What Is a Good SHSAT Score?

June 5, 2024
3 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 6/5/24

Are you a student looking forward to going to a specialized high school? If yes, read more about schools, the admission test, and how to get better scores.

Students who want to take the admission test into specialized high schools often wonder what a good SHSAT score is. If you have this question, continue reading to learn all the information needed to pass and get admitted into your desired school.

SHSAT means Specialized High School Admission Test. This test is taken by students in the 8th and 9th grades who want to enroll in a specialized school. The test is the only way to get admission into these schools; hence, students always aim to score high.

This article will explore what the test entails and what constitutes a good performance and a high score. Whether you are taking the test for the first time or retaking it, read on to learn how to get a good score the next time you take it.

What Is Considered a Good SHSAT Score?

A good SHSAT score is typically considered to be at least 650. Achieving this score demonstrates solid performance on the exam and improves your chances of getting into the specialized high school of your choice in New York City. Aim for 650 or higher to enhance your prospects of admission.

SHSAT can be challenging if a student does not prepare well for it. Gaining admission requires building an effective SAT study plan to ace this test. 

Recent SHSAT Cutoff Scores

Below are the recent official SHSAT cutoff scores for the nine specialized schools in New York for the last four years for 8th graders:   

School 2020 2021 2022 2023
The Bronx High School of Science 531 517 524 521
Brooklyn Latin School 494 481 497 493
Brooklyn Technical High School 507 493 506 503
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts Audition Audition Audition Audition
High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College 522 515 532 518
High School of American Studies at Lehman College 517 502 516 510
Queens High School for the Sciences at York College 522 515 523 527
Staten Island Technical High School 529 520 527 521
Stuyvesant High School 566 559 563 561

How to Read SHSAT Scores?

Your SHSAT score is based on the number of correct answers you provide on the scored questions, known as the raw score. Every correct answer adds one point to your raw score, regardless of whether it's in the English Language Arts (ELA) or Math section. So, the more correct answers you have, the higher your raw score will be. 

The exam consists of 114 questions split into two sections: Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA), each containing 57 questions. Notably, there's no penalty for incorrect answers. However, only 47 of the answered questions in each section are scored, as the remaining 10 serve as experimental.

Following the test, students receive both raw and converted (scaled) scores. The Department of Education converts the raw score to a scaled one. These scores are then used to rank students based on their composite scores, arranged from highest to lowest.

SHSAT scores are reported on a scale of 400 to 1600, aiding in determining a student's percentile rank. Each specialized high school sets its own official cutoff score, which is crucial for admission consideration. This cutoff often hinges on available space and the number of applicants selecting a particular school. 

Consequently, students falling below a school's cutoff score are typically not considered for admission. Understanding how to read SHSAT scores is vital for interpreting them accurately and navigating the admission process effectively.

Is There a Minimum Passing Score on the SHSAT?

There is no minimum passing score on the SHSAT. The schools only have an official cutoff mark. The test is designed to admit students with the highest score into their first-choice school. 

Then, the next student with the highest score will also receive admission into their school of first choice. The trend continues until every student who got high scores gets admitted until a student's first choice school does not have space again.

Then, the next student is considered for their second-choice school if there are spaces. If the second-choice school lacks space, then the third-choice school is considered. This trend continues till all the seats in the nine specialized high schools in New York City are filled up.

This means a student might not get an offer to their school of first choice because students with high scores have filled out the particular school. Similarly, if a student could not obtain an offer into the second, third, and fourth choice school, they have filled all the seats in the schools with higher SHSAT scores.

At the end of the admission process, if a student does not get admission into any specialized high school, all the seats in preferred schools have been filled with higher scores. The admission committee only considers students for admission into schools they list during their SHSAT registration.

Hence, there is no minimum passing score for students. However, a high score can increase the chances of admission into the desired school. If many people do not perform well, a student with an average score can get admission into the school of their first choice.

FAQs: What Is Considered a Good SHSAT Score?

Below are the frequently asked questions and answers about the SHSAT and the scoring system:

1. How Does the SHSAT Scoring System Differ from Other Standardized Tests?

SHSAT has a format that is different from standardized tests. Due to the limited space and the number of specialized schools available, SHSAT is more challenging than other standardized tests such as SAT and ACT.

2. Is 600 a Good SHSAT Score?

600 is a good SHSAT score. This score can guarantee you admission into any of the specialized high schools.

3. What Is the Maximum SHSAT Score?

The maximum score for each section is usually around 350, and a student's maximum composite score is 700. Knowing that the actual minimum and maximum scores for SHSAT change yearly is essential.

4. How Long Is the SHSAT?

The SHSAT is a three-hour exam divided into two sections: Mathematics and English language, with breaks between them.

5. Can I Take the SHSAT Multiple Times?

You can only take the exam twice if you took the first one in grade 8. If you retake it in grade 9 and are not admitted, there is no other chance. Hence, it is crucial to prepare for the exam thoroughly. 

6. Can Out-of-City Students Take the SHSAT?

Out-of-city students cannot take SHSAT. It is only for New York residents.

Final Thoughts

Specialized high school is a gateway to having top-tier educational experiences. Getting admission into the school requires understanding what a good SHSAT score is and how to prepare well for the exam. 

However, keep in mind that if you don’t get into your top-choice school, there are still plenty of opportunities for academic success. Colleges look at more than what school you attended; they also consider the subjects you studied, the extracurriculars you engaged in, and your overall academic performance. 

If you need help or guidance along the way, contact our expert team. We’ll help you ace your test and pave your way to academic success. 

Good luck!

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