NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Admissions into the gifted and talented program

The only requirement is acing the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests

It’s no secret that the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests used to screen kids for admission to NYC G&T program are hard. As more and more parents decide that they want their child to receive the best education possible, more are applying their children to these advanced programs – and so the tests are getting increasingly difficult and competitive. This past January over 2,000 more pre-K students took the G&T test for kindergarten admissions with very few additional seats added. This meant over 35% of the kids who qualified for a G&T seat didn’t get a spot because there weren’t enough seats available!

Ask your little one this sample OLSAT test question: Look at the space ship in the first box. Do you see the round windows on the red part of the space ship? If the space ship carried the same number of space babies to earth as thenumber of round windows you can count, point to the box that shows how many space babies the space ship carried to earth.

As a result, it’s no longer enough just to throw your child into the testing room and hope that they pass. Even the smartest kids – if they don’t prepare – are now being outgunned by kids who might not be as inherently bright, but whose parents spend months or even years planning, meticulously, for the testing and admissions process.

A mom from Queens tells her G&T story

Well, recently I spoke to a mother (from Queens) of a very bright boy who, for a long time, thought she knew better than those of us who have been through the testing process before. I had spoken to this mom, who we’ll call Debbie, before, and explained to her how crucial it is to at least familiarize her son Jordan with the material he would face on the test. Plus, I reminded her that most children her son’s age haven’t ever been in a testing situation before, so they need to be mentally prepared for the process of sitting for half an hour or more, locked in a room with a usually stone-faced test proctor who isn’t allowed to give any feedback – positive or negative.

Debbie listened politely, but I could tell she wasn’t hearing what I was saying: she had already made up her mind, and wouldn’t be doing any prep work with her son. You know the type – right?

“Jordan is so smart,” Debbie told me more than once. “He always gets A’s on his tests in school, so why should this test be any different?”

“Besides,” Debbie told me, “I’ve always felt that these tests are meant to measure kids’ intelligence, so preparing with them is essentially ‘cheating’: either the kid is smart or he isn’t.”

Debbie kept in touch with me as OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests day drew closer, letting me know how well Jordan was doing in school and how confident she was that he would ace the test. I wished her luck and held out hope that Jordan would pass the test and make it into their local gifted program – but I knew that the odds were against him, given Debbie’s steadfast refusal to do anything to prepare him for the exam.

Sure enough, Jordan went into the test unprepared. When the OLSAT test scores came in, Jordan had done well – surprisingly well, in fact: he’d earned a score in the 95th percentile, very impressive for a child who hadn’t done any kind of preparatory work. But it wasn’t quite good enough to get Jordan into the program his mother was sure he was destined for: just to be considered for a seat at a citywide program like NEST+m or Anderson, Jordan needed to score in the 99th percentile.

Debbie was devastated. She was sure that Jordan would skate into the program, and she was convinced that “unworthy” kids had taken his spot. Disappointment turned to bitterness, and Debbie soured on the idea of ever applying Jordan to another gifted program. Her exact words: “I’m done. I’ll never let my child take another one of these OLSAT tests again.”

I knew this was a mistake as well. I told Debbie over and over: Jordan had a good shot of passing the gifted test the following year – if she took my advice and prepared him for it this time. For months, Debbie refused to budge: Jordan would never take that test again.

I refused to take no for an answer, though, since I was as convinced as Debbie that Jordan had too much potential to be stuck in a general education program. I kept on Debbie: try again next year. If you do take concrete steps to get Jordan ready, he’ll do fine.

Thankfully, after months of despair and hand-wringing, Debbie came to her senses and decided to apply Jordan to the gifted program again. Within a week, she signed up for a Testing Mom for the OLSAT practice questions  and began working with Jordan. They started out slow, getting Jordan used to the format of the questions and the process of sitting still and focusing on the material. As time went on, Debbie extended the practice time and increased the difficulty of the questions they worked with. By the time test day rolled around again, Jordan was accustomed to sitting and focusing for nearly an hour and answering questions designed for kids at least two grade levels above his own.

Before long, scores came out again and this time the news was unequivocally good: Jordan scored in the 99th percentile, qualifying him for the citywide gifted program and guess what? He made it into NEST+M one of the most sought after G&T programs in NYC!

Not enough gifted and talented seats in the Bronx
May 12, 2017, 2:20 pm
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The lawmakers passed a bill for parents to be better informed of the NYC Gifted and Talented Program for the Bronx, specially in district 10.  As more and more kids take the test citywide (including the Bronx) that means more and more kids are receiving a qualifying score to entry into this competitive program across all five boroughs in the city. The Bronx and Staten Island are the only two boroughs that currently do not have a citywide program and have a short supply of district wide programs for both.  This new plan from lawmakers requires that all parents of pre-K students receive multiple notifications of the NYC Gifted and Talented Program .  Many parents complain (rightfully so) of how hard it is to get information from the DOE web site that honestly needs a complete overhaul and better usability.

Many advocates of better communication are pushing that all pre-K students take the G&T test and the parents will need to opt-out of taking the test. This of course would dramatically increase the raw number of kids taking this test, especially in lower income areas of the Bronx. The hopes would be more qualifying students since most parents would not opt-out of their child taking the test. We’ll see if this proposal moves forward since this would not only impact the Bronx but all other boroughs for children in the universal pre-K program in NYC. The implications of have even more kids taking the test leads to the larger issue of where are all the kids going to get a seat in the G&T program that’s already in short supply.


Right now, there are only two district wide programs in district 10:

Hunter College Elementary School Gifted and Talented Program
April 21, 2017, 1:03 pm
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Hunter College Elementary School Gifted and Talented Program

Here’s an overview of the ultra competitive Hunter College Elementary School program located on the Upper East Side. Children applying to kindergarten take a modified version of the Stanford-Binet® V test from September through November (the year before they start kindergarten).  Over the past few years the qualifying score for 2nd round at Hunter ranged from 143 through 149 s – students who qualify go on to round 2, where more testing will be done.  Percentile rankings will show a child’s standing in comparison to students his own age, not grade level.


Criteria for admissions for Hunter College Elementary

  • Manhattan residents only! 25 boys and 25 girls for admitted for K
  • Once you apply, you get a Hunter ID # and 3 weeks to schedule and complete testing – $350 for test; $70 application fee,
  • You’ll get a choice of 5 testers and you can only contact 1 for an appointment.


Most people have heard about IQ scores — 146 to 159 is “highly gifted,” 131 to 145 is considered “moderately gifted,” 116 to 130 is “high average,” and 85 – 115 is considered “average.” For many children, the difference between being labeled highly gifted or gifted can come down to a single point, and that one point may impact their ability to get into fantastic Gifted and Talented programs that will provide tremendous educational benefits.  For example, last year, children needed to score at least 148 to be invited to the second round of testing for admission to Hunter College Elementary, one of the top gifted programs in the country that is located in New York City. .

Because an IQ test is so different from a skills or achievement test, it is harder to study for. Additionally, since it is given to children so young, there is a chance that a child might get scared or nervous, and make mistakes that could cost him many points. Most children taking the Stanford-Binet test at age-4 have never taken a test before in their lives.  They may not know how to sit still for a long period of time, listen carefully to what is being asked of them, how to think through a question and look at all the answer choices before jumping in and responding.  This is a brand new skill set for little (and even many older!) children.  Developing these test-taking abilities is as challenging to young children as knowing the answers to the questions they are being asked.

The Stanford-Binet® test is a particularly hard test because it includes so many different subtests.  While many tests group the same types of questions together, which allows children to become more comfortable with the material, a psychologist administering the Stanford-Binet test will skip around and mix different types of questions together.  This can be confusing for some children.  For these reasons, we believe it is critical that (at the minimum) you give your child exposure to the types of questions that he or she will encounter on the test.

Tons of questions from parents about NYC gifted and talented
April 11, 2017, 2:01 pm
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Testing Mom Facebook Live the other night received tons of questions from parents about NYC gifted and talented test results that were recently released.

The folks over at hosted a very informative Facebook Live the other night for frantic NYC parents who just received the test results for their talented tots. These parents all seemed to be the lucky ones whose children made a score high enough on the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test to qualify for a coveted seat into one of these elite kindergartens in New York City for the 2017-2018 school year. It seemed that all the parents on the Facebook Live feed were happy since they were asking about what schools were the best and bragging about their gifted girls and brilliant boys throughout the hour+ session on Facebook. Here are a few of the many questions that the New York City parents were spouting throughout the session:

  • I called the kinder doe hotline and was told that admissions to district gifted and talented is based on lottery. The G&T handbooks however states that they go by the score. So confused.
  • Given your experience what are your thoughts on PS 33 Chelsea Prep G&T? Seemed like a very large school. Do you feel it is luck of the draw based on your assigned teacher?
  • Our son scored 97th percentile, our one in district school with a gifted and talented class isn’t so great. being in the 97th percentile, how good are his chances at a better district school with a G&T class?
  • Do you know anything about District 22 G&T schools in Brooklyn? Our son’s overall score was 92 and his current school has a G&T program but I was told by a parent that he needed to score in the 99th percentile to get in.
  • We are in District 14, and there is only one G&T Program, once you are under 97%, how do they decide placement in district-wide, is it a lottery and is it worth exploring districts outside your own? Any thoughts on PS 132?
  • My older one is in citywide G&T school at TAG. The younger one is District G&T program already. Last 2 years she got 96. Is there any chance to get in TAG as sibling preferences. By the way, the younger one will be in 3rd grade next year.

NYC asked to release more data on schools
March 2, 2017, 6:50 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags:

According to the NY Times, councilman Bill Kallos, is proposing a new bill for the city to do deep dive into reporting of student information for public record. The NYC Dept of Ed. already posts on school capacity and whether a public school has too few or too many students. The councilman is proposing that residency information is also included. The impact of this is to not only tell what local kids are attending schools but also where NYC G&T students are coming from within their district or in the case of city wide programs where these students are commuting from. Many local residents complain that their child didn’t get a G&T seat because it was given to students who don’t even live near the school.  Mr. Kallos hopes that this new bill will increase more diversity within the NYC school systems since many neighborhoods are segregated by socio-economic class and by race.

Pretty much all of the citywide and district wide G&T programs are jammed pack since parents are vying for so few spots with so many children making the qualifying score. Many of these same parents have decent gen ed programs in their neighborhood although they are seeking an even better education for their talented tot. That’s why so many parents in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan their young child for the NYC Gifted and Talented test and anxiously await the test results that arrive each April. Here’s some good info on the NYC Gifted and Talented Test along with tons of practice questions.

NYC dept of ed changes gifted and talented information sessions
November 7, 2016, 12:39 pm
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program | Tags: , ,

The NYC dept of ed changes gifted and talented information sessions for NYC parents. The sessions were previously held one time in each of the 5 boroughs. This year they will be hosting these seminars in each of the districts sprinkled throughout the city. Keep in mind, these sessions aren’t solely focused on the G&T program where they review OLSAT and NNAT-2 practice questions. These seminars also include pre-K and kindergarten (general ed.) information for parents considering these programs as well. Here are some practice questions for the OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test.

Here’s the schedule for November 2016:


District Date Time Location
District 1 Thursday, December 1 6-8pm P.S. 134 Henrietta Szold

293 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002

District 2 Wednesday, November 9 6-8pm M.S. 260 Clinton School for Writers and Artists

10 East 15th Street 
New York, NY 10003

District 3 Thursday, November 10 6-8pm P.S. 333 Manhattan School for Children

154 W 93rd Street 
New York, NY 10025

District 4 Thursday, November 17 4:30-7:30pm The Tito Puente Complex

240 E 109th Street 
New York, NY 10029

District 5 Monday, November 7 6-8pm P.S. 092 Mary McLeod Bethune

222 West 134 Street 
New York, NY 10030

District 6 Wednesday, November 9 6-8pm P.S./I.S. 210 Twentyfirst Century Academy For Community Leadership

501-503 West 152 Street New York, NY 10031

District 7 Wednesday, November 9 6-8pm P.S. 065 Mother Hale Academy

677 East 141 Street Bronx, NY 10454

District 8 Monday, November 7 6-8pm P.S. 119

1075 Pugsley Avenue Bronx, NY 10472

District 9 Thursday, November 10 6-8pm P.S./I.S. 218 Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School

1220 Gerard Avenue Bronx, NY 10452

District 10 Thursday, November 17 6-8pm P.S. 279 Captain Manuel Rivera, Jr.

2100 Walton Avenue Bronx, NY 10453

District 11 Monday, November 14 6-8pm P.S./M.S. 194

2365 Waterbury Avenue Bronx, NY 10462

District 12 Thursday, November 17 6-8pm P.S. 214

1970 West Farms Road Bronx, NY 10460

District 13 Tuesday, November 15 6:30-8:30pm P.S. 133 William A. Butler

610 Baltic Street Brooklyn, NY 11217

District 14 Thursday, November 17 6-8pm P.S. 110 The Monitor

124 Monitor Street Brooklyn, NY 11222

District 15 Monday, November 14 6-8pm P.S. 24

427 38 Street 
Brooklyn, NY 11232

District 16 Tuesday, November 1 6-8pm P.S. 308 Clara Cardwell

616 Quincy Street Brooklyn, NY 11221

District 17 Wednesday, November 9 6-8pm P.S. 770 The New American Academy

60 E.94th Street  Brooklyn,  NY 11212

District 18 Tuesday, November 1 6-8pm P.S. 66

845 East 96 Street Brooklyn, NY 11236

District 19 Thursday, November 10 6-8pm P.S. 013 Roberto Clemente

557 Pennsylvania Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11207

District 20 Tuesday, November 15 6-8pm Franklin D. Roosevelt High School

5800 20th Avenue Brooklyn, New  York 11204

District 21 Monday, November 7 6-8pm I.S. 096 Seth Low

99 Avenue P Brooklyn, NY 11204

District 22 Monday, November 14 6-8pm P.S. 222 Katherine R. Snyder

3301 Quentin Road Brooklyn, NY 11234

District 23 Tuesday, November 1 6-8pm P.S. 156K Waverly School of the Arts

104 Sutter Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11212

District 24 Wednesday, November 16 6-8pm P.S. 110

43-18 97th Place Queens, NY 11368

District 25 Monday, November 14 6-8pm I.S. 025 Adrien Block

34-65 192 Street Queens, NY 11358

District 26 Wednesday, November 16 6-8pm P.S./I.S. 266

74-10 Commonwealth Boulevard Queens, NY 11426

District 27 Monday, November 14 6-8pm M.S. 137 America’s School Of Heroes

109-15 98 Street Queens, NY 11417

District 28 Monday, November 7 6-8pm P.S. 182 Samantha Smith

153-27 88th Avenue Queens, NY 11432

District 29 Tuesday, November 1 6-8pm P.S. 035 Nathaniel Woodhull

191-02 90 Avenue Queens, NY 11423

District 30 Thursday, November 17 6-8pm The Woodside Community School

39-07 57th Street Queens, NY 11377

District 1 Thursday, November 10 6-8pm Space Shuttle Columbia

77 Marsh Avenue 
Staten Island, NY 10314

District 32 Monday, November 7 6-8pm P.S. 376

194 Harman Street Brooklyn, NY 11237

It’s back to school for NYC schools!
September 8, 2016, 3:11 pm
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Today is the day! It’s back to school for NYC schools! This includes all gifted and talented programs peppered throughout the city.  And there’s good news for District 16 in Bed-Stuy that now has the only G&T program in that district. This was determined at the end of last school year although this is for students starting in 3rd grade and not kindergarten like other gifted and talented programs in the city. Both district-wide and citywide programs offer the NYC G&T program starting into kindergarten as the talented tots are tested with the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. You can get free practice questions from my friends at

In addition to Bed-Stuy’s new NYC program there were 3 other new G&T programs implemented in districts without these coveted programs. These were opened in S. Bronx and Ocean Hill.