SHSAT info and tips

First, if you have any concerns about your reservation, I would check with a real person. This sign up yourself system is brand new, there were plenty of glitches, and checking on things now could prevent adding stress on test day.

Again, you should be able to print out tickets on 10/17. And the DOE said they’d have printers on site - but I would strongly suggest printing out beforehand if you can.

So, some tips and thoughts for test day:

Have your child eat a solid breakfast or lunch. While they say you can bring snacks and water into the test, not all proctors are created equal and not all let kids eat or drink. 

Send them in layers. Some schools don’t open windows. Others blast air conditioning. Good to be comfortable.

Who they stand on line with outside the test site is who they’ll be sitting with inside. I had no idea and sent my daughter over that overpass at Stuy in a sea of strangers. That was a tears in my eyes moment. With Jack we realized we could stand outside Stuy itself. He met friends online and even with the pressure of test day, it was a bit easier because he was with people he knew. They got to talk online and in their test room before the test started. That made him feel more comfortable and grounded. 

In that SHSAT webinar I did, the tutor I spoke with gave great advice. He said kids should take a bathroom break between sections, using it as an opportunity to stand up, stretch, clear their heads a bit. They can even throw a granola bar in their pocket and have a quick snack then. 3 hour is a long time to sit and shaking things off a bit can help.

Talk to them about not getting caught up on any one question. This is a long test and 20 of the questions won’t count towards their grade. 

Time management is KEY. I sent Jack with an analog watch to help him keep track of time. He had a whole system he learned in test prep about how to make questions he needed to go back to, so he could move on and know what he needed to recheck.
DOUBLE CHECK ANSWERS. If kids are finished early, they should use that time to review. 

There are different versions of the test, to prevent cheating. Hard to compare afterwards because of that. 

If you’re meeting your child afterwards, there could be drama. It’s an intense experience with a lot riding on it. Izzy came out sobbing, but that’s because she left her favorite umbrella inside and they wouldn’t let her go back. Jack was ok, but commented on more than one child throwing up in the classroom itself and in the hallway. 

Also, it might be nice to bring snacks if you’re meeting them.

And while yes, the stakes on this test are SO high and many kids are well aware of what’s on the line, remind them it’s only a test. It doesn’t reflect how smart or capable they are themselves or compared to others. Some kids have great test days. Some choke. Some don’t test well. This is one snapshot on one day.