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New York State Tests: Everything You Need to Know to Help Prepare Your Child

New York State Tests: Everything You Need to Know to Help Prepare Your Child

Here's everything you need to know about New York State tests for students in elementary school through high school, plus the 2021-2022 exam dates.

Standardized testing begins in third grade for most New York students—and continues up until they graduate from high school. Many parents however admit that they know little about these tests—their only heads-up was an after-the-fact report from their kids or scores in the mail months later. While we don’t know for certain what this school year’s testing situation will be, it’s always a good idea to know when tests are being administered for the 2021-2022 school year to help your student prepare.

Annual New York State Test Information

There are several New York State tests administered to public school students in NY throughout their education. The results give teachers information about their students’ progress. The DOE also uses test results to judge how schools are performing.

New York State ELA Test (English Language Arts)

Grades tested: third-eighth grades

Students take the New York State ELA Test each spring. (Students who have been in the U.S. for less than 1 year usually take the ELA tests after their first year here. Some students with disabilities take the NY State Alternate Assessment instead.) On this untimed test, students read or listen to short passages of stories, articles, or poems and then answer multiple-choice questions, as well as write longer written responses.

NYS ELA Test 2022 Dates: March 29-31, 2022 (paper); March 29-April 5, 2022 (computer)

New York State Math Test

Grades tested: third-eighth grades

Like the ELA, the NYS Math Test is administered each spring. It is also untimed and includes both multiple choice and open-ended questions. For both this test and the ELA, teachers (from a different school) score the tests and distribute results to parents, which include the student's scale score, performance level, and information on his or her strengths and weaknesses in the different skill areas tested.

NYS Math Test 2022 Dates: April 26-28, 2022 (paper); April 26-May 4, 2022 (computer)

New York State Science Test

Grades tested: fourth and eighth grades

The NYS Science test requires students to apply scientific concepts, formulate hypotheses, make predictions, and/or use other scientific inquiry techniques. The written examination is untimed and consists of multiple-choice and short and long open-ended questions. The assessment also includes a 1-hour laboratory performance examination, which tests students’ skill using hands-on equipment and materials.

NYS Science Test 2022 Dates: May 24-June 3, 2022 (performance); June 6, 2022 (written)

New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA)

Grades tested: third-eighth grades

Every year, students with cognitive disabilities take the NYSAA, which covers English language arts, mathematics, and science. The subjects are reduced in depth and breadth to meet the needs of the test-taker. (New York state contracts with Dynamic Learning Maps to customize the test to the individual abilities of the student.) The Committee on Special Education determines which students are eligible to take the NYSAA; most eligible students will have an Individualized Education Plan that identifies them as such.

NYS Alternate Assessment 2022 Dates: March 14-June 10, 2022

New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT)

Grades tested: kindergarten through 12th grades

All students who receive English as a New Language services will take the NYSESLAT every year until they show that they have mastered the language enough to flourish in an English-only classroom. (There are five levels depending on the student’s grade level.) The speaking section is administered individually, and the other sections, where students respond to stories, questions, or a picture, can be administered to a group.

NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Test 2022 Dates: April 11-May 20, 2022 (speaking); May 9-20, 2022 (listening, reading, writing)

New York State Regents Exams

Grades tested: at any point in high school

Regents Exams measure achievement in high school-level courses. In order to graduate from high school, students must pass five Regents exams: English language arts, a math, a science, social studies, and any additional Regents exam approved by the state (options include United States History and Government, Global History and Geography, English Language Arts, Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, Living Environment, Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics). High scorers are eligible for honors and distinctions; the scores are also used for school quality reports, and teacher development and evaluation.

New York State Regents 2022 Exam Dates: Jan. 25-28, 2022; June 1, 2022; June 15-24, 2022; and Aug. 16-17, 2022

NYC School Placement Exams

Although they are optional, these tests are required for placement in certain schools.

Gifted & Talented

Admission to G&T programs for the 2021-2022 NYC school year was different than previous years: a test was not administered. Instead, families and educators helped to identify students for accelerated learning. For students enrolled in a Pre-K for All program, parents submitted an application and educators from the child's school determined if the child was eligible to enter a random lottery for a G&T seat. For children not enrolled in a Pre-K for All program, parents could submit an application, then the child's eligibility was determined via a remote interview. 

RELATED: This is What You Need to Know About the NYC School Application Process

Specialized High School Admission (SHSAT)

Grades tested: eighth-ninth grades

Students who plan to enroll in one of New York City’s eight specialized high schools (The Bronx High School of Science; The Brooklyn Latin School; Brooklyn Technical High School; High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College; High School of American Studies at Lehman College; Queens High School for the Sciences at York College; Staten Island Technical High School; and Stuyvesant High School) must take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test in the fall. The multiple choice-format test evaluates the skills and knowledge the student has acquired via the NYC public school curriculum through seventh grade. Students are tested on reading comprehension, including revising and editing, as well as problem-solving skills in math. The test is 3 hours and scored out of 800 total points. (Fiorello H LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts admits by portfolio or audition, while LaGuardia High School considers audition and academic records).

NYC SHSA 2022 Test Date: Dates have not been announced yet; sign up to receive testing notices from the DOE

College Placement Exams

These exams are given in high school and the scores help predict college readiness and placement.

Advanced Placement Exams

Grades tested: Based on which AP courses your child takes in high school

These standardized pencil-and-paper exams are given at the end of the year in 38 specific subjects (which match a specific AP course). A few courses have different ways to assess what students have learned—for example, AP Art and Design students submit a portfolio of work. Most U.S. colleges grant credit, advanced placement, or both for qualifying AP scores. Colleges also look favorably on students who excel in AP classes and on the exams.

AP Exam 2022 Dates: May 2-6, 2022 and May 9-13, 2022


Grades tested: 10th-11th grades

While it won’t count toward college admissions, the PSAT (Preliminary SAT) is good prep for the SAT and the scores are used to identify National Merit Scholars and award merit scholarships. The multiple-choice test has two sections: Math (algebra, geometry, and trigonometry) and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, consisting of passage-based questions. It is scored out of a total 1520 points.

2021-2022 PSAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Exam Dates: Oct. 13, 16, and 26, 2021


Grades tested: 11th-12th grades

The ACT (an abbreviation of American College Testing), which is accepted by all 4-year U.S. colleges and more than 225 colleges abroad, covers four academic skill areas: English, math, reading, and science reasoning. There is also an optional 40-minute writing test. The 3-hour test is multiple choice and high scorers attract college acceptances and financial aid. (Most colleges and universities will accept scores from either the SAT or ACT, but according to the Princeton Review, college-bound students are increasingly taking both.) Most high school students take the ACT during the spring of their junior year or the fall of their senior year. It's important for students to leave time to re-take the test if they need to raise their score before applying to college.

2021-2022 ACT Test Dates: Sept. 11, 2021; Oct. 23, 2021, and Dec. 11, 2021; Feb. 12, 2022; April 2, 2022; June 11, 2022; and July 16, 2022 (Note: There is not test center scheduled in NY for the July date).


Grades tested: 11th-12th grades

The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) is a multiple-choice, pencil-and-paper test created and administered by the College Board which provides colleges with one common data point to compare all applicants. The SAT is comprised of two sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing is comprised of two tests, one focused on reading and one focused on writing and language. The test is 3 hours and scored out of 1600 total points (800 point for each section).

2020-2021 SAT Exam Dates: Oct. 2, 2021; Nov. 6, 2021; Dec. 4, 2021; March 12, 2022; May 7, 2022; and June 4, 2022

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Shana Liebman


Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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