Test Prep Tutoring Summer Tips!
What comes to mind when you think of summer? I’m thinking about lazing around the pool or spending time with family at the beach. Before we dig our feet in the sand, let’s make sure our kids are ready for those standardized tests. If your child is taking the SSAT, ISEE or HSPT in the fall, it’s important to plan ahead. The test prep tutors at Marks Education have come up with four summer test prep tips that can help test takers achieve their best score!
1. Read, Read, Read!
While it might be not be as trendy as playing Pokemon Go, it’s critically important that children taking standardized tests read to expand their vocabulary and improve their reading comprehension skills. The SSAT reading section includes passages from different genres including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Some of the passages on the test are quite old (think Francis Bacon who died in 1626 or Henry David Thoreau). The HSPT and the ISEE focus on non-fiction passages. Regardless of the test your child is taking, it’s important that he or she reads widely.
Encourage your child to read a variety of books over the summer to prepare to take standardized tests. Ask him or her to read a novel, a biography, and a non-fiction book for example. For the biography, ask your child whom he or she might be interested in learning more about. A sports star? A famous artist? A politician? A prominent CEO? There are many biographies written specifically for children and young adults, so check those out at the library or on Amazon. Make it a challenge: Read the same book as your child so that you can ask him or her questions about the main ideas or themes explored in a book, a novel’s plot, a character, or a historical figure’s legacy—just to double-check his or her comprehension.
Ask your child to read a couple of news articles or opinion editorials every week and discuss them together. This strategy can really help your child prepare for standardized tests.
Need some book ideas for standardized test prep?
Check out Goodread’s “List of Best Young Adult books” for fiction ideas:
The Young Adult Library Services Association gives an annual non-fiction award. Check out this year’s nominees and winner!
While you’re there, check out The Young Adult Library Services Association annual “best of the best” list.
2. Play the Marks Vocab App!
Like word games? Prepare for a standardized test by downloading our app onto an iPhone or iPad for free. Just search “Marks Vocab App” on the app store and set up an account. Our app has six difficulty levels with close to 2000 words. Kids can play the app while they are waiting for their parents to pick them up from camp or the pool. Try to spend a little time working on vocab every day. Standardized tests such as the SSAT and the ISEE have verbal sections testing students’ vocabulary, and both have sections in which the words are tested out of context, so students need to know the definitions. The HSPT standardized test also tests vocabulary with limited context provided. As you use the app, start with List A and then progress to List B, then List C, etc. Of course, improving a child’s vocabulary will help him or her with more than just standardized tests—the benefits extend to writing in all subjects.
3. Brush Up on Math Topics
Unlike reading and vocabulary, algebra and geometry aren’t topics that parents use in day-to-day life, and many parents may not feel comfortable advising their children how to get ready for standardized tests. Asking your child to practice math independently may seem like a tall order, but thankfully the internet is chock full of resources useful for standardized test preparation, just as long as you’re picking resources that closely align with the core math topics covered on the SSAT, ISEE, and HSPT. Here are a list of the most heavily tested topics on these tests, along with instructional resources to practice with:
Area, volume, and angles:
These resources are very thorough and often give excellent answer explanations. Many students are able to find score improvements by reviewing these topics. Have your child take a practice SSAT, ISEE, or HSPT and see if he or she is ready to move on to the more advanced topics. After your child prepares independently, a teacher or tutor may be helpful in guiding him or her through material that may not have been covered in his or her math classes.
4. Take a Practice Test at Marks Education
It’s FREE! Marks Education offers free proctored practice tests throughout the summer. We use SSAT, ISEE, and HSPT tests created by the test companies. A practice test will show you which sections might be the most challenging for your child and which topics he or she needs to work on. Take advantage of Marks Education’s complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss the results of the practice test with one of our expert tutors.
Contact Marks Education to sign up for a free, official, professionally proctored standardized test, today!