Kaplan Making the Grade: Grades 7-8

Kaplan Making the Grade: Grades 7-8

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780684868974
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/1999
Series: Score Making the Grade Series
Edition description: REVISED
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 7.77(w) x 10.23(h) x 0.84(d)

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 4 Sample Test Items

Look over the following test questions to get an idea of what your child may be asked to do on a standardized test. Notice how your child's skills will usually be assessed in context, stressing the functional use of language, mathematics, science, and social science.

These test items are similar to some of those found in the Stanford Achievement Test (Stanford 9), a norm-referenced test used in several states. Check out Kaplan's state-by-state listing of standardized test requirements at the end of this chapter to see which tests your child will be taking and which subjects she'll be tested in.

Reading Vocabulary Question

Be careful not to fall out of that treehouse!

In which sentence does the word fall mean the same thing as in the sentence above?

(a) Stock prices could fall drastically tomorrow.
(b) School doesn't start again until the fall.
(c) Christmas will fall on a Wednesday this year.
(d) I often fall off the balance beam in my gymnastics class.

Spelling Question

Read the sentences below. Decide if one of the underlined words is spelled wrong or if there is no mistake.

(a) He wants lots of tomato sauce on his pasta.
(b) I really didn't mean to take advantage of you.
(c) She received several complements on her new dress.
(d) No mistake

Language Question

Read the sentence below. If the underlined words contain a mistake in punctuation, capitalization, or word usage, choose the answer that is the best way to write the underlined section of the sentence. If there is no mistake, choose Correct as is.

Whose the best soccer player on the team?

(a) Who's the best soccer player
(b) Whos' the best soccer player
(c) Whose the most best soccer player
(d) Correct as is

Study Skills Question

If you need to find information on insects for a 12-page science report, where should you look?

(a) a dictionary
(b) a thesaurus
(c) an atlas
(d) an encyclopedia

Mathematics: Problem Solving Question

Lauren measured the length of her driveway and determined it was 480 inches. How many feet is 480 inches?

(a) 4 ft
(b) 10 ft
(c) 40 ft
(c) 48 ft

Mathematics: Procedures Question

Carlos spent a total of 50 hours raking leaves for all of his neighbors. He spent 20% of that time working with his twin brother. How many hours did Carlos spend working with his brother?

(a) 1.5 hours
(b) 10 hours
(c) 20 hours
(d) 30 hours

Science Question

Which of these is not a product of a living thing?

(a) milk
(b) butter
(c) sugar
(d) salt

Social Science Question

Which of these is not an ethnic group?

(a) Koreans
(b) Italians
(c) Germans
(d) Catholics

Test Taking Strategies

Standardized tests measure your child's knowledge in reading/language arts (reading comprehension, spelling and word usage, and written expression) math, and, sometimes, in the content areas taught in school, such as science and social studies. Understanding the curriculum and helping your child grasp important material is the single most important way you can help her score well on standardized tests.

Having said this, it is also true that a lack of test-taking skills can harm even the highest-achieving students. Here are some general strategies every test taker should know. Review these carefully with your child. They should become part of her background knowledge, as easily retrievable as the characters from her favorite novel.

Rule Number One: Answer the Questions You Know First.

The best test takers skip (temporarily) difficult material in search of the easier items. As they do, they mark the ones that require extra time and thought. This strategy buys time and builds confidence so they can handle the tough stuff later.

Your child should know that the test will include items that will be difficult even for the best students. He should also know that most tests do not get progressively harder. Many, though not all tests, are designed according to the "easy-hard-easy" model. So mulling over questions that are difficult at the expense of answering those you know is a poor strategy. Instead, the test-wise student builds his sense of mastery by tackling what he knows first.

This strategy will only work if your child correctly identifies those items to which he must return. Be sure to remind him to put a big circle around the number of any question he skips. When he goes back, these questions will be easy to locate.

Rule Number Two: Answer All of the Questions.

Nearly all of the tests your child is likely to take are designed to allow ample time to answer all questions. Since children with the greatest number of right answers score highest, each question counts. So as a rule, it's a good idea to answer all of the questions.

There is the occasional "speeded test" designed to assess students on the basis of how many questions they can answer in the time allotted. In this case, of course, they should answer as many questions as possible, but not expect to answer them all.

Since most tests contain items designed to stymie all but the very best students, answering all the questions relies on two key test-taking strategies: elimination and guessing.

Rule Number Three: When in Doubt, Eliminate.

Oftentimes, children will have some knowledge of the information being tested. Savvy test takers use this information to eliminate less likely choices. Elimination helps narrow the possibilities, thereby increasing the odds that the test taker won't skip the question altogether or rely on random guessing.

If unsure of an answer, counsel your child to choose the one she thinks is best. Eliminate the most obvious poor choice(s) first, followed by those that are less obvious. She should then select among the remaining items, asking herself which one seems most reasonable.

Rule Number Four: Make Educated Guesses.

Closely allied to the elimination strategy is making educated guesses. This strategy recognizes that all test takers have their strengths and weaknesses, and that most tests include a certain percentage of items that most students will not be able to answer.

The test taker who makes educated guesses plows through with a "can do," attitude. Rather than reacting with an "I just don,t know" and giving up, these students take things one step further, searching for what they might possibly know after all. This is especially effective with multiple choice items, since the answer does lie in front of them, and they have a one-in-four chance of getting it right even if they guess at random. But rather than rely on random guessing, your child should consider the following:

* What do I already know?
* What does my logical reasoning tell me?
* What key terms can I identify that might jar my thinking?
* What do I think the answer should be? Can I find an answer that most closely matches this?

Note that some tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Illinois Goal Assessment Program (IGAP), actually penalize students for not guessing. Obviously, if taking these tests, your child should always guess.

Rule Number Five: Read the Entire Question.

Sometimes a child will decide he knows the answer to a question before he's through reading it. Students should read all questions through to the end, even if they think they know the answer. A better answer may Occur to them if they carefully consider each option.

Rule Number Six: Manage Your Time.

Time is of the essence on standardized tests. Precisely because this is so, some test takers tend to get quite anxious about it. Merely knowing there are strict time limits can paralyze some kids, or at least considerably slow them down. Others may react by unnecessarily rushing through items, not giving themselves enough time to competently comprehend and respond to a question.

Obviously, the greater your child's anxiety about a test, the more likely he will be to fumble time-wise. This is just one more reason to stress the positive during the test-taking period.

Your child's teacher may or may not discuss time management with your child. Either way, a review never hurts. Ask the teacher how the test will be timed and discuss this with your child. As noted, most standardized tests are designed to allow students enough time to finish the test, but not to dawdle. A minority are "speeded tests," which measure how many items your child answers correctly in a given time period.

Regardless of the test type, keeping track of time and pacing yourself is key. And savvy test takers always use any remaining time to recheck the answers and review any hard questions they may be uncertain about.

Copyright © 1997, 1999 by Kaplan Educational Centers

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