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Essential Standardized Test Taking Tips for Parents
Reassure your child that he or she does not have to answer all the questions correctly to pass. It is not expected that students answer every question correctly. There is always room for error. Knowing that they do not have to be perfect will help eliminate some of the stress that comes with testing.
- Tell your child to attempt to answer all of the questions and not to leave any blank. There is no penalty for guessing, and students can get partial credit on the open-ended items. Teach them to eliminate ones that they know are wrong first because it gives them a higher chance of getting the correct answer if they are forced to guess.
Remind your child that the test is important. It sounds simple, but many parents fail to reiterate this. Most children will put forth their best effort when they know it is important to their parents.
Explain to your child the importance of using time wisely. If your child gets stuck on a question, encourage him or her to make the best guess or place a mark in the test booklet by that item and go back to it after finishing that section of the test. Students must not spend too much time on a single question. Give your best attempt and move on.
Ensure that your child gets a decent night's sleep and a good breakfast before taking the test. These are essential to how your child performs. You want them to be at their best. Failing to get a good nights rest or good breakfast can cause them to lose focus quickly.
Make the morning of the test a pleasant one. Do not add to your child's stress. Do not argue with your child or bring up a touchy subject. Instead, try to do extra things that make them laugh, smile, and relax.
Get your child to school on time the day of the test. Give yourself extra time to get to school that morning. Getting them there late will not only throw off their routine, but it could also disrupt testing for other students.
Remind your child to listen carefully to the instructions from the teacher and to read the directions and each question carefully. Encourage them to read every passage and every question at least two times. Teach them to slow down, trust their instincts, and give their best effort.
Encourage your child to stay focused on the test, even if other students finish early. It is human nature to want to speed up when others around you are already finished. Teach your child to start strong, stay focused in the middle, and finish just as strong as you started. Many students hijack their scores because they lose focus on the bottom third of the test.
- It is normal to be nervous when you take a test. Try to relax and think about the readings.
- Read carefully and pay attention to details.
- Look at the pictures and graphics to help you understand the passage.
- Paragraph Labeling: Underline the main points in each paragraph that you are reading.
- Read each question carefully and be sure to answer what is being asked.
- Go back to the passage for clues to help you answer the questions.
- You are allowed to go back and read the passages as many times as you want. Read them carefully.
- Pay close attention to the main idea questions. Here are examples: a) What is this passage mostly about? b) The main topic of this story is... c) A good title for this passage would be...? There are many main idea questions on the test so make sure you know how to answer them.
- The answer to a main idea question is very often in the first or last sentence of a passage. Look at the first and last sentences for answers before you look at the rest of the story.
- Sometimes the answer to a question may not be in the story. It may be in the title or in a caption under a graph or picture. If you can't find the answer in the story, look closely at the illustrations and the words under them for clues.
- Identify difficult words by looking for little words inside big words, knowing the meaning of word parts, and using the words surrounding to find clues.
- After you read the passage, first answer the questions you know. Skip the ones that are too hard and go back later.
- Relax and think positively -- some questions may seem hard, but you may be able to figure out what to do after you read the question carefully.
- Write on the test. Yes! You can write on the test, since anything written outside the answer box is ignored and will not harm your results. Use circles, underlining, arrows, and other marks that will help solve questions and problems. Just don't make any marks near the answer bubbles!
- Do not be disturbed about other students finishing before you do. Take your time, don't panic, and you will do much better on the test.
- Relax. . . don't panic. . . you will do fine.
Interactive websites for Reading
- Draw a Picture
- Rule out Wrong Answers
- Check your work
- Rule out extra information
- Use an exact of estimated answer
- Students who mark on the test booklets score higher. You can too!
- Use the formulas provided.
- Read each problem carefully.
- Think about what is being asked.
- Choose an appropriate strategy.
- Solve the problem using your strategy.
- Does the answer make sense? Did the strategy work?
Interactive Websites for Math
Interactive Websites for ScienceWriting Strategies
- Memorize the following writing rubric: Focus, organization, support, and conventions.
- Write just as you do for all of your teachers. Remember you are in school and you are in one of your teachers' classrooms.
- Recall writing strategies from class and write down the main points that must appear in your writing.
- Write legible, complete sentences and paragraphs and focus on your main idea.
- Read the prompt carefully. As a matter of fact, read it at least two times.
- Plan your writing by organizing your ideas.
- Support your ideas by telling more about each reason or argument.
- Use a variety of sentence structures.
- Choose words that help others understand what you mean.
- Use facts, incidents, reasons, examples, and statistics (FIRES) to support your topic sentence.
- Review and edit your writing. In your review, check spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
- Be sure that the reader is able to TOUCH, TASTE, SEE, SMELL, AND HEAR what your are writing about. Be sure to stay on topic!
- Give your sentences life by using words that show not tell.