Top HSPT FAQs

  • What is the HSPT?
    The High School Placement Test, or HSPT, is a nationally-recognized private high school admissions exam that is also used for scholarship selection and curriculum placement.
  • What’s on the HSPT?
    The HSPT is a multiple-choice exam with 4 distinct sections and 1 optional science section:
    1. Reading – 62 questions
    2. Language skills – 74 questions
    3. Mathematics – 64 questions
    4. Cognitive Skills – 112 question
    5. Science Test (optional) – Question topics include: biological sciences, earth sciences, physical sciences, implications of scientific technology, and principles of scientific research and experimentation
    The full exam is over 300 questions and takes approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes to complete.
  • Why take the HSPT?
    Along with your school records, your HSPT score will be sent to the principals of the high schools that you’re applying to, so that they can make an admissions decision. The exam is also used in scholarship awards selections, and curriculum placement determinations.
  • How are HSPT exams scored?
    High schools nationwide use score results on the HSPT to make admissions decisions, scholarship award selections, and curriculum placement determinations.  That said, there are no set guidelines for how schools use score results, empowering each school to set its own rules for evaluating your scores. When determining your HSPT scores, the number of questions that you answered correctly on each of the subtests will be added up, which will give you a raw score for each subtest. Your raw scores will then be converted into standardized scores and national percentile rankings for each subtest, which will clearly show how you stack up against other test takers nationwide on a scale from 1 (low) to 99 (high) where 50 is average.
  • Should I prep for the HSPT? And how much?
    HSPT exams should be taken only once per student. It is up to the school to decide if retesting will be allowed. As such, preparation, especially with practice tests, before the exam is very important. Preparation times will of course vary from student to student, but to study the most efficiently it is recommended that students additionally use test preparation books which have diagnostic test and test taking strategies. Diagnostic tests allow students to see their strengths and weaknesses so they can focus their study efforts and minimize required study time to pass the exam.
  • How do I register for the HSPT exam?
    The HSPT is ordered and administered by individual schools or dioceses throughout the country. Your first step towards taking the HSPT should be to contact the school where you’d like to take the test, and ask for information about their registration process. Unlike other standardized admissions exams, the STS (the Scholastic Testing Service–the official HSPT creators and administrators) does not have set national days for administering the test. Individual schools and dioceses determine their own test days. For more information, contact the school in which  you’d like to take the HSPT.