How to Study for the SHSAT


how to study for the shsat


Are you wondering how to study for the SHSAT (Specialized High Schools Admissions Test), so you can have a better chance of attending one of NYC’s specialized high schools?

If so, the best way to get started on preparing for this challenging test is to download a copy of the Student Handbook for the Specialized High Schools published by the New York City Department of Education (DOE).

The handbook contains two practice tests that have questions from recent SHSAT tests. These tests are the gold standard for SHSAT practice tests because the NYC DOE creates the actual tests! Therefore, they are the most accurate representation of what the test is like. And they are free.

We recommend that all students who plan to take the SHSAT practice with these tests.

Do you also need some critical strategies to help you use these tests to get the most improvement possible?  If so, please download the DOE's SHSAT free online tests by clicking the button below, and we will send you our SHSAT practice test checklist focusing on the "5 Key Strategies To Use SHSAT Free Tests Effectively.

These strategies are culled from 14 years of working with hundreds of students on test preparation for the SHSAT, and can help you excel on this challenging test.

Although it is very important to take practice tests to ready yourself for the SHSAT, we also recommend you take other issues into consideration when are deciding how to study for the SHSAT.

Key Tips to Help You Study for the SHSAT

Firstly, get to know the test inside and out. Before you start studying, take time to understand the format of the test and the kind of content on which you will be tested. For instance, you should know that there is no guessing penalty on the SHSAT, so you must pick an answer for each question. You can find more information on the format and content of the test here.

Once you have a good understanding of the test, take a 'diagnostic' to identify your areas of weakness. Make sure you include enough time in your study plan to review these content areas and to do more practice questions in these sections.

No matter your strengths and weaknesses, be aware that the SHSAT will ask you to solve some pretty complicated word problems in the math section. In order to prepare for these types of questions, we recommend buying a book with similar type problems and practicing daily a few questions.

Most student should also try to get extra practice on the scrambled paragraphs and logical reasoning questions, as these are presented in a fairly unusual format that students may not normally encounter.

We also suggest taking practice tests in timed conditions so to learn how to best pace yourself. Although the suggested time for each of the sections is 75 minutes, you may do better spending less or more time on each section, depending on your strengths.


Preparation for the SHSAT 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 be transformative and 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 Specialized High School Exam, 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. We provide 1-1 tutoring, small group classes as well as offer a variety of test prep publications.

Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how Origins Tutoring can help you study for the SHSAT and help you do your personal best on the Specialized High School exam.