Best SHSAT Practice Tests, Guides, and Prep Books in 2020

By Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center | Updated on January 02, 2020
Student Studying Books

You may have heard of books by other companies like Barron’s and Princeton Review. But don’t confuse familiarity and brand name for quality. Books by small, independent companies like Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center will provide you with the best materials at the best price point. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the best SHSAT practice tests, guides, and prep books on the market.

The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) is an examination taken by eighth and ninth graders in New York City every single year. Each year, 33,000 students attempt to take the test in the hopes of gaining admission to one of these prestigious academic institutions. And yet, only 4,100 make it. There’s a reason for this – the test is designed to weed out students who have not prepared adequately enough. There’s also a way to prevent this sad result. The best thing you can do to prepare for the SHSAT exam and ensure your spot at one of these amazing schools is to start your preparation early and with the best materials. This post is a guide to the best SHSHAT preparatory books in 2020.

Exam Breakdown

The SHSAT is made up of two overarching sections: the ELA section and the math section. The exam breakdown is as follows: 57 Math and 57 ELA questions within a total of 180 minutes. While it is suggested that you divide the time evenly between the two sections, you know yourself best. Be sure to break down the time as you see fit.

1. Math

  • Exam Breakdow52 Multiple Choice questions
  • 5 Grid-Ins
  • Topics Include: absolute value, algebraic expressions, area, circumference, sectors, combining like terms, consecutive integers, rate, geometry, factoring, fractions, functions, inequalities, interior angles of a polygon, intersecting lines, isosceles and equilateral triangles, linear equations, mean/average, metric system, midpoint, mixed numbers, multiplying binomials, negative and rational exponents, parallel lines and transversals, PEMDAS, revolutions, similar triangles, and more.

2. ELA

  • 11 Revising/Editing questions
  • 46 Reading Comprehension questions
  • Topics include: science, humanities, fiction, poetry, humanities, social studies, and more
  • Four main types of questions: global, detail, inference, and function

6 SHSAT Practice Tests


This book, written by Mr. Tariq, the SHSAT expert who has helped thousands of students get into their dream specialized high schools, features six full length SHSAT practice tests. These exams are incredibly comprehensive. After over ten years of experience, we have a lot of knowledge about the layout, format, and content of the SHSAT. These tests are very realistic and provide students with an understanding of the questions that are most likely to be on the exam.

You can grab the book on Amazon.

SHSAT Vocabulary Words

SHSAT Vocabulary Words

One of the most crucial parts of the SHSAT is knowing the vocabulary words that will show up in the passages and in questions not only in the reading comprehension section but also in the revising/editing questions. This book highlights more than 400 necessary vocabulary words and concepts that will allow you ace the ELA section of the SHSAT. Furthermore, there are quizzes, with over 100 questions that will allow you to see these words in the context of the exam. Every one of the 400 definitions included in the book is easy to understand and accessible to eighth and ninth graders. Having an extended vocabulary is a sign of a strong scholar– be sure to improve yours!

You can purchase the book online here.

SHSAT ELA Grade 8 & 9

SHSAT ELA Grade 8 & 9

For those students who are not yet beasts at the English Language Arts Section of the SHSAT, this is the perfect book. This book has more than 175 reading comprehension questions along with four full length practice tests which will allow students to become masters of ELA. The questions target poems, revising/editing, and reading comprehension and outline the four types of questions we listed earlier: global, detail, inference, and function questions. By using this book by SHSAT expert Mr. Tariq, both eighth and ninth graders will be able to increase their skills in English and ensure that they get the score that they want on the SHSAT.

You can buy this book online at Amazon.

Tariq’s Guide to SHSAT Math

Tariq’s Guide to SHSAT Math

Another book by Mr. Tariq, President of Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center and the king of the SHSAT! This book emphasizes the shortcut techniques that Mr. Tariq teaches his students in his classes. There are 50 mathematical rules with examples and solutions, as well as exercises organized by topic and six full practice tests! This book is very comprehensive and can help any math newbie turn into a math master.

This book is available online. Grab your copy today to begin your SHSAT journey!

In-Person Resources

While studying using the best prep books will help you do well on the SHSAT, the best thing you can do is join an excellent SHSAT class. At Bobby-Tariq, we hold the best quality SHSAT preparatory classes in Queens. Our results speak for themselves! Thousands of students have gotten into specialized high schools with our help. We have many resources that you can take advantage of, whether you hope to attend our SHSAT classes, or even prefer private tutors. Learn more about the exam and how to prepare in our SHSAT guide
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