Yearly Testing

Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT)

Who takes this test?

Students in grades 8 or 9 who wish to apply to New York City’s Specialized high schools must take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and submit an application listing their choices of schools in order of preference. Learn more about the high school admissions process

What is on the test?

The SHSAT is a timed multiple-choice test with two sections, verbal and math, that must be completed in a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes. In the first section, students demonstrate their verbal reasoning and reading comprehension by ordering sentences to form a coherent paragraph, answering questions of logical reasoning, and analyzing and interpreting texts. In the second section, students demonstrate their math skills by answering computational and word questions that require arithmetic, algebra, probability, statistics, geometry, and trigonometry (on the Grade 9 test only).

How are the results reported?


The results are reported as scale scores. Scale scores are based on the number of questions that the student answered correctly, combined with the difficulty level of the questions. Students receive scale scores for the verbal and mathematics sections of the test, which are added together to make their composite score. After scores are released to the schools in March, students and their parents may review the results of their examination by requesting an appointment with a Department of Education assessment specialist.

How are the results used?

Students are ranked according to their scores on the test, and assigned to a school depending on their rank on the list, the priority in which they placed schools, and the seats available at each school.

The Specialized high schools that require the SHSAT are: Bronx High School of Science; 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; and Stuyvesant High School). Read the Specialized High School handbook  to learn more about applying to one of these schools.