TACHS Tutoring – In-Depth

What is the TACHS?

Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn/Queens (off-site link) and the Archdiocese of New York (off-site link) have adopted the TACHS (Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools). Other than a few exceptions, if a student intends to apply for admission to a Catholic high school in any of the five boroughs he or she will likely take the TACHS, which is administered to 8th graders every November at various Catholic schools across the city.

What’s on the test?

The TACHS consists of approximately 200 questions. It measures academic achievement in reading, written expression, and mathematics, and also assesses general reasoning skills. Although the TACHS lasts almost three hours with instructions and breaks, the actual test time is closer to two hours. The primary strategic point to keep in mind is that there is no penalty for answering questions incorrectly.

When should preparation begin?

One of the most frequent questions we are asked about the TACHS is when students should start preparing, and the answer varies depending upon the student and the following factors:

  • Is the student working at grade level?
  • Are there concepts or material on the TACHS that require significant review?
  • Does the student typically perform well on standardized exams or important tests?
  • Is anxiety a factor in performance?
  • Is motivation an issue?
  • Does the student have a learning disability that needs remediation?
  • Is the student able to focus full attention on preparation?
  • Does the student have time to complete homework assignments as part of preparation?
  • Is the student applying to highly competitive schools for which a high score is more imperative

Especially with students in this age range, it’s vital for them not to be in the position of cramming a few weeks or months before the exam. Rushing to prepare immediately before the TACHS generates additional pressure and can sometimes cause anxiety in students who have never previously exhibited symptoms of feeling anxious. Even high performing students often begin preparation a year or more before the exam. If you are targeting highly competitive schools, the TACHS results will play a larger role in admissions, and it is therefore advisable to get started at a time that will ensure your child is adequately prepared.

We suggest coming in for an initial session and assessment as early as possible. In the first session, the instructor will have an opportunity to review the content, timing, and strategy with the student, as well as properly assess the student’s aptitude, and then provide an informed recommendation about going forward. It is generally apparent if the student is well positioned and doesn’t need to begin at that point, and in other instances we may identify significant areas that need to be addressed over a longer period. If you would like to find out where your child stands and determine the ideal time to begin, please contact Next Level Learning Center and we can talk to you about the best way to get started with TACHS tutoring.

Our Proven TACHS Preparation

As always, preparation and practice make all the difference. For almost two decades Next Level Learning Center has been the foremost authority in New York City for TACHS preparation. Many Catholic schools refer students to Next Level because they know our instructors can help kids feel more confident on test day. Some tutoring services may agree to help with TACHS tutoring but very few have the knowledge or experience of Next Level Learning. Our expert TACHS instructors know the material that will appear on the TACHS exam and our personalized one-on-one tutoring program will ensure that your child is well positioned to achieve his or her greatest potential. Next Level’s TACHS instructors are sensitive to the ways in which pressure can adversely affect performance, which is why our TACHS prep is designed to minimize anxiety and improve test-taking skills.

At the conclusion of each one-on-one session, our instructors compose a report that summarizes the successes, the challenges, the expectations going forward, and homework (if any is assigned). If the parents have feedback or a suggestion about the next session, or questions about their child’s tutoring, they can simply reply to the session report and our director will coordinate with the instructor and follow up with the parent. Session reports are a valuable communications tool that allows parents to stay informed and involved without having to necessarily question their child following each session, which can sometimes exacerbate anxiety.

TACHS Registration

Registration is available from late summer through October. A link can be found here (off-site link). There is a fee to register, which includes a student handbook and score reporting to three schools.

What’s on the TACHS?

  • Reading
    • Main point of passage
    • Inferences
    • Textual evidence
  • Written Expression
    • Spelling, Capitalization, Punctuation, and Usage/Expression
    • Paragraphs:
      • Clarity of passage
      • Sentence structure
      • Organization of ideas
      • Appropriateness of expression
  • Math
    • Concepts, Data Interpretation, and Problem Solving:
      • Number relations
      • Algebra and Geometry Problem solving
      • Analyzing graphs and charts
  • Ability
    • Abstract Reasoning (Paper Folding)
    • Figure matrices
    • Figure classification

The Reading section consists of several long reading comprehension passages with several questions following each passage:

  • The Written Expression section tests knowledge of grammar rules in spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar with about 40 questions. Given three lines comprising a single sentence, the student selects the line that contains an error or chooses a fourth option: “No error.” As of November 2016, these questions are no longer divided into groups according to their respective aspects of grammar. A second subsection containing 10 questions covers composition. Each sentence of a paragraph is numbered, and questions ask for the way to best express a sentence or how best to combine two. In addition, a word or phrase within the paragraph may need altering to demonstrate better writing.
  • The Math section is comprised of questions involving basic math operations, problem solving, graph interpretation, and word problems. As of November 2016, there is no separate estimation section. However, there are some real-world estimation questions scattered throughout the section.
  • The Ability section is unique to the TACHS. The first subsection involves completing a grid with the correct figure, based on horizontal and vertical patterns. The second is paper-folding. After folding a piece of paper up to three times, one or two holes are punched. The correct answer shows the pattern of punched holes when the paper is unfolded.. The third involves finding a similarity among three figures and choosing a figure with that same similarity.

TACHS Scores

Scores reports are released via a student’s elementary school (or for public and private school student to their home address) in mid-January.

Contact Next Level Learning today for a complimentary consultation to evaluate your child’s needs and devise a strategy to ensure he or she gets the best possible score on the TACHS and goes to the Catholic high school of their choice.

Our Approach to Tutoring