary for answering the real SHSAT. With mock testing, you have a realistic idea of what to expect from the SHSAT–allowing the student to get into the ideal headspace for the official experience.
Instructors can help by going over the mock test results and pointing out any subject that may need more clarification for the student.
Tips for Preparing before the Test Day
The New York City Department of Education website offers a free SHSAT student handbook. This gives general information on the exam and instructions for answering test questions. By familiarizing yourself with these instructions, you’ll save time on the official test day and avoid minor mistakes that could cost you points.
It’s also a good idea to take a practice test, which can also be found on our website here. Time yourself when answering the questions so you’ll know what to expect when it’s time to take the actual exam. Also, make sure you know how to quickly get to the test site–this helps you budget enough time to get there and avoid being late on your test day.
For more details about the 2019 SHSAT such as testing dates, registration, and requirements, you may refer to the official NYC Department of Education website here.