Catholic High School Entrance Exams For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Catholic High School Entrance Exams For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Catholic High School Entrance Exams For Dummies

By Lisa Zimmer Hatch, Scott A. Hatch

If you want to attend a Catholic high school, you must pass one of three Catholic high school entrance exams: the HSPT, the COOP, or the TACHS. Never fear. When armed with the right math, language, reading comprehension, and vocabulary review materials — as well as knowledge about what you should and shouldn’t bring with you on test day — you can rest assured of a stellar score.

What to Take to the Catholic High School Entrance Exam

Time for your Catholic high school entrance exam? If you’re wondering what to take with you to the Catholic high school entrance exam, have a look at this list, which also shows what not to take!

  • Bring the following items with you to your entrance exam:

    Your registration confirmation: You need your registration receipt to prove you’ve paid for your test and are authorized to take it.

    An ID: Take in some documentation to prove that you are in fact you. Acceptable forms of ID include school identification cards and library cards.

    #2 pencils: Make sure you have plenty of sharpened #2 pencils on hand. They should have new, clean erasers too so you don’t leave extra marks on your answer sheet.

  • Whatever you do, leave these items at home:

    Cellphones, calculators, MP3 players, watches that contain calculators, and all other electronic devices: You can’t have access to any outside information while taking the exam, so don’t even bother trying to sneak in tools that can connect you with the outside world.

    Scratch paper and books: You aren’t allowed to take in paper of any kind. However, you can (and should) write in your test booklet.

    Highlighters, pens, and protractors: The only writing utensils permitted during the exam are #2 pencils.

Math Tips for the HSPT, COOP, and TACHS

All three Catholic high school entrance exams feature some type of math section. You can score well on the math section of the HSPT, COOP, or TACHS if you follow these tips:

  • Use your test booklet to perform calculations, draw diagrams, and cross out answer choices that are just plain wrong. Just don’t use it to answer estimations on the TACHS.

  • Remember that easy questions are worth the same amount of points as hard questions. Don’t rush through the easy questions and make careless mistakes.

  • Memorize common math formulas before you take your entrance exam. Here are some important ones to know:

    Perimeter of a rectangle: A = 2l + 2w or 2(l + w)

    Perimeter of a square: A = 4s

    Area of a triangle: A = (1/2)bh

    Area of a rectangle: A = bh or lw

    Area of a square: A = S2

    Diameter of a circle: d = 2r

    Circumference of a circle: C = 2πr or πd

    Area of a circle: A = πr2

    Volume of rectangular solids: V = lwh

    Pythagorean theorem: a2 + b2 = c2

    Average of a set of numbers: Average = Sum of the numbers ÷ The amount of numbers in the set

  • Commit properties of angles to memory. These five are the ones to know for your exam:

    Right angles measure 90°.

    The sum of the interior angles of a triangle is 180°.

    The sum of the interior angles of a quadrilateral is 360°.

    Complementary angles add up to 90°.

    Supplementary angles add up to 180°.

  • Memorize common measurement equivalents. The following ones are important:

    1 foot = 12 inches

    1 yard = 3 feet

    1 meter = 100 centimeters

    1 kilometer = 1,000 meters

    1 pound = 16 ounces

    1 cup = 8 ounces

    1 pint = 2 cups

    1 quart = 2 pints or 4 cups

    1 gallon = 4 quarts

    1 kilogram = 1,000 grams

  • Commit the order of operations to memory: Think of PEMDAS — Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction — and you’ll be set.

Language Question Help for Catholic High School Entrance Exams

No matter which version of the Catholic High School Entrance Exams you’re taking (HSPT, COOP, or TACHS), you can expect to be tested on your basic understanding of the English language. That means you need to have a pretty good grasp on language points such as grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and usage. Of course, it can’t hurt to have a few tips in your back pocket either:

  • Analyze each answer choice one at a time and look for error clues.

  • For usage questions, read the choices and check the pronouns and verbs. If the verbs and pronouns look okay, search for problems with sentence construction or word choice.

  • For punctuation questions, examine the way the choices apply commas, semicolons, and colons.

  • Memorize these punctuation rules:

    Use commas to separate a series of three or more items.

    Use a comma to separate a beginning dependent clause from an independent clause.

    Separate independent clauses in a sentence with a comma and conjunction or just a semicolon.

    Separate nonessential elements from the rest of the sentence with commas.

    Never use a punctuation mark to separate a verb from its complement or a preposition from its object.

  • Memorize spelling rules and their exceptions, including these major ones:

    Put i before e except after c unless ei is pronounced with a long a sound.

    Form plurals by adding –s to the ends of words, except when the original word ends in o, y, f, fe, ch, sh, or ss.

    Double the consonant before adding –ed or –ing to a base word that ends in a consonant and is stressed on the preceding vowel.

  • Commit the following facts about possessives to memory:

    You make singular nouns and plural nouns that don’t end in –s possessive by adding ‘s to the end of them.

    You make plural nouns that end in –s possessive by adding an apostrophe to the end of them.

    The possessive forms of pronouns that come before other nouns are my, your, his, her, its, our, their, and whose. The possessive form of pronouns that come at the end of a clause or are used as subjects are mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, and whose.

  • Always capitalize the following:

    The first word in a sentence

    The first word in a quotation that’s a complete sentence

    Proper names and nouns that are used as names, such as Dad

    Titles of people, songs, and literary works

    Days of the week, months of the year, and holidays

Conquering Reading Comprehension Questions on the HSPT, COOP, or TACHS

Reading comprehension might be a challenge for some students, but you can’t avoid it on your Catholic high school entrance exam. Improve your reading comprehension with help from these tips:

  • Read through the passage before answering the questions.

  • As you read, focus on the passage’s main point, the author’s tone, and paragraph topics. Don’t spend time worrying about the specific details of the passage.

  • Eliminate answer choices that don’t relate to the information in the passage or that contain debatable words such as always, never, and so on.

  • Use the information in the passage to answer the questions, not information that’s in your head.

  • Choose general answers for main-point questions.

  • Don’t infer too much for inference questions. The correct answers to these questions are solidly based on clues in the passage and not your vivid imagination.

  • Keep in mind that the answers to specific-information questions may paraphrase the information in the passage.

Ace Vocabulary Questions on Your Catholic High School Entrance Exam

The Catholic high school(s) you’re applying to want(s) to know how strong your vocabulary is. That’s why the HSPT, COOP, and TACHS all ask vocabulary questions. To answer as many of them correctly as possible, do the following:

  • Start reading a lot and watch for unfamiliar words. When you see them, look up their meanings and make flashcards of the words and their definitions.

  • Memorize common prefixes, roots, and suffixes.

  • Know whether you’re looking for synonyms, antonyms, or analogies.

  • Check the context of the word if it’s given to you. In other words, use what you know about the words that the underlined word is put with to figure out the specific meaning that the test is looking for.

  • Try breaking up a word if you don’t know what it means. For instance, you may not know the meaning of counterpoint, but you know that the prefix counter means “against,” and you probably know that a point is a position or stance. By breaking down the word, you can deduce that counterpoint means “against a stance,” which is pretty close to its actual meaning of “a contrasting but related element or theme.”