The Entrance (Exam) to the Future


Benet Herald

A classroom where some 8th graders took the HSPT.

On December 3, Benet Academy hosted the annual Scholastic Testing Service High School Placement Test (HSPT) for prospective incoming freshmen for the Class of 2027. This exam of 298 questions which spans 2.5 hours, often serves as the first introduction to a high school environment for many of these 8th graders.

The entrance exam is offered annually on the first Saturday of December and is given concurrently in almost 1,000 schools to over 120,000 students. The exam covers five main topics in which an incoming freshman must show proficiency: reading, language, verbal, quantitative analysis, and mathematical skills. The format of the exam is entirely multiple choice and requires the student to work quickly and efficiently to answer as many questions correctly as possible within the time limit. A student’s score is based on how many questions they get correct, and this number is then converted to a scale of 200 to 800. The final score is then assessed by Scholastic Testing Services, both locally and nationally.

Despite the seemingly intimidating exam, many of the 8th graders encountered in the hallways of Benet Academy while shadowing current students seemed very optimistic and excited at the prospect of becoming a Redwing. One shadow reported, “I will be the third generation of my family to attend Benet when I get accepted. I’ve been hearing stories from both my grandfather and my father about how Benet prepared them for college. I am looking forward to having my own stories.”

Whether the promise of new friends, the possibility of joining dozens of clubs or teams, or the challenge of getting an education at one of the premier private college preparatory schools in Illinois, these 8th graders looked eager for the new experience of high school. As one shadow stated, “I really hope I get accepted. I feel from my experience so far, I would fit in with the Benet community. It makes me nervous to think that I could be going from a class of 30 kids to a class of over 300 freshmen if I’m accepted. But, I really like the idea of a bigger class than what I’m used to, but still nowhere close to the size of my public high school.”

With the administration of the HSPT now in the rear mirror, the applicants for the Benet Academy class of 2027 are now sitting back, waiting to see if they will be accepted. The challenges of remembering locker locations and combinations, learning the names of the different halls, and getting used to wearing a uniform every day await these potential new members of the Benet family. However, if they put in the same effort as they did for the exam, they will easily conquer them and be ready for whatever lies ahead.