A few articles have come out about the SHSAT’s scoring quirks. Many people saw this New York Times article from 2005. Test Prep SHSAT has a good breakdown of the scoring as well.
What both articles boil down to is this: as you get closer to a perfect raw score on one section, you get more points per question. The difference between getting 49 raw points or 50 raw points on a section may even be worth up to 50 scaled points on the test (out of 800)! The rewards really kick in once you are getting over 40 points on a section.
What does this mean practically? Well, my advice to most students is still to do your best on both sections and try to complete both, as counting on a close-to-perfect score in either section does not provide much margin for error. Continue reading
Here are links to all the SHSAT handbook practice tests. I didn’t include other years because they had the same questions as the tests here.
2016-2017 SHSAT handbook– There are only a few new questions in this manual, the rest of the questions have been in previous manuals. The practice tests start on page 32.
2014-2015 SHSAT handbook– The tests start on page 30.
2012-2013 SHSAT handbook– The tests start on page 28.
2010-2011 SHSAT handbook– The tests start on page 28.
Recommended books: Barron’s SHSAT, Kaplan SHSAT, possibly a pre-algebra/algebra textbook
I usually have my students work in both the Kaplan and Barron’s SHSAT handbooks. Barron’s has a good, straightforward section on the verbal part of the test, and I think it has better practice tests than Kaplan. Kaplan has a more useful math section. The geometry section in Kaplan is particularly good. If you can get hold of the big Kaplan book from their courses, that has lots of practice on particular problem types. I use it for further practice when I see that a student is having trouble with specific problem types, even after we’ve gone through the strategy.
Barron’s and Kaplan SHSAT on Amazon:
Barron’s New York City SHSAT, 3rd Edition: Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (Barron’s Shsat)
New York City SHSAT 2017 (Kaplan Test Prep)
The best practice tests are probably the ones released by the Department of Ed in the yearly SHSAT handbooks. You can get all the practice tests from SHSAT handbooks here.
Studying for the English section
Going through the Barron’s verbal section is a good way to start. It has pretty solid strategies for most of the verbal problem types. Once you have a basic idea of the strategy, you need to practice it until it becomes second nature! You can do practice tests or go to the Kaplan handbook or the big Kaplan lesson book for more problems. Just make sure you are using all the strategies you’ve learned on every problem and learning from your mistakes!