Created by the Scholastic Testing Service (STS) over 5 decades ago, the High School Placement Test (HSPT) is a nationally-recognized entrance examination, as well as an integral component in the private or parochial school application process. Administered only twice per year (in the spring and the fall), 8th-grade students take the HSPT to complete their enrollment application to private Catholic high schools across the country.
Like other standardized exams – such as the SSAT and ISEE – the HSPT comes with a unique set of rules, standards, and sections. For instance, the test appears in two different formats: The Closed Form and the Open Form. The main difference being the Closed form is scored locally while the Open Form is scored by Scholastic Testing Service (STS). The HSPT gets administered by individual schools or dioceses, so students should contact their school of choice for more details about the HSPT registration process and actual test dates and times.
Strong skills displayed on the HSPT can be a determining factor in a student’s application for admission into a private or parochial school, as well as class placement and scholarship opportunities. A top private Catholic school brings with it challenging and diverse courses, competitive and fulfilling extracurricular activities, and a supportive network of caring teachers. Higher-level academic classes on your child’s academic transcript can make a difference later on in his or her high school career when your student begins the college application process.
The content found on the HSPT is somewhat similar to that of the SSAT and ISEE, but the HSPT is much faster-paced. More specifically, the HSPT has roughly twice as many questions as the other two tests, but the test runs for about the same amount of time. The HSPT test includes a collection of mathematical, quantitative, reading, verbal, and language subtests.
The HSPT was designed to measure “basic” as well as “cognitive” skills developed by the applicant. “Basic” skill questions can be found in the reading, mathematics, and language sections, utilizing more simple and direct questions. Meanwhile, the “cognitive” skill questions found in the Verbal and Quantitative section will ask more subjective questions.
The HSPT contains five parts and includes two short breaks, containing 298 questions and lasts approximately 3 hours. All questions on the HSPT are presented as multiple-choice with four or five answer choices. Still, the number of questions and time allotted for each section varies:
The HSPT test also includes optional sections focusing on the catholic religion, mechanical aptitude, and science that some private schools require for entry.
Like other important standardized tests, the HSPT has a unique scoring rubric. Students will receive one point for each correct answer throughout the 5 different sections. Students’ scores aren’t penalized for incorrect or unanswered questions.
There is no “passing” score on the HSPT; scores are forwarded to the school for which the student is applying, and their administrators will use a unique criterion to evaluate the results. Unlike other standardized tests, students should not retake the HSPT. If a student chooses to take the HSPT more than once, private schools will receive the lower of two scores.
Once completed, 8th-grade students will receive a comprehensive HSPT report, which includes several scores:
The HSPT score report also shows the following scores:
With so much riding on a high score, taking the HSPT can be stressful for even top-performing students. But private, one-on-one HSPT tutoring provides both the knowledge and confidence that 8th-grade students need to succeed on this important high school placement test. Through holistic, individualized, and proven stress-quelling methods, 8th-grade students can realize their full potential in preparation for test day. Need help studying for the upcoming HSPT? Subscribe to our blog for more helpful test-taking tips.