The High School Placement Test is used to assess the academic aptitude of students entering ninth grade at a private school. HSPT is commonly used by Catholic schools. It helps determine admission and whether or not you are capable of completing the school’s coursework, as well as assigns the curriculum level at which the student should be placed.
This paper and pencil test consists of 298 multiple-choice questions. Students will be allotted about 2.5 hours to complete it.
Since the HSPT is administered by different schools, if you have a condition that requires testing accommodations, you and your parents must contact the school to inquire about the accommodations the school can offer, as well as the process for making the request.
If you are visually impaired and require a large print booklet and answer sheet, you can request this of your school, and it will be provided.
What skills will be assessed on the test?
- Verbal – 60 questions
- Quantitative – 52 questions
- Reading – 62 questions
- Mathematics – 64 questions
- Language – 60 questions
Within the verbal skill, analogies, classifications, logic, synonyms, and antonyms will be tested. You will have 16 minutes to complete these questions.
Within the quantitative skill, number manipulation and series, as well as geometric and non-geometric comparisons will be tested. You will have 30 minutes to complete these questions.
Within the reading skill, comprehension and vocabulary will be tested. You will have 25 minutes to complete these questions.
Within the mathematics skill, understanding concepts and problem-solving will be tested. You will have 45 minutes to complete these questions.
Within the language skill, composition, spelling, punctuation and capitalization, and usage will be tested. You will have 25 minutes to complete these questions.
How do I register for this test?
Each school has its own registration process. Contact the school directly.
What is the cost of taking this exam?
The cost of taking and methods of paying for this exam varies from school to school. It is your responsibility to confirm this with your school.
What are the testing dates?
Individual schools set the testing dates for the exam. You must contact the school to which you are applying, for this information.
What should I do the day of the exam?
Check with your school to determine the policies and procedures for exam day. For example, some schools may advise that you arrive a certain amount of time before the exam is scheduled to start, where others just require that you arrive at the time the exam is to start.
Items that are prohibited on testing day is also up to the discretion of the school. Some standard rules are you are not allowed to use a calculator for the test and you will not be given scratch paper. Anything you write should be done in the test booklet.
Can I take a break during the exam?
Your school may have breaks scheduled into the exam. For example, after completing a certain section or group of sections, you will be allowed a 5-10-minute break. Again, this is up to the school, so you may want to verify this information before test day.
Whether or not your school allows for breaks, typically, if you have a medical condition covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires you to take a break, when registering for the test, you should ask the school about its process for making this request.
How is the test scored?
You will be given one point for each correct answer. Points will not be deducted for questions you answer incorrectly, so even if you are not absolutely sure about the answer to a question, it is best to make an educated guess.
What will be included on my score report?
Your report will include several scores.
- Raw score. This is the number of questions you got right.
- Scaled score. This is the converted raw score. The score scale is 200-800.
- Percentile rank. This is how you compare to other students taking the exam.
- Cognitive skills. This is your total score for the verbal and quantitative skills.
- Basic skills. This is your total score for the reading, mathematics, and language skills.
- This is your scaled score, percentile rank, and stanine (based on a nine-point scale) of verbal, quantitative, reading, mathematics, and language skills.
If you take the optional tests for science, mechanical aptitude, or religion, these scores will be shown as well.
In addition to the above scores, your cognitive skills quotient, which presents an approximation of your potential to learn AND grade equivalent (grade and month) that parallels to your skill level will also be listed.
What is the minimum passing score on this exam?
Each school determines the passing score, but on the score scale of 200-800, a score of 600 or higher will typically be considered good.
What happens if I don’t pass the exam?
In theory, you could take the exam more than once, but it is not advised, since your lower score will be reported as the final score.
How Can I Prepare for the HSPT Test?
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- Do yourself a favor and study. Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try. Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
- Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping. All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance. If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
- Get a study guide or set of flashcards. Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them. We’ve tried to make it easy for you by tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!