Ace the SHSAT

with Private Lessons from New York's Leading SHSAT Tutor

Dr. Donnelly can teach your child the correct approach for each type of question that will appear on the SHSAT. This will significantly increase your child's chances of getting the required score to attend the New York City specialized high school of your choice.

Private SHSAT lessons with Dr. Donnelly are available either online via Skype for those students living outside of the New York City area or in-person at our Manhattan office conveniently located at 1460 Broadway, (corner of 41st Street) only one block away from Metro stations for the A, B, C, D, E, F, M, N, Q, R, S, 1, 2, 3, and 7 trains.

Over the years, Dr. Donnelly has helped literally hundreds of students to improve their SHSAT scores significantly and achieve their goal of getting accepted into one of the New York City specialized high schools. We are confident that he can do the same for you.

Contact Dr. Donnelly to schedule your appointment

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About the SHSAT

Learn how to Improve your score

The SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) is an exam 8th and 9th graders take for admission to New York City's nine highly prestigeous Specialized High Schools. The test is given in the late October for 8th graders and mid-November for 9th graders for admission the following school year.

The competition for acceptance into the city's Specialized High Schools is extremely intense and for better or worse, admission to these elite high schools is based solely on your SHSAT score, which means being properly prepared for the exam is crucial. For example, in November 2019, 23,408 students listed Stuyvesant High School as a choice on their application but only 963 offers were made. Hence, rigorous preparation for the SHSAT is essential for success.

Luckily, Dr. Donnelly, the New York's leading private SHSAT tutor, is now accepting a limited number of students for one-on-one SHSAT tutoring and test preparation either online or in-person here in Manhattan. Places are strictly limited and tend to fill up rather quickly so please reserve your spot well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Click on the links below to learn more:
  1. How to Improve your SHSAT Score
  2. 2019 SHSAT Cutoff Scores by School
  3. Contact Dr. Donnelly about SHSAT lessons
  4. Read our SHSAT Students' Reviews
  5. The SHSAT - Section by Section
    1. English Language Arts (ELA) Section
    2. Math Section

Improve Your SHSAT Score

with private lessons with Dr. Donnelly!

Contact Dr. Donnelly Today

About SHSAT Tutoring!

Read our SHSAT Students' Reviews


5 star review

"Oliver got into his first choice! BRONX SCIENCE. SCORE 536. He would not have made it without you. Thank you!"

Charles B., Queens, New York.


5 star review

"I just want to thank you for helping Zoraiz prep for the SHSAT. She made it into Stuyvesant! Thank you once again."

Asia I., Manhattan, New York.


5 star review

"Both my sons were tutored by Dr. Donnelly in preparation for the New York City SHSAT test and he was of great help to them. Both improved their practice scores steadily, scored well on the exam and were accepted to their top choice schools. We couldn't be more pleased.”

John L., Manhattan, New York.


5 star review

"My son benefited tremendously from his tutorial sessions with Dr. Donnelly. Not only did he grow in confidence, but he was given the tools to expertly tackle his high school entrance exams. Dr. Donnelly is patient, consistent and totally committed to the welfare of his students and as a result of his thorough and knowledgeable sessions my son was accepted to all of the schools to which he applied. We are enormously grateful and cannot recommend Dr. Donnelly enough!"

Victoria A., Manhattan, New York.


5 star review

"Dr. Donnelly, Jon got a 498 and he was accepted to Bard Early College and Brooklyn Latin. Thanks for all your help!"

Mary G., Staten Island, New York.

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Overview of the SHSAT

Section by Section


The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT)

The SHSAT lasts for 3 hours and has two sections: English Language Arts (ELA) and Math - each lasting 90 minutes with 57 questions. The section ordering is up to the student. Students may choose to complete either the English Language Arts or Mathematics section first. Click on links above to learn more about each section.

i. English Language Arts (ELA),

ii. Math Section.

English Language Arts (ELA)

English Language Arts (ELA) of the SHSAT

The English Language Arts (ELA) section of the SHSAT lasts 90 minutes and consists 57 multiple-choice questions - 47 are scored questions and 10 are unscored field test items. You will NOT know which questions are scored and which are field test items so you should answer all questions in this section.

There are 2 parts to th ELA section: Revising/Editing and Reading Comprehension.

The Revising/Editing section assess students' ability to recognize and correct language errors and to improve the overall quality of a piece of writing. This section may have up to 20 total questions and is divided into Parts A and B. Part A includes up to eight questions, each of which is based on its own sentence or paragraph.Part B includes questions that are based on one or two passages.

The Reading Comprehension section requires students to read five or six passages, each of which is followed by up to ten questions assessing students' ability to understand, analyze, and interpret what they have read.

Math Section of the SHSAT

Quantitative Reasoning section of the SHSAT

The Math section of the SHSAT lasts 90 minutes and consists of word problems and computational questions in either a multiple-choice or grid-in format. There are 5 grid-in Math items and 52 multiple-choice items. Each multiple-choice question has four answers to select from. Only 47 of these questions are scored - the remaining 10 are unscored field test items. You will NOT know which questions are scored and which are field test items so you should answer all questions in this section.

The Mathematics section asks students to solve word and computational problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Some word and computational problems will also include working with fractions, decimals, and statistics. Various mathematical topics tested include: Basic math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Factoring,Substitution, Geometry (9th grade), Basic Coordinate Graphing (8th grade),Logic, and Word Problems (cover all topics).

SHSAT Scores and 2019 Cutoff Scores


Students are notified of their scores in February.Students earn a “raw score” based on the number of questions they get right. There are no penalties for wrong answers so students receive 1 raw point per correct answer - note that only 47 questions in each section are scored, with the other 10 serving as experimental questions. You will not be able to distinguish between these. This raw score is converted into a “scaled score” for each section of the test and a “composite score” for the entire test. The highest possible composite score is a 700.

The cut-off scores for each school vary yearly, determined by the number of open places in each school and how the candidates score. Students are notified of their scores in February. Although NYC Department of Education does not release official cutoff scores, the estimated cut-off / high scores during 2019 were:

i. Stuyvesant - 560 / 665

ii. Staten Island Tech - 527 / 688

iii. Bronx Science - 525 / 696

iv. HSAS @ Lehman - 524 / 617

v. HSMSE @ CCNY - 519 / 620

vi. Queens Science @ York College - 514 / 524

vii. Brooklyn Technical - 498 /631

viii. Brooklyn Latin - 488 / 505