Mastering SHSAT Math: Key Concepts and Strategies for Success

Mastering SHSAT Math Key Concepts and Strategies for Success

The Math section is a crucial component of the SHSAT(Specialized High Schools Admissions Test), and mastering it is essential to achieve success on the test. The Math test is a multiple-choice exam consisting of 57 straightforward questions based on fundamental Mathematical concepts. These questions include 5 grid-in questions and 52 multiple-choice questions. The total duration of the SHSAT exam is 180 minutes. The expected time for the Math section is 90 minutes, but it’s up to you how much time you wish to spend on it.

The Math test is designed to assess student’s skills, knowledge, and understanding in various areas of Math complying with the New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss key concepts and strategies that will help you master SHSAT Math and achieve success on the test.

Key Concepts for SHSAT Math Test

The SHSAT Math exam tests students’ proficiency in several key Math concepts, including:

1. Arithmetic: The SHSAT Math can include questions about basic operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, order of operations, and whole number operations, as well as fractions, decimals, percentages, estimation, ratios, and proportions. 

2. Algebra: This includes topics including linear equations, functions, inequalities, systems of equations, polynomials, and factoring.

3. Geometry: In the test, you’ll find questions about basic geometry concepts like lines, angles, triangles, circles, polygons, coordinate geometry, three-dimensional shapes, similarity, and congruence. 

4. Statistics and probability: This includes data analysis, interpreting graphs and charts, probability, permutations, combinations, mean, median, mode, and range.

5. Word problems: These question types require students to have strong reading comprehension skills and apply Mathematical concepts to real-world situations. 

Please note that the 8th-grade and 9th-grade math tests are not the same. The 9th grade math section is more advanced, and may also include questions based on trigonometry.  

Strategies for Mastering SHSAT Math Test

Here are some important things that will help you prepare for the exam well:

1. Use Good Study Resources

To prepare for the Math section of the SHSAT, it is best to aid your learning and practice with high-quality study resources such as textbooks, online resources, practice tests, and SHSAT prep courses provided at schools, local libraries, or community organizations. You can also access the official SHSAT practice material from the website of The NYC Department of Education for free. 

2. Practice Word problems

Word problems can be tough to attempt as they need you to translate a written problem into a Mathematical equation before you solve it. Read each word of the problem carefully and identify the key information before attempting to solve it. 

3. Identify Weak Areas

To practice for the exam, take full-length practice tests to identify topics you struggle with the most and focus on improving them through targeted study and practice. Keep track of your progress and scores as you practice to see which concepts you have aced and which ones need more work.

4. Work on Paper

When you have worked with a lot of Math problems, it can be tempting to do calculations in mind. But, this is not a good practice. The SHSAT provides scratch paper to provide exam takers a dedicated space where they can keep track of their work, and write down any calculations, formulas, or notes. This way you can show your work to the examiner too.  

5. Be Consistent

Set aside regular study time each week, and work through as many practice problems as possible to develop your problem-solving abilities. Never skip on your study schedule. Review key Maths concepts and vocabulary to ensure that you understand the terms used in the questions. You are not allowed to use a calculator on the SHSAT Math exam, so make sure you practice accordingly.

Important Tips to Attempt Math Test 

  • Before answering, make sure you read the instructions carefully and understand what is being asked. 
  • Be careful with double-negative questions like, “Which of the following is not untrue?” and ambiguous wording. 
  • For grid-in questions, write answers only in the grid provided on the answer sheet. Make sure you fill in all the boxes.
  • Allocate yourself an equal amount of time for each question. If you get stuck on a question, leave it for later and move on to the next question.
  • Before submitting your exam, make sure you double-check your answers for any careless errors, calculation mistakes, and missing answers.
  • Make it a practice to eliminate incorrect answer choices when you are not sure of an answer. This will narrow down your choices and help you figure out the correct answer.


Many tutoring services specialize in preparing students for the SHSAT exam. They can provide expert guidance, personalized attention, and additional resources for the Math section. If you are looking for the best SHSAT coaching in the US, Kitab can be an excellent choice, with more than 80% selections for the 8 elite schools of NYC.