The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE)
Below you will find some general information regarding the California High School Exit Exam. Teachers and Administrators have been speaking and working with your 10th Grader to inform them of the upcoming exam and what to expect on that day. March 12th & 13th, the CAHSEE will be given to all 10th Grade students (and all 11th & 12th Grade students who still need to pass one, or both, sections of the exam. Please speak with your student about getting a good nights rest, and eating a healthy breakfast in the morning, so that they will be ready to give it their best.
CAHSEE Dates for school year 2012-2013
November 6th and 7th (11th and 12th graders)
February 5th and 6th (12th graders only)
March 12th and 13th (10th, 11th, and 12th graders)
May 14th and 15th (make-up for 10th graders, 11th and 12th graders)
What does the CAHSEE cover?
The CAHSEE has two parts: English-language arts and mathematics.
The English-language arts part of the CAHSEE tests state content standards through grade ten. The reading section includes vocabulary, decoding, comprehension, and analysis of informational and literary texts. The writing section covers writing strategies, applications, and the conventions of standard English (for example, grammar, spelling, and punctuation). The mathematics part of the CAHSEE tests state content standards in grades six and seven and Algebra I. The exam includes statistics, data analysis and probability, number sense, measurement and geometry, mathematical reasoning, and algebra. Students are also asked to demonstrate a strong foundation in computation and arithmetic, including working with decimals, fractions, and percentages.
What kinds of questions are on the CAHSEE?
Most of the questions on the CAHSEE are multiple choice. However, the English-language arts part of the exam also includes one essay question (writing task). The exam is given only in English, and all students must pass the exam in English to receive a high school diploma. Sample questions from previous administrations of the CAHSEE can be found throughout this Study Guide and on CDE’s Web site.
When do students first take the CAHSEE?
Students must take the exam for the first time in the second part of their tenth grade year.
When (and how) do students find out whether they have passed the CAHSEE?
School districts receive student score reports about seven weeks after the date of the exam. One copy is to be mailed to the student’s home and another copy is to be kept in the student’s permanent record. It is important that parents or guardians keep a copy of the student report for their records. The State of California does not keep a copy of the scores. All individual student scores
are confidential. Only group scores (for entire schools and districts) are made public. Scores may range from 275 to 450. A passing score is 350 or higher.
What if a student does not pass the first time?
Students who do not pass the exam in the tenth grade will have several opportunities to take it again during their junior and senior years. Once they have passed either part of the exam, they will not be tested again on that part.
By state law, students who do not pass a part of the exam must be offered extra instruction to learn what they need to know in order to pass. It is up to each school and district to decide how to provide this instruction.
TIPS FOR TAKING THE CAHSEE
This Study Guide has been written just for you. To receive a high school diploma, you must pass the CAHSEE, and we want to make sure you do. The English-language arts part of the CAHSEE consists of 79 multiplechoice questions and one essay writing prompt. This Study Guide includes tips for answering the multiple-choice questions and responding to the writing prompt. Remembering these tips can help you pass the CAHSEE.
Tips for Preparing for the CAHSEE
Apply Yourself in the Classroom.
The CAHSEE measures what you are learning and have already been taught in the classroom. More than any other preparation, attending your classes, paying attention in class, and doing your homework will help you pass the CAHSEE.
If you have trouble understanding any part of your class work or this Study Guide, get help! Talk to a teacher, a counselor, your parents, your guardian, or students who have already passed the CAHSEE. Many students receive valuable help in study groups with other students. Your school district offers special help for students who have not passed the exam. To find out what your school offers, ask your English teacher or principal.
Read for Fun!
Reading for pleasure is one of the best ways to prepare. Most
researchers agree that students who read for fun also improve their
writing, grammar, spelling, and vocabulary.
Use this Study Guide
Don’t wait until the last minute. Find a place where it’s easy to concentrate, and set aside some time each week to prepare. Starting
early will ensure you have time to get help if you need it.
Tips for Using the Answer Document
Use only a #2 pencil. Harder lead will be difficult to erase if you need to. Softer lead can leave smudges, and to the machine that
scores the exam, a smudge can look the same as an answer you chose.
Mark only one answer to each question. If you change an answer, erase the original answer completely.
Be certain you are marking the right question on your answer document, especially if you skip a question you want to answer
Tips for Answering Multiple-Choice Questions
Relax! You don’t have to answer every question correctly to pass the CAHSEE. If you become stressed, take a deep breath, relax, and focus on doing the best you can. You will have chances to retake the exam if you need to.
Answer Easy Questions First.
If a passage or question gives you trouble, skip it and focus on the ones that you understand. After you have answered the easy
questions, return to the questions you skipped.
Make Notes in the Test Booklet (But Not on the Answer Document).
Writing a note to yourself can help you think through a question. Also, if you skip a question and return to it, a record of your thinking will often help you understand a test question in a new way. As you read, you can underline, mark up the passage, and take
notes in the test booklet.
Eliminate Answers You Know are Wrong.
If you are not sure about the answer to a question, cross out any choices you know are wrong.
If You Must, Guess.
On the CAHSEE, wrong answers do not count against you, so it is to your advantage to answer every question. Even if you guess, you have a one-out-of-four chance of answering correctly. If you can eliminate two out of the four choices in any question, you have a 50-50 chance of answering correctly.
Review Your Work!
When you finish the last question, go back over the exam to review your thinking and correct any mistakes. If you guessed at a question, change your answer only if you have a good reason; often, your first instinct will be your best. Also, check your answer document for stray marks and erase them as cleanly as you can
Tips for Answering Reading Passage Questions
Most of the multiple-choice questions follow a reading passage. Good readers and good test takers use these strategies.
Read the Questions Before Reading the Passage. Look for “Key Words.”
Key words express specific ideas and relationships between ideas. After you find key words in a question, see if you can find the same words in the passage. Underline them and pay special attention to the
text around them.
Read the Entire Passage Before Answering the Questions that Follow.
Some questions ask about general concepts rather than specific details in a passage. To answer these types of questions, you need to
understand the passage as a whole.
Make Connections to Your Own Experience.
Some questions ask you to interpret situations and draw conclusions. Making connections to your own knowledge and experiences can help you answer these types of questions. As you read, try to relate the passage to yourself and people you know.
Tips for Writing the Essay
You will be asked to write an essay for the English-language arts part of the CAHSEE. Good writers and good test takers use these strategies.
Read the Writing Prompt Carefully and Note the Key Words.
The prompt will give you a topic, an audience, and a purpose for your writing. Before you begin writing, make sure you understand
what the prompt is asking you to do.
Plan Before You Write.
In your test booklet, make a list, an outline, a cluster, or a grid to help you get organized and stay on topic.
Proofread and Polish.
You will have all of the time you need to not only organize your essay but to proofread and revise to clearly express your ideas.