Taking the Exam

  • About the Exam

    For the 2019-20 admissions cycle, Detroit Public Schools Community District will switch to a new exam. Applicants will take the High School Placement Test (HSPT).

    The biggest change for applicants is that the test will be administered on paper. Test duration is generally  3.5 hours, including breaks. 

    Due to COVID-19, we will offer virtual application support and resources through webinars and scheduled appointments. We have expanding testing dates and will strictly enforce social distancing by redesigning procedures to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Please monitor our website for the most up to date information on the examination high school process. 

    The exam covers Verbal Skills, Quantitative Skills, Reading Comprehension, Mathematics, and English Language Arts, and may only be taken once per application cycle. This means students who take the test in November may not take it again in July. 

    Out-of-District students will take the test on one of the following dates:

    • Friday July 10, 2020
    • Monday July 13, 2020
    • Tuesday July 14, 2020
    • Wednesday July 15, 2020
    • Thursday July 16, 2020

    Have questions about test dates? Please contact exam.schools@detroitk12.org

    Current In-District Students

    The test window for eighth graders who attend Detroit Public Schools Community District will be November 4-15, 2019.

    Not sure if your student attends a District school? Click here for a listing.

    In-district students must complete the application to be considered for admission. 

    Students will take the exam during their regular school day during the testing window. Contact your school to learn the specific day of your student's test.  

    Current DPSCD 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:

    • Friday July 10, 2020
    • Monday July 13, 2020
    • Tuesday July 14, 2020
    • Wednesday July 15, 2020
    • Thursday July 16, 2020

    Students who enroll in the district after the November application deadline and testing window may apply during the second round, which runs from April 24, 2020 through June 29, 2020.

    Out-of-District Students

    Students who do not currently attend a district school must submit an application in order to be scheduled for testing. 

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

    • Friday July 10, 2020
    • Monday July 13, 2020
    • Tuesday July 14, 2020
    • Wednesday July 15, 2020
    • Thursday July 16, 2020

    Students who may be exempted from testing

    Previously Accepted: Students who took the exam in 2018 or 2019 and were accepted to an exam high school, but did not attend, may be exempted from taking the test. 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 availability of seats at the grade level the student is seeking.

    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 exam high school are required to apply and take the exam. 

    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 specify testing accommodations.

    Students who qualify for extended time should be prepared for a longer day, which may include bringing snacks and water. Breaks will be provided.

    Have questions? Please contact exam.schools@detroitk12.org

    Examination Procedures

    Signing in and signing out

    Students who are testing on an out-of-district day must sign themselves in at their testing location.
    All students under 18 must be signed 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. The testing duration is about 3 hours, though some students complete testing earlier. If your child's IEP/NPSP requires them to have extra time, you will need to account for that. 

    Electronic Devices

    Electronic devices are not allowed. Students must turn in cell phones at the door. They will be labeled and stored in an envelope during testing. Students may retrieve them after they complete their exam. If a student is found with ANY electronic devices, including, but not limited to, cell phones and smart phones, at any time during testing OR during breaks, his or her test section will be invalidated, which means it will not be scored.

    Students will be provided a storage bag, in which they may place their electronic device in during testing.  They can retrieve their electronic device after the exam.
    They 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 ot facilitate an alternate test date request.

    Exam Scoring

    Please note that the applicant will be reviewed on the basis of their high school placement score, grade point average and interest letter.

    The placement test is scored by the testing company. 

  • Exam High School Placement Test Dates 2019-20


    November 4-15, 2019

    Current DPSCD 8th grade students take the exam in school. Application is required for admissions consideration.

    Saturday November 23

    Out-of-District 8th graders and all current high school students seeking admission for Fall 2020

    Saturday December 7

    Out-of-District 8th graders and all current high school students seeking admission for Fall 2020

    Saturday December 14

    Students in grades 10 and 11 seeking admisssion in January 2020 (second semester of the 2019-20 school year)

    July 10, 13, 14, 15, and 16, 2020

    All students who apply during the second application window (April 27-June 29, 2020)


    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