Skip to Main Content

About the SHSAT

The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) is the only criterion for admissions to eight of the nine 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; less than 20% of those students were accepted to a New York City Specialized High School.

Format and Content


3 hours total (90 min per section suggested)


Out of 800, math and verbal equally weighted

Raw Score

All questions worth one point

Unscored field test items included in both sections

Answer Choices

4 choices and grid-in questions

ELA (formerly Verbal)

2017: Nonfiction reading comprehension and revising/editing passages and stand-alone questions

2018: 3-4 informational texts, 1-2 literary prose texts, 1 poem

The number of revising/editing questions will decrease to 9-11, while the number of reading comprehension questions will increase to 46-48


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 eight New York City Specialized High Schools, 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 eight specialized high schools in order of preference.

2018 SHSAT Administration Dates

To be announced in early 2018

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