You’ve done it! The final section of the TSI. After all of that hard work, you get to do calculations, algebra, and geometry. Yay. This section holds nothing that you haven’t seen before, although it may have been a while since you have seen it. You won’t be able to bring your favorite calculator, but there is an on-screen calculator you can use and plenty of scratch paper. I recommend being at least a little mathematically independent from it because it only has a few functions and may have a slight learning curve attached to it. You will need a score of 351 to pass, which, once again, means that you can safely miss between 1-3 questions.
The TSI Math tests you on Algebra I and II, Geometry, and some Statistics, only probability and measures of central tendency. You will see graphs, charts, linear, quadratic, exponential, square root, and rational functions, systems of equations, rational functions, algebraic expressions and equations, and inequalities. Some questions are “regular” math problems and a lot are word problems, and you will have to solve or evaluate, simplify, translate from word to math, and match graphs with their equations.
Since all questions are multiple choice, you do have the option of solving some of them either the “right way” or “backwards,” meaning you can plug the answers into the equation and check if it works out. Some of them will require you to solve them the “right way” and others are more flexible, but there are one or two problems that can only be solved by referring to the answers. Factoring and FOILing, or polynomial multiplication, are essential skills to know how to do well. You can use the answers to any factoring or FOILing problem to help clue you in on what the correct answer might look like, but there may be several problems where you will have to find the solution by factoring correctly.
The word problems are extra difficult to since you will be looking at them on a computer and there is no option to highlight or mark on them, so it’s best to go over strategies that will help you “pull” important information from them, like defining each variable and writing the corresponding value next to it or just writing each number with a description of what it means nearby. For the graphing problems you may not need to draw the whole graph out on your scratch paper, but it may be helpful to use the eraser end of your pencil to help you count or line up things on the screen.
Finally, remember that you might be pretty tired after testing in all of the sections, so write and calculate carefully. Go ahead and breaks between a certain number or questions or even each question since they will be fairly randomized, you will have to recall a new set of information each time, and you won’t get to skip and return to it later. The process of elimination and estimating are great ways to narrow down and cancel out bad answers and make taking an educated guess easier, if you need to do that. Watch carefully for answers that look very similar because they might only differ by a sign change. Math can sometimes be the “downfall” of student test scores, but it doesn’t have to be for you. I consider math to be a different language, so if you have any types of strategies for learning languages, like repetition and review, flash cards for formulas, and application of processes, use them to help solidify your working knowledge of it. There are many worksheets all over the internet that pertain to certain math processes, so check some out if you are wanting more practice. It’s not a race, so work at your own pace. Best of luck!