Have You Started Preparing for the January HSPT?


If you have an 8th grader planning to attend a Catholic High School next fall, he or she needs to prepare for the High School Placement Test (HSPT). Some of the schools in the greater Phoenix area that require the HSPT include Brophy, Bourgade Catholic HS, Notre Dame Prep, Seton Prep, Saint Mary’s and Xavier.  

Most of these schools register your student to take the test when you fill out their online application. However, if you are applying to more than one of these schools, you can request the testing site to send the scores to the other schools. You do need to include the codes of the various schools when registering for the test. Results will be available around February, but each school might release their scores at a slightly different timeframe.

For the upcoming 2020 admissions cycle, all Catholic schools in the Phoenix area offer the HSPT on either January 11th or January 25th. Register at the school that you think will be your 1st choice or the one that is closest to you. The HSPT will help schools determine admissions, placements for honors classes and in some cases even scholarships. Since it can only be taken once, it should be taken seriously.   

There are only 2.5 months left to prepare, it is time to get ready! Start with a practice HSPT at Vogel Prep as per our assessment schedule and then determine what score you need for the schools that you are applying to as well as whether you want to be on the honors track.


The HSPT is a challenging test even for grown-ups, and for many 8th graders it is the first timed test that counts in their scholastic career. For 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes), students must answer 298 questions, or spend 30 seconds per question. Questions will be divided in five subtests of questions in the five-major areas of knowledge (Math, Reading, Language, Verbal Skills and Quantitative Skills) that 8th grade students should have been exposed to during their last 7.5 years of school.  

The first three subtests are considered the Basic Skills Group (Math, Reading and Language), and the last two (Verbal Skills and Quantitative Skills) are considered the Cognitive Skills Group.  There will be individual scores for each category as well as composite scores for each subgroup.  Final scores for each category will be in the 200-800 range.  The final report will include the individual performance of the student compared to the national percentage for each sub-score and subgroup.  All this information is sent to the high schools you have listed.  It is up to each school to decide what is an acceptable score for admission to the freshman class.

Here is a summary of how the sub-groups and sub-tests are structured:

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As you can see from the complexity of this test, time management, test taking strategies, and critical and flexible thinking skills become important to finish this test on time. Each subtest will require different strategies and tactics to maximize its score. In addition, since no calculator is allowed for the math, being able to quickly calculate simple math in your mind becomes a strategic advantage or can add stress to students that do not feel they can do quick math drills. 

For some students, the HSPT is very easy, for others it can be very challenging, or it might be mixed, easy in one area and difficult in the other. No matter what their situation might be, they should be exposed to a practice test and figure out if they are need some coaching or assistance. As mentioned before, they can only take the test once.  

At Vogel Prep Tutors, we recognize each student’s potential—no matter his or her learning style, strengths, weaknesses, or academic goals. Whether your student is prepping for high school or brushing up on the basics for college, we offer a range of small group classes and one-on-one tutoring services. Start your student off on the right foot for a successful high school career. Prepare early and prepare well and he or she will reap the benefits in the years to follow.