Please recall the following points about the Exam so you or your child can prepare accordingly:
1. The Hunter
HS Admissions Test is a 3-hour exam. For some students, this might be the most demanding test they have taken, so they
will need to practice to build the necessary stamina.
2. The Sample Essay posted by Hunter (at least as of 2015-2016
admissions year) does not fully reflect the format of the actual exam as it has been recently given. This disparity is not
a reason for anxiety and crisis, but parents and students should be aware that in recent years there has been no grammar section
and the missing questions have been supplanted by further reading. (Parents shoudl keep in mind, however, that Hunter
reserves the right to change the format of the Exam at will, so it may be advisable to prepare a little for grammar just in
case it is inserted back into the exam without notice. It is also, of course, beneficial for students to know more about grammar
anyway: conscious knowledge will improve writing skill.)
3. Because Hunter is secretive about its exam and has not released
many samples, students need to be resourceful in preparing, availing themselves of commercial materials or materials generated
by test prep centers, which seek to approximate the difficulty and conditions of the exam.
4. At the outset of
the exam, the applicants are given the test packet and begin working. They have 3 hours to complete it and can complete
it in any order they wish. The Sample Exam is structured as follows: Reading, Math, Writing, but (at least as of 2015)
students have the freedom to move around within sections.
5. For the last couple of years, the topic of the essay has
been loosely connected to the theme of one of the reading passages, so students will need to have read the referenced reading
passage prior to commencing work on the essay.
6. Because students may pace themselves, if they become speedy and proficent
with the multiple choice Math and Reading questions, they can win more time for the essay, which requires time and for adequate
planning and execution.
7. Even very qualified students stumble at the essay portion of the exam. Approximately
two thirds of the best students fail the essay, despite having scored well enough on the Reading and Math to get their essays
before the committee. Therefore it is fair to say that the weak spot for most students is the Essay.
Handwriting is important because the essays are handwritten. If an essay is sloppy and difficult to read, the score
will suffer because readers will have to struggle too much to understand what the student is trying to say; like any other
human beings, the readers of the Hunter essays get fatigued and might just give up trying. What incentive do they have
to decipher chickenscratch?
9. Essay responses need to fit onto two pages; while scrap paper is supplied for note
and outlining, the essay response is limited to 2 pages. Students need to practice fitting legible, full responses into
2 pages or they may be surprised on test day.
10. No calculators, so the Math skills must be thoroughly practiced and
11. The test is always in early January, which can be a cold time in New York. Have a good
sleep the nght before and dress warmly for the morning wait outside the test centers; figure out ways to conserve student
energy and freshness prior to the exam so that the student does not enter the test center already worn out and uncomfortable.
If for whatever reason you have a poor sleep the night before, don't worry about it. Have a good breakfast and
go into the test smiling. Human beings can perform surprisingly well even after losing a night's sleep. That fact
may give you some comfort.
13. While taking exam, remain calm and productive; maintain awareness of passing time without
becoming anxious; you will finish in time.
14. There are no penalties for incorrect answers, so if unsure, narrow
down to best looking choices and guess. Don't worry too much about any single question.
15. Maintain a sense
of healthy perspective about this whole process. Parents, be aware of risk of exerting too much pressure on a young
6th grader; students, while it is a worthy goal to attempt to get in, your life will go on quite happily even if you don't.
There are other schools; there will be other tests and opportunities. Life is long and full of adventures. Practice
thoroughly, give it your best shot, and best of luck.