I asked the experts at Noodle Pros for suggestions as to how to improve quantitative scores on the commonly used private school standardized admissions test, the SSAT. Their answers follow. ...Rob
Four Noodle Pros give advice on how to improve your SSAT quantitative score:
1. Be thorough.
Write out your math as thoroughly and as clearly as you can. Even when you can do much of the calculation in your head, it helps a lot to have your step-by-step thinking on paper in front of you. Many times when you get lost or stuck, you can look at what you have written and find your way out of a jam. You can also find and fix the errors in your thinking or your calculation more quickly and more accurately when you can see the work in front of you. Don't do all your math in your head! - Brendan Mernin, 27 Years Tutoring
2. Be confident.
Students do their best when they feel confident. The challenge in maintaining good morale is that the difficulty of the exam can cause students anxiety. Remember that, according to the SSAT website, the SSAT writers design the questions so that only 50 to 60 percent of the test-takers get the question right. Help your child maintain a realistic view of what is expected, and take on preparation in reasonable “chunks.” Start by mastering the questions on content your child already knows, gradually pursue new content or new applications of content, and remind your child that he/she can do well despite not knowing every topic on the test. - Kelly Clement, 8 Years Tutoring
3. Keep moving.
Don't turn a question into a crusade! Students don't run out of time on tests because they work too slowly; they run out of time because they get stuck on two or three questions and refuse to move on. If you've read the question and you're not sure how to do it, skip it. After you've done all the ones that you can do quickly, you can come back and do the ones that will take more time. - Paul Foglino, 32 Years Tutoring
4. Build content knowledge.
Maximizing quantitative scores requires support in both academic math and standardized test-taking skills. Improving scores is about building content knowledge, yes, but it’s also about learning how to take advantage of the test’s format and how to cut out common mistakes. When it comes to practicing new math skills, I think we tend to underrate the value of repetition: not mindless repetition, but thoughtful practice of new skills, over time. Volume isn’t everything, but returning to skill sets repeatedly to make sure they’ve stuck is important. - Loren Dunn, 10 Years Tutoring
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