Entrance Testing Information – January 11, 2014

What are the check-in times for eighth grade applicants taking the entrance test at Saint Mary’s?

The high school entrance test will be administered by Saint Mary’s on Saturday, January 11, 2014.  Students taking the test at Saint Mary’s should report to the GYMNASIUM FOR CHECK-IN. Room assignments will be given at the time of check in.

Students should follow the check-in times indicated below:

Students WITH EXTENDED TIME will begin their exam promptly at 8:00 a.m. with check-in beginning at
7:30 a.m. in the gymnasium. Extended time is granted for students who have documented learning differences and have official documentation on file at Saint Mary’s prior to the date of the exam.

♦ Students WITHOUT EXTENDED TIME will begin their exam promptly at 8:30 a.m. with check-in beginning
at 8:00 a.m. in the gymnasium.

What is the name of the entrance test given? How can students prepare for it?
All eighth grade applicants are required to take the Scholastic Testing Service High School Placement Test (HSPT). The purpose of the test is to determine how well applicants have mastered their elementary school curriculum. There are several test preparation books available at local bookstores and some credible sites online for students who want a “sense” of the standardized test format and taking tests in a timed environment. These books and /or websites will not teach your child the testing material, but will expose them to the standardized testing format.

Since this test reflects eight plus years of learning, the best way to prepare for the HSPT test is for students to focus and pay attention in class, do all their class work, homework, and bottom-line, take your eighth grade studies seriously. Students should ask their teacher(s) what they can do to review basic math and English skills prior to the test or whether the teacher(s) has plans to incorporate a test review into lesson plans for the entire class.

What is included on the test?
The High School Placement Test sections include:
• verbal cognitive skills, such as analogies, logic, synonyms and antonyms;
• quantitative cognitive skills, such as numeric comparisons and manipulation;
• reading achievement, such as vocabulary and reading comprehension;
• mathematics achievement, such as numeration, percents and decimals, problem solving,
computations and applications; and
• language achievement, such as punctuation, capitalization, spelling and composition.

If my child is taking the exam at Saint Mary’s, what does he or she need to bring to the exam?

Those students who wish to test at Saint Mary’s and who have submitted their application or before January 3, 2014 will receive an email confirmation. As applications are submitted, email exam confirmations will be sent at the end of each month. Students do not need to bring materials to the exam. We encourage students to bring something to read quietly as he/she waits for the exam to begin. Saint Mary’s will supply all items for the exam, including pencils and scratch paper. CALCULATORS ARE NOT ALLOWED. Student’s cell phones will be required to be silenced and not visible during the exam.

What is the cost of taking the test?

The cost of the exam is included in the Saint Mary’s application fee. Each Catholic high school sets their own application fee. If a student is applying to more than one Catholic high school, they must pay the application fee at each school, whether they are testing there or not.

How long is the test and will my child have a break?

The HSPT is a two and a half hour test. Students will have a 15 minute break halfway through the test. There will be snacks available for them during break. Saint Mary’s allows for time for the test proctor to go over directions with the students, for filling out the answer sheet, and for general test instructions. The total time of the test is between three and three-and-a-half hours. Students with extended time will be longer.

Can my child take the HSPT test at any school he/she chooses?
Students may take the HSPT test at any high school site where they have submitted an application, without negative consequences in the admissions process. If a student chooses to apply to more than one East Bay Catholic high school, they may take the HSPT exam any school site which is most convenient. On the day of the exam, students will be instructed to indicate on their answer sheet which East Bay high school(s) they have submitted an application (up to 3) and are requesting to receive their test scores . Students may take the exam only once.

Do you offer extended time on the HSPT for students with learning differences?
All applicants with learning differences must submit letters of formal documentation / assessment from qualified professionals stating diagnosis, treatment, progress, and potential for success at Saint Mary’s in order for an applicant to be granted extended time of the HSPT admissions exam. Extended time provided amounts to approximately a one hour total extension of time. There are no untimed exams at Saint Mary’s. Documentation must accompany your application in order to be considered for extended time, and must be dated within three years of January 2014.

Will you accept other test scores in place of the HSPT?
Saint Mary’s requires that all students take the HSPT exam unless they are coming from out-of-state and/or the HSPT exam is not available. When appropriate, comparable, standardized testing results will be accepted.

Will families receive copies of the test scores?
If your child is taking the HSPT test at Saint Mary’s, we will send a copy of your child’s test results home along with their decision letter. If the test was taken at another school, results should come directly from that school.

How important are the test results to the admissions process?
Five sources of information are considered when evaluating a candidate for admission to Saint Mary’s.
They are:
1. The application,
2. The applicant’s 7th and 8th grade academic transcript and standardized testing,
3. The principal and teacher recommendations,
4. The student interview, and
5. The HSPT test results.
The test results are important and students should take them seriously, as they contribute to the overall picture of the student. However, the HSPT test is not the most important criteria when considering and evaluating a candidate for admission.

Is there an opportunity for accelerated placement testing?
Once a student is accepted, the results of the HSPT are not the sole basis used to appropriately place freshman in higher level academic classes. Saint Mary’s will hold further subject placement testing on May 10, 2014, for accepted freshman who opt to test for possible higher course placement in math, English, international language, and certain Visual and Performing Arts. The subject placement testing in early May allows students the benefit of completing the majority of their coursework in a particular subject area so that they are able to accurately demonstrate the extent of their comprehension and knowledge.