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Topic Archives: Standardized Tests & Test Taking

SPEED: The Standardized Tests Demon

November 17, 2018

  There is no single reason why a student under-performs on standardized tests. But if there’s a pattern of a student’s standardized test scores not living up to grades, SPEED is often the culprit. If the classic fable of the tortoise and the hare were a metaphor for school, standardized tests might be the one occasion that the hare comes out ahead. Standardized tests favor quick thinkers — the kids who finish first with an A, even if they don’t get the highest score in the class. In contrast, students who work more slowly and deliberatively might be capable of answering the most challenging questions, but they run out of time to show it. Speed Challenges Can Worsen Over Time Unfortunately, the… Read More

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ACT Changes Extended Time: Does it Matter?

June 6, 2018

Summing it Up Students who qualify for extended time will still have the same total amount of extra time. Before, students could spend their extra time (1.5 hrs) on whichever of the four tests they chose. Now that time is proportionally allocated across the four subject tests. This is a change for the ACT but exactly how the SAT allocates extended time. The change takes effect September 2018. Read the full ACT press release. Who Benefits? Students who struggle with time management and organization, typically those with ADHD. This might also help students with weak flexible thinking who often have difficulty evaluating trade-offs. Not needing to make decisions about how to allocate that large block of time across four tests… Read More

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Prioritize! The Key to Improved SAT & ACT Test Performance

January 9, 2018

It’s not that easy, but it is that simple. Your students’ test scores will improve if they prioritize their studying.  And since we know that most students can’t and won’t prioritize without help, these 5 steps will help any teen prioritize and create an effective SAT or ACT test prep plan. In fact, with a few changes, this 5 step plan will work for any important exam in high school, college, or beyond. 1. Make It a Priority: Take a Full Length Pre-Test. Start by taking a full length, timed practice test, including the writing section. It’s not easy to give up 4 hours on a weekend, but you need to do it. If you’re still deciding between the ACT and SAT, use this SAT vs. ACT Guide to help… Read More

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A Smarter Way to Improve Test Scores

January 19, 2017

Start by Knowing Your Child The most efficient way to improve test scores, whether it’s ACT, SAT orPARCC is to step back and really know your child. You probably won’t hear test prep tutors say, “All the strategies and practice in the world won’t help if you don’t know how your child learns.” But it’s true. If your child’s scores don’t match your reasonable expectations, it’s likely that there’s something in his test-taking approach that is holding him back. More often than not, he can’t articulate it and your tutor won’t figure out by observing. The traditional approach to improve test scores is (1) identify the types of problems with the most mistakes, (2) re-teach the skills that should have been learned in school and (3) give… Read More

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The Hidden Value in High-Stakes Tests

October 10, 2016

by Mindprint Staff Yes it’s easy to question if there’s any real value to standardized tests, especially if you have a stressed out teen studying for the ACT. High-stakes admissions tests aside, there is plenty of value in standardized tests IF we use them in the right way. The unfortunate reality is they are more often used for inclusion/exclusion or passing judgment rather than identifying how we can help kids succeed. Here’s what we can and should do to change that, one child at a time. The Classic Under-Achiever. Do you have a kid who does well on standardized tests but can’t seem to perform in class? Let’s unlock that potential! Start with the understanding that every kid wants to succeed, no one does well on tests by… Read More

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Back-to-School Essential Reads

August 16, 2016

Re-engaging after a long summer vacation can be tough. So tough that students often need to spend the first month of school reviewing the last two months of the previous school year. Adults are no different. So, today we share with you the most important things that your summer brain might have missed or forgotten. These reads will get you ready to make this the best school year yet. A Parent’s Guide to the First Six Weeks  A primer for parents to ensure a good transition. How to Crush School  Review of new book for middle and high school students by teacher Oskar Cymermann. Teaches teens to develop study skills for school and life success. The Forgetting Curve Learning is a different skill from remembering,… Read More

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Let’s Not Forget the Forgetting Curve

April 6, 2016

  You are probably familiar with the concept of the learning curve. When it’s steep, learning is a challenge. When the learning curve is shallow, learning comes easily. When we say a student is smart in subject, we often mean they have a shallow learning curve. Most of school focuses on getting students up the learning curve, testing them to be sure they made it, and then moving on to the next topic.   But in reality, learning doesn’t stop with understanding. Deep learning encompasses understanding, storing, and recalling the information as needed for problem solving. If students know their facts or strategies and then forget, they need to struggle right back up the learning curve when they need to use that information again.* Who among us hasn’t had their mind go… Read More

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7 Reasons for Test Anxiety and What To Do About It

January 11, 2016

  There are a variety of reasons for test anxiety. The best news is that a little bit of test anxiety is good thing. It provides an adrenaline rush to work efficiently. But too much stress produces a full rush of hormones that interferes with the ability to think clearly and rememberwhat you know. If test anxiety is a problem, read on for the seven most common reasons for test anxiety and what to do about it. The very first step is to recognize that the reasons for test anxiety are different for every student. The trick is to figure out which one is the reason for your child’s test anxiety. Subject-Specific Anxiety Sometimes kids develop test anxiety around one subject but not another, similar to how they might have anxiety around… Read More

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Empowering Parents: A Premature Arrival

October 30, 2015

Edited by Mindprint Staff In this story, Beth, mother of 8 year old Talya, describes why she used Mindprint Learning to calm her lingering concerns about her daughter who was born prematurely.  (Editor’s note: To protect the privacy of the child, Beth and Talya are not their real names.) Talya is very bright, but moves notoriously slowly in many ways. She was born very early so I was concerned that there might be learning disabilities that we hadn’t seen show up yet, or the school hadn’t noticed, but lingered beneath her sweet exterior. Talya had a range of services provided when she was little, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. She worked so hard and was placed out of… Read More

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Learn Something New Everyday: Cognitive March Madness

March 22, 2015

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff We’ve had an exciting week on this blog, with a team of bloggers joining me in our drive to “learn something new everyday.” Can you imagine if the energy and money that went into sports commentary were put towards educational programs, or if we had a 24-hour cable network with the pizzazz of ESPN devoted to the issues parents cope with in raising kids? In case you missed it, here’s a recap of what we’ve featured this week.   1. Benefits of Music for Children with Attention Issues This well-received post was written by Nicole Davies with follow-up commentary by a Mindprint Learning educator with years of experience teaching special education.       2. All… Read More

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