Low scores on the HSPT Diagnostic Assessment do not indicate that a school is “not doing its job” or inadequately preparing your child for high school. In fact, scores on this assessment are typically much lower than one might expect. There are many reasons for this: The HSPT is a very specific timed exam that tests concepts that students have learned as far back as the fourth grade. Some students may have forgotten basic math and English fundamentals which they simply need to refresh, review and practice. Other students perform poorly or average because they are not familiar with the timing and structure of the test. In fact, many students do not finish the test the first time they take it. Moreover, there are certain problem types specific to the HSPT that students may not have been presented with or practiced as part of their middle school curriculum. We like to compare the idea of 8 th graders preparing for the HSPT to that of high school students preparing for the SAT.