Middle schoolers lined up for the first day of the controversial Specialized High School Admissions Test.

It's used to determine which students get into the city's most prestigious public high schools.

Middle schools are still closed, but the 8th graders' are taking the test in their own middle school as opposed to a centralized location. Mayor de Blasio says the city had no other alternative than to open them up for the exam.

Students say they've been preparing for months or even years for this day - and some parents told NY1 they're relieved the city has not gotten rid of the test.

"I'm feeling kind of stressed, you know if the test is easy then I think I'll pass, but I've been practicing for months now so I hope everything goes well,” said Kinga Karp, an eighth grader from Borough Park. “My school offers some prep classes, so I've done that for about - for like four months now, so yeah they've prepared me a lot.”

“The gifted program and the SHSAT program should continue because these kids are putting a lot of effort to learn more, and the parents are making a lot of sacrifices - not only money,” said Rafiq Islam, a parent from Bergen Beach.

Critics of the SHSAT, including the mayor and schools chancellor, say the test ends up excluding many Black and Hispanic students from the city's top schools. The parent we spoke with said he understands those concerns, but he says the solution should be to improve the curriculum in schools across the board.