What are the HSPT Exams?

About the HSPT Exam

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is for individuals who are entering grade 9. These tests have been used since 1955. They were developed and are administered by Scholastic Testing Service, Inc. The HSPT is offered in Braille and large print. There is also an audio version available.

What HSPT Exams are Used For

High schools may use HSPT results for a number of reasons. Private high schools may use this test to determine if an applicant qualifies for a scholarship towards his or her tuition. Some high schools use HSPT results to determine who to grant admission to. Other schools may refer to students' HSPT results to develop a high school curriculum plan suited to their academic abilities and interests. For example, these test results could determine if a student takes AP courses, honors courses or academic courses in certain subjects.

It is important to note that the way one school chooses to use the HSPT may not be the same way another school uses it. Schools' processes for admissions and scholarships may be different from one another. Schools may also consider additional factors when admitting students or developing their curriculum programs.

Scoring System

Students who take the HSPT have their test results converted to a standard score. This score is compared to results from a national sampling of students. Each subtest is graded this way. The lowest score a student can receive on a subtest is 1, and the highest is 99. The percentile score given represents how many students he or she performed equal to or better than from the national sample. This means that a student who earns 70 on a subtest has performed equal to or better than 70% of the students from that national sample.

HSPT Test Areas

Students who take the HSPT are evaluated on the following:

  • Reading skills
  • Verbal skills
  • Quantitative skills
  • Mathematics skills
  • Cognitive skills
  • Language skills

There are additional testing areas that schools can opt to use, such as a science test.

Test-Taking Tips

It is important for students taking the HSPT to employ some helpful strategies that can improve their performance on the exam.

Guess Answers: There are no deductions for questions you get wrong. If you do not know the answer to a question it is better to guess than to leave it unanswered.

Process Directions Carefully: When you are being given instructions for a test, either verbally or in writing, make sure you take your time and pay close attention to the information presented to you. It may keep you from making a mistake that adversely affects your test performance.

Manage Your Time: Don't spent too much time on some questions and cut your time short for other parts of the test. You will be told how much time you have, and you will be able to see the number of questions you need to answer. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to complete all questions.

Leave Time for Review: If possible, leave some extra time at the end to check over your answers before completing your test.

HSPT Study Materials

To prepare effectively for the HSPT, consider using a reputable study guide, such as the one linked to here. This course contains 384 lessons that you can work through at your own pace. The lessons are accessible online.

This article looks at how the HSPT tests are scored and what the scores represent. It also provides insight into how to determine if a score is good or bad and the different subjects students are tested on.

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