Parent's Guide to the LEAP 21 for Grade 4

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743204927
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

THE A's, B's, C's, AND D's OF GOOD TEST TAKING

Understanding the LEAP Tests Is Half the Battle

Does the mere sight of a No. 2 pencil cause your child to break into a cold, trembling sweat? Are the words multiple-choice or essay invariably followed by a thin, keening shriek or forlorn wail? If the answer to either of these questions is "yes," then it's time you faced the facts: When it comes to taking standardized tests, your child is just like everyone else.

The vast majority of Americans experience some fear and nervousness before taking a big test. It is only natural that a nine-year-old would feel anxious when faced with a test that might cause her to have to take summer school, or maybe even be held back a grade. Sure, there are a few folks out there who are perfectly calm when faced with exams, but they are all either hopelessly insane or currently making a living writing test-preparation materials.

Let your kid know that it is normal to be nervous about the unknown, but that the more she knows about these exams, the less nervous she will feel. All the information and all the techniques we will cover in this book will ease your child's nervousness and replace it with confidence by making that "unknown" -- in this case, the exams -- familiar and manageable. Test anxiety almost invariably leads to a lower test score, so it is important that you work to boost your child's confidence about the exams. Just understanding the basic format of these exams can be empowering, as the Math test changes from a scary hurdle that must be jumped to simply "an untimed test with 60 multiple-choice questions worth one point each interspersed with 3 or 4 open-ended questions worth 0-4 points apiece."

Learning about question types and little details, like knowing how many Proofreading questions will appear on the English LEAP exam, serves a dual purpose: It provides your child with useful information, and it takes away the fear-of-the-unknown aspect of the exam. This principle is the foundation of successful test preparation:

Familiarity leads to confidence.

Think of the tests as that haunted house on the end of your street. At first, your child only knows the horror stories about the children who went inside never to be seen again. Your job as a parent is to guide your child through the exams during the day, showing how the scary noise coming from upstairs is caused by a rusty blind, and that beyond the usual dangers associated with an old house (loose floorboards, a rickety staircase), there is nothing about the place to worry about. If you can replace the anxiety and stress your child feels about the tests with a feeling of confidence, you will have done her a great service.

Why Cosmas Ndeti, Former Boston Marathon Winner, Would Probably Do Well on These Tests

Although Mr. Ndeti, a world-class marathon runner, probably has not had as much work with fractions as your child has recently, he is very skilled in one crucial test-taking area: pacing. Knowing that he's going to run 26 miles, Ndeti picks a nice, consistent speed at which to run, and keeps at that pace throughout the entire race. What he doesn't do, and what you should not allow your child to do, is spend too much time in any one area or run out of gas before the race is over.

Although the LEAP tests are untimed, that doesn't mean your child should spend four hours taking every session. At a certain point, taking too much time becomes as harmful as taking too little: frustration mounts, boredom and fatigue set in. Perseverance is a noble trait, but on a standardized test, spending half the time answering one multiple-choice question is tantamount to standardized-test suicide. Your child should stay focused on the task at hand and never get too flustered by any one question.

One or two small breaks during each section is fine if your child feels his brain is getting strained. Tell him to put the pencil down, stretch out his hands and arms, take some deep breaths, and then pick up the pencil and finish the test. If your child comes to a question he does not understand, tell her to think of this as a guideline:

Spend up to four minutes trying to figure out the question; then, using the techniques taught in this book, take an educated guess and move on.

The LEAP tests do not require perfection. There are only two real scores: pass or fail. To pass, students simply need to get about half of the questions right, so it is never worth their while to spend 50 minutes on one question that's stumping them, only to be so mentally fatigued that they do poorly on the rest of the exam. Certainly, you don't want to encourage your child to do less than his best, but he must realize that no one question is so important that it is worth getting bogged down on and upset over. There are always some questions that just seem baffling. Throughout the rest of this book, we'll show you how to show your kid how to make good guesses, keep his cool, and stay on pace when faced with a stumper.

In addition to telling your child not to get stuck on one question, you can also encourage the "two-pass" approach to test taking. On the first pass through a test, your child should answer only those questions he can handle quickly and easily, skipping over any questions that leave him confused or require a lot of thought. Seeing a bunch of ovals filled in right away often gives students a quick boost of confidence. On the second pass, tell your child to go a little slower, use process of elimination (a technique we'll discuss in a moment) to cross out any incorrect choices, and then take a guess and move on. The two-pass system is very helpful on all the LEAP tests, since it allows your child to answer all the multiple-choice questions before tackling the short-answer and constructed-response questions.

Copyright © 2000 by Anaxos, Inc.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter One: The A's, B's, C's, and D's of Good Test Taking
Chapter Two: English
Chapter Three: Mathematics
Chapter Four: Science and Social Studies
Chapter Five: I Got a What?!
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Chapter One

THE A's, B's, C's, AND D's OF GOOD TEST TAKING

Understanding the LEAP Tests Is Half the Battle

Does the mere sight of a No. 2 pencil cause your child to break into a cold, trembling sweat? Are the words multiple-choice or essay invariably followed by a thin, keening shriek or forlorn wail? If the answer to either of these questions is "yes," then it's time you faced the facts: When it comes to taking standardized tests, your child is just like everyone else.

The vast majority of Americans experience some fear and nervousness before taking a big test. It is only natural that a nine-year-old would feel anxious when faced with a test that might cause her to have to take summer school, or maybe even be held back a grade. Sure, there are a few folks out there who are perfectly calm when faced with exams, but they are all either hopelessly insane or currently making a living writing test-preparation materials.

Let your kid know that it is normal to be nervous about the unknown, but that the more she knows about these exams, the less nervous she will feel. All the information and all the techniques we will cover in this book will ease your child's nervousness and replace it with confidence by making that "unknown" -- in this case, the exams -- familiar and manageable. Test anxiety almost invariably leads to a lower test score, so it is important that you work to boost your child's confidence about the exams. Just understanding the basic format of these exams can be empowering, as the Math test changes from a scary hurdle that must be jumped to simply "an untimed test with 60 multiple-choice questions worth one point each interspersed with 3 or 4 open-ended questions worth 0-4 points apiece."

Learning about question types and little details, like knowing how many Proofreading questions will appear on the English LEAP exam, serves a dual purpose: It provides your child with useful information, and it takes away the fear-of-the-unknown aspect of the exam. This principle is the foundation of successful test preparation:

Familiarity leads to confidence.

Think of the tests as that haunted house on the end of your street. At first, your child only knows the horror stories about the children who went inside never to be seen again. Your job as a parent is to guide your child through the exams during the day, showing how the scary noise coming from upstairs is caused by a rusty blind, and that beyond the usual dangers associated with an old house (loose floorboards, a rickety staircase), there is nothing about the place to worry about. If you can replace the anxiety and stress your child feels about the tests with a feeling of confidence, you will have done her a great service.

Why Cosmas Ndeti, Former Boston Marathon Winner, Would Probably Do Well on These Tests

Although Mr. Ndeti, a world-class marathon runner, probably has not had as much work with fractions as your child has recently, he is very skilled in one crucial test-taking area: pacing. Knowing that he's going to run 26 miles, Ndeti picks a nice, consistent speed at which to run, and keeps at that pace throughout the entire race. What he doesn't do, and what you should not allow your child to do, is spend too much time in any one area or run out of gas before the race is over.

Although the LEAP tests are untimed, that doesn't mean your child should spend four hours taking every session. At a certain point, taking too much time becomes as harmful as taking too little: frustration mounts, boredom and fatigue set in. Perseverance is a noble trait, but on a standardized test, spending half the time answering one multiple-choice question is tantamount to standardized-test suicide. Your child should stay focused on the task at hand and never get too flustered by any one question.

One or two small breaks during each section is fine if your child feels his brain is getting strained. Tell him to put the pencil down, stretch out his hands and arms, take some deep breaths, and then pick up the pencil and finish the test. If your child comes to a question he does not understand, tell her to think of this as a guideline:

Spend up to four minutes trying to figure out the question; then, using the techniques taught in this book, take an educated guess and move on.

The LEAP tests do not require perfection. There are only two real scores: pass or fail. To pass, students simply need to get about half of the questions right, so it is never worth their while to spend 50 minutes on one question that's stumping them, only to be so mentally fatigued that they do poorly on the rest of the exam. Certainly, you don't want to encourage your child to do less than his best, but he must realize that no one question is so important that it is worth getting bogged down on and upset over. There are always some questions that just seem baffling. Throughout the rest of this book, we'll show you how to show your kid how to make good guesses, keep his cool, and stay on pace when faced with a stumper.

In addition to telling your child not to get stuck on one question, you can also encourage the "two-pass" approach to test taking. On the first pass through a test, your child should answer only those questions he can handle quickly and easily, skipping over any questions that leave him confused or require a lot of thought. Seeing a bunch of ovals filled in right away often gives students a quick boost of confidence. On the second pass, tell your child to go a little slower, use process of elimination (a technique we'll discuss in a moment) to cross out any incorrect choices, and then take a guess and move on. The two-pass system is very helpful on all the LEAP tests, since it allows your child to answer all the multiple-choice questions before tackling the short-answer and constructed-response questions.

Copyright © 2000 by Anaxos, Inc.

Read More Show Less

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