2018 Changes to the SHSAT

The SHSAT is changing, again, and this time, students will need to be prepared for a much longer reading comprehension section. The SHSAT is the exam students take in October of their 8th grade year to gain admission into one of NYC's eight schools requiring the SHSAT for admission. These schools include: Stuyvesant, Staten Island Tech, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech, Brooklyn Latin, HSMSE, American Studies and Queens Science. The new changes aim to strengthen the SHSAT’s alignment to state learning standards in English Language Arts. 

In 2017, after over 20 years of consistently using the same exam, the Department of Education decided to change the SHSAT. Some of the major changes included the following:

  1. The 2017 exam increased from 100 questions to 114 questions
  2. The 2017 exam included 20 field test questions that would randomly be selected for omission from the students' score (10 ELA and 10 Math)
  3. The Verbal section had a name change to ELA to mirror what children experience in school
  4. The Math section included 5 grid response questions to test students' accuracy
  5. Two components of the ELA section, scrambled paragraphs and logical reasoning, were replaced with 20 grammar and revising/editing based questions   
  6. The reading comprehension component of the ELA section included 5 non-fiction passages

The 2018 SHSAT has changed to include an expanded reading comprehension component:

  1. There will be 9 – 11 Grammar and Revising/Editing questions, down from 20.
  2. There will be 46 – 48 Reading Comprehension questions, up from 37.
  3. Unlike previous years’ SHSAT exams, where the Reading Comprehension texts were all non-fiction, informational texts, the 2018 revised SHSAT will include the following types of material, with each text having 6 – 10 associated questions:
    • 3 – 4 informational texts, some accompanied by visual or quantitative graphics, relating to material that students should have been exposed to in middle school, such as exposition, arguments, and functional texts;
    • 1 – 2 literary prose texts, such as adventure stories, historical fiction, and myths, which students should be familiarized with in middle school;
    • 1 poem.

For more about NYC’s specialized high schools and Fall 2018’s test dates, visit the NYC DOE website.