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Many eighth graders and their parents spend a lot of time in planning and choosing the high school that they would like to join for the coming school year. If you want to join a reputed high school, then there is no doubting the fact that you would face tough competition from other students who are seeking admission to the same school. As a school can admit only a limited number of students, most schools lay down admission criteria that are utilized by them to assess the suitability of a candidate for admission. Your High School Placement Test (HSPT) score report is one such criterion that is accepted by numerous Catholic high schools for the admission process.
How Important is it to Score High in HSPT?
Choosing a reputed high school and earmarking it for seeking admission is a very small part of the admission process. The most important part of the admission process is to find out the admission criteria of the high school in which you are seeking admission. Irrespective of the system employed by high schools for considering your HSPT scores, your aim should be to score as high as possible in the HSPT. This will improve your chances of getting admission as you will be able to demonstrate that your basic verbal, quantitative, reading, math, and language skills are better than those of your competitors. A high level of these skills is required for indicating that you are well prepared to carry out high school studies as no school would like to grant admission to a student who is lacking in these skills.
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How are the HSPT Scores Calculated?
There are 5 test sections in HSPT, one each for evaluating the skills being assessed by HSPT. All the test sections consist of multiple-choice questions.
- Cognitive Skills
Your cognitive skills are assessed by two test sections, one each for testing each of the following skills:
- Verbal Skills (VB): 60 questions
- Quantitative Skills (QT): 52 questions
- Basic Skills
There are three test sections for evaluating the following three skills that come under the basic skills classification:
- Reading (RD): 62 questions
- Mathematics (MT): 64 questions
- Language (LN): 60 questions
You will earn a raw score for each of the test sections. These raw scores are directly dependent on the number of questions that you have answered correctly. No marks are deducted for questions that have been answered incorrectly by you. Therefore, it would be wise to take a guess if you do not know the answer to a question. The raw scores are converted to scaled scores that range from 200 to 800.
What are the Passing Scores for HSPT?
The passing scores for HSPT are decided by the state boards of education. Most of the schools that consider your HSPT scores for admissions will set a minimum HSPT score that needs to be attained to be considered for admissions. They may not set any specific ‘passing’ scores. At the same time, some schools will assign a weight to your HSPT scores and they will be considered along with the other criteria rather than setting a minimum HSPT score. The importance that will be accorded to your HSPT scores for the admission process will vary from school to school. Therefore, you need to get in touch with the high school of your choice to find out how your performance in HSPT will be considered during the admission process.
What does the HSPT Score Report Contain?
Your HSPT score report will display the following:
- Scores on each test section in the form of national percentiles: These percentiles indicate your performance in respect of the other test-takers who have taken the HSPT. For instance, if your Reading Skills score is 50, then it means that you have performed better than 50 percent of the students who have taken the HSPT in a national sample. National percentiles falling in the range of 40 to 70 are considered as average.
- Total Cognitive Skills (TCS): These scores are displayed as national percentiles and they are the total of your scores in the Verbal Skills and Quantitative Skills test sections.
- Total Basic Skills (TBS): These scores are the total of your scores in the Reading, Mathematics and Language test sections and are displayed as national percentiles.
- Battery Composite (CMP): These percentiles are based on the total of your scores in the Verbal, Quantitative, Reading, Language and Mathematics test sections.
- Optional Test (OP): These percentiles are included in your score report if you have taken the optional test in Science, Mechanical Aptitude, or Religion. Certain high schools will require you to take the optional test while others may not have this requirement.
- Cognitive Skills Quotient (CSQ): This is similar to an IQ score and it is a measure of your learning potential. It gives an estimate of how you are likely to perform in your high school studies depending upon your learning potential. Your CSQ will also be dependent upon your age at the time at which you took the HSPT. The CSQ operational range is 55-145. The average CSQ is approximately 100.
- Grade Equivalents (GE): Your GE scores are dependent on grade and month. For example a GE of 8.5 refers to an eighth grader at the 5th month. You will get GE scores for the reading, mathematics and language skills.
- Your score report will also contain an explanation of the skills being evaluated by HSPT. The score report will also contain a description of what your scores for each of the test sections mean. You will also be able to understand the significance of the CSQ and GE, as it is explained in the score report.
How are HSPT Scores Distributed?
Unlike other standardized tests like SAT and ACT, the score distribution system for HSPT is different. HSPT is generally conducted at high schools and there are no national test centres for HSPT. If you are testing in the high school that requires the HSPT scores, then your score report will go to that school only. There are certain regions in which a group of high schools conduct the HSPT collectively. If you are appearing for such a group, then you can choose to send your scores to more than one high school by selecting the relevant codes for the schools of your choice on the HSPT test date. Therefore, the distribution of scores and the significance of the HSPT scores are dependent upon the high schools that are conducting the HSPT or are accepting HSPT scores.
How to Score High in HSPT?
Scoring high in HSPT is not difficult at all. The most important requirement for doing well in HSPT is to work out a planned routine for studying for HSPT. This routine should be followed on a daily basis. Scholastic Testing Service (STS) owns the HSPT. Go to the official website of STS, www.ststesting.com and understand the test content as well as the skills that are being assessed by the HSPT. You need to study the HSPT test content and identify the subject areas in which your skills are not good enough to fetch you high scores. Spend more time on developing your skills in the subject areas in which you need improvement.
You will need to utilize your knowledge of academic subjects for answering the questions specific to the HSPT test format. Spend time in memorizing important concepts and formulae. Take the help of study guides and practice tests to familiarize yourself with the test content. Ensure that you solve practice problems that come with explanations to the correct answers. You will not achieve much by solving practice problems if you are not aware of the logic behind the procedure that leads to the correct answer.
Study well and have confidence in yourself. Tackle the questions asked in HSPT with a calm and confident frame of mind and nothing will be able to stop you from getting high HSPT scores!
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