Taking the Exam

  • About the Exam

    All examination high school applicants are required to take the High School Placement Test (HSPT). The test will be administered on paper and the test duration is 3.5 hours. The exam covers Verbal Skills, Quantitative Skills, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics, English Language Arts, and Science, and may only be taken once per application cycle. This means students who take the test in November/December may not take it again in July. 

    Social distancing and other safety procedures will be enforced. 
    Have questions about test dates? Please send an email to exam.schools@detroitk12.org

    Current District Students

    The test window for eighth-graders who attend Detroit Public Schools Community District will be May 10-14, 2021. Contact your school to learn the specific day of your student's test. Not sure if your student attends a District school? Click here for a listing. District students must complete the application to be considered for admission. 

    Current District high school students may apply to transfer to an examination high school. They will need to complete an application and take the exam on one of the following dates:

    • Saturday April 17, 2021 (application due by April 12, 2021)
    • Saturday April 24, 2021 (application due by April 19, 2021)
    • Friday July 9
    • Monday July 12
    • Tuesday July 13
    • Wednesday July 14

    Students who enroll in the district after the November application deadline may apply during the second round, which will be April 5-June 25, 2021.

    Out-of-District Students

    Students who do not currently attend a District school must submit an application in order to be scheduled for testing. Testing confirmations that contain the student's designated arrival time will be sent to the email that was used to submit the student application via Submittable. If you don’t get a confirmation email after submitting your application, contact Office of Enrollment at exam.schools@detroitk12.org or (313) 873-6345.

    Out-of-district applicants will take the test on one of the following dates.

    • Saturday April 17, 2021 (application due by April 12, 2021)
    • Saturday April 24, 2021 (application due by April 19, 2021)
    • Friday July 9, 2021
    • Monday July 12, 2021
    • Tuesday July 13, 2021
    • Wednesday July 14, 2021

    Students who may be exempted from testing

    Previously Accepted: Students who took the exam in the 2019-20 admission cycle and were accepted to their first-choice exam high school, but did not attend, may be exempted from taking the test pending a review of their current and previous applications. An application is still required. Contact the Office of Enrollment at exam.schools@detroitk12.org or (313) 873-6345 for more information. Acceptance is subject to student qualifications and availability of seats at the student's grade level at the school(s) to which they are applying.

    Current Students: Students who currently attend an exam high school, regardless of when they took the exam, may apply to transfer to another exam high school without taking the exam. An application is still required, and will be reviewed by the school to which the student wants to transfer. The school's decision is final. Acceptance is subject to availability of seats at the grade level the student is seeking.

    Previous Students: Students who previously attended an exam high school, regardless of when they took the exam, may apply for re-entry without taking the exam if there is evidence the student left the school in good standing. Students in good standing were not academically dismissed or in jeopardy of being academically dismissed, had clean disciplinary records and would otherwise have maintained their enrollment if they had not left. The school to which they are seeking re-entry will determine whether the student left in good standing. Students who were academically or otherwise dismissed from an examination high school are required to apply and take the exam to gain re-admittance. 

    Exceptional Students

    Students who have Individualized Education Plans (IEP) or Non-Public Service Plans (for applicants who currently attend a private school) must upload their IEP or Non-Public Service Plan as part of their application. Please be sure to submit the complete document. Students whose IEPs/NPSPs identify accommodations will be given the applicable accommodations identified. Please note that not all plans will indicate that students should receive testing accommodations. Students who qualify for extended time should be prepared for a longer day. Breaks, snacks and water will be provided. Students may also bring their own snacks.
    Have questions? Please email exam.schools@detroitk12.org

    Examination Procedures

    Signing in and signing out

    Students who are testing on an out-of-district day must check themselves in at their testing location.
    All students under 18 must be checked out by an adult, such as a parent, guardian or a designated adult. They will not be allowed to leave unaccompanied after their exam. Please make arrangements for pickup. Students can expect to spend about 4 hours from the time they arrive until the time they are done. If your child's IEP/NPSP requires them to have extra time, you will need to plan for them to be on site for at least five or more hours. 

    Electronic Devices

    Electronic devices are not allowed. Students must turn in cell phones at the door. They will be labeled and stored in an individual storage bag during testing. Students may retrieve their phone after they complete the exam. If a student is found with ANY electronic devices, including, but not limited to, cell phones, calculators and smart phones, at any time during testing or during breaks, the test session will be invalidated, which means it will not be scored. The student will not be eligible for admission for this year. 

    Students will retrieve their electronic device after the exam and may use the phone at that time to call for pickup as needed.

    Pencils and Scratch Paper

    Students do not need to bring any supplies to testing. Pencils and scratch paper will be provided by the testing proctor.  

    Leaving Campus

    If your student leaves campus before completing a test section (for an appointment, illness, etc.), he or she WILL NOT be allowed to complete that test section.

    Illness or Emergency

    If there is a family emergency or if your student does not feel well on the day of testing, it may be best to reschedule for the next test date provided by the district. You must submit a request by completing this survey within 72 hours of missing the exam.

    Alternate Testing Dates

    In some instances, an alternate test date may be provided if the student has a religious objection to the dates provided, or can provide documentation that they are unable to participate on any of the provided dates. 

    An alternate date must immediately be requested by completing this survey. We must have an application on file in order to facilitate an alternate test date request.

    Exam Scoring

    The placement test is scored by the testing company. 

    The full application will be reviewed on the basis of their high school placement score, grade point average, and interest essay. For more information about application requirements and scoring, click here.


  • Exam High School Placement Test Dates 2020-21

    May 10-14, 2021

    Current DPSCD 8th-grade students take the exam in school. 

    Saturday April 17

    All categories of students seeking admission for Fall 2021 (Early Bird: Applications submitted by 11:59 p.m. April 12)

    Saturday April 24

    All categories of students seeking admission for Fall 2021 (Early Bird: Applications submitted by 11:59 p.m. April 19)

    Friday July 9

    All categories of students seeking admission for Fall 2021 

    Monday July 12 - July 14

    All categories of students seeking admission for Fall 2021 


    Test-taking Tips

    • Listen to and read the directions for each subtest carefully.
    • Pace yourself – Time limits are set for each subtest. The test administrators should announce when time is halfway through so you can determine if you are working at a pace that will enable you to finish. Try not to spend too much time on one item.
    • Read each question carefully.
    • Work out the problem – Calculators are not permitted for the Mathematics subtest. You may use scratch paper or your test booklet to do any figuring.
    • Answer every question – If you are unsure of an answer, take your best guess. Your score is determined by the number of items you answer correctly; there is no penalty for answering incorrectly.
    • Check your work – If there is time left, go back and review your answers. Check to make sure each item has only one response. Throughout the test, continuously check that the answer you are marking on your answer sheet corresponds to the item number in the test booklet.

    Source: High School Placement Test

    Signing out

    Students are required to be signed out by a parent or guardian. They are not allowed to leave on their own. 
    If the parent/guardian wants their child to leave the exam on their own, or with another person who is not the parent/guardian, they may complete a consent form. 

    Consent Form