Hunter College High School Entrance Exam | What You Need to Know


If you have a sixth grade child in NYC, chances are that you’ve heard about Hunter College High School (HCHS), more commonly referred to as Hunter. Situated on the Upper East Side, Hunter is a free K-12th grade school administered by a division of the City University of New York (CUNY), rather than the NYC DOE. HCHS is known for educating intellectually gifted students from diverse backgrounds, and for having a rich and accelerated curriculum. It is one of NYC's most competitive public schools, with an acceptance rate of about six or seven percent, depending on the amount of applicants.

The only entry point to the high school for students is in 7th grade. About 2500 sixth grade students take the Hunter College High School entrance exam, hoping for a spot in this highly-ranked, selective school. And approximately 185 children --on the basis of the exam--are admitted as seventh grade students in the fall. About 35-45 students enter from Hunter College Elementary School (HCES).

HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM | Who can take the Hunter College High School Entrance Exam?

In order to be eligible to take the Hunter College High School entrance exam, students must score exceptionally well on their 5th grade New York State standardized verbal and math tests. (To be eligible to take the Hunter Exam in 2016, cut off scores on NYS tests were 358 in math and 345 in ELA, though please note that the qualifying score changes each year). Only students who are NYC residents can take the exam.

Students from independent schools need to score in the 90th national percentile of tests given at their schools. If a student was sick on the test date or does not have the requisite score because his or her school does not require annual exams, HCHS will organize a qualifying test -- if the student's principal submits a letter of recommendation to HCHS that explains why the student is academically qualified.

HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM | What is on the Hunter College High School Admissions Exam?

The Hunter College High School admissions test, which eligible students take in order to be considered for admission to HCHS, can be a stressful ordeal. It is a three-hour test, with an essay section, multiple choice math section, and multiple choice critical reading/verbal skills section. The essay section is a full half-hour segment where students must respond to a specified prompt, and then craft a well-written, proofread writing sample. The test requires students to have above-average vocabulary and writing skills, high-level quantitative reasoning abilities, and the fortitude to make it through a three-hour test. That’s nearly as long as taking the SAT! Because of the length and difficult content of the exam, it is a challenging assignment for sixth grade students, but if you help your child prepare, it can make the test easier, and at the very least, your child will feel ready for a long test.

HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM | How is the Hunter College High School Exam Scored?

Once a student has taken the test, a long waiting process begins while the administrators determine which students to accept. To make this determination, the graders establish a cutoff score for the math and verbal sections. After this score is chosen—it changes every year—only students who obtained at least that high a score on the math and verbal sections will be considered. Once the pool of students is narrowed down to those who achieved at least the cutoff score, the graders read each student’s essay. They choose the students whose essays are scored the highest, so students who attend Hunter need to excel in three areas: math, writing, and reading.

HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM | When Do I Register for the Hunter College High School Exam?

The admissions process for the fall 2016 7th grade will open in Fall 2015.

HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM | when Does the Hunter Exam take place?

For the 2016-2017 year, the exam will be given in January 2017. If there is bad weather, the snow date is later in January 2017.

HUNTER COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL ENTRANCE EXAM | When and where will my child take the Hunter College High School Exam?

The exam is held the second Friday of January every year. In 2015, the exams were given at 1) HCHS at 94th St. between Park and Madison Avenues 2) Hunter College – West Building at 68th St. and Lexington Avenue 3) Hunter College – North Building at 69th St. between Park and Lexington Avenues


Hunter does not publish its past entrance exams or share any exam questions, but the school provides a sample test. Taking this test is one of the best ways for your child to prepare, as the sample test will include the same sections as the actual tests, and you and your child can work together to pinpoint areas where your child needs to brush up on certain topics.

You should make sure that your child is comfortable with critical reading, has a large vocabulary, and has strong quantitative reasoning skills. While there are no specific test prep books or companies endorsed by HCHS, any review that your child can do that contains math drills, critical reading problems, and logic problems will help your child prepare.

It is also essential that your child become comfortable with writing essays in response to prompts. Since the essay section is how graders determine which students who scored above the cutoff score will attend HCHS, your student’s essay may ultimately be the deciding factor in whether he or she receives an acceptance letter or not. The only way to prepare for this section is to make sure that your child writes practice essays in response to prompts, then revises them to see where the writing can be improved. Focus on writing if you only have time for review one topic with your child; on the Hunter College High School entrance exam, a strong essay is the way for a student to stand out.


If you would like to familiarize your child with questions based on the Hunter test, you can download the 35 questions by clicking on the box below. This "mini-test" include questions based on the grammar and usage section, the reading comprehension section, and the math section of the Hunter official sample test. 

Origins Tutoring also offers the "Hunter College High School Preparation E-Guide"  The Preparation Guide is devoted to helping students prepare for the HCHS admissions exam. It contains three practice tests and much more. You can learn about the Guide here.


Standardized tests are high-stakes in NYC, and you probably have questions about how to best help your child prepare for the Hunter High School entrance exam. You may have asked yourself whether your child would benefit from a private test prep tutor.  Origins Tutoring, a NYC-based company specializing in tutoring and test prep for children ages 10-14,  can help address these concerns, and guide and support your family through the sometimes stressful standardized test preparation process. Our approach is simple: each student will receive the undivided attention and the expertise of a dedicated, experienced tutor who places a premium on delivering the highest quality test preparation tutoring in the most effective and time-efficient manner possible. Indeed, several of our tutors are Hunter High School graduates who have taken the Hunter High School test and know what is required to achieve a top score. 

All students who work with Origins Tutoring undergo a diagnostic evaluation and are provided with full-length 'sample' Hunter High School practice tests. 

If you think we could help your child achieve his or her personal best on the Hunter College High School entrance exam, please call 917.287.7927 for a complimentary consultation now.