Tutoring for improving test taking – starting young

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helping with homework

By Elaine Sigal

I have been in the education arena as a licensed educator for 35+ years and have worked with students of all ages for test preparation. I have found that even as young as the early elementary grades “tutoring” makes a big difference to the student’s test performance. Students are exposed to a variety of material during a school year and not every teacher or district’s curriculum is the same. This type of “tutoring” or supplemental education evens out the playing field.

Some tests are strictly IQ based, but many schools use tests that require a student to have garnered a knowledge base to which he/she may not have yet been exposed.

Areas upon which an educator providing such tutoring may concentrate:

  • What to expect on the test
  • Basic reading skills
  • Vocabulary dissection and identification
  • Writing skills – both penmanship and actual construction of a sentence and paragraph
  • Basic math skills – grade level expectation plus 2 years ahead
  • Test taking strategies
  • Anxiety reduction
  • For later on in a process if needed – interview skills
  • Science skills – map reading, graphs, and charts

All this being said, you cannot take a student with an IQ of 115-120 and have that student turn into a gifted and talented (G&T) test scorer of 135+. However, not all truly gifted and talented students score well on a basic battery of tests. I had one student with and IQ of 160 (really) who failed his district’s G&T battery of tests in 2rd grade because he got all but one of the subtraction problems incorrect (he did get all of the multiplication, long division and fractions problems correct thus proving that he knew subtraction). It was later determined that he misnumbered on the test. The school would not let him retake the test since it would not “be fair to the other students.” He was not admitted to the G&T program.


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