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TACHS Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Taking the Test

Are you looking to gain admission into a Catholic high school in New York? If so, you might have to take the TACHS. It’s not easy, but with the right preparation, you can ace it. Here’s a guide to help you with your TACHS prep.

What to Bring (and Not Bring) to the TACHS

Here’s what you should bring to the TACHS:

  • Confirmation of your registration: Only authorized people can take the test. Take your registration receipt to prove your eligibility.

  • ID: Take some form of identification to prove your identity. You can use a school identification card or a library card, among other forms of ID.

  • #2 pencils: Take multiple sharpened #2 pencils so that you have backups in case one breaks. Make sure you also take a new, clean eraser that won’t leave marks when you use it.

Here’s what you shouldn’t bring to the TACHS:

  • Any electronic devices: Phones, calculators, iPods, and all other electronic devices are banned.

  • Papers and books: You can’t bring any materials of your own. Use the provided test booklet for all your writing.

  • Highlighters, pens, and other writing utensils: The only acceptable writing utensils are #2 pencils, so leave the rest at home.

How to Prepare for the Math Section of the TACHS

Use your test booklet: You’re provided with a test booklet. Take advantage of it to make calculations, visualize diagrams, and work through your thought process.

Don’t rush: All questions on the TACHS are worth the same number of points, regardless of their difficulty. Make sure to spend enough time on the easy questions that you don’t make careless mistakes.

Know the most common formulas: Knowing the most important formulas by heart is essential. Here are some of the most common:

  • 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

Memorize properties of angles: Like the formulas, you need to know these. Here are the five most important:

  • Right angles are 90°.

  • The sum of the interior angles of a triangle equals 180°.

  • The sum of the interior angles of a quadrilateral equals 360°.

  • Complementary angles add up to 90°.

  • Supplementary angles add up to 180°.

Know how to convert measurements: This is important not only for the TACHS but also for life. Memorize the following conversions:

  • 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

Memorize the order of operations: Don’t forget about PEMDAS — Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.

How to Prepare for the English Section of the TACHS

Examine each answer choice carefully, focusing on the details and scrutinizing the sentence for errors.

For usage questions on the TACHS, look at the pronouns and verbs first. If they seem acceptable, analyze the sentence construction and word use.

For punctuation questions on the TACHS, carefully analyze the usage of commas, semicolons, and colons.

Here are some punctuation rules to know:

  • Dependent clauses at the beginning a sentence are separated from independent clauses with a comma.

  • To separate independent clauses, you can either write two separate sentences, use a comma with a conjunction, or use a semicolon.

  • You can use a semicolon only when the sentences on both sides are complete.

  • You must separate nonessential clauses from the main sentence using commas on both sides of the clause (unless, of course, it comes at the beginning or end).

  • Never separate verbs and complements or prepositions and objects with punctuation marks (unless overwritten by other rules, such as adding a nonessential clause with commas).

Memorize major spelling rules—and their many exceptions:

  • Normal plurals are formed by adding -s. If the word ends in o, ch, sh, or ss, it typically takes -es. For words ending in y, the y is replaced with -ies, unless the word ends in ey. Endings f and fe are typically replaced with -ves.

  • If a word ends in a consonant and the stress is on the vowel before it, double the consonant when adding -ed or ­-ing.

Commit the following facts about possessives to memory:

  • Normal possessives are formed by adding ’s. To make a plural noun that ends in s possessive, simply add an apostrophe.

  • Possessive adjectives (my, your, his, her, its, our, their, and whose)—often incorrectly called “possessive pronouns”—are used as adjectives. Possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, and whose) are used as nouns.

Capitalize the following:

  • The first word in a sentence

  • The first word in a quotation if the quotation is a full sentence

  • Names and proper nouns

  • Titles of books, movies, songs, people, etc.

How to Prepare for the Reading Comprehension Section of the TACHS

  • Read the passage carefully before answering anything.

  • Focus on the big picture—the main message, the author’s tone, etc.

  • Use the process of elimination to remove answers that don’t relate to the content.

  • Answer the questions with specific information from the passage.

  • For the main-point questions on the TACHS, give broad answers.

  • Don’t use too much inference. Your answers should be based on clues in the passage.

  • Remember that answers might paraphrase the information in the passage.

How to Build Your Vocabulary for the TACHS

  • Read a lot in your TACHS prep. Look up words you don’t know and make flashcards to memorize them.

  • Learn common morphological elements, such as prefixes and suffixes.

  • Consider the context. Even if you don’t know a word, the context can give you valuable clues.

  • Break up words you don’t understand. Large words are built from smaller morphemes that you might know the meanings of.

In addition to the tips above, personalized tutoring sessions are one of the best ways to help yourself study for the TACHS. Consider working with one of our expert tutors to learn where your strengths and weaknesses lie and help yourself narrow in on which parts of the test you’ll need to study for most.


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