In 2017, the NYC Department of Education introduced substantial changes to the SHSAT, the standardized test that 8th graders take to gain admission to one of the city's 8* specialized high schools (La Guardia has a separate admissions process).
As an educator and part-owner of a local tutoring and test-prep business, it's my job to pay attention to changes and trends in school admissions, and I followed the SHSAT story obsessively. What would the new test look like? How would our tutors adapt and train to best prepare our students for the new content? As soon as the DOE released its new SHSAT manual, City Smarts raced to update our curriculum. We developed new question sets, held training sessions for our rock-star tutors, and "reverse engineered" the new sample tests to understand the test's design. By November, when our students took the SHSAT, we felt relieved; we had successfully adapted to the first major change to the SHSAT in years. Mission accomplished...right?
Not so fast.
This year, the DOE is making important changes to the SHSAT once again, and City Smarts will be ready. According to a letter from the DOE, the 2018 SHSAT will now include reading comprehension passages drawn from literary fiction and poetry. This means that in addition to answering questions about non-fiction passages, students will be asked to analyze short pieces from genres like myths, historical fiction, or satire, and will need to study the form and structure of poetry.
So how should your son or daughter prepare?
Later this year, the DOE will release a new SHSAT manual, containing examples of the new content. Until then, students can train using literary fiction and poetry passages from other standardized tests. Parents and students looking to get a jump on this new material might start by downloading the free sample Hunter College High School Entrance Exam.
The HCHS includes a few challenging poetry and literary prose passages that should broadly approximate the type of material we might see included on the updated SHSAT. Looking for more great ways to help your son or daughter prepare for the SHSAT? Give us a call, read more about our SHSAT program, or consider signing your 7th grader up for one of our mock SHSATs.