Saturday, May 5, 2018

The Little Test

Today was a practice test. 

Practice tests are an important part of a test prep regimen.  In the past, we've sat for GAT practice tests, staged GAT practice tests (when none were available), staged standardized tests. 

Normally, our prep pace is just a few ridiculously hard questions a day.  This maximizes learning.  But a real test has lots of questions that are easy and a few that are hard (the ones that count if you're trying to meet a cutoff score are the hard ones).  A real test is a different dynamic, and one more thing to practice.

My favorite practice test was a 2nd grade ITBS where I read the questions and the answer choices to my 4 year old and he pointed.

In most cases, the practice test is the real thing, like it was today, with a score that doesn't count.

Like always, I grilled my son on the test.  What was it like?  Who was there?  What was on the test?  Did the calculator I gave you that only does arithmetic prevent you from getting a trig question correct?  How many people were there?  This is what I learned:

  • I don't remember anything from the test.  I only remember one question from my K GAT test.  Which rhymes with boon?  Moon, spoon, monkey, something else.
  • All the 7th and 8th graders had to sit in a room together.  There were only 14 kids in this room and they were all nerds.
  • There were 4 sections, no essay (for kids not in high school) and a mystery section.
  • We had 3 breaks.
He then went on to explain the breaks in detail.  I asked what was on the mystery section:
  • It was like a GAT entrance exam, sort of.  I don't remember any of the questions.
Now you know everything I know about the taking the SAT in 7th grade.  I'm interested in this mystery section.  Is it because the SAT is used to qualify kids for the Northwestern and Duke summer programs?  I wonder if we'll see our scores on that section.

I asked one last question.  How did you do?
  • I ran out of steam on the last section and didn't finish it, but on the rest I think I did OK.
  • I felt like I was prepared, like I have been preparing for 3 years.
Which he has.  Of course, we prepare in a completely different fashion than everyone else, and I expect results from our innovative and rigorous approach.

The big test, the one that counts, is in a few weeks.

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