If your child plans to attend a private high school, he or she is required to take an entrance or placement exam. In Omaha, all of the Catholic high schools administer the High School Placement Test (HSPT) on Jan. 9, 2021. On Feb. 9, scholarships will be awarded by each high school to those students who scored highest on the test taken at their school.

The concept of an entrance or placement exam may be a little daunting. However, you can help your child prepare for placement testing with some basic test-taking strategies. For kids with test-taking anxiety, the best tip is: Prepare. The second best tip? Talk about it. Find out what works for your child in preparing for a big test.

Here are some tips to get you started.

Before the test: 

Read always! One of the best ways to build vocabulary, practice comprehension skills and improve reading speed is to read every day. Even better, discuss with your child what she liked, what she learned, and what questions she has after reading.

Coach your child in some basic test-taking strategies:

  • Always take your best guess after carefully considering the answers to a question.
  • Eliminate the answers that are incorrect to narrow your choices.
  • If you have time at the end of the test, review your answers.
  • Usually your first answer is correct. Don’t change your answers unless you are 99% sure.

Practice – if your child took the practice test as a sixth or seventh-grader, he or she will be familiar with what to expect. Don’t worry if your child didn’t take the practice exam – all elementary and junior high schools administer standardized tests, and all students have had experience taking tests.

Plan ahead – review the school’s checklist for what your child will need and set everything out the night before.

Sleep – studies show that people perform better on mental tasks when they are well-rested. Teens need eight to 10 hours of sleep every night.

The morning of the test:
  • Eat a good breakfast. High-protein foods will help with concentration and keep your child alert through the test period.
  • Dress for success. Remind your child to wear comfortable clothing – dress with at least one layer in case the testing room is cool or warm.
  • Allow plenty of time for morning routines and for travel to the test site.
  • Don’t stress! A calm and confident demeanor will help your student do well.

With a little preparation your child can master the high school entrance exam. These skills will serve students well for the future demands of high school exams, comprehensive finals and eventually college entrance exams.

At Marian, entrance tests and transfer evaluations are part of the admissions criteria. We use the placement exam scores to award scholarships, but we also use the scores to place students into their freshman courses. As a prospective parent, we encourage you to take advantage of all the exciting events Marian has planned for your daughter. For more information, visit

For more information about the placement exam, contact Director of Admissions Molly Adams Woodman ’97 at or 402.571.2618 x 1161.