Test Day Basics! (Where do I go? What do I bring?)
You have your SHSAT Test Ticket. (You’re holding your future in your hands! Exciting!) All the information on it is correct, it tells you when and where to take the exam. Now what do you do on Test Day?
One of the most important things to do is to have a conversation with your parent or guardian about know what school you want to go to. On your Test Ticket, there will be a signature line for you to sign, and a separate line for your parent or guardian to sign before the exam. So—before you get on-site for the big test, make sure you have The Talk with your parents. You know… The Talk where you both agree on what school you would most flourish at, and which schools would be awesome options for you if you don’t get in to your #1 choice of school. When you get to the test site, you will be asked to list, in order, which schools you would like to consider you. (The choice of how many schools to apply to is completely yours—you can apply to only one, or all eight, but you’ll have to list them on Test Day.) Remember, you have a better shot at getting into a specialized high school if you list more options. Don’t sign up for a school to consider you if it’s a school you either can’t attend, or don’t want to attend.
Once you list your schools in order of preference on Test Day, you can’t change your mind.
So, you’ll bring your Test Ticket to the test site that is listed on your Ticket. (For the location you’ll go to, find the district your school is in. For more info, see “Where do I take the SHSAT?”) Don’t be late! You don’t want to be denied admittance into the exam room because an accident backed up the highway or the Uber guy didn’t know where to take you. Plan ahead: plan for the best, prepare for the worst… get there early!
Double-check that you have your Ticket, since if you show up without it, you’ll either have to reschedule your test, or you might not get to take it at all (if there aren’t spots available to accommodate a rescheduled exam). Plan to wait a bit at the testing site. There will be hundreds of students there to take the exam, along with parents making sure their students are at the right spot. Be patient!
You’ll be happy to know that you can use your cell phone at the SHSAT exam site before the test starts. So, listen to music, watch The Avengers, or SnapChat with your friends beforehand to help you decompress. Just know that there aren’t any other electric devices allowed on-site, and that phones must be completely off and stowed while you are in school buildings. Site monitors frequently do ensure phones are completely off and put away. Students need to be prepared to demonstrate that their phone is completely off if a monitor requests it.
It’s a terrific idea to bring a watch with you. You might not have a watch if you have a phone, but we’re going to be practicing good time management as prep for the exam, and you can’t have good time management if you aren’t watching your time! Remember, you can’t use your phone to know what time it is, and you can’t guarantee you’ll have access to a clock. So, bring a watch that is not a smart watch. (Smart watches will be confiscated, just like any calculators or any other electronic device that can make a calculation. They’re cool– don’t bring them with you.) Where the watch, and practice using prior to the test. Also, make sure to have several sharp, number 2 pencils with good erasers.
The official word on snacks is that you can bring them into the exam, and that proctors will tell you if it’s inappropriate to eat them. What that actually means on test day in most locations is that staff confiscates snacks at the door. You also can bring snacks while you wait to gain admittance into the exam, and you can have water during the exam, but the proctors are picky, especially about noise. You can get away with drinking water quietly, but don’t bring “loud” water bottles. Anything that crinkles, distracts, and has a cap that snaps loudly—keep it at home. Even though you probably can’t bring food past the point of admittance, definitely bring food to eat in line. There aren’t any breaks during the exam, so you won’t be able to store a snack to eat later, but lines are long and it makes sense to make sure you’re not hungry during the test.
Once you get to the front of the line to get in, there will be a sign that will say something like, “No Parents Beyond This Point”. Say a goodbye, and enter the door. Once inside, proctors will confirm who you are, and will give you a room assignment. Once in your room, you’ll wait a bit longer, and then you are ready to take the SHSAT!