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We Help You Decide

Is the SHSAT for me?

The first step along the SHSAT path is deciding if it is in fact an optimal or pertinent exam for students. We explain the distinctions between the various high school admissions tests available in NYC, and guide students towards selecting the ideal option to suit their specific needs.

When to start prep?

Ideally, students have 6-12 months of consistent test prep leading up to the SHSAT. Since students only get one crack at the exam, we are very careful to pace our prep programs properly, ensuring that students neither burn out or peak too early.

How to sequence the prep?

The first goal is to get students comfortable with the features, expectations and format of each section of the SHSAT. We then move onto strategies, both in the realm of general test-taking as well as how to tackle particular question types. Lastly, we turn to content, and create personalized curricula for students to master. All of these elements come together during our group test simulations, which allow students to continuously refine their abilities in real time.

Facts about the SHSAT

Location and time

Registration begins in mid-September and ends in early October. Students should contact their school counselors to register. For testing locations, see the SHSAT site. The test is conventionally given on the last Saturday in October.

What is the test like?

The SHSAT is a standardized ELA and Math test, with a three-hour time limit. Students are tested on their abilities to comprehend English prose, to convey understanding of revising and editing writing, and to use problem-solving skills in mathematics. The test is composed of 114 questions in total (94 scored and 20 unscored).

  • Revising/Editing Sentences: Students are assessed on their ability to recognize and correct language errors found within the context of single sentences, paragraphs or whole passages. 9-11 questions.​
  • Reading Comprehension: This section contains 3-4 informational passages, 1-2 literary prose texts and 1 poem, followed by questions that combine careful reading skills with subjective inference abilities. 46-48 questions.
  • Math: This section is composed of traditional math questions, 52 of which are multiple choice and 5 of which are grid-in answers. Calculators are not permitted. 57 questions.

How is the SHSAT scored?

All questions are worth one point. Raw Math and ELA scores are converted to scale scores. The cutoff score varies by school and by year. Students are ranked according to their score on the test and assigned to a school depending on their rank, the priority in which they placed schools on their application, and the seats available at each school.

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Our tutors are prepared to shape our SHSAT program to fit every individual student’s learning and personality type. Our programs are malleable, and our experience has equipped us to lead every student towards achieving his/her personal best on test day.

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We approach test prep from a child-centric perspective, and are sure to cater to the needs of the human we’re working with, not only the student. We don’t try to make a child’s life fit into a test prep program; we make sure that test prep fits comfortably into a child’s life.

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Executive Functioning

Our esteemed executive functioning program is interwoven into our test prep, ensuring that students will gain lifelong skills on their way to achieving their optimal SHSAT score. We’ll help you change schools, and we might just change your life along the way.


A Hartman Tutor worked with both my son and daughter, and helped each one get into Stuyvesant. Not an easy task! My kids couldn't be happier to be where they are now, and there is no way they could have done as well on that test if it weren't for the tutor Jesse and Alice paired them with. Professional, fun and effective. 5 stars!

Jackson  D.

8th grade, SHSAT


The Specialized High School Admissions Test is the sole admissions criteria for gaining admission to NYC’s specialized high schools (with the exception of LaGuardia High School, which requires an audition). All eighth or ninth grade students, who are current residents of NYC, are eligible to take the exam.

Use MySchools to learn more about each of the specialized high schools, as well as other public high school options. Search for schools by interest, location, and more.

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New York, NY 10004


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Brooklyn, NY 11201