The SHSAT is offered just once a year for 8th or 9th graders in the Fall/Winter. Because you can only take the exam once, it’s absolutely essential to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Based on the most common questions we receive from our students, here are the most important things you need to know going into SHSAT Test Day.
What to Bring to Your Testing Session
Students MUST bring these items to their testing session:
- Your SHSAT test ticket signed by you and your parent/guardian
- Sharpened Number 2 pencils (you cannot use a pen)
- Assistive Technology (if indicated on your IEP and test ticket)
Although not required, we also recommend bringing the following items to the testing center:
- Watch (that does not make noise)
- Bottle of Water
- Snack (you can have the snack before the beginning of the test, but they are not allowed during testing time)
The testing center will supply you with the test booklet, answer sheet, and scrap paper. Remember, calculators are NOT allowed.
Although students are permitted to bring cell phones to the testing site, they are not allowed to have cell phones on their person when taking the SHSAT. The testing site with instruct you to turn off and store all cellphones and electronic devices according to its own regulations.
Any student who refuses to put away or turn in a prohibited device will not be allowed to take the test. Possession of these items at any time during the test administration, even if powered off, will result in the test being invalidated.
Test Day Expectations
- BE ON TIME. Make sure to arrive at the test site at the time that is on your SHSAT test ticket. Please note that this is the arrival time, not the time that the test will start. The test will begin as soon as possible after the time on your ticket. In some cases, the test may begin an hour or more after the arrival time noted on the test ticket. Your testing site can provide you with estimated times when the test will end and students will be released.
- If you do not feel well, you should inform the test proctor immediately; you should not begin the test or sign the statement. Once you break the security seal and begin the test, you may not be able to request a make-up test due to illness.
- Before taking the test, you will fill out important information on Side 1 of your answer sheet. First, you will be asked to read and sign a statement on your answer sheet stating that you are well enough to take the test, a resident of New York City, and are taking the test for the correct grade level.
- All students taking the SHSAT must stay in testing rooms for the entire standard test administration time (180 minutes), with the exception of using the bathroom.
- Once the standard test administration time (180 minutes) is over, students with an accommodation of extended time may leave if they have finished working on the exam. Students who decide to leave after the first 180 minutes of the standard test administration time must sign out to indicate they understood they gave up their remaining available time on the SHSAT. Students with this accommodation will have a break at the conclusion of the 180 minutes, and then again after another 90 minutes have passed.
Filling in the Answer Sheet
Filling out the answer sheet properly is very important for any standardized test. Remember, the computer grading the test can’t read your mind. If you bubble in a wrong answer even though you MEANT a different answer, it will still be marked as wrong. Likewise, answers written in your test booklet or scrap paper will not be counted.
When filling in the answer sheet:
- Make sure your marks are heavy and dark.
- Be careful not to make any stray marks on the answer sheet.
- If you change an answer, completely erase your first answer.
- There is only one correct answer to each question. If your answer sheet shows more than one mark in response to a question, that question will be scored as incorrect.
Once time is up, you are not allowed to go back and mark your answers on the answer sheet. We recommend bubbling in answers as you go along, rather than saving it for the end.
Based on the numbers of questions answered correctly, students receive a raw score, which is then converted to a scaled score.
There is no penalty for wrong answers, so make sure to answer every question on the test. All questions are worth the same number of points, so don't feel the need to spend more time on "harder" questions. Aim to get as many questions right as possible, regardless of difficulty level.
Here is a list of things you are NOT allowed to do when taking the SHSAT. If you are caught breaking these rules, you run the risk of having your score invalidated.
1) NO TALKING. You may not communicate with other students during the test. No talking, writing/passing notes, sharing answers or test booklets, or looking at other students' answers.
2) NO PHONES. Any student who refuses to put away or turn in a prohibited device will not be allowed to take the test. Possession of prohibited items at any time during the test administration, even if powered off, will result in the test being invalidated. Students will not be provided with an opportunity to make up the exam on a subsequent day.
3) RESPECT THE TIME LIMIT. At the end of the test, you will be told to stop and put your pencil down and will be given directions about your testing materials. When you are told to put your pencil down, you may not continue writing on any of your testing materials. This includes erasing answers, circling bubbles, and darkening bubbles.
4) You are not allowed to share test questions and answers with anyone outside of the testing site. Students found to be engaging in any of these activities will have their tests invalidated.
SHSAT Test Retake Policy
If you take the SHSAT in 8th grade and are not happy with the results, you can still take it again in 9th grade. There are no more chances to take the SHSAT after 9th grade. However, if a student has to miss the test due to illness, or was feeling unwell before breaking the seal of the booklet, it is possible to take the SHSAT again on a make-up date.
Now that you know all about the logistics, it's time to start studying! Ivy Tutors Network offers personalized and semi-private SHSAT Tutoring to help get your study plan on track. We also offer SHSAT Strategies, a small group online workshop where students take a diagnostic exam, review content and learn tricks and strategies for excelling on this challenging test.