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Hunter College High School (HCHS) Entrance Exam (NYC)


The HCHS Entrance Exam is open only to 6th grade students who reside within the five boroughs of New York City at the time of application submission AND who have earned ONE of the following:

1. A qualifying score on the 5th grade NYS English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests. The qualifying scores are needed to apply to Hunter and change every year. For 2020 the qualifying scores were as follows:

  • ELA English Language Arts =  627

  • State Math = 628

2. A score in the 90th (national) percentile -- in certain Reading and Math subtests (i.e. Mathematics 1&2) -- from any of the following standardized 5th grade exams. This option is only for those who have NEVER taken the NYS 5th grade ELA and NYS 5th grade mathematics exams.

  • ERB Comprehensive Testing Program 5 (CTP 5)

  • TerraNova

  • Stanford Achievement Test

  • Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)


The HCHS Entrance Exam is administered once per year only, with no make-up dates. Typically the test is given in January of each year with an alternate snow date. Applications typically open in September and close at the end February.

Test Structure

The HCHS Entrance Exam will contain three sections: 50 multiple-choice English Language Arts questions, a Writing Assignment, and 30 multiple-choice Mathematics questions (sample exam #1 contains 35 math questions). Each multiple-choice question is followed by five possible answers: A, B, C, D, or E. You must choose the best answer for each question.

The third to eight-grade State Math tests contain multiple choice questions and performance assessment items. In Grades 3–8, students are required to apply mathematical understandings and mathematical practices gained in the classroom in order to answer three types of questions: multiple-choice, short-response, and extended-response. Session 1 consists of multiple-choice questions. Session 2 consists of multiple-choice, short-response, and extended-response questions. Students will NOT be permitted to use calculators in Grades 3–5. In Session 2 of Grade 6 students must have the exclusive use of a four-function calculator with a square root key or a scientific calculator. In Grades 7–8, students must have the exclusive use of a scientific calculator for both Session 1 and Session 2.



In the Critical Reading portion of the test, reading comprehension skills will be assessed. Students will answer questions about specific reading passages to show their ability to understand, interpret, and analyze a number of types of writing. They will read five or six passages of varying lengths. Each is followed by multiple choice questions about it. Every fifth line of each passage is numbered so that students can find the part the question refers to.  Students are asked to read the passage and answer the questions based on the content of the passage.

The passages in the Critical Reading section usually reflect a range of writing styles from different time periods. In an actual exam you would read and answer questions about passages from a wider range of writing styles.

In the Writing Assignment section, students will write either an essay or a creative piece (up to two pages) to demonstrate the originality, effectiveness, and use of detail in your writing. Some years there are choices of topics; other years, there is only one topic. 

The Mathematics section tests problem-solving ability. Students solve a variety of problems, including multi-step ones involving: estimation; computations with fractions, decimals, percents, and integers (including negative numbers); rules of divisibility; simple probability; rate; average; ratio; time; money; area of shaded regions; perimeter; counting; visual and numerical pattern recognition; and three dimensional figures. 


The multiple-choice sections are computer-scored and hand-checked for accuracy. At the end of the scoring process, a cut off score is established - based on the number of test takers, the cut off score varies from year to year. Once established, the cut off score will allow the top (approximately) 500 scorers to have their essays read by a panel of HCHS English faculty. Essays are read “blind;”at all times, students are identified solely by their HCHS Identification numbers. Readers do not know the students’ identities at any point in the assessment process. The students who write the top approximately 170 essays are selected for admission to HCHS. HCHS also creates a 20/30 student waitlist in case they can't fill the class.

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