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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Tannenbaum

Everything You Need to Know about The Hunter College High School Exam



Hunter College High School (HCHS) is an extremely selective public school open to New York City residents that goes from 7th to 12th grade. HCHS and Stuyvesant are the two most prestigious public high schools in New York City. HCHS is more known for the exceptional quality of its humanities programs, while Stuyvesant is more recognized for its STEM programs. Both schools see their students get accepted to Ivy League schools and ones of a similar selectivity at a rate comparable to that of top private schools such as Spence, Dalton, and Horace Mann. One of the benefits of attending HCHS is that students there get to make friends with other HCHS students in 7th and 8th grade and then get to go to school with their HCHS friends in 9th - 12th grade, making for a relatively smooth transition from 8th to 9th grade.


7th grade is the only entry point for acceptance to HCHS. To be considered for acceptance, a student, in most cases, needs to ace the 5th grade New York state exams for both ELA and math. In instances in which a student goes to a New York private elementary school or recently moved to New York, they have to ace a comparable test such as the ERB or Terra Nova. Only then will a student even be eligible to take the HCHS exam when they’re in 6th grade, and they will need to be invited to take the exam by a principal or guidance counselor. The exam is very difficult, and out of the 2,500 or so students who get to take the exam each year, only about 6% of them will be accepted. The test is three hours long and consists of an ELA, math, and essay portion. The admission staff will read the essays of the students who get the highest scores among their testing cohort on the ELA and math sections, and based on the quality of a student’s essay, the admissions readers will decide whether or not to accept that student.


How does your child put themselves in the running? For starters, it’s absolutely essential that they build very strong academic foundations in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. For families with a serious interest in HCHS, that often means having their child receive academic tutoring for the purpose of meeting this objective. As far as preparation for the HCHS exam, students often take group courses to prepare for the exam. However, these group courses, while less expensive than one-on-one tutoring, don’t provide instruction tailored to the particular needs of each student and often hold classes of an extremely long duration. While it’s true that the HCHS exam itself is long, students of this age shouldn’t be going over material for three or four hours at a time, because these lengths of time are not conducive to retaining material, concepts, and strategies that need to be learned.


To schedule a consultation for the Hunter College High School Exam or for more information, please contact us.

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