HSPT – What You Need To Know About the High School Placement Test

What is the HSPT?

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is a nationally-recognized private school entrance examination, created by the Scholastic Testing Service (STS), available to students as part of the private school application process. The test is designed for middle school students trying to get into high school, so the majority of test takers are eighth graders, though some seventh graders take the test as well. For the most part, a typical middle school curriculum will have exposed students to the content tested on the HSPT, though a basic understanding of algebra and geometry is necessary for the math sections.

Unlike most other standardized exams, the HSPT does not have national administration dates. Private schools administer the HSPT as part of the application process. According to the STS website, students should not take the test more than once. In fact, if a student takes the test more than once, the STS indicates that the lower of the two scores should be used for consideration. Registration and test schedules are handled on a school-by-school basis; parents will need to contact the schools to which their children are applying in order to find out specific dates and deadlines. The STS does not handle registration for the exam, this is also handled on a school-by-school basis.

What is on the HSPT?

The exam, which is about 2.5 hours long, tests the following abilities: Verbal Skills, Quantitative Skills, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics, and Language.

Verbal Skills

The verbal skills section contains questions pertaining to analogies, synonyms, antonyms, vocabulary, and verbal logic. The purpose of this section is to test a student’s ability to understand the relationships between words and concepts.

Quantitative Skills

The quantitative skills section contains questions pertaining to number manipulation, geometric and non-geometric comparison, and patterns and sequences. The topics covered in this section include arithmetic, basic algebra, and basic geometry.

Reading Comprehension

The reading comprehension section contains passages and questions that test the student’s understanding of central meaning, ability to obtain information from reading, and basic understanding of vocabulary.


The math section contains questions that test the student’s problem solving abilities and understanding of mathematical concepts. The topics covered in this section include arithmetic, basic algebra, and basic geometry.


The language section tests the student’s understanding of written English. The problems are largely related to spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax.

Some schools also administer an optional science section, which covers general topics in astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics.

The HSPT vs. the ISEE

The HSPT is comparable in both content and format to the ISEE Upper Level, another private school entrance exam. Content-wise, the biggest difference between the two tests is that there is no essay on the HSPT. The HSPT is primarily used by Catholic private schools; the ISEE is used by a wider range of private schools. In addition, the ISEE has three levels: lower, mid, and upper, which correspond to what grade the student is going into; the HSPT is for prospective high school students only.

Preparing for the HSPT

As with any standardized test, preparation is essential to success. There are a few HSPT study guides available on the internet and in stores; if, after reviewing concepts and practicing problems, you and your student decide that further assistance would be beneficial, then consider professional HSPT exam preparation. The HSPT can have a significant impact on a student’s future and should not be taken lightly. Thorough preparation is the key to making the HSPT experience as smooth and stress-free as possible.

3 Fundamental Tips To Overcome GED Math Test Anxiety

Most test-takers think that the GED math test, in itself, is difficult. But that mainly comes from their fear of the subject. If you think that the GED math test is daunting, then it will be. So the first step in conquering your GED math test anxiety is to fight your own demons.

The thing with the GED math test is that other than talent, you need hard work and determination to go beyond it. Math is basically not scary, but what gets in the way your passing the GED math test is your fear of the subject. Math anxiety happens when you’re so scared that it hampers your thought processes. You then feel hopeless, uncertain and you lose your self-confidence, possibly causing you to fail. It’s a battle of the mind, so to speak, that’s why you have to harness your mental powers to be able to beat GED math test anxiety. Here are 3 fundamental tips.

  • Believe that you have prepared well for the test. You ought to have backed it up with sufficient action, but you have to believe that your preparation for the math test is enough. You should have accorded ample effort for quality preparation for the test, such as by enrolling in a review center, other than studying an online course. A reliable review center will be able to provide you with GED math study guides and practice sheets that have helped many test takers as well.
  • Don’t wallow in self-pity. One problem that puts a dent on your confidence when taking math tests is that you might have gotten low scores in the subject for many years in school. This kind of fear is learned, and can be a predominant cause of anxiety. Whenever you are experiencing anxiety, you’re focusing more on your negative thoughts and your fears, consequently defeating your performance. Remember the saying that “If others can do it, so can you”. You can pass the math test even if your grades in math were bad. Unlearn your belief that you are dumb in math. As you take practice tests, some answers you did right and some you did wrong, right? Bolster your confidence by focusing on your correct answers. This will instill your belief in your success and make you feel good about your performance in math.
  • Affirm your positive thoughts. Practice positive affirmations- short verses that you mentally or verbally repeat to help change your thoughts or feelings about something This concept was introduced by neuroscientists in the 1970’s and since then has been popular. You can change the way you think or feel about math by mentally or verbally reciting positive affirmations, ultimately helping you combat test anxiety. Some of them are:

“I’m smart and I can solve math problems”.

“I believe that my brain has enough capability to help me find solutions to math problems.”

“Math is not a difficult subject, it just needs attention and focus”.

“I am prepared and therefore I will pass the GED math test”.

Many test-takers fail in the GED math test because they were overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. The key to not committing the same mistake is to control your fears. Preparation is the antidote that will pacify your anxiety. Do your best to study for the GED math exam and believe in yourself and your capability to hurdle this particular feat.