January 8, 2018

Parent’s Guide to the HSPT (High School Placement Test)

Written by Paraclete High School

 The HSPT, or High School Placement Test, is a milestone for eighth graders looking to transition to a select high school. This test is often used to place incoming students in California’s many Catholic high schools. 

While it might seem daunting, keep in mind that this test is important to finding the “right fit” school for your child. We want you and your child to be prepared and confident for this test, and provide all of our prospective students the opportunity to take a Workshop to prepare them for the upcoming test date, as well as helpful information below. 

What is the HSPT?

The High School Placement Test is an in-person exam, scheduled over a 4-hour period. There are five sections, or sub-tests, that cover the following areas: reading, mathematics, verbal, quantitative, and language skills. 

The test is provided at Paraclete High School, by our own qualified teachers and staff members who are very familiar with the rhythm and pace of the exam. The HSPT is a standard method that private schools, and particularly Catholic high schools, use to find students who submit scores that demonstrate a student will be well-positioned for a rigorous high school curriculum. 

Preparing for the HSPT

How Can We Study for the HSPT?

This test judges a student’s previous schooling, and a well-rounded education in primary school is the first thing each student needs. The most important factor will be getting a good night’s sleep before exam day. Be sure to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated during the exam. 

If your student requires special accommodations to take the HSPT, reach out to our Admissions team as soon as you can to discuss your child’s needs. 

Tips for Taking the HSPT

  • At the start of each section, read the directions carefully. Each sub-test, or section, will have individual directions. 
  • Read each question carefully, to understand what they’re asking.
  • Each section is timed, so pace yourself. Test administrators usually announce when a section’s time is halfway. 
  • Answer all the questions you can. You don’t lose points for wrong answers, so if you aren’t sure, take your best guess!
  • Check your work. If you have time left at the end of a sub-test, check your answers, or look back at any you weren’t sure about. 


When Will I Get My HSPT Scores?

Unlike the ACT or SAT, there is no national system for the HSPT. Here at Paraclete, we administer the test ourselves, submit the results for scoring, and then it takes a 3-5 weeks from the exam date for parents and students to get the results. 

Scores for the HSPT are given for individual sections as well as overall aptitude. This combination of scores provide insight past a student’s report cards, which can be very helpful in a full admissions application. Remember, that undue stress can do more harm than good, and try not to put pressure on your student when they’re preparing for the HSPT.  

As part of our Freshman Admissions application, we require all prospective freshmen to take the High School Placement Test. Get started with your application and sign up for the HSPT today!