Scholastic Testing Service offers the High School Placement Test (HSPT) to independent and parochial schools nationwide. The HSPT consists of five component tests and three optional component tests. The five standard components are tests in the areas of verbal, quantitative, reading, mathematics, and language skills. Results from the component exams are factored into the student’s composite score. The three optional component exams – science, religion, and mechanical aptitude – are often used by schools to aid in placement in advanced courses. The HSPT is usually required as a part of a student’s application packet.
This article discusses the Language component of the HSPT exam.
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Who can take the HSPT?
Students entering the ninth grade in the fall take the HSPT in January for entrance into the fall school year.
Each independent or Catholic high school has a unique application procedure. The admissions counselor at your school provides registration, cost, date, location, and the passing score for the HSPT. Often the testing fee is included in the application fee. It is important that you understand the application process and meet the deadlines. If you have any questions, ask your admissions counselor.
HSPT Language test section design
The HSPT Language test is a pencil and paper admission test. Test dates are predetermined, and you will take the exam at the same time as many of your friends. Within the Language test section, there are 60 multiple-choice questions. You have 25 minutes to answer all the questions in your test booklet. When you have finished the Language test, you have a short break before moving on to the next test in the HSPT.
Four parts that make up the Language section of the HSPT:
- Punctuation and Capitalization – 12 questions
The tasks presented to you in this section include the identification of punctuation and capitalization errors and the rules that govern commonly used punctuation.
- Usage – 28 questions
This section tests your knowledge of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and other parts of speech. Content may include questions regarding the correct and incorrect usage of words and parts of speech.
- Spelling – 10 questions
In the spelling section, you are asked to identify the correct spelling of vocabulary. Remember the different spelling rules as well as the proper use and indication of prefixes and suffixes.
- Composition – 10 questions
The Composition section assesses your knowledge in formulating and communicating written language.
This section is “closed book”; you are not allowed any reference materials throughout the exam. All exam questions are geared to the eighth-grade knowledge base. After you have completed the Language section, you are provided a short break before moving to the next section of the HSPT.
You are allowed to take two Number 2 pencils in with you to the testing center. You are provided a test booklet and answer sheet. You can take notes, mark questions for review, and work out problems on the pages in your test booklet, the only scratch paper that is allowed in the center.
You have 25 minutes to work through this section of the HSPT. It is important that you work quickly and efficiently. You are not penalized for guessing, so if you have a choice to leave the question blank or guess, guess. You have a one in four chance of getting the right answer.
Your overall score is based on the number of correct responses, with no penalty for wrong answers. Your points from each section are combined and converted to your scaled score. The score range is 200 to 800, with 600 an “above average” score. Each school determines the admissions score range. The scaled score ranges from 200 to 800, with 600 generally considered “above average.”
Official score reports are sent to each high school you indicated on your test form. Because each school has different admission requirements, have a conversation with your program admissions officer to make sure you are clear on the expectations and minimum standards required for admittance.
As a rule, the HSPT can only be taken once. If you are allowed to retake the exam, your lowest score may be the score that the school uses. Make sure you know the qualifications and standards of your chosen
Put your best foot forward
The HSPT is a diagnostic admissions test. Your results are used to judge whether or not you have the knowledge base needed to continue with your education at your chosen school. It is not exaggerating too much to say that your high school career depends on your results on the HSPT.
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