Conversations about test prep tend to lean heavily on college entrance exams like the SAT or the ACT. Despite their importance in educational circles, high school admissions tests tend to get lost in the dialogue. As a result, researching these high school exams can seem like a daunting task.

If you're looking into private schools for your child but don't know the difference between an SSAT practice test and an SHSAT practice test, here's a great place to start! These are the six high school admissions tests that should be on every parent's radar.

1. SSAT (Secondary School Admissions Test)

The SSAT is one of the most commonly used exams for private school admissions, with test centers offering it across the globe. The SSAT measures the student's abilities in mathematics, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and verbal reasoning (e.g. synonyms and analogies), followed by a writing section. Private schools all around the world will accept your SSAT test results.

2. ISEE (Independent School Entrance Exam)

The ISEE is to the SSAT what the ACT is to the SAT. In other words, both exams measure the student's high school readiness using identical subjects, but with slight differences in the approach. For example, the ISEE reading test favors contemporary non-fiction, while the SSAT reading test may include fiction and poetry. Although the ISEE is not used as often as the SSAT, most private schools accept both tests.

3. SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test)

Unlike many of the other high school tests covered here, the SHSAT is exclusive to New York City. Over 25,000 students in the greater New York area take the SHSAT test, administered only once per year, for admissions into eight of the nine specialized high schools. Of those students, just below 5,000 students will be accepted into any of these schools. This exam tests students on their readiness for high school math, reading comprehension, and writing/grammar.

4. HSPT (High School Placement Test)

If you are looking for a Catholic private school for your child, then you should consider researching the various high school admissions tests for Roman Catholic schools. Of these schools, most will likely require the HSPT exam. Like many of the exams described above, the COOP is a multiple-choice exam that measures the student’s abilities in math, reading, writing, and critical reasoning.

5. TACHS (Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools)

This is another exam that will only concern students and parents in the greater New York area, but TACHS is still considered an important exam for Catholic private high schools — specifically, Roman Catholic private high schools in the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens. Private schools outside of New York will most likely not accept results from the TACHS exam.

6. COOP (Cooperative Entrance Examination)

Parents in the New Jersey area will likely look into the COOP exam, which is accepted by private schools in the Archdiocese of Newark as well as the Diocese of Paterson. Both the TACHS and COOP test the same content as the HSPT, though their acceptance is limited to the New York and New Jersey regions, respectively.

For more information on how A-List Education can help you prepare for your SHSAT practice tests — or if you'd like to learn more about which high school test is right for your child — then click here for a free consultation!