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Fall Testing Registration fee goes up to $35 per student on October 8th online-- sign up now :-)....AND free helps for the Science and Social Studies sections!
Susan Richman, 10/6/2010

On October 8th, the Fall Testing registration fee goes up to $35 per student-- so we hope you can remember to register *now* and get in on the $30 rate :-). We look forward to seeing each of you at one of our testing sites-- check the 'map' in the testing section of the our site to see all the varied locations.

And for ideas on how to approach testing and help your child feel comfortable and ready, do check out the articles in our 'archive' on testing. And remember, we do have 'Scoring High' test preparation books for all levels (book 1-8), and many kids find these a great help in gearing up for standardized testing.

Many parents wonder just what they need to *bring* with them to the testing day. We provide the testing materials (of course :-) ), scratch paper, and a cardboard ruler for the math section. We also have plenty of extra pencils, though most kids prefer bringing their own (any #2 pencil is fine). If your child is 5th grade and up, they are welcome to bring a *calculator* for the math problem solving (word problem) section-- this is NOT required, and no problem requires a calculator, but they are *allowed*. We do not provide any calculators for student use. Many kids appreciate having a quick and non-messy *snack* or water bottle with them for the breaks between testing sections.

Many wonder about taking the Science and Social Studies subtests, something we offer as a *option* for famlies. First, you do not need to let us know in advance if you plan to stay on for the afternoon science and social studies sections-- and you can even decide that day if you want to stay on.

There is no special preparation exercises in the 'Scoring High' books for these subtests-- and I know many wonder just what types of questions are included. Fortunately, there are many great links online to help you prepare, and to help you understand the type of questions that might be on a standardized test for these subjects. A major emphasis is put on seeing if a student can *interpret* graphs and charts related to these areas-- say, can a student make sense of a little chart showing data gathered from a science experiment, or a graph of population changes or voting or goods produced by a society. Ability to use and interpret maps is also expected. There is a 'smattering' of questions on topics that are generally covered at the grade level-- for science, say, at the early levels there will be questions on basic astronomy concepts, growing plants, animals and their habitats, ecosystems and regions of the world, basic understanding of weather and energy and simple machines, knowledge of basic science vocabulary, etc. Here's a free link for elementary kids that is designed to help them do multiple-choice questions that use graphs, maps, charts, editorial cartoons, and other visual images:

http://www.studyzone.org/testprep/ss5/a/multiplecl2.cfm 

To help you fee more ready for these test sections, and just to help you gain a sense of what general science concepts and information your child is already familiar with, I'd highly recommend checking out this excellent free link:

 http://www.internet4classrooms.com/tcap_sci-soc.htm 

This site has links to many, many sample tests in science and social studies (less options for social studies), lists of expected topics covered, interactive prep sites, specific 'test prep' ideas, and much more. I'm sure you'll find something useful here-- and that your kids will appreciate doing something specific to feel ready!

Happy test prep, and see many of you soon!

Susan Richman, PA Homeschoolers


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