NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Help your child with OLSAT practice questions

Let your child work through tough problems on their own

While it can be difficult to see our children struggle with practice questions for the OLSAT test for the NYC gifted and talented program, it’s important to let them work through it on their own. Many times, when our child doesn’t know what the answer, we just go ahead and tell him the answer. While our intentions are good – we’re trying to relieve our child’s frustration (and, often, save ourselves some time) – we are actually doing our child a great disservice. By simply giving him or her the answer, we’ve taken away an opportunity for him to use his or her problem-solving skills to figure it out on his own.

Make sure your child practices problem solving skills so he or she will do well on the OLSAT test. It’s a tough test, especially for a 4-year-old!

Luckily, it’s easy to reverse the pattern we just described.

Here’s a problem-solving model you can use whenever your child gets stuck on an OLSAT practice test:

  1. Instead of directing your child to do something, sit her down and ask her to come up with different solutions. This encourages her to be creative and flexible in her thinking.
  2. Talk over all the possibilities, and choose two the best answers hat seem fair to all parties.
  3. Put each idea on its own piece of paper and evaluate the pros and cons of each.
  4. After looking at all the possible answers for the verbal or non-verbal question, ask each child his/her opinion on which is best – and why. If your children don’t agree – it’s bound to happen! – don’t panic. Instead, ask questions to get them thinking. This will help them make a decision that everyone can be satisfied with.

Ask your child this tough OLSAT test question: Annie looked up at the sky and could not believe what she saw! There were exactly as many hot air balloons flying as she had fingers on her hand. Point to the box that shows what she saw.

It’s also helpful to tell your child about instances where you’ve had to solve a perplexing problem, and show her that it’s okay to make a mistake. For example, you might tell your child, “Oh dear, I left the popcorn in the microwave too long, and now it’s all burned. That’s OK – I’ll make another bag, and this time I’ll keep a closer eye on it!” This shows her both that everyone makes mistakes, and that using creative thinking can help you rectify those mistakes.

Using this model when your child confronts a novel problem or situation will help build his problem-solving skills for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests – so that by the time he’s finished with school, he’s well-versed in assessing complex problems and coming up with the best solution. This independence will fuel your child’s success, and ensure that he will never be at a total loss when confronted with a new challenge!


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