SHSAT Prep Classes: Your Guide to Acing the Exam

The SHSAT, or Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, is a critical exam for students in New York City aiming to enter one of the prestigious specialized high schools.

Navigating this pivotal point in your educational journey can be challenging. It’s not just about mastering the material; it’s also about understanding the test itself.

To tackle both, many students turn to preparation classes which provide structured learning, test-taking strategies, and practice opportunities under professional guidance.

Prep classes for the SHSAT come in various formats, and choosing the right one can make a significant difference in performance.

Some offer intensive classroom instruction, while others include one-on-one tutoring to target individual weaknesses.

Practice tests and review materials are common components of these programs, helping you become familiar with the exam format and question types.

Whether it’s managing your study schedule or finding the best resources, a well-chosen SHSAT prep class can be the cornerstone of your test preparation strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • SHSAT prep classes equip you with strategies and practice to excel on the exam.
  • A variety of prep options are available, including classroom instruction and personalized tutoring.
  • Selecting a suitable prep class can help organize your study regimen and boost your confidence.

What is the SHSAT?

The SHSAT, or the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, is your gateway to some of the most prestigious public high schools in New York City. If you’re a resident looking to attend one of these schools, you’ll need to tackle this standardized test.

  • Purpose: It’s a critical part of the admission process for NYC’s specialized high schools.
  • Test Format: The exam includes sections on:
  • Mathematics: Covering computation and problem-solving skills.
  • English Language Arts: Focused on reading comprehension and revising/editing skills.

You’ll find the test challenging because it’s designed to gauge your readiness for a competitive academic environment.

The schools that use SHSAT scores for admissions are unique because they don’t consider your previous academic records or recommendations; your test performance is what counts.

Although the SHSAT might feel like a huge hurdle, it’s just one step toward your high school education. With practice and preparation, you can approach the test with confidence.

So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started!

What is an SHSAT Prep Class?

When you’re gearing up to tackle the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) in New York City, an SHSAT prep class is your training ground. Think of it as a focused study session specifically designed to boost your chances of acing the test.


  • Duration: These classes can vary in length, from a few weeks to several months.
  • Format: You could be learning in-person or online, where you can expect a blend of lectures, workbooks, and practice exams.
  • Content: They cover the key areas of the SHSAT, including verbal and math skills.

What’s Included?

  • Lessons to teach strategies for both the English Language Arts and Math sections.
  • Practice Problems for you to apply what you’ve learned.
  • Full-Length Practice Tests simulating the actual exam, helping identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Remember, these classes often come with resources like study guides or access to online question banks. Some even offer personalized feedback on your progress and one-on-one tutoring options.


  • Online or In-Person: You get to pick what works for you. Whether it’s the comfort of your home or the structured environment of a classroom.
  • Self-Paced or Scheduled: Some courses have a set timetable, while others let you study whenever you can.

By joining an SHSAT prep class, you’re not just learning how to answer specific questions; you’re mastering the art of test-taking for this crucial NYC high school entrance exam.

Choosing the Right Prep Class

Selecting the right SHSAT prep class can significantly enhance your test-taking skills and improve your chances of getting into a specialized high school.

Factors to Consider

  • Location and Schedule: Find a course that fits into your routine without causing too much disruption. It should be accessible and ideally align with your other commitments.
  • Content Review: Ensure the course offers thorough coverage of the subjects in the SHSAT, including Math and English Language Arts.
  • Practice Tests: Check if the program provides ample opportunity for realistic practice exams to familiarize you with the test format.
  • Teaching Quality: Aim for courses with knowledgeable and experienced instructors who excel at communicating and teaching the material effectively.
  • Tuition and Guarantees: Consider the cost and whether the program offers any satisfaction guarantees or tuition refunds if your score doesn’t improve.
  • Personalized Attention: Smaller class sizes or one-on-one tutoring options can provide more personalized feedback.

Comparing Different Prep Programs

  • Course Structure: Some programs may offer more hours of instruction or additional resources like online lessons and review books.
  • Reputation: Look at reviews, testimonials, and pass rates to gauge the effectiveness of a program.
  • Support: Evaluate the level of support you’ll get outside of class hours, such as homework help or accessibility to instructors.
  • Extras: Some prep classes come with extra benefits, like additional tutoring at a discounted rate.

Here’s a simple table to help you visualize the key components:

Prep Program FeaturesMust-HaveNice-to-Have
Location & Schedule✔️
In-Depth Content Review✔️
Numerous Practice Tests✔️
Qualified Instructors✔️
Money-Back Guarantee✔️
Small Class Size/Tutoring✔️
Positive Reviews✔️
Additional Support & Resources✔️

Study Resources

As you gear up for the SHSAT, having the right study resources can make all the difference. Whether you prefer hitting the books or using interactive online tools, we’ve got you covered with top-notch materials to help you nail the test.

Recommended Books and Materials

Your first stop should be a solid set of recommended books. They usually offer comprehensive content reviews, strategies for tackling the exam, and full-length practice tests. Some of the highly recommended titles include:

  • Barron’s SHSAT: In-depth material and practice questions to get you SHSAT-ready.
  • Kaplan’s SHSAT Prep: Gives you both strategies and practice to boost your confidence.

Remember, the more you practice with these materials, the better you’ll understand the test format and types of questions you’ll encounter.

Online Tools and Applications

Online resources can complement your book study with interactive lessons and practice problems.

  • Kaplan’s SHSAT Prep Online offers a course with live, interactive lessons and realistic practice tests.
  • provides a guarantee and tailors your study plan with SHSAT-specific material.

Make the most of the practice problems and tests these platforms offer to keep track of your progress. The instant feedback you receive on online platforms is invaluable for identifying areas where you need extra practice.

Practice and Mock Exams

In your SHSAT prep journey, every practice test you take is an opportunity to polish your skills and boost your confidence. Here’s how to make the most of them.

Benefits of Practice Tests

Experience Real Test Conditions: When you dive into SHSAT practice exams, you’re mirroring the actual test environment. It’s like a rehearsal where you experience the time constraints and get a feel for the question format, without the pressure of the real deal.

You’ll sharpen your test-taking strategies, learn to manage that clock, and pace yourself to ensure you get through as many questions as possible.

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses: A major plus of taking practice SHSATs? You’ll notice patterns in what you get right and where you stumble.

Recognizing these trends is crucial; you’ll know exactly what areas deserve a bit more of your study time.

Analyzing Practice Test Results

Break Down Your Performance: Post-test, it’s tempting to just glance at the score, but take the time to dissect your results.

Look at which specific questions tripped you up. Were they mostly algebra problems? Comprehension questions? This level of detail is gold.

Create a Study Plan: Based on your deep dive, tailor your study sessions.

Let’s say you nailed geometry but flubbed the algebra – now you know where to focus. And don’t get complacent about the topics you aced; keep practicing to maintain that edge!

Remember, practice tests are a snapshot of your current ability, not a final verdict. They’re a tool in your prep toolkit, guiding you to where your time and effort will be most effective on your way to the SHSAT.

Staying Motivated

Staying on track while preparing for the SHSAT is just as important as understanding the content. Maintaining motivation can mean the difference between a good score and a great one.

Setting Achievable Goals

Start by breaking down your study plan into small, manageable goals. Here’s how you might do it:

  • Map out your study schedule on a calendar, dedicating specific times to each subject.
  • Set weekly targets, like mastering a particular math topic or reading comprehension technique.
  • After completing each goal, give yourself a reward, whether it’s a short break or a favorite treat.

Using this method makes your prep less overwhelming and gives you regular opportunities to acknowledge your progress.

Dealing with Test Anxiety

You’re not alone if you feel anxious when thinking about the SHSAT. Here’s a straightforward way to manage those nerves:

  1. Practice regularly to build confidence. Familiarity with the material and question formats can reduce anxiety.
  2. Breathe deeply during your study sessions and the test. It helps calm your mind.
  3. Don’t hesitate to reach out for support from friends, family, or a tutor who can offer guidance and reassurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating SHSAT prep can be a whirlwind, so here’s a breakdown of the most common inquiries to set you on the right track.

What are some effective strategies for SHSAT prep?

You’ll want to master both the math and ELA (English Language Arts) sections, and tackling practice questions from workbooks or online platforms can really help.

Focus on the content taught through seventh grade, as that’s what the test will cover.

How can I find SHSAT prep courses in my area?

A quick online search can list local prep courses, or you might check community centers and libraries.

Often, schools in New York City provide resources or recommendations for nearby SHSAT prep options.

Are there any free resources available for preparing for the SHSAT?

Yes, you can access various online resources and practice materials for free. Utilize the New York City Department of Education’s website for official materials or search for free online practice tests and questions.

When’s the right time to start prepping for the SHSAT?

The earlier, the better. You want to give yourself ample time to get comfortable with the question formats and content.

Ideally, start at the beginning of your seventh-grade year or even earlier, if possible.

What’s the average cost of SHSAT prep courses?

Prices can vary widely, but you’re looking at anything from $700 to over $2,000 for a comprehensive course.

Some programs offer payment plans or scholarships, so it’s worth asking about those options.

Can online prep classes be as effective as in-person SHSAT prep?

Definitely. Online classes offer flexibility and often come with a wealth of resources like video explanations and practice questions.

Plus, you can learn at your own pace, which might suit your style better than a traditional classroom setting.