Students need a wide variety of skills to perform well on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) in English Language Arts. Here’s a review list to help teens get ready for CAHSEE.
What’s on CAHSEE?
Word skills – Students will answer questions about vocabulary in context, meaning of prefixes, suffixes, and roots, literal v. figurative meaning, and denotation v. connotation.
Reading skills – Students will be asked to compare and contrast, read graphic information, explain how to paraphrase and draw conclusions based on text.
Thinking skills – Propaganda, sources of information, and persuasion are all tested.
Drama – One of the few states in the union to focus on drama, California has included detailed information about drama on CAHSEE, including comedy, tragedy, drama, dramatic monologue, aside, character foil, soliloquy, main character, and subordinate character,
Literature and figures of speech – Students will be asked to explain types of conflict, theme, foreshadowing, flashback, simile, metaphor, symbol, irony, point of view, style, and periods of American literature.
Writing – Skills tested include topic sentences, paragraph development, thesis statement, active voice, passive voice, main idea, revision, editing, types of writing (persuasive, expository, narrative), correcting run-ons and fragments, use of semicolon, use of colon, layout and punctuation of a business letter, main clause and subordinate clause, parallel structure, subject-verb agreement, and use of the apostrophe.
Student scores on CAHSEE will rise if they prepare in advance. If the high school offers review classes, students should definitely take advantage and attend these classes. And it is a bad idea to wait until the last minute to attend; it could take a few weeks for students to catch up with skills.
Resources are available for students who would like help getting ready. There’s a link to flashcards that match California English standards that will help students review.
Many students find it tough to read everything closely on tests like CAHSEE. They’ll try to skim, hitting the high points, and answer questions. That does not work for many students. Read every reading selection and question carefully; and never leave a question blank.
Finally, it is important to be alert on test day. That means getting to bed early the night before. Students who have a job or other after school commitments should put those on the back burner when it is time to take CAHSEE.