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Passing the CAHSEE-Math
About This Book and TestWare®
This book, along with our companion TestWare® software, provides you with an accurate and complete representation of the Mathematics section of the California High School Exit Examination* (CAHSEE). Inside, you will find reviews that are designed to provide you with the information and strategies needed to do well on the test.
Four complete practice tests are provided: two printed in this book and two additional tests on the accompanying CD-ROM. All of the tests are based on the official CAHSEE. The practice tests contain every type of question that you may expect to appear on the CAHSEE Math. Following each test, you will find an answer key with detailed explanations designed to help you completely understand the test material.
About the Test
Who Takes the Test and What Is It Used For?
Beginning with the class of 2006, every high school student who plans to graduate from a California public high school has been required to pass the California High School Exit Examination. The test consists of two parts: Mathematics and English-Language Arts.
Students are first required to take the CAHSEE in grade 10. If you pass both the Mathematics and the English-Language Arts sections, you will not be required to retake the test. If you pass only one section, you must retake the other part in grades 11 and 12, until you pass. If you do not pass either part of the CAHSEE, you get the chance to retake both sections in grades 11 and 12, until you pass.
When and Where Is the Test Given?
Every public school district in California has to provide students with multiple opportunities to take the CAHSEE. Your high school may choose from a list of test dates for administering the CAHSEE that are designated by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Your school is also responsible for accommodating the test takers. The questions and scoring guides are provided by Educational Testing Service.
The CAHSEE test is administered over two days. The English-Language Arts section is given on the first day, followed by the Mathematics portion the next day. The CAHSEE is an untimed test, so if you need until the end of the school day to finish, take the time.
Is There a Registration Fee?
No. Because all California public high school students are required to take and pass this test in order to receive a high school diploma, no fee is required.
Special Test Arrangements
Parents of special education students, students with disabilities, and students who are learning English should contact their local high school officials regarding possible waivers or special arrangements, such as the use of a calculator when they take the CAHSEE. In order to be considered for a waiver, students must be diagnosed with a physical or learning disability or be in the process of learning the English language.
Additional Information and Support
Additional resources to help you prepare to take the CAHSEE include the official State of California CAHSEE website at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs
How to Use This Book and TestWare®
What Do I Study First?
Learn about the format and content of the CAHSEE Mathematics exam by reading the introductory section of this book. Pay particular attention to our test-taking strategies. Then read and study the review sections of this book found in Parts 1 through 5. Take the practice tests found in this book and on the two practice tests found on the accompanying TestWare® CD-ROM to become familiar with the format and procedures involved with taking the actual CAHSEE. To best utilize your study time, follow our CAHSEE Independent Study Schedule located in the front of this book.
When Should I Start Studying?
It is never too early to start studying for the CAHSEE. The earlier you begin, the more time you will have to sharpen your skills. Do not procrastinate! Cramming is not an effective way to study, since it does not allow you the time needed to learn the test material. The sooner you learn the format of the exam, the more time you will have to familiarize yourself with the exam content.
Format of the CAHSEE Math
The Mathematics portion of the CAHSEE is designed to test the following skills:
Statistics, Data Analysis, and Probability: These questions deal with statistical measurements, data samples of a population, theoretical and experimental probabilities, and data sets with one or more variables.
Number Sense: These questions deal with properties of rational numbers and fractions, exponents, powers, and roots.
Algebra and Functions: These questions deal with quantitative relationships, integer powers, simple roots, graphing linear and nonlinear functions, and simple equations and inequalities.
Measurement and Geometry: These questions deal with units of measure, ratio conversion, changes of scales, the Pythagorean theorem, and computing perimeter, area, and volume.
Mathematical Reasoning: These questions deal with approaching problems, determining that a solution is complete, and using strategies, skills, and concepts.
Algebra: This section deals with finding the reciprocal, taking a root, the rules of exponents, absolute values, expressions and inequalities in one variable, multi-step problems involving linear equations and inequalities in one variable, graphing linear equations and computing the x- and y-intercepts, verifying that a point lies on a line, the relationship of parallel slopes, systems of two linear equations, solving a system of two linear inequalities in two variables, performing basic operations on monomials and polynomials, and applying algebraic techniques to solve rate, work, and percent mixture problems.
About the Review Sections
The review in this book is designed to help you sharpen the basic skills needed to pass the Mathematics section of the CAHSEE. You will find test-taking strategies, a review of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and word problems, and questions and tasks to strengthen your abilities in these areas. By using the reviews in conjunction with the practice tests, you will better prepare yourself for the CAHSEE itself.
Although you may not be familiar with standardized tests such as the CAHSEE, there are many ways to acquaint yourself with this type of examination and help alleviate your test-taking anxieties. Listed below are ways to help you get to know the CAHSEE, some of which may be applied to other standardized tests.
What to Do Before the Test
Pay attention in class.
Carefully work through the review sections of this book. Mark any topics that you find difficult, so that you can focus on them while studying and get extra help if necessary.
Take the practice tests and become familiar with the format of the CAHSEE. When you are practicing, simulate the conditions under which you will be taking the actual test. Stay calm and pace yourself. After simulating the test only a couple of times, you will feel more confident, and this will boost your chances of doing well.
Students who have difficulty concentrating or taking tests in general may have severe test anxiety. Tell your parents, a teacher, a counselor, the school nurse, or a school psychologist well in advance of the test. They may be able to help you learn some useful strategies that will help you feel more relaxed, so that you can do your best on the test.
What to Do During the Test
Read all of the possible answers. Just because you think you have found the correct response, do not automatically assume that it is the best answer. Read through each answer choice to be sure that you are not making a mistake by jumping to conclusions.
Use the process of elimination. Go through each answer to a question and eliminate as many of the answer choices as possible. By eliminating two answer choices, you have given yourself a better chance of getting the item correct, since there will only be two choices left from which to make your guess. Sometimes a question will have one or two answer choices that are a little odd. These answers will be obviously wrong for one of several reasons: they may be impossible given the conditions of the problem, they may violate mathematical rules or principles, or they may be illogical.
Work on the easier questions first. If you find yourself working too long on one question, make a mark next to it on your test booklet and continue. After you have answered all of the questions that you know, go back to the ones you have skipped.
Be sure that the answer oval you are marking corresponds to the number of the question in the test booklet. Since the multiple-choice sections are graded by machine, marking one wrong answer can throw off your answer key and your score. Be extremely careful.
Work from answer choices. You can use a multiple-choice format to your advantage by working backward from the answer choices to solve a problem. This strategy can be helpful if you can just plug the answers into a given formula or equation. You may be able to make an educated guess based on your elimination of choices that you know do not fit into the problem.
If you cannot determine what the correct answer is, guess anyway. The CAHSEE does not subtract points for wrong answers, so be sure to fill in an answer for every question. It works to your advantage, because you could guess correctly and increase your score.