The HSPT is a standardized test used to measure a current 8th grade student’s skills for placement into 9th grade at a Catholic high school. It tests in verbal skills, quantitative skills, reading comprehension, mathematics, and language.
WHAT IS THE HSPT?
The HSPT is a 2 hour 30 minute exam including breaks, consisting of five sections: Verbal Skills, Quantitative Skills, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics, and Language.
|HSPT Test Section||# of Questions and Types||Content||Timing|
|VERBAL SKILLS||60 multiple-choice||Analogies; Antonyms; Classification; Logic; Synonyms||16 minutes|
|QUANTITATIVE SKILLS||52 multiple-choice||Comparison; Geometric Comparison; Number Manipulation; Series||30 minutes|
|READING COMPREHENSION||62 multiple-choice||Author’s Intent/Inference; Factual/Detail Recall; Synonymous Meaning; Vocabulary in Context||25 minutes|
|MATHEMATICS||64 multiple-choice||Algebra Concepts; Fractions/Decimals Concepts; Geometry Concepts; Numbers Concepts; Units/Conversion Concepts; Problem Solving||45 minutes|
|LANGUAGE||60 multiple-choice||Context/Idea Development Composition; Idea Clarity Composition; Sentence Completion Composition; Punctuation/Capitalization/Usage; Spelling||25 minutes|
The HSPT is a paper-based test administered at schools and sites around the country on select dates throughout the year. Some schools also require additional sections including Science, Religion, and/or Mechanical Aptitude. Be sure to check with your prospective school’s admissions department to confirm which sections will be administered.
The HSPT is divided into several scoring categories. For a more detailed breakdown of what each score means, please see the table below. Raw scores are the number of total correct answers per each section. Standard scores are the conversion of a raw score per each section into a scale from 200-800. Percentile rankings are also calculated from raw scores per each section, detailing what percentage of students (both nationally and locally) had scores below yours. Percentile rankings range from 1-99. Composite scores are combined standard scores and percentile rankings per each section group: Total Cognitive Skills (Verbal & Quantitative sections); Total Basic Skills (Reading, Mathematics, & Language sections), and Battery Composite (all five sections). Note that composite scores are not the average of each section’s scores.
|Score Type||Score Range||Details|
|RAW SCORES||Verbal: 0-60
|These scores are the total number of correct answers per each section.|
|STANDARD SCORES||Verbal: 200-800
Reading : 200-800
|These scores are the conversion of raw scores per each section into a scaled score.|
|PERCENTILE RANKINGS||Verbal: 1-99
Reading : 1-99
|These scores are reported both nationally and locally. These scores are the conversion of each section’s raw score into a percentile, i.e. what percentage of students scored lower than you.|
|COMPOSITE SCORES: TOTAL COGNITIVE SKILLS||200-800 & 1-99||These scores reflect the standard scores and percentile rankings for the Total Cognitive Skills group, which includes the Verbal Skills and Quantitative Skills sections.|
|COMPOSITE SCORES: TOTAL BASIC SKILLS||200-800 & 1-99||These scores reflect the standard scores and percentile rankings for the Total Basic Skills group, which includes the Reading, Mathematics, & Language sections.|
|COMPOSITE SCORES: BATTERY COMPOSITE||200-800 & 1-99||These scores reflect the standard scores and percentile rankings for the Battery Composite group, which includes all five sections.|
HSPT GUESSING PENALTY
The HSPT does not deduct any points for an incorrect question. This means that you should not leave any questions blank on the test. With the sections being quite long, pacing and timing are crucial. Your tutor will help you master these skills.
While the HSPT stipulates that students are not allowed to re-test in the same year, many school’s admissions departments have alternate policies. Be sure to check with your prospective school’s admissions staff to confirm if multiple testing is permitted.
HSPT TEST DATES
Students typically take their HSPT at the school to which they’re applying. Testing dates differ school by school, but typically occur in January. Be sure to check with your prospective school’s admissions departments to confirm testing dates and score deadlines.
Don’t stop here! Check out our blog for new posts about preparing for the HSPT. Below are a few posts you may find useful.
CAN YOU GET A HIGHER HSPT SCORE THAN ANY OF THESE STUDENTS?
The HSPT is full of short questions like these which, despite appearing in the verbal and math sections of the exam, test logical reasoning and other skills kids don’t really learn in school… READ MORE
HSPT vs. ISEE vs. SSAT
If your child is applying to independent or Catholic schools, you are probably familiar with the different entrance exams that schools utilize to help select students for admission– primarily the HSPT for Catholic schools, and the SSAT or ISEE for independent private schools…READ MORE
SHOULD YOU GUESS ON STANDARDIZED TESTS?
While the elimination of guessing penalties simplifies your test strategy, it’s still important to “guess smart”: Always eliminate answer choices you suspect are wrong before guessing. Choose a “back-up letter” ahead of time…READ MORE