SHSAT Gets Makeover!

New SHSAT to be administered starting in Fall of 2017

Students who will be 8th graders for the 2017/18 school year will face a revised version of the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) in October, 2017, making them the first cohort of students in 20 years to see a major revision to the test that has served as the gatekeeper to some of New York City’s most elite public high schools. We at Cohen Math Prep are doing our best to keep abreast of the changes in order to best prepare our students.


Overall Changes

Each section will now involve 57 questions (50 of which are scored and 7 of which are “experimental” – to be used by the test-makers to field-test material). There is no way to know in advance which questions are scored and which are not. The time allotment for the test has increased to 3 hours. Multiple choice items will now contain only 4 answer choices instead of 5 (improving guessing odds).

Changes to the Verbal Section

The verbal section of the new SHSAT is getting a complete overhaul. The “Scrambled Paragraphs” and “Logical Reasoning” sections have been completely discarded. They have been replaced with what they are calling “revising/editing” questions (somewhat on par with the Writing and Language section of the new SAT). There will be 20 of this type of question (5-8 looking at isolated sentences or paragraphs and 12-15 in the context of a larger passage of text). Reading Comprehension questions will remain (a total of 6 passages, accompanied by 37 questions). See the FAQ below for sample questions in revising/editing.

Changes to the Math Section

The Department of Education (DOE) alleges that there won’t be any changes in terms of the actual math content tested by the new SHSAT. The primary change involves the addition of 5 grid-in questions where students can provide a positive or negative decimal answer. There will be 52 multiple choice questions. Again, see the FAQ below for sample questions in this new format.


Test Prep companies are currently scrambling to release new prep books and tutoring classes to reflect the changes in the test. The DOE will release a handbook with 2 complete practice tests in June of 2017 both in hard copy and online. We recommend starting to prep for the test as the school year winds down. Feel free to contact us with any questions or inquiries about tutoring and prep for the test.