That time of year is upon us where children will begin taking the state mandated tests in reading and math. It is important to prepare your child for what they can expect when taking these tests to help them feel more confident in the testing process. You can help them by teaching them test taking strategies, helping them become familiar with the format and timing of the test, as well as reviewing key material that they should have learned during the school year.
Test Taking Strategies – Part I
When preparing your child to take a standardized test, it is important to review test taking strategies. These strategies can be incorporated in their every day home learning activities.
Expose your child to different question types including multiple choice, multiple correct, short answer, and fill in the blank. This can be done by using the assignment provided by the teacher or by even using released versions of the test from previous years. Many states offer these as a preparation tool for future students. Old Florida FCAT tests can be found here and the California tests can be found here. A simple search online for the test name and “released questions” should land you in the right spot to find the old released tests, or you can always ask your child’s teacher.
When reading at home, it is also important to read various genres of literature including poetry, science fiction, biographies, fantasy, and realistic fiction. When reading a story, have them underline important details and ideas so they can use that information to help them answer questions. Upon finishing the story and moving on to the comprehension questions, teach them that they can go back into the story to find clues to answers and look back at what they underlined as important details. This can help them to eliminate answers on a multiple choice test.
Lastly, have them try to read passages and answer a set of questions within a specific time limit. This will help them to gauge their timing so they are not under as much pressure when completing the real test. Provide them with a watch or a stop watch to help them identify time intervals.
For Part II, stay tuned for our next post to help prepare your child with this year’s standardized tests.
Written by Laura VanHellemont
Photo by Southworth Sailor