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The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) is the only criterion for admissions to 8 of the 9 New York City Specialized High Schools. The only exception is the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, which requires an audition or portfolio for admission.
The SHSAT is administered by the New York City Department of Education and is only available to New York City residents in the 8th grade. 9th grade students may also choose to take the 9th grade version of the SHSAT for a very limited number of seats that may become available at the Specialized High Schools.
In 2016, approximately 28,000+ students took the SHSAT, and less than 20% of those students were accepted to a New York City Specialized High School.