What is tested on the HSPT®?

Recently I was trying to find information regarding another high school entrance exam. During my search, I realized that because I have been preparing students for the HSPT® for so long, I suffer from the curse of knowledge. That is to say, I unknowingly assume others have a good understanding of the High School Placement Test®. It dawned on me, as I was trying to find general information relating to this other entrance exam I didn’t know much about, that most parents and students don’t know much about the HSPT®. I want to use this blog post to explain the structure of the test and also give examples of the different problem types found on the exam so you can be knowledgeable about the format of the HSPT® and know specifically what is tested.

Let’s start with the structure. The HSPT® is 298-problem, multiple-choice exam consisting of 5 separate subtests:

  1. Verbal Subtest (60 problems/18 minutes timed)
  2. Quantitative Subtest (52 Problems/30 minutes timed)
    Break – 5 minutes (time may vary)
  3. Reading Subtest (62 Problems/25 minutes timed)
  4. Mathematics Subtest (64 Problems/45 minutes timed)
    Break – 2 minutes (time may vary)
  5. Language Subtest (60 Problems/25 minutes timed)

Note: If you’ve visited other websites that explain the HSPT®, you may have read that the Verbal Subtest is timed for 16 minutes. This is a relic from the past. The Verbal Subtest is currently timed for 18 minutes.

Next, let me share with you the distinct problem types found on each subtest:

Verbal – 5 Problem Types

Analogy (approx. 10 problems):
Microphone is to amplify as telescope is to ______.
a) space
b) magnify
c) stars
d) clarify

Logic (approx. 12 problems):
Sam is older than Tim but younger than Margaret. Vivian is older than Margaret but younger than Xavier.  Tim is the youngest one in the group. If the first two statements are true, the third is ______.
a) true
b) false
c) uncertain

Classification (approx. 17 problems):
Which word does not belong with the others?
a) freedom
b) independence
c) liberty
d) justice

Synonym (approx. 12 problems):
Repugnant most nearly means ______.
a) vicarious
b) pleasing
c) chubby
d) disgusting

Antonym (approx. 9 problems):
Sullen means the opposite of ______.
a) downtrodden
b) alive
c) cheerful
d) resentful

Quantitative – 3 Problem Types

Sequence (approx. 22 problems):
What number should come next in this series:   82, 62, 46, 34, 26…
a) 22
b) 16
c) 20
d) 4

Reasoning (approx. 11 problems):
What number added to 11 is 4 times the product of 6 and 2?
a) 21
b) 18
c) 59
d) 37

Comparison (approx. 19 problems):
Review (A), (B), and (C) and choose the best answer.

(A) 2/3 of 9
(B) 20% of 15
(c) 10% of 30

a) (A), (B), and (C) are equal
b) (A) > (B) and (B) < (C)
c) (B) and (C) are equal
d) (B) > (A)

Reading – 2 Problem Types

Comprehension (40 problems):
What would be a good title for this passage?
a) “Deserts of the World”
b) “The Hottest Place on Earth”
c) “The Deadliest Place on Earth”
d) “The Great Mojave Desert”

Vocabulary (22 problems):
Choose the word that means the same or nearly the same as the underlined word.

the clandestine meeting
a) important
b) secret
c) short
d) boring

Mathematics – 5 Problem Types

Numbers & Numeration (approx. 32 problems):
Jimmy bought a guitar that cost $298 plus a 7.5% sales tax. How much sales tax did Jimmy pay?
a) $22.35
b) $275.65
c) $320.35
d) $20.75

Measurements (approx. 6 problems):
How many fluid ounces are there in 3 cups?
a) 48 fluid ounces
b) 24 fluid ounces
c) 12 fluid ounces
d) 36 fluid ounces

Geometry (approx. 11 problems):
What is the area of a triangle with a base of 10 cm and a height of 47 cm?
a) 235 cm2
b) 57 cm2
c) 470 cm2
d) 5 cm2

Algebra (approx. 9 problems):
Solve for x:   3x – 2 > 16
a) 5
b) 6
c) 7
d) 4

Statistics & Probability (approx. 6 problems):
There are 5 blue marbles, 3 green marbles, and 7 yellow marbles in a jar. Without looking, what is the probability of reaching into the jar and picking a green marble?
a) 3/12
b) 3/7
c) 3/10
d) 1/5

Language – 3 Problem Types

Grammar (40 problems):
Look for errors in capitalization, punctuation, or usage. Mark the answer choice that contains the error. 
a) Mike played a good game.
b) My brother bought tickets for my dad and I.
c) Laura sang loudly into the microphone.
d) No mistakes.

Spelling (10 problems):
Look only for spelling errors. If there is no misspelling, mark (d) on your answer sheet.
a) I recieved the package yesterday.
b) The business was extremely lucrative.
c) The riddle was hard to decipher.
d) No mistakes.

Composition (10 problems):
Which of the following sentences most clearly expresses the intended idea?
a) Nature, while hiking the Appalachian Trail, was experienced by the hikers as safe and comfortable.
b) Hiking the Appalachian Trail, nature was experienced by the hikers as safe and comfortable.
c) The Appalachian Trail and nature was experienced by the hikers as safe and comfortable.
d) Hiking the Appalachian Trail, the hikers experienced nature as safe and comfortable.

I hope you now have a very clear picture about the format of the HSPT® and also what is tested on the exam!

All model problems shown above are taken from our online HSPT® Diagnostic Assessment. This full-length model HSPT® exam is a great tool to see how prepared your child is for the HSPT® and to know exactly which areas your child will want to work in before taking his or her actual exam. For more information about our HSPT® Diagnostic Assessment please click the button below: