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About the SHSAT

The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) is the only criterion for admissions to 8 of the 9 New York City Specialized High Schools. The only exception is the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, which requires an audition or portfolio for admission.

The SHSAT is administered by the New York City Department of Education and is only available to New York City residents in the 8th grade. 9th grade students may also choose to take the 9th grade version of the SHSAT for a very limited number of seats that may become available at the Specialized High Schools.

In 2016, approximately 28,000+ students took the SHSAT, and less than 20% of those students were accepted to a New York City Specialized High School.

SHSAT 2019 Test Details


3 hours total

Raw Score

All questions worth one point

Unscored field test items included in both sections

Composite Score

Raw Math and ELA scores converted to scale scores

Cutoff score varies by school and by year


114 total, 94 scored and 20 unscored

Answer Choices

4 choices and grid-in questions

ELA (formerly Verbal)

Revising/Editing (sentences and paragraphs)

Reading Comprehension (3-4 informational texts, 1-2 literary prose texts, 1 poem)

All multiple choice


Multiple choice and grid-in questions

Focus on word problems

Calculator not permitted

Registration Details

In order to be considered for admissions at one of the New York City Specialized High Schools (not including LaGuardia), students must register for the SHSAT through their counselor. Students should indicate interest in any of the schools by entering the appropriate information on their ticket.

Students must then obtain an admission ticket from their guidance counselor. The ticket will indicate the specific date and time of the SHSAT. On test day, students will be asked to rank the Specialized High School in order of preference.

For more information on registering for the SHSAT, refer to the NYC Department of Education's SHSAT information.

SHSAT 2018 Administration Dates

Current 8th graders

Saturday, October 20, 2018 & Sunday, October 21, 2018

First-time 9th graders

Sunday, October 21, 2018

SHSAT School Day Pilot

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Students with accommodations

Saturday, November 3, 2018 & Sunday, November 18, 2018

Students new to New York City

End of summer 2019

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