Administered by the Department of Education, the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) is taken by 8th and 9th graders for admission into specialized high schools in New York City, and is the only acceptance factor for eight of the nine specialized schools. All students in the 8th and 9th grades who are current New York City residents are eligible.
The schools that require the SHSAT are:
Bronx High School of Science
Brooklyn Latin School
Brooklyn Technical High School
High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College
High School for American Studies at Lehman College
Queens High School for Sciences at York College
Staten Island Technical High School
Stuyvesant High School
Registration begins in early September and tests are given in a few weekends in October. Make updates are typically in November.
The SHSAT has two sections: English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Standard administration time is 180 minutes to complete the test. There are 57 questions total in each section; of these, 47 are scored questions and 10 are embedded field test questions. Students will NOT know which questions are scored and which are field test questions, thus they must answer all questions.
The English Language Arts (ELA) section consists of two parts—Revising/Editing and Reading Comprehension. Informational texts for ELA may include any of the text types that middle school students should have experience with, such as: exposition, argument, and functional text in the form of personal essays, speeches, opinion pieces, essays about art or literature, biographies, memoirs, journalism, and historical, scientific, technical, or economic accounts written for a broad audience. Literary texts for ELA may include any of the text types that middle school students should have experience with, such as: poetry, adventure stories, historical fiction, mysteries, myths, science fiction, realistic fiction, allegories, parodies, or satire.
The Math section consists of word and computational questions in either a multiple-choice or grid-in format. There are five grid-in Math questions and 52 multiple-choice questions. Math questions on the Grade 8 test forms are based on material included in the New York City curriculum through Grade 7. Math questions on the Grade 9 test forms are based on material through Grade 8.
Students contact their school counselors to register. Please see the Student Enrollment page for more information about taking the exam and applying to the Specialized High School. More information can be found in the DOEs SHSAT Handbook.
A raw score is earned based on the number of correctly answered questions.The raw score is converted into a scaled score for each section of the test. Then a composite score is compiled from both sections. The highest composite score is 800.
The SHSAT rewards students for excelling at math or ELA. A student who gets 70% correct in both sections does ot score as high as someone who gets all of one section correct and only 40% of the other correct, even if their total number of correct questions is the same. Like many other tests, the SHSAT converts your raw score into a scaled score, which takes into account the differences between various test versions. However, they go one step further and give students many more points as they score higher and higher in a given section.
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.