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Private tutoring & test prep for New York City's Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)

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Dr. Donnelly with a student studying for the SHSAT exam

The new SHSAT

The new Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) is an examination administered to eighth and ninth grade students residing in New York City and used to determine admission to all but one of the city's Specialized High Schools. The test is given in the Fall for admission the following school year.

The competition for acceptance into the city's Specialized High Schools is extremely intense. For example, in November 2014, 23,408 students listed Stuyvesant High School as a choice on their application but only 952 offers were made. Hence, rigorous preparation is essential for success.

Luckily, Dr. Donnelly, the city's leading private SHSAT tutor, is now accepting a limited number of students for private 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:

Read Dr. Donnelly's SHSAT students' reviews

5 star review- Asia I., Manhattan, NY

" I just want to thank you for helping Zoraiz prep for the SHSAT. She made it into Stuyvesant and her score was 572. Thank you once again."

5 star review - John L. , Manhattan, NY

"Both my sons were tutored by Dr. Donnelly in preparation for the New York City SHSAT test. Both reported that Dr. Donnelly was of great help to them. Both improved their practice scores steadily, scored well on the exam (one scored 648 and the other scored 589) and were accepted to their top choice schools. We couldn't be more pleased."

5 star review- Mary G., Manhattan, NY

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

5 star review - Mrs. Anne L., Manhattan, NY

"Dr. Donnelly has tutored both my sons in preparation for the SHSAT with great success. His initial assessment of each of their capabilities followed by his clear, concise approach to both reviewing and teaching material is a great skill. As a parent of children in NYC public schools, where there is very limited one on one attention, I have found that the time spent with Dr. Donnelly is enormously beneficial. We were very pleased with his ability to both cover material and instill confidence. I recommend him highly."

5 star review - Elsa R., Brooklyn, NY

"Dr. Donnelly, Thank you again for helping Bianca get into her first choice school. She is so excited to be going to Bronx Science. Bianca learned so much from your teaching skills and different techniques that you taught her"

5 star review- Charles B., Queens, NY

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

4 star review- Jonathan G., Manhattan, NY

"I got a 500 on the SHSAT, and I got accepted to my first choice, Brooklyn Latin. The cut-off for Bronx Science this year was 495-500 so I could've got in if I chose to put it on my list. Thanks for all your help!" - Jonathan G.,

5 star review- Anna L., Bronx, NY

"Dr. Donnelly, another success story for your statistics. Abe got his early acceptance to Bronx Science in the mail yesterday with his mark of 594...so he could have been accepted to Stuyvesant if he had selected it as his first option. Many thanks for your efforts with Abe."

4 star review - James R., Manhattan, NY

"Dr Donnelly taught me clearly in a very short time. It was very effective just before my exam, and the results turned out to be great! He was nice and encouraging, and I enjoyed his lessons."

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Overview of the new SHSAT

An Overview of the new SHSAT


The SHSAT (The New York City Specialized High Schools Admissions Test) is used for admission to the following schools:

  • Bronx High School of Science
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • Brooklyn Latin School
  • High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College
  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

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 2016 were:

  • Stuyvesant 552 / 701
  • Bronx Science 511 / 701
  • Brooklyn Latin 477 / 521
  • Brooklyn Technical 482 /687
  • HSMSE @ CCNY 513 / 639
  • HSAS @ Lehman 506 / 652
  • Queens Science @ York College 516 / 594
  • Staten Island Tech 508 / 624

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  • October 21st & 22th, 2017 for 8th graders
  • October 30th, 2017 (for 9th graders).


The test is given in early November in all 5 boroughs:

  • Students in Manhattan will take it at Stuyvesant High School.
  • Students in the Bronx at Bronx High School of Science.
  • Students in Brooklyn at either Stuyvesant or Brooklyn Technical High School.
  • Students in Queens will take it at Long Island City High School.
  • Students in Staten Island will take it at Staten Island Technical High School.


You must register for the SHSAT through your school guidance counselor.

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The new SHSAT test is 3 hours in total.


SHSAT scores are based on the number of correct answers marked on scored items.

There is no penalty for wrong answers.

Each answer sheet is scanned and scored electronically, and the number of correct answers on scored items, called a raw score, is determined for each test taker.

Each raw score is then converted into a scaled score that takes into account the differences between test forms by fitting the scores to the normal curve.

The composite score is the sum of the ELA and mathematics scaled scores. The composite score is used to determine admission to a Specialized High School.


A New York Times article found that students scoring in the 90th percentile on both sections would not gain admittance to their first choice schools; meanwhile those scoring in the 99th percentile on one section and the 50th percentile on the other, would. This happens because the final grade and percentile represent the total score and the curve within sections.


Contact Dr. Donnelly for private SHSAT tutoring and intensive test prep at

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SHSAT - Section by Section


The Mathematics section 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.

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
  • Word Problems (cover all topics)

There are 57 items in the ELA section: 47 are scored items and 10 are unscored field test items. You will NOT know which items are scored and which are field test items so you should answer all items in each 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.

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To learn more please contact Dr. Donnelly at

Tel: (917) 568-2473
Email dr.stuart.donnelly@gmail.com

Advantage of Private Lessons Individual private lessons are simply the most effective method for students to improve their subject knowledge and to increase their test scores significantly. (Click to learn more).

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Location & Lesson Details Click here to learn more about lesson details including location, duration, timing, and teaching materials. (Click to learn more).

Standardized Tests Do you need to improve your standardized test scores? With our professional guidance you will learn how to master each topic and how to select the correct strategy for each section of the exam - greatly improving your chances of success. (Click to learn more).

History of Tutors of Oxford The original Tutors of Oxford was founded in Hong Kong by Dr. Donnelly in 1993 before relocating to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NYC in 1998. (Click to learn more)

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