SHSAT Scoring Articles

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. If you have a section you are stronger in, or that you felt you did better in, you may want to spend any extra time getting that section as close to perfect as possible. Also, if you are really strong in one subject and weak in the other, you may still have a shot if you can get close to a perfect score on the stronger section.

Another common question: how well should you be doing on practice tests to expect to get into a specific school? You can get an idea by converting raw scores to scaled scores with the chart in the SHSAT Test Prep article and comparing the score to the school’s cutoff. Assuming a fairly balanced score, the Stuyvesant cutoff is usually around the mid 80’s, and the Brooklyn Tech cutoff is probably a little under 70. The rest of the schools are somewhere in between.

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