HSPT Basics

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is an admissions exam for eighth graders applying to private Catholic high schools. The HSPT is administered by each individual school, typically in January, and the student must register for the test through their prospective high school.  The standard HSPT has 5 sections: Verbal, Quantitative Skills, Reading, Mathematics, and Language Skills.

Why Choose Gallagher Prep?

  • Get instant feedback on assignments and quizzes (which boosts student confidence)
  • Pinpoint problem areas fast (and support learning with follow-up questions and tutor feedback)
  • Track and report on your student’s progress (including how much they’ve watched of each tutorial)
  • Provides tutors powerful insights (so they can quickly adjust the curriculum to support student growth)

We have successfully prepared thousands of students for this exam for the last 30 years and also worked with parents to best position their child for the high school admissions process by providing guidance extracurricular activities and high school admissions essays.  Our program is more than test prep, it’s guidance through the high school admissions process to present the most competitive application possible.

What do we offer?


Session Structure

We have developed our proprietary curriculum that emphasizes testing over many weeks before the HSPT is administered.  Nearly all of our students score in the 99th percentile nationally. Compared to other programs, we offer the longest and most comprehensive HSPT and High School Admissions program focusing on testing and incremental gains in results over time.  Our classes are structured once per week for 2 hours.


Course Content

In addition to the HSPT content, we focus on test-taking skills, including question interpretation, guessing strategy, time management, fundamental reading, and math concepts.  We also work on admissions essay conception, production, and grammar. Lastly, we provide guidance for the admissions interview required by some schools.



Our proprietary HSPT materials reflect the current content and best strategies for taking the test. We cover all topics of the HSPT, but focus on the most important content and testing strategies to best prepare your student for success.  

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Call now to register for a diagnostic test!

Don’t guess – assess! Our diagnostic test pinpoints student strengths and weaknesses, so you can choose the best test prep option for their needs and learning style. To schedule a diagnostic test, please call (408) 376-0752 or fill out our form on this page.

HSPT frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How is the HSPT test structured?

Composition of the Test

Timetable and Analysis of the HPST

Section Time Allotted Number of Questions
  1. Verbal Skills
16 minutes 60
Verbal analogies 10
Synonyms 15
Logic 10
Verbal classifications 16
Antonyms 9
  1. Quantitative Skills
30 minutes 52
Number series 18
Geometric comparison 9
Nongeometric comparison 8
Number manipulation 17
  1. Reading
25 minutes 62
Comprehension 40
Vocabulary 22
  1. Mathematics
45 minutes 64
Concepts 24
Problem solving 40
  1. Language Skills
25 minutes 40
Punctuation, capitalization 12
Usage 28
Spelling 10
Composition 10

Where can I find out more about the HSPT?

To learn more, visit the HSPT website, or the HSPT Parent’s Page. Contact your student’s prospective school(s) for their individual requirements.

How do I interpret my scores? Why are my local and national rank so different?

Your student’s total number of correct answers in each section is called their ‘raw score’. Each raw score is converted into a scaled score of 200-800 that means the same thing across all versions of the HSPT.

Your student also receives a percentile rank for each section, which is their standing in comparison to the national sample. Scholastic Testing Service also provides a local percentile rank that can vary greatly from the national rank depending on location. Each percentile rank is followed by a stanine, which represents the percentile rank in a score of 1 to 9.

When and where can I take the HSPT?

The HSPT has no national administration and is instead administered directly through the school to which your student is applying.  If applying to multiple schools that accept the HSPT, it is possible the student’s test scores for one school can be sent to other schools, but each of the prospective schools must be contacted to confirm.

The tests are typically given in January but could be as early as October, depending on the school. Retakes are rarely provided so it is important to plan ahead.

How is the test scored?

The entire exam is multiple-choice. Each question is worth one point and there is no penalty for guessing. The student’s raw score for the standard HSPT is converted into a scaled score of 200-800 and the student receives a percentile rank in comparison to the national sample. The prospective schools then consider the scores for admissions, academic placement, and assigning scholarships. The scores from the optional exam sections (if administered) are not included in the composite score from the HSPT but may be used to determine a student’s placement in particular courses such as advanced or honors classes.

Applying to multiple schools that accept the HSPT, it is possible the student’s test scores for one school can be sent to other schools, but each of the prospective schools must be contacted to confirm.