HSPT Tutoring

What is the HSPT?

The HSPT (High School Placement Test) is an exam taken by 8th graders for admissions and/or also placement and scholarship for several premier Catholic High Schools in the New York City Area, including Regis, Loyola, Fordham, and Xavier.

How is the HSPT scored?

The HSPT is a fast-paced test that measures a student’s aptitude in five areas, with nearly 300 questions to complete in about 2.5 hours. While each of the five sections has about 60 questions apiece, the sections have different time limits ranging from 16 to 45 minutes. The HSPT is scored by adding the total number of questions answered correctly and converting this raw score to a scaled score that ranges from 200 – 800. There is no penalty for answering a question incorrectly, so it is in every student’s best interest to fill in an answer for every question. No calculator use is permitted.

Why does my child need to do well on the HSPT?

Because these schools are extremely popular, admissions are highly competitive. Obtaining an impressive score can be the edge that a child needs. For example, Regis High school (frequently voted the #1 Catholic High School in the country) utilizes HSPT results to determine which students move onto the next phase of admissions, and only the top scores are considered. Other Catholic schools weigh the HSPT heavily as well.

Our Proven HSPT Preparation

As always, preparation and practice make all the difference. For almost two decades Next Level Learning has been the foremost authority in New York City for HSPT preparation. Utilizing our renowned one-on-one tutoring program, our expert HSPT instructors ensure that your child is prepared to achieve his or her greatest potential. Next Level’s HSPT instructors are sensitive not only to various learning styles but also to the ways in which pressure can adversely affect performance. Next Level is widely regarded as the best HSPT tutoring in New York because our proven HSPT preparation is designed to alleviate anxiety, bolster content knowledge, and improve test-taking skills.

At the conclusion of each one-on-one session, our instructors compose a report that summarizes the progress: successes, challenges, expectations going forward, and homework (if any is assigned). If the parents have feedback or a suggestion about the next session, they can simply reply to the session report and our director will follow-up with the instructor. Session reports are a valuable communication tool that allows parents to stay informed and involved without necessarily having to speak to their child following each session, which can sometimes exacerbate anxiety.

What’s on the HSPT?

There are five sections lasting approximately 2.5 hours.

The Verbal Skills section is broken into three distinct categories: synonyms and antonyms, word groupings, and reasoning abilities. While the first two test knowledge of vocabulary, the reasoning abilities involve hypothetical situations and come to conclusions that the student must determine as true, false, or uncertain. The Verbal Skills section may seem impossible to complete on time – 60 questions in only 16 minutes; however, the majority of the questions are quite straightforward and require little complex thought-processing or reading.

The Quantitative Skills section can also be divided into three categories: sequences, comparisons among values, and equation creation. Sequence-related questions ask students to complete a sequence of numbers or determine a missing number. Comparisons use inequality expressions (greater than or less than) to order values or to find that they are equal. From brief word
problems, an equation with a variable must be created to solve for the variable. With 30 minutes to complete 52 questions, students have roughly 30 seconds to spend on each question and some time to spare for reviewing their answers.

The Reading section is comprised of 5 or 6 reading passages with 6-8 questions apiece for a total of 62 questions to complete in 25 minutes. Most of the questions require interpretation of the passages. Roughly 20 questions are vocabulary words embedded into the passages.

The Mathematics section is divided into two subsections: Concepts and Problem Solving. Concepts, with 24 questions, cover a range of material such as exponents, fractions, area of circles, ratios, etc. Problem Solving, with 40 questions, consists mostly of word problems and equation-solving. With a total of 64 questions to complete in 45 minutes, students have about 40 seconds on each question.

The Language section tests grammar rules with 50 questions in capitalization, usage, punctuation, and spelling. The questions are broken into those four categories, so the student will know which grammar mistakes to track down. An additional 10 questions for proper sentence construction and composition primarily involve choosing the correct transitions between sentences, choosing sentences to follow a given topic, and choosing sentences that most clearly express an intended meaning. This section is 25 minutes long.

When should preparation begin?

As with any standardized test, the answer varies depending upon the student and the following factors:

  • Is the student working at grade level?
  • Are there concepts or material on the HSPT that require significant review?
  • Does the student typically perform well on standardized exams or important tests?
  • Is anxiety a factor in performance?
  • Is motivation an issue?
  • Does the student have a learning disability that needs remediation?
  • Is the student able to focus full attention on preparation?
  • Does the student have time to complete homework assignments as part of preparation?
  • Is the student applying to highly competitive schools for which a high score is more imperative

Especially with students in this age range, it’s vital not to be in the position of cramming a few weeks or months before the exam. Rushing to prepare immediately before the HSPT generates significant added pressure and can sometimes cause debilitating anxiety in students who have never previously exhibited symptoms of being anxious. Even high performing students often begin preparation a year or more before the exam. We recommend coming in for an initial session and assessment as early as possible. In some
instances it will be apparent the student is well positioned and doesn’t need to begin at that point; in other instances we may identify significant areas that need to be addressed over a longer period.

What next?

Contact Next Level Learning as soon as you start thinking about taking the HSPT and our experts can help you make an informed decision about when to get started with preparation.

Our Approach to Tutoring