The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) samples a wide variety of math skills to test students for a high school diploma. Number sense, algebra, data, and geometry skills are all necessary for success on CAHSEE mathematics.
What’s on the CAHSEE
Number skills – Students will compare real numbers; evaluate inequalities; calculate interest formula, fractions, decimals, ratios and proportions, square root; use laws of exponents and scientific notation to solve problems.
Algebra – Students need skills in solving equations, functions, systems of equations, slope-intercept, linear equation, absolute value, rate of change, reciprocal, writing equations, graphing linear equations, and prime factorization.
Data – Students must be able to read information that is presented graphically, including a scatter plot. Probability, combination, permutation, dependent events, independent events, mean and median
are also tested.
Geometry – Problems call for students to apply the Pythagorean Theorem, similar and congruent triangles, area, volume, linear measure, weight measure, metric measure, facts about circles, rotation, reflection, translation, and dilation.
One of the best ways to get ready for CAHSEE mathematics is to attend review sessions at school. Some high schools offer voluntary review sessions after school or on Saturdays. Students who attend have the opportunity to practice using school materials with help from math teachers. It’s a great deal that everyone should take advantage of.
Resources are also available for study at home. The link at right is for flashcards that match California standards and give parents a way to review with their teens, or for students to review at home.
However students review, it’s important to start early. Students who begin their review just before test day may find it difficult to get help from teachers who are flooded with students who are suddenly interested in math! Get an early start to get questions cleared up early.
On test day, be sure to read each problem carefully and consider each answer. Some students find it helpful to estimate answers before solving problems. Some often heard advice is to eliminate answers that are obviously wrong, and that can help on CAHSEE math.
Persistence is important too. A student who runs into a couple of difficult problems in a row and gives up has made a mistake. Easy problems are mixed in with more difficult ones. Keep going! And never leave an answer blank; make your best guess.
Finally, being alert throughout the test period is key. Get lots of sleep, bring along some mints or gum, and be bright eyed to score your best on CAHSEE Mathematics.