HSPT Language Skills Practice Test

What Is the High School Placement Test (HSPT)?

The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is administered by Scholastic Testing Services as an admissions examination designed for grade-level students pursuing entry into Catholic high schools. It is the first battery test explicitly created to assist with the placement of students entering high school and has been used since 1955 to assess students’ competencies in cognitive and major skill areas. The HSPT exam is standardized in order to produce results that are comparable and accurate for freshman-level high school students.


Students should register to take the exam at the high school they would prefer to attend, but they are given the option to send their scores to additional schools. The exam is composed of five different multiple-choice test sections:

  1. Language
  2. Mathematics
  3. Quantitative
  4. Reading
  5. Verbal

HSPT Exam Testing Options

When students take any of the five HSPT test sections they will be taking the Open HSPT, a format which provides national normative measures for each skill area tested. The only exceptions would be in the case of a high school participating in a lease/score program. These high schools are provided with a seventh grade edition of the HSPT, referred to as the Pre-HSPT, or a secure test, the Closed HSPT.

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HSPT Exam Formats

Upon request, the exam is available in the following specialized formats:

  • Audio
  • Braille
  • Large Print

HSPT Exam Scoring

The HSPT exam is scored as follows:

  • Per test section, one point is awarded for each correct response.
  • No points are deducted for incorrect responses in all test sections, so it is recommended to answer all questions even if you are not sure of the answer.

The student will receive multiple scores for the exam performance:

  • Raw Score: Total of correct responses in each of the test sections.
  • Scaled Score: Scholastic Testing Service, the organization responsible for the administration of the HSPT, will use different versions of the HSPT test to assess students. A scaled score will thus translate accordingly across all versions of the test with each raw score converted into a scaled score between 200 and 800.

Students’ Percentile Ranks

After scoring the student will also be given their percentile ranks for each of the test sections (Language, Mathematics, Quantitative, Reading and Verbal), which tell them their standing in comparison to national and local samples. The percentile ranks are followed by stanines, representative of the percentile rank in a score of one to nine. To score well, it is recommended that students prep and practice for the HSPT by reviewing HSPT study guides and taking online practice tests.

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Explanation of Scores

Cognitive Skills: Includes the CSQ, Scaled Scores, Percentile Ranks and Stanines from the Verbal and Quantitative Skills test sections.

Basic Skills: Includes Scaled Scores, Percentile Ranks and Stanine from the Reading, Mathematics and Language Skills test sections.

Composite: A combined Scaled Score, Percentile Rank and Stanine based on the student’s performance in all five test sections.

Cognitive Skills Quotient (CSQ): The CSQ is scored on a range of 55 to 145 and is designed to be similar to an IQ score. It is based on age to reflect the student’s potential learning ability.

Grade Equivalent (GE): The GE reflects how a student performed in terms of grade level. For example, a GE of 9.5 would mean that the student scored as well as a ninth grade in the fifth month of the academic year.

HSPT Exam Reports

Rank-Order List Reports: Uses composite scores to rank students from high to low.

Pressure-Sensitive Labels: Shows the student’s CSQ, Standard Scores, National and Local Percentiles and GE for the Reading, Mathematics and Language section tests.

Group Summary Statistical Reports: Provides a summary of overall group performance for each section test, individually and jointly.

Alphabetical List Reports: Provides CSQs, Standard Scores, National and Local Percentiles and GEs for the Reading, Mathematics and Language section tests for students, organized alphabetically.

HSPT Language Skills Test Section

For the Language Skill test section of the High School Placement Test (HSPT) exam, the student will be asked to respond to 60 questions within a 25-minute time frame. For the duration of the exam students will not be provided scratch paper, but they may write on their exam booklet. The questions will be divided into the following content areas and skills:

  • Composition (10 Questions)
  • Punctuation and Capitalization (12 Questions)
  • Spelling (10 Questions)
  • Usage (28 Questions)

In the Language Skills test section the student will be asked a series of questions designed to evaluate their level of knowledge of grammar and writing mechanics. Questions will involve the following:

  • Capitalization, Punctuation and Spelling
  • Expression
  • Language Composition
  • Principles of Grammar
  • Sentence Appropriateness
  • Topic Development

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HSPT Test Online Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online HSPT Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The HSPT Course includes:

  • 50 Lessons Covering all the Topics
  • 1,450+ HSPT Practice Questions
  • Over 100 Video Tutorials
  • More than 350 Electronic Flashcards
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
  • and More!

The HSPT Prep Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their HSPT exam; click below to check it out.

Preparing for the HSPT Language Skills Test Section

As the student prepares to take the HSPT Language Skills test section, they should assess their current skill level by taking an HSPT practice test. They should then review their strength and weaknesses with the help of a study guide during their HSPT test prep and follow up with further HSPT practice tests. These practice tests are available online through Mometrix.

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: September 7, 2022