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You’ve already showed that you’re ready to do what it takes to do well on the SHSAT—you’re prepping with ArgoPrep, and you’re being careful with all of the logistics it takes to sign up for the exam and be ready to take it.  But, it can help to have a step-by-step chronology of events to the SHSAT.  This blog will give you that!

Summer Before You Register for the SHSAT

The New York City Department of Education runs Family Workshops for families who are interested in learning about the specialized high schools, what they specialize in, how to register, and what to expect for the exam.  While you are having conversations with your family about what school is the best fit for you and which of the other schools would be acceptable as “back up schools”, you should consider going to one or more of the family workshops.  One of the most important things you can learn more about at the Family Workshops is detailed information about each school, and this can help you make the right decision when you fill out your school of choice card on Test Day.
Of course, the other activity you’ll be taking care of during the summer is prepping for your SHSAT with ArgoPrep!

September Before the Test

During September, you will meet with your guidance counselor to register for the SHSAT.  If you are homeschooled, or have special accommodations you need to make sure are met, you may end up working with the Department of Education directly or at a Family Welcome Center.  Remember, too, that you’ll need to communicate with your counselor if you have religious observance restrictions on when you can take the exam.
During September, each specific school will offer Open Houses and Information Fairs to introduce you to their unique programs and course offerings.  You should go!  One of the best things your family can do to see what school should be your #1 choice is to interact with the teachers who are there every day.  Also, make sure that you take one day to visit the school during the normal commuting time and route you would take to the school if you were a student there, so you can see how accessible the school is to your family during normal traffic conditions during the school year.

October Before the Test

In October, you will receive the KEY to your SHSAT exam:  your Test Ticket!  If you registered for the exam from your guidance counselor—most traditional public, private, and parochial students will—your counselor will give you your Test Ticket in October.  (Students who are homeschooled usually will have their tickets mailed to their homes, and students who registered through Family Welcome Centers will receive their Tickets at the Center.)  When you receive the Test Ticket, the first thing you’re going to do is to make sure it has your correct name, ID, location (time and date) of your SHSAT, and any accommodations that you will receive for the exam.
All 8th graders who do not need accommodations will have their SHSAT exams scheduled on the last two weekends of October.  If you’re in this category, block those weekends out on your school planner or calendar, because they are going to be your dates for victory!
During this time, if you have an emergency illness, you’ll provide documentation to your counselor to make sure you can secure a make-up date for the exam.  Remember, if you fall into this category, you will not have much time at all to contact your counselor and validate your illness before you will have to make up the exam.


If you’re an 8th grader who is receiving accommodations for the exam, a 9th grader, or an 8th or 9th grader who has religious observation needs for the exam, your exam date will be within the first two weeks of November.  (Occasionally—depending on the calendar year—you could be scheduled for the last few days in October, but regardless of the calendar dates, all students will have completed the exam by the middle of November.)


During December through February, you’re going to continue the good habits in school that will help you succeed at your specialized school of choice!


You’ll receive your test results in March, and all “Round 1” letters with admission decisions will be sent to you.  (Get ready to celebrate!)
If you don’t get admitted into your first choice of school during Round 1, you may get admitted into it (or other schools) during later rounds.  (Many families will turn down offers of admission because of geographical or other considerations, which opens up spots for other students later.)

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