The NYC Specialized High Schools Test

Here is a nice piece that typifies the success stories of Stuyvesant, Bronx
Science, Brooklyn Tech, and Hunter

Here’s a key bit: “I remember stumbling out of the examination room, dazed
by questions I had never imagined, many of which I could barely understand.
But I was accepted, and the test became the defining event of my life”

What happened to me in sixth grade when I took the Hunter test is similar.
We had moved to a pretty good public school district by the time I was
ready for middle school.

A lot of us were directed to take the test. No prep.

My parents grew up in India so they didn’t know anything about the American
testing system.

I don’t remember studying at all for it. I actually thought I did pretty

When the results came back, I had. The test has two parts. On the SAT style
part I had gotten one of the higher scores they had ever seen at my school.

So they pulled me aside when I didn’t get in. Something weird about my
score on the writing section. A 1 out of 100. Every other student had
gotten between 60 and 95. If I had gotten a 60 I would have been admitted.
“What did you do?” Well I had read the little story provided and written a
page continuing the fiction and resolving the puzzles pose in the question
provided. “A story? You were supposed to write an essay. You know, comment
on the story to show you can write.” Oh.

Clearly a bogus score. Clearly I could read and write and had understood
the story provided. But wrong form. No go.

That pissed me off.

Later my parents and I were more deliberate about the Stuy test in 8th
grade. I was ready. I scored 14th out of 10,000 students who took it that

So when they change the admission exams, what will it be like? Will they
add stuff that surprises kids in unfair ways? Probably.

Though the best colleges don’t rely on mere meritocracy to curate their
classes. They do some unfair stuff too, with the aim of composing a school
where you can learn more and better because your peers are a better mix.
Stuy was pretty uniform in the intellectual style it favored. Very MIT.

So should New York have an MIT?