Details About CAHSEE

Understanding the CAHSEE

CAHSEE or the California High School Exit Examination is a test that all high school students in California should pass to receive a high school diploma. The ETS has developed these and the test is administered and scored by them.

Sections, Syllabus and Question Types

There are two sections in the CAHSEE : English-Language Arts and Mathematics.

English-Language Arts

This section of the question paper covers the syllabus that you have learnt till grade 10 of your school years. Reading, Decoding and Writing are covered in this section of the test. Vocabulary, Information Reading and Literary Reading are the sub-topics of the Reading and Decoding portion. Writing strategies, Applications and Conventions are covered under the Writing portion.

80 multiple-choice questions and a couple of essay writing questions are the types of questions asked in this section. Of the 80 questions, 8 questions are trial test items and are not scored.

Topic No. Of Questions
Word Analysis 7
Reading Comprehension 18
Literary Response and Analysis 20
Writing Strategies 12
English Language Conventions 15
Writing Applications 1


Math taught in grades 6-8, Algebra-I, Statistics, Data Analysis, Probability, Measurement and Geometry are the topics tested here. The test paper consists of about 90 multiple-choice questions of which 12 are un-scored trial test items.

Topic No. Of Questions
Probability, data Analysis and Statistics 12
Number Sense 14
Algebra and Functions 17
Measurement and Geometry 17
Algebra I 12
Mathematical Reasoning 8

Duration and Format of the Test

The assessments are conducted over two days with two sessions for each section; one day for Language and the next day for Mathematics. There is no time limit for the test. However, the administrators believe that most students would take around 3 or 4 hours for each section.

Scoring of the Test

The score report would be mailed to you after two months of the test date. The scores are scaled to bring equality among the different editions of the exam.

For both the English-Language Arts and Mathematics sections, the score range is between 275 and 450. The minimum score you have to attain to pass the test is 350.

The following information will be available in the score report:

  • Your general information
  • Your performance in the recent CAHSEE test given as a scaled score
  • Status information- whether you have passed or failed the test
  • Your performance in each of the sub-topics or strands and this will contain the number of questions asked and the number you have answered correctly
  • Your score in the Writing Application

Importance of the Test

This test was created and introduced to enhance a student's achievement in high school. Further, this test makes sure that students pass high school with grade level skills in reading, writing and math.

When to take the Test?

The test can be taken when you are in grade 10. If you do not pass in grade 10, you can take up the test in grades 11 and 12 as well. In grades 10 and 11, you can take the test up to two times whereas in grade 12, you have 5 chances to pass the test. You can take up the sections of the test that you have not passed during the next schedule of the test. You must also understand that you cannot reattempt any section of the test that you have already passed.


Students with disabilities who have an individualized education program (IEP) need not pass these assessments as a requirement for graduation. However, they are encouraged to take up and pass the test.


The CAHSEE assessments have been introduced to improve the skills of high school graduates and therefore, students must take up the test and pass it as early as possible. There are many study guides available and support for the preparation is also available form the school itself. It is best that you contact your school counselor for the details of the support program and attain the pass core in your first attempt itself.

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