HSPT Tutoring

The HSPT (High School Placement Test) is used for admissions by several of New York City’s most competitive Catholic high schools, including Regis, Xavier, Loyola, and Fordham. For information about specific schools, please refer to the school’s website to determine which test to take and where to go. Typically, the HSPT is administered by the Catholic school you are applying to, and the school is in charge of scoring and releasing the results.

Not only do I have a proven track record of success in preparing students for the HSPT, my one-on-one tutoring caters to the unique strengths and weaknesses of each student.

In addition to knowing the content, strategy, timing, and shortcuts for the HSPT, I’m very well acquainted with the New York City Catholic schools admissions process. I understand the pressure students feel when it’s time to take a standardized exam that will have a significant impact on their future, and I can help alleviate pressure that can lead to anxiety.
Schedule a consultation to learn about my proven approach to HSPT test prep that will maximize your child’s chances of attending the Catholic high school of his or her choice.

What is the HSPT?

The HSPT (High School Placement Test) is an exam taken by 8th graders for admissions and/or also placement and scholarship for several premier Catholic High Schools in the New York City Area, including Regis, Loyola, Fordham, and Xavier.

How is the HSPT scored?

The HSPT is a fast-paced test that measures a student’s aptitude in five areas, with nearly 300 questions to complete in about 2.5 hours. While each of the five sections has about 60 questions apiece, the sections have different time limits ranging from 18 to 45 minutes. The HSPT is scored by adding the total number of questions answered correctly and converting this raw score to a scaled score that ranges from 200 – 800. There is no penalty for answering a question incorrectly, so it is in every student’s best interest to fill in an answer for every question. No calculator use is permitted.

Why does my child need to do well on the HSPT?

Because these schools are extremely popular, admissions are highly competitive. Obtaining an impressive score can be the edge that a child needs. For example, Regis High school (frequently voted the #1 Catholic High School in the country) utilizes HSPT results to determine which students move onto the next phase of admissions, and only the top scores are considered. Other Catholic schools weigh the HSPT heavily as well.

What’s on the HSPT?

There are five sections lasting approximately 2.5 hours.
The Verbal Skills section is broken into three distinct categories: synonyms and antonyms, word groupings, and reasoning abilities. While the first two test knowledge of vocabulary, the reasoning abilities involve hypothetical situations and come to conclusions that the student must determine as true, false, or uncertain. The Verbal Skills section may seem impossible to complete on time – 60 questions in only 18 minutes; however, the majority of the questions are quite straightforward and require little complex thought-processing or reading.
The Quantitative Skills section can also be divided into three categories: sequences, comparisons among values, and equation creation. Sequence-related questions ask students to complete a sequence of numbers or determine a missing number. Comparisons use inequality expressions (greater than or less than) to order values or to find that they are equal. From brief word
problems, an equation with a variable must be created to solve for the variable. With 30 minutes to complete 52 questions, students have roughly 30 seconds to spend on each question and some time to spare for reviewing their answers.
The Reading section is comprised of 5 or 6 reading passages with 6-8 questions apiece for a total of 62 questions to complete in 25 minutes. Most of the questions require interpretation of the passages. Roughly 20 questions are vocabulary words embedded into the passages.
The Mathematics section is divided into two subsections: Concepts and Problem Solving. Concepts, with 24 questions, cover a range of material such as exponents, fractions, area of circles, ratios, etc. Problem Solving, with 40 questions, consists mostly of word problems and equation-solving. With a total of 64 questions to complete in 45 minutes, students have about 40 seconds on each question.
The Language section tests grammar rules with 50 questions in capitalization, usage, punctuation, and spelling. The questions are broken into those four categories, so the student will know which grammar mistakes to track down. An additional 10 questions for proper sentence construction and composition primarily involve choosing the correct transitions between sentences, choosing sentences to follow a given topic, and choosing sentences that most clearly express an intended meaning. This section is 25 minutes long.

When should preparation begin?

As with any standardized test, the answer varies depending upon the student and the following factors:
  • Is the student working at grade level?
  • Are there concepts or material on the HSPT that require significant review?
  • Does the student typically perform well on standardized exams or important tests?
  • Is anxiety a factor in performance?
  • Is motivation an issue?
  • Does the student have a learning disability that needs remediation?
  • Is the student able to focus full attention on preparation?
  • Does the student have time to complete homework assignments as part of preparation?
  • Is the student applying to highly competitive schools for which a high score is more imperative?

Especially with students in this age range, it’s vital not to be in the position of cramming a few weeks or months before the exam. Rushing to prepare immediately before the HSPT generates significant added pressure and can sometimes cause debilitating anxiety in students who have never previously exhibited symptoms of being anxious. Even high performing students often begin preparation a year or more before the exam. I recommend completing an initial session and assessment as early as possible. In some instances it will be apparent the student is well positioned and doesn’t need to begin at that point; in other instances we may identify significant areas that need to be addressed over a longer period.

What next?

Contact me as soon as you start thinking about taking the HSPT and I can help you make an informed decision about when to get started with preparation.

Featured HSPT testimonial

Kenny Tan is a great choice for people looking for top notch high school test tutoring at a competitive price. We hired Kenny to help our son to prepare for the SHSAT as we thought he could make it to Stuyvesant. The lessons were fun and our son progressed very well under Kenny's guidance. However, when the SHSAT was delayed due to the pandemic, we asked Kenny to change the tutoring to target the HSPT instead (for Regis high school). Kenny was able to change the learning plan and quickly adapt the teaching to the requirements of the new test. Although there was only a month left, the test was successful and our son made it Regis interviews. We asked Kenny to prepare a mock interview that our son rehearsed several times. The result couldn’t have been better as we now have a Regis freshman in the family. Five stars to Kenny Tan!
- Stefano Diamantini