NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


Helping a shy child take OLSAT test
November 23, 2017, 4:38 pm
Filed under: OLSAT Test, testing mom | Tags:

A few tips on helping a shy child taking the OLSAT test

In most cases you probably will not be able to go with your son or daughter into a testing room It’s very rare that you would be able to actually go in. There’s a lot that you could do ahead of time to help your child get ready and be a little bit more comfortable going into the testing room. First of all, you want to give your child experience way before the OLSAT test talking to people who are safe strangers who are going to be similar to the tester that your child is going to meet with, someone they don’t really know but someone who is safe. You can do that, let your child pay for something at a store and talk to the person behind the counter, or let your child order for herself at a restaurant and talk to the waiter or waitress. Any time you can give your child an opportunity to talk to somebody who is not you, but is a stranger who is safe, let your child do that.

You can also talk to your child ahead of time and explain to them what’s going to happen. “You’re going to be meeting with a special teacher who is very nice, just like your teacher, Mrs. so and so.” Connect the experience to something your child has done well at already. You can say, “She’s just like your nice teacher, Mrs. so and so and she wants to know what four year olds know. You just answer her questions. It’ll be fun, just like going to school is.” Helping them feel comfortable with what’s to come, that’s something you can do.

You might take her or him to a tutor and have them work with your child as well. In that case they’ll just have experience with what the tester is going to be like, another safe stranger. You can read the transcript from shyness expert Dr. Roberto Carducci, and he gives lots of hints and tips about what you could do with a very shy child to help them open up and feel more comfortable on test day.



Third time’s the charm for OLSAT test

You’re committed to your child’s success!

Since school has started, I really hope you’ll take this opportunity to start your prep for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 test and give your child the best education possible that you know they deserve. The NYC G&T test is only a few months away so now’s the time to make sure your child does well.

Here’s a story that a mom (I’ll call Janice) shared with me.  It took her 3 years to prepare her son to pass the OLSAT test for the NYC gifted and talented program.  Her son did great on the NNAT-2 test and scored at the 99th percentile while the pesky OLSAT verbal questions were the bane of his (and her!) existence!  Two years were wasted when her son could have been learning in a gifted classroom, but wasn’t.  Here’s what she said:

  1. Year 1 – No prep – “He’s smart.  How hard can it be?” “The first time my son was tested for OLSAT was in kindergarten, and we didn’t prepare.  I figured; he’s smart.  How hard can the test be?  It turned out, hard enough!  He was confused about what they were asking and was not able to do his best.
  2. Year 2 – Workbooks and free questions didn’t work! We then bought a workbook and did those along with some free questions we found online.  He hated doing the workbook because they bored him, but he did the questions grudgingly.  The second time he was tested for first grade, he almost made it (and I even appealed!), but he did not get in.  His main problem with the workbook questions was that he wouldn’t slow down and consider all the answer choices.
  3. Year 3 – Joined Testing Mom – this time he got in!  We tried again in second grade, when he was older and more mature.  This time we joined Testing Mom and used your materials.  The program was inexpensive – about the same price as the workbooks I had purchased the year before, but we got so much more value.  My son found the games and activities really fun, and I didn’t even have to push him to practice.  He would ask to do the “brain games” (that’s what I called it) pretty often.  I think they really helped his critical thinking, so I figured that no matter what happened with testing, it was a win-win!  We enjoyed the time we worked together on the questions and kept it light-hearted.  Once we developed the habit of doing a few questions each day at bedtime, it was no problem.  Sometimes we would let it slip for a while, but then we would come back to it.  This year, he qualified straight into the gifted program.  I didn’t even have to appeal!

Here’s a video on how to answer OLSAT aural reasoning questions:

We wasted 3 years when he could have been in NYC G&T program GT.  I am so glad we persevered, but I wish we had used your program from the beginning – we wouldn’t have spent 3 years trying to make it.  My son went into the test knowing what to expect and was able to do his best.  He was relaxed instead of confused.  He was happy that we did not give up. We received our acceptance letter and we’re all proud that he finally made it into a district wide program in Brooklyn. ”  ~ Janice, Mom in Brooklyn (Park Slope)



Moms and dads share OLSAT test prep secrets!

Parents Best Prep Tips!

I want to share a bit of “inside information.”  Over the years I’ve asked New York City moms and dads to share their best tip for working with their child when preparing for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests.  Here are some of my favorite answers – try what worked for them when you are working with your child.

Here’s what they said about preparing for the OLSAT test for the NYC gifted and talented program:

  • We always kept our test prep fun and playful by going to Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Park Slope to identify shapes, colors, categories and names of plants and flowers!
  • We worked on test-taking skills as much as we worked on the skill being assessed. It took a while for our son to understand that he really had to listen to and remember the questions being asked and that the pictures represented answer choices.  We taught him to listen to the instructions, look at all the answers, and eliminate what was clearly wrong.
  • At first, my son could only sit still and focus for about 10 minutes; every day we added a few more minutes to our practice until he could focus for almost an hour! We let him set a fun egg timer each time we worked – he got a kick out of setting the timer and hearing it go off.
  • We spent a lot of time working on our son’s listening and following directions skills because that was so important for test taking. We were able to do this while riding the 7 train from Flushing Queens into the city. He loved figuring out which train went where and how long it would take to get from Queens to the Upper East Side.
  • When questions were hard for my daughter, I talked through the logic with her so that she would ultimately know how to solve each problem.
  • I often pretended to be stumped by a question myself and let my child help me.
  • We played “school” and my daughter would teach me how to answer the various questions with her pretend workbooks. I was a “terrible” student so she had to work hard to explain things to me 😉
  • We did a bit of prep every day over a long period of time – just a little bit each day made a big difference. We saw lots of improvement over time.
  • During “Family Fun Time,” we had father-son competitions or contests between siblings using your questions, which my kids loved.
  • We played against each other – Every right answer would earn a point. Whoever got 30 points first won the game.  I made sure to answer some questions wrong, so my son would always win.  He loved correcting me when I made mistakes!

Keep the lessons fresh and fun is the big tip when preparing your son or daughter for the OLSAT test!

Of course, you can come up with your own to make sure you keep the lessons fresh and fun when preparing for the OLSAT test with your talented tot entering the NYC G&T program!



Common OLSAT test mistakes
August 30, 2017, 11:13 am
Filed under: OLSAT Test, OLSAT test prep | Tags: ,

Here are 5 other common mistakes young children make when taking the OLSAT test

These mistakes cost children dearly in terms of points deducted from their score:

  1. They choose the most obvious answer just to get the question over with.
  2. They rush through the test like it’s a race.
  3. They lose their focus.
  4. They don’t listen to the instructions.
  5. They don’t point clearly to answers, or they make bubbling errors.
  • You can fix it.

    • The bad news is that all children make these mistakes when they take tests for the first time, and they continue to make these mistakes for years if they aren’t taught how to avoid them.  The good news is that when you are practicing with your child, you will see your own child making these mistakes and you can gently correct them, and show them how not to make that mistake moving forward. This will help increase their test score dramatically.
  • Common Mistake Guide and Training.

    • When you sign-up as a member of Testing Mom, you will have access to a proprietary guide they prepared for you that illustrates the most common mistakes kids make on the OLSAT, along with instructions to you on how to correct each type of mistake that your child will make during practice for the test.

Here’s a fun video with an OLSAT question to ask your little one:

Once you’re alert to these common mistakes and you see your child make one during practice (and you will), just gently correct them (Training available on Testing Mom guides you in what to do).  Doing this will greatly improve your child’s OLSAT score, and it will take no extra study time!



Signs of a gifted child
August 13, 2017, 11:06 am
Filed under: NYC Gifted and Talented Program, OLSAT Test | Tags: ,

Do you think your child might be gifted? If so, keep reading!

We all think our child is the brightest kid on the planet (and we’re all convinced that we’re right!). Especially if you’re a parent in New York City! And we tend to have thousands of anecdotes to prove our child’s academic fortitude. You’ve probably known since the day he or she was born that your child was smart. But how can you know whether your child is “gifted” in the sense that NYC gifted and talented schools and teachers use the word?

Educational psychologists perform questionnaires and interviews of children and parents in an effort to determine whether a child is gifted. During this process, psychologists look for a number of attributes or markers that tend to point to an advanced child. In addition to taking tests like the Stanford-Binet and OLSAT they ask parents fill out a survey to self-assess their child’s giftedness.

Over 80% of parents who think their child is gifted are correct!

Here are some of the attributes that gifted children tend to have. (Don’t worry, gifted children don’t necessarily possess all of these traits, although they tend to have many of them.)

  •  Creative talent:

    If your child displays above-average aptitude for art or music, it could be a sign that he’s gifted.

  • Attention to detail:

    If your child is able to remember and understand the intricacies of academic concepts – or even things she encounters in her everyday life – it points to the possibility that she’s gifted.

  • Good with complexity:

    Gifted children often show a keen understanding of intricate concepts and are able to work through multi-step problems.

  • High verbal ability:

    Gifted children tend to have an advanced vocabulary and the ability to use it at a high level.

  • Emotional sensitivity:

    If your child is able to understand and perceive others’ emotions or feelings, it could be a sign that he’s gifted.

  • Good sense of humor:  

    Gifted children tend to be wittier than their general education counterparts.

  • Works independently:

    Many gifted children don’t mind working independently of others to solve problems; many even teach themselves to read before their counterparts learn it in school!

  • Reaches milestones earlier than other children:

    Among other things, gifted children tend to walk, talk, and read earlier than their general education counterparts.

  • Good memory:

    If your child seems like an encyclopedia, constantly retaining and reciting information that she’s learned, it could suggest that she’s gifted.

  • Likes collections:

    Many gifted children like to collect certain things that have something in common (baseball cards, model cars, etc.).

  • Has older friends:

    Sometimes, gifted children prefer the company of older children or even adults, as they find them easier to talk with and relate to.

  • Has good attention span:

    A long attention span and determination to finish the job is a marker of a gifted child.

Does this sound like your child?

Whether the answer is yes or no, don’t worry. The best way to increase your child’s academic performance and creative processes is to engage his brain on a regular basis with doing practice questions from the OLSAT ande NNAT-2 tests. Don’t rely on school and homework to keep his brain limber and his creative juices flowing; work with him after school and on weekends to expand his mind beyond the “four R’s” of traditional school. Brain teasers, online interactive test prep, and even conversations about complex topics or phenomena (for example, pointing out all the geometric shapes that occur in everyday life) can be tremendously helpful in advancing your child’s mental acuity.

 



OLSAT test verbal and non-verbal skills
August 8, 2017, 9:54 am
Filed under: OLSAT Test, testing mom | Tags: , ,

The OLSAT test assesses both verbal and nonverbal skills.

Here is how it breaks down. Keep in mind, for the NYC G&T test they only test for the verbal portion of the test not the nonverbal piece. The nonverbal portion of the G&T test is calculated via the NNAT-2 test.

  • Verbal Comprehension

    • Following directions,
    • Antonyms,
    • Sentence arrangement,
    • Sentence completion
  • Verbal Reasoning

    • Logical selection,
    • Verbal analogies, V
    • Verbal classification,
    • Inference
  • Pictorial Reasoning

    • Picture classification
    • Picture analogies
    • Picture series
  • Figural Reasoning

    • Figural classification,
    • Figural analogies,
    • Figure series
  • Quantitative Reasoning (for Levels E, F and G) –

    • Number series,
    • Numeric inference,
    • Number matrix

The OLSAT test is for students in Grades K-12

Even though in NYC it’s only administered for pre-K to 2nd grade students for the gifted and talented test the exam is given across the country through high school.

Pre-K and kindergarten students are tested with Level A, first graders are tested with Level B, second graders are tested with Level C, third graders get Level D, fourth and fifth graders get level E, and students from sixth to eighth grade take level F.  High school students will take level G.   Levels A and B are read aloud to students, as is part of Level C.  Between testing and administration, it takes 50 minutes to an hour for a student to take the OLSAT test.  At the 3rd grade level and above, students get 40 minutes to take the test.  It may take a little longer when the teacher reads questions to students at the lower levels.  The chart on the right shows the different skills assessed at different grade levels.

Be sure to watch the short video for more information on the OLSAT test:

 



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!