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HSPT

Will your eighth grader take the HSPT (High School Placement Test) as part of admissions to a Catholic high school? Customized, one-to-one tutoring with Nurturing Wisdom will help them get into a school they love!

Our Approach

At Nurturing Wisdom, we help students improve their HSPT score by addressing four core competencies: test taking strategies, academic skills, test anxiety, and timing. A deficiency in any of these areas can lead to a score that doesn't reflect a student's ability. For example, a student may have mastered their reading strategies, but have timing issues derail their performance on the reading portion of the test.

The HSPT timing is especially challenging: on one section, students have to finish 60 questions in 16 minutes! Learning how to handle this tight timing is key to significantly increasing scores. Test anxiety is also an obstacle for many test takers because, for many eighth graders, this will be the first time they'll sit for several hours to take a high-stakes standardized test. Nurturing Wisdom tutors use proven test-anxiety strategies that will help students stay calm, cool, and collected during the test! We use a variety of materials for in-session work and homework, including our own book of practice tests. You may purchase our book here!

Sections of the HSPT

Over the past decade, we've perfected strategies for each section of the test:

  • Verbal: On this section, we teach strategies specific to each question type: synonyms, antonyms, logic, analogies and classifications.
  • Quantitative: On the quantitative section, we heavily emphasize techniques for math translation and number patterns. Since calculators are not allowed, we also focus heavily on mental math computation skills.
  • Reading: We take a hands-on approach to the reading section, teaching active reading comprehension strategies, question-answering strategies, and timing strategies.
  • Mathematics: We use a highly customized approach to the math section, focusing on skills that particular student struggles with, as well as techniques for deconstructing word problems.
  • Language: Our tutors tackle this challenging section head-on, teaching students the picky grammar, mechanics, and sentence structure skills tested.

Scoring and Admissions

Selective schools typically look for HSPT scores at or above the 85th percentile. They also factor in grades and teacher recommendations; some schools consider whether the student is a practicing Catholic and/or attended a Catholic grade school.

Testing Accommodations

The HSPT is unique in that each school determines its own policy on accommodations. This means that some schools don't offer any accommodations, and that those that do may offer only a small number of them. Nurturing Wisdom has successfully worked with hundreds of students who receive accommodations, and our directors can offer guidance for talking with schools to secure them for the HSPT. Our expert tutors are also well-versed in how to support students with accommodations.

Getting Started

All students begin by taking an HSPT pre-test, ideally in the summer before eighth grade (though we're happy to work with students once the school year has begun). After the pre-test is complete, we'll provide a detailed score analysis, as well as a tutoring timeline that outlines how much tutoring we recommend, goal scores, and potential test dates.

If you're in the Chicagoland area, sign up for one of our proctored pre-tests, a great opportunity to get a feel for the real test day. If you're outside Chicago or unable to make a proctored test date, contact us today to get a free pre-test!

Online Tutoring for the HSPT

If you live outside of the Chicagoland area, we can still help! We love working one-on-one with students online to help them achieve their goals. Contact our online tutoring director, Jessica Lepore, at 312.260.7945 x3 to learn more!

Why Nurturing Wisdom?

Nurturing Wisdom goes beyond just helping your child get a great HSPT score. With a strong tutor match, your child will look forward to tutoring sessions, follow through on independent work, and become a more confident learner. Your tutoring director will take the stress out of the HSPT and walk you through every step of the process. They'll help you put together an optimal timeline, keep you posted on progress, remind you of important deadlines, and answer any questions you have along the way. If your child will need to take more than one type of high school entrance test, a director will help you figure out the most effective and efficient way to prep. (Learn more about high school entrance tests in general here).

One of our favorite things about HSPT tutoring is that it has a direct impact on a student's work in their academic classes. Typically, students don't experience academic challenges in isolation. For example, if a student is a poor test taker in school due to test anxiety, that is directly reflected on the HSPT. Addressing anxiety, along with our other core competencies, through HSPT tutoring gives students the tools they need to succeed in their academic classes as well.


Need some help navigating the ins, outs, ups, and downs of high school entrance tests and admissions? Our high school entrance specialist will be happy to answer your questions and help you decide on next best steps. Contact us at 312.260.7945 x2 or info@nurturingwisdom.com.

  • Parent of an 8th grader
    Our son can't believe he got every math problem correct on his high school placement test! We are very pleased because he was placed in all honors classes! Thanks for all your help.
    Parent of an 8th grader
  • Kristi, parent of an 8th grader
    My eighth grade daughter has been tutoring this fall in preparation for the HSPT in December. They hit it off right away on the first day. Our tutor is a friendly, patient, funny, kind, outgoing, genuine, intelligent person who has been extremely easy for my daughter to work with. She just seems to be at ease with herself as a tutor, and that quality helps make the sessions very successful. My daughter has made great progress from the initial pre-test to the mid-test, and I’m sure that by the post-test she will have made even more progress. We really love our tutor and cannot say enough positive things about her!
    Kristi, parent of an 8th grader
  • Parent of an 8th grader
    Our son was very skeptical about his odds of getting into the high school of his choice, St. Ignatius College Prep, after having taken the practice test and performing well below his normal standards. We were told of the tutoring program offered through Nurturing Wisdom and spoke to several parents who explained how much it helped their child, so we decided to enroll our son in their program. We were very pleased with his tutor and his style of teaching our son how to take this specific exam and what methods to implement to help him score high. As a result, he took the exam and was accepted into St Ignatius College Prep! We are extremely happy with our investment in his tutoring through Nurturing Wisdom and would recommend their program to anyone in our situation!
    Parent of an 8th grader
  • Andrea and Richard, parents of an 8th grader
    We say this with extreme sincerity: had it not been for our tutor, Connor would have struggled on the HSPT test. We feel that Nurturing Wisdom went above and beyond to prepare Connor for such an important test. We hope that other parents who view this critical step with such high importance also choose Nurturing Wisdom.
    Andrea and Richard, parents of an 8th grader
  • Jessica, parent of an 8th grader
    We're having an amazing experience. Our tutor is very thorough, engaging, positive and reassuring. She makes sense and seems to know the process. We trust her to help Dawson grow and have seen incredible increases in his scores and work.
    Jessica, parent of an 8th grader