SHSAT Test Retake Policy

Instructor: Sandra Lindenmuth
Individuals have a limited number of opportunities to take the SHSAT exam. This article looks at the policy on retaking this test as well as some things prospective test-takers can do to try to eliminate the need to take the test again.

Taking the SHSAT Again

Individuals take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) to qualify for acceptance to specialized high schools in The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. The test is administered as part of the New York City Department of Education's high school application process.

Students who take the test when they are in grade 8 can opt to take the test again when they are in grade 9, but that is the only group of students who are eligible to retake the SHSAT test. Those who take it in grade 9 will not have another opportunity.

How to Avoid the Need to Retake the SHSAT Exam

Tip 1: Know What's on the SHSAT Exam

The SHSAT test is divided into two sections.

English Language Arts: Formerly known as the verbal portion of the test, the English language arts section is comprised of 57 multiple-choice questions. You will be required to answer questions based off of passages you have read and will also need to show that you have the ability to make grammatical corrections to statements. This section is worth 47 raw points. Ten of the questions are not scored; all other questions that are scored are worth one raw point each.

Mathematics: The mathematics section also has 57 questions, with ten questions unscored. One raw point is available for each of the remaining 47 questions. Most of the questions on this section of the test are presented in multiple-choice format, although some questions require you to grid in your answer.

Tip 2: Thoroughly Review Test Material

The SHSAT Study Guide Course was developed to help individuals prepare for the SHSAT exam. It contains a total of 490 lessons that you can work through at your own pace in addition to an SHSAT Final Exam. Once you complete them, you will have spent many hours working through material designed to strengthen your skills prior to exam day.

Tip 3: Take Practice Tests

The New York City Department of Education website provides a handbook for the SHSAT that you can download or access online. This handbook contains two different practice tests that can be used to simulate testing conditions so that you have a sense of how well you would do if you were taking the SHSAT with a 180-minute time restriction.

Tip 4: Practice Filling Out Answer Sheets

The handbook also has sample answer sheets that you can complete when taking the practice test. It's a good idea to review the instructions for using the answer sheets and then take some time to get comfortable with these forms before your exam day.

Tip 5: Apply for Accommodations

When you talk to your guidance counselor about signing up for the SHSAT test, make sure you discuss test accommodations. If your first language isn't English or if you are on an IEP or 504 plan, then you should be eligible for some testing adjustments. You may get extra time to complete the test or receive other testing changes that can help improve your performance. If you feel that having test accommodations will help you do better on the SHSAT exam, it is important to see if you may qualify and make arrangements for approved test accommodations on your exam day.

Tip 6: Know How to Take the Test

Reviewing information in the SHSAT handbook can be very helpful because you will have an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the test instructions and other pertinent information, such as practical details about test scoring. For example, points are given for correct answers only. A wrong answer won't add to your score, but you also won't lose points. Since you won't be penalized for wrong answers it is very important to answer every single question. Take your best guess and you may get a point if you guess correctly.

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