This is a great (and important) question. In order to quantify how “hard” the exam is, we need to take a look at some basic statistics! Recently, roughly 28,000 students took the SHSAT exam and a little over 5,000 students were offered a seat at a specialized high school. That math works out to a success rate of roughly 18%. That means that regardless of how “hard” any individual question or section is, it’s key to be in the highest possible percentile of test-takers if you wish to secure a spot in one of these prestigious institutions.
Admission into one of the specialized high schools is solely based on your SHSAT exam score and, depending on the school, some form of an audition. This means the SHSAT is a highly competitive exam that requires active, rigorous preparation. If you’re not the one doing that preparation, that seat in the high school of your dreams is going to go to someone else who is. Although the new SHSAT exam has eliminated the infamous Scrambled Paragraphs, both the Mathematics and ELA sections are still quite challenging for grade-level students. In short, the SHSAT is hard enough and important enough that preparation can’t be left to chance.
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