Bard High School Admissions Test: How to Get Into Bard High School!


Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) is a top high school in New York City, with a campus in Manhattan on the Lower East Side and in Queens.

The purpose of Bard High School is to provide a high-quality education to teens with college credits earned at graduation, in addition to a robust curriculum in ninth and tenth grade. Every year about 3000 students apply to the two Bard high schools and 800 are admitted.

Read on to see if BHSEC may be a good fit, and to learn more about the school's admissions process, including the Bard High School admissions test and interview process.

Bard High School Admissions | School Overview

Bard High School started in 2001 after Bard College partnered with the Department of Education to create an early college high school. The purpose of Bard was to continue the College’s tradition of liberal arts education, while also allowing students to earn an Associate of Arts degree along with fulfilling the typical high school requirements.

The founders believed that some high school students are ready for serious college work, and the success of Bard High School Early College to date has supported this view. Bard High School now has two New York City high schools, and across the country BHSEC has five locations in total.

Bard High School has several unique aspects to its curriculum, including its seminar sequence and its writing and thinking workshop. The seminar sequence is designed to mirror a first year college course, and it requires students to study text deeply and develop their critical thinking and interpretation skills.

The writing and thinking workshop is similarly modeled on a college course, and this week-long intensive course helps students work on their writing and close reading abilities. Beyond these classes, BHSEC students meet the typical high school curriculum requirements and then start earning college credits for eleventh and twelfth grade courses.

Visit the Bard High School Early College website for more information about the school.

Bard High School Admissions - OVERVIEW

For both New York City locations, Bard High School screens prospective students for admission. For admission into ninth or tenth grade, current eighth and ninth grade students will need to fill out their high school application form and meet several requirements.

Key requirements for strong applicants include:

  • Seventh / eighth grade report card
  • Grade point average of 85% or higher (or equivalent)
  • A maximum of ten unexcused absences or ten tardies for the school year
  • Good results for the Bard Bard High School admissions screening Bard High School interview
  • In addition to providing the prior year’s report card, students also need to schedule their in-person admissions screening at a Bard High School location.

    Bard High School Admissions Exam

    Bard High School does not provide samples of its admissions exams, so our knowledge of the exam comes from students who have previously taken the exam and reported back to us about their experience.

    The admissions exam includes a writing prompt and approximately 25 math questions, similar to what a student would find on his or her year-end exams. Reportedly, the math questions are slightly easier than those on the SHSAT. No calculators are permitted.

    The time allotment for the exam is one and a half hours. There is no time allotment for each section; a student can decide how much time she or he wants to spend on the essay or the math questions.

    The exams are held at Bard High School locations and take place from September to November each year.

    In-person Interview

    Based on the results of these screenings, some students will be invited for a 10-minute in-person one-to-one interview. After meeting the academics criteria, doing well on the screening, and making a good impression during the interview, selected students will be invited to join BHSEC for ninth or tenth grade.

    Please visit the Queens or Manhattan pages on the Bard website for more information on the applications.

    Bard High School | How to Prepare

    The Bard High School application process involves several steps: first, meeting the academic requirements and doing well on the entrance exam are key. Students who may want to apply next year should make sure their report cards will match the 85% GPA requirement, and if not, spend some time brushing up on any weaker subjects.

    Beyond the report card, interested students may need to practice some writing prompts and review their math before the entrance exam. The writing sample generally requires students to compose a short essay, while the math will be in line with typical computations and word problems from standardized tests.


    Bard is one of the most popular and competitive public middle schools in NY. There are many reasons for this, including those described above in the school overview.

    One of the key reasons is the great test scores that Bard High School students consistently achieve, as can be seen below. It's clear from these results why so many families want their children to be educated in a school that not only provides a challenging curriculum but also fosters great outcomes!

    MATH Outcomes. Grades 6-8. 2016



    ELA Outcomes. Grades 6-8. 2016



    How Can We Help?

    At Origins Tutoring, we believe that preparation for the Bard High School admissions assessment does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation can last a lifetime.

    Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the Bard High School admissions test, but  they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus.

    Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner. 

    Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how we can help your child achieve his or her personal best on the Bard High School admissions test.