Is the SHSAT harder than the SAT?

3 min read
Is the SHSAT harder than the SAT?

The SHSAT exam is not harder than the SAT exam, however, it depends on your point of view.  When considering rigorous exams, the SHSAT (Specialized High Schools Admissions Test) and SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) often come to mind. But which test is harder? It’s a complex question, given the distinct purposes and target audiences of these two exams. Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of both and shed light on this question.

What Is the SHSAT?

The SHSAT is an exam designed specifically for 8th and 9th grade students residing in New York City who aim to attend one of the city’s selective specialized high schools. The test predominantly covers Mathematics and English Language Arts skills that align with the learning level expected at these grades.

Understanding the SAT

On the other hand, the SAT is a standardized test typically taken by high school juniors and seniors for college admissions in the United States. It evaluates students’ proficiency in a broader range of subjects, such as Reading, Writing and Language, Mathematics, and includes an optional Essay section. The material and complexity of the SAT align more closely with high school learning standards.

Comparing the Challenges

SHSAT: A Race for Limited Seats

Even though the SHSAT might not demand as advanced skills as the SAT, it’s not necessarily easier. The competitive nature of the SHSAT, due to a limited number of seats in NYC’s specialized high schools, means students often feel under immense pressure to score high. This competition, combined with the test’s time constraints, can make the SHSAT a challenging endeavor.

SAT: A Broad and Deep Evaluation

The SAT, meanwhile, covers a wider range of subjects and requires a more comprehensive understanding of high school-level material. This broad scope can make the SAT seem harder, especially if a student has not thoroughly prepared for all the covered areas. Furthermore, the nationwide significance of the SAT can also put students under substantial stress.

The Perception of Difficulty: A Personal Matter

The perceived difficulty of the SHSAT and the SAT can largely depend on individual factors. Students’ academic strengths, preparation levels, stress management skills, and their perception of the stakes can all influence how hard they find these exams.

Conclusion: Preparation Is Key

When it comes to the question, “Is the SHSAT harder than the SAT exam?” the answer isn’t straightforward. Both tests present their own unique challenges. The SHSAT might feel more difficult due to its intense competition due to the limited seats, while the SAT’s broad curriculum can be daunting. Ultimately, the best approach to tackle either exam is thorough preparation, understanding the exam structure, and diligent practice. ArgoPrep’s SHSAT Learning Platform offers you comprehensive access to SHSAT video lessons, quizzes, eBooks and more. Sign up today for a free trial and access our award-winning learning platform.

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