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 test is administered in November. It contains three separate sections:
No calculators are allowed. Watches are also not permitted. Students receive a short break between the math and reading sections.
Students who achieve above certain cut-off percentiles, and who have a GPA above 3.0, 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 February 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.
Next Level’s expert instructors have been supporting TJHSST applicants for many years, starting when the admissions test closely resembled New York City’s SHSAT exam for admission to the most competitive Specialized High Schools. Since the Thomas Jefferson entrance exam has changed, Next Level has adapted its curriculum accordingly and continued to help students as they prepare for admissions to this prestigious school- both in the testing and writing portions.
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.