Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) is one of the highest rated and most competitive high schools in the United States. With a 100% graduation rate, students attend Thomas Jefferson to engage in rigorous academics surrounding a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum. Some people believe TJHSST is the best high school education in the nation, which of course also makes it one of the most competitive admissions in the nation.
A publicly administered and funded high school, Thomas Jefferson is located in Fairfax County, Virginia and caters to students from Arlington County, Fairfax County, Falls Church County, Loudon County or Prince William County.
The TJHSST exam is essentially the same exam as the SHSAT, with some minor differences. Unlike the SHSAT used in New York City, other factors (such as grades and recommendations) are considered for admission into Thomas Jefferson High School. The test measures verbal and math reasoning skills.
The exam is 2 hours (2.5 including instructions) and consists of multiple choice questions for:
The TJHSST test is administered on the first Saturday in December. In order to qualify for the next round of the admissions process, students much achieve a math score of at least 30 and a total score on a sliding scale based on their GPA. Students who qualify become semifinalists and are invited to continue the application process.
Semifinalists are asked to complete teacher recommendations, a Student Information Sheet (SIS), and a Personal Essay. Students return in January and are given two hours to complete three questions and an essay. The questions will concern a student’s interests and achievements, while the essay requires students to address a real issue or ethical dilemma. Students can write approximately 380 words for each question and 800 words for the essay.
Because the TJHSST exam is modelled after the SHSAT, Next Level’s expert SHSAT instructors are well positioned to help applicants prepare for both the testing and writing portions of the Thomas Jefferson High School entrance process. At Next Level, students participate in video conferences with TJHSST instructors for one-on-one TJHSST tutoring that takes the student’s unique strengths and weaknesses into account and focuses on developing skills and knowledge that will position students to achieve their greatest potential. Following each session, our instructor completes a detailed session report describing the progress, successes and challenges, and any areas that need further review, so both parents and children are on the same page with respect to progress.
One of the most frequent questions we are asked about the TJHSST exam is when students should begin preparing, and the answer varies depending upon the following factors:
Some students begin TJHSST preparation as early as the 6th grade but most students start sometime in the 7th grade. 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. Getting started early and investing in calm, measured preparation spread over a longer period will reduce pressure and make a substantial difference in results. Rushing to prepare immediately before the TJHSST generates significant pressure and can sometimes cause debilitating anxiety in students who have never previously exhibited symptoms of being anxious. Even high performing students generally begin preparation a year or more before the exam. At Next Level Learning our TJHSST instructors are mindful of the ways in which pressure can adversely affect performance, which is why our TJHSST test preparation is designed to alleviate anxiety and improve test-taking skills relevant to the TJHSST.
We recommend contacting Next Level 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. If you have doubts or questions regarding the ideal time to begin TJHSST prep, contact Next Level right away to find out how the best TJHSST tutoring can help you make an informed decision.