If you are living in New York City, you are most likely familiar with the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT) exams. Each year, thousands of eighth graders and ninth graders take this exam in order to be admitted in the best high schools in New York City. Students who take the SHSAT exams are ranked according to their test scores and their school assignment will be based on their achievement ranking and other criteria. With an average of 13-15% admission rate for eighth graders and 3-5% of ninth graders, topping the SHSAT exams can be considered one of the most challenging academic hurdles, but the reward is great – you gain admission to your school of choice! Thus, to improve our prospects for SHSAT exam success, we need to learn some ways on how to achieve it.
Develop the necessary skills
One of the most common misconceptions about preparing and taking exams is on the concept of answering the questions. Most of us may think that as long as we are able to put our answers and follow the exam instructions, we should be able to do okay with the exams. Mentors and academic instructors at Caddell Prep advise that SHSAT tests the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics skills of those who want to take this exam. Thus, from this key information gathered, we need to develop our skills for reading comprehension, basic grammar, analytical and problem-solving skills. It’s not enough that we know how to answer the tests, but more importantly, we know what the questions ask and what to answer.
Prepare your study materials and resources
Aiming for the top spot in your SHSAT exams means you are going to need all the materials and resources that can help you answer your possible exam questions correctly. A lot of your knowledge will come from what you have learned in school. It pays to have detailed notes and functional textbooks as your knowledge source. Obtaining a SHSAT handbook gives you the advantage of being able to know the test format and the coverage of the exam. Not only that, the handbook features topic exercises, examples of math solutions and practice tests. The practice tests include full-length practice exams which you practice taking while simulating exam conditions at home (e.g. showing written solutions and under a time limit). These practice exams are also a good way of measuring and monitoring your progress in your preparation. It is suggested that you take the practice exams first before starting your study sessions as a sort of diagnostic test of how much you have already learned and how much you need to know in your study sessions. You can take the first practice test score you obtain as a reference and guide for making a study plan and outline. Your initial score can also give you a good idea of the topics that you are struggling with and how you can formulate courses of action to master those topics.
Take practice tests and prep classes
While self-study and review can be good steps for preparing for your SHSAT exams, the materials you are preparing and studying may not sufficiently cover the scope of the test. Thus, it is also highly recommended that you make use of external resources such as online SHSAT practice exams and taking SHSAT prep classes. Taking practice tests can help you get accustomed to the scope and difficulty of the exams and you can also develop a clear perspective of what the probable test items might be in the actual exams.
Prep classes can help you study on the topics that will be covered in the exam in an in-depth manner. Your mentor can give detailed discussions, tips and solutions for your ELA and math topics, which can further improve your performance when the exam day comes. Prep classes may come at an additional time you spend in studying, but it will greatly benefit you by pushing you beyond your usual study habits and grooming you for success. You just need to be prepared to dedicate extra time for this activity, especially on weekends.
If you have major time and availability constraints, another resource you can take advantage of is a one-on-one SHSAT tutorial at your home or online. This is advantageous as it is more convenient and you can get to study at your home. You will also receive focused mentoring and the opportunity to freely ask questions or request further explanations about a topic you need help with.
Skills, preparation and resources are key factors to consider in achieving a remarkable SHSAT score. Also, do not forget that your goals and motivation can also help keep you on track with your preparations. Never lose track of the reason why you want to excel in your SHSAT. Having a strong mindset and being equipped with the proper preparations will greatly boost your performance on the actual test day and the assurance of getting a top spot in the SHSAT exams.