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Testing High school students take several different types of school-wide tests and optional tests. Passing one test, the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), is a requirement to receive a high school diploma. Several other tests, such as the ACT and SAT, are used by colleges and universities as part of their entrance requirements. these tests are optional for our students, however we encourage all students to take the exams.

California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE)

All students must pass the California High School Exit Exam to receive a diploma. Your first opportunity to take the test is in 10th Grade. A majority of students pass the test the first time; others will have additional opportunities before graduation and generally pass the exam.

It is made up of two parts: English-language arts and math.

  • English-Language: In reading, this includes vocabulary, decoding, comprehension, and analysis of information and literary texts. In writing, this covers writing strategies, applications, and the conventions of English (e.g. grammar, spelling, and punctuation).

  • Math: The mathematics part of the CAHSEE addresses state 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 percents.

  • Read more.

College Tests

There are two major college tests, the SAT and ACT. Here are some tips on deciding to take one or both tests.

  • Visit the website for the universities and colleges that you will be applying to in order to make sure you meet each university's and college's testing deadlines.

  • California State Universities (CSU's) require the SAT Reasoning or ACT with writing.

  • University of California schools (UC's) require the SAT Reasoning or ACT with writing and two SAT Subject Tests. See the individual University websites for more detailed information. Some campuses prefer certain subject tests depending on campus and major.

  • Private colleges and universities require the SAT Reasoning or ACT w/writing. Some private schools do not require the writing test. See the individual website for each individual school for admission requirements.It is best to take the writing portion in case it is required. If it is not, it will not be considered or count against you.

  • Highly selective private colleges and universities also require two or three SAT Subject Tests. See individual school website for admission requirements. Some campuses prefer certain subject tests depending on major, etc.

  • Community colleges do not require any entrance exams. However, you will be required to take math and English placement tests when you apply to determine your math and English levels for course enrollment.

Advanced Placement Tests

If you are enrolled in an Advanced Placement (AP) course, it is strongly recommended that you take the AP test for that course in the spring. You will need to sign up for the tests in advance and there may be a fee. For more information see your AP teacher or counselor for dates and fees.


The PSAT is the practice test for the SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test). It is offered one time a year in the Fall. Students will receive their test booklets back as well as a score report with information about ways to improve scores. Check with your counselor for more information.