NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


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!



OLSAT test scores

Why does a child take a test like the OLSAT and score poorly?

When a child doesn’t score well on the OLSAT test a mom or dad often thinks, “Well, I guess he just didn’t know the material or prep enough,” or “I suppose she lacks in the skills they were testing!”

They couldn’t be more wrong. 

On tests like these, only half of your child’s score depends on her knowing the material or having the skills that are being tested.  The other half of the score depends on your child having good test-taking skills. 

Let me show you what I mean using a practice OLSAT Aural Reasoning question at about the kindergarten grade level.  [Read the question just once and see if you can answer it before you continue reading about it.]

Ask your child: Look at the shapes below. Circle means “strawberry.” Square means “chocolate.” Triangle means “butterscotch.” Choose the box that says “chocolate, chocolate, butterscotch.” *

To answer this OLSAT practice question, you first need to:

  1. Understand what you’re being asked to do.

    First your child has to understand what’s she’s even being asked here.  You’re being asked a question.  Each box represents a possible answer choice – 3 are wrong and only 1 is right.  You’re looking for the one that is right (not the one with the shapes she likes best).  When practicing with your child, teach her to understand the concept of a test question.

  2. Listen to the question.

    1. With OLSAT Verbal questions, your child has to listen to what is being asked.  The question can only be read once.  If he zones out and misses even one or two words in the question, he will have to guess at an answer.
  3. Consider all answer choices. 

    Your child has to take the time and have the focusing skills to analyze the answer choices.  Which one was chocolate? Was that the square or the circle? Your child might remember chocolate was the square and jump at the first square she sees – in the first box (wrong!).  When preparing your child, make sure they look at and consider every answer choice.

  4. How to make a smart guess.

    When a child can’t figure out a question, they often skip it (getting 0 points – bad idea!).  Or they’ll guess between all 4 choices (and likely guess wrong!).  In this case, two shapes have to be the same (“chocolate, chocolate”) and one has to be different (“butterscotch”).  We can immediately eliminate the 3rd and 4th choices because neither has two shapes the same and one different.  So if your child has to choose, choose between the 1st and 2nd   He’ll have a better chance of guessing right.  Teach him how to do this.

*By the way, the answer to the OLSAT sample question above is 2 – chocolate (square), chocolate (square), butterscotch (triangle).

If you think preparing your child is too hard to do it yourself then I always recommend finding a good tutor to help you out. I like the folks over at FasTracKids. They have locations in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Staten Island. They can do a G&T assessment to let you know your child’s strengths and weaknesses as it pertains to both the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. Tell them I sent you!



Looking beyond the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests

Getting into a NYC gifted and talented program

It’s hard enough to juggle the everyday responsibilities that you have as a parent. But NYC parents are being faced with an added item on their to-do list: preparing for the Gifted and Talented test that could get their child into an advanced academic program available to NYC residents.

Many parents – probably too many – put this responsibility on the back-burner, distracted and consumed by what they perceive as more pressing concerns. There are a number of reasons for this. Some parents don’t understand the value of a gifted and talented program. This is especially true for parents who may have a good gen ed program next door, who believe that their children will receive an “adequate” education: what’s the point of stressing myself out for a program that might not make much of a difference, these parents wonder. I can tell you that this is a terrible mistake: even in the best public schools, the test scores and academic performance of kids in gifted and talented programs are dramatically better than those enrolled in the general program. Not to mention the opportunities that open up to children in gifted programs that simply aren’t available to other children.

Here’s a OLSAT Level A question they ask pre-K students: Point to the picture that shows this: David and Mark got very tired after they played ball.

Other parents are afraid that their child won’t make the cut, and are hesitant to dive in without a guarantee of success. This is an understandable impulse, and one that people make in all areas of life, including their career, personal goals, and even romantic relationships. But the old adage that “you can’t win if you don’t play” applies particularly well to gifted and talented programs, where only kids who take the test are even in the running to get a seat.

Finally, there are the parents who have every intention of preparing for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests, but put it off until it’s too late. This happens even to the most dedicated parents, who often get caught up in their many other responsibilities and then panic as the test day nears. I have heard from countless parents in this boat – once a mother emailed me in a frenzy literally hours before the test, asking me what she could do to prepare her son. Unfortunately, at that point I told her the only thing she could do is to give him a solid breakfast and then do plenty of praying.

I know all of this sounds pretty bleak, but here’s the good news: it isn’t too late for your little one. Now’s the time to start gearing up for the NYC Gifted and Talented test in January.

Here’s the steps you need to take to ensure that your child is ready for test day – before it’s too late:

  • Sign up for a Testing Mom Fast Track membership today. You’ll get access to thousands of OLSAT and NNAT-2 practice questions instantly!  These practice questions will help your child get familiar not only with the material they’ll encounter on the exam, but with the process of sitting down for an extended period of time and working through challenging problems without getting frustrated.
  • Come up with some light, fun ways to get your child ready – so that they don’t get burned out or anxious using traditional practice questions all the time. Fortunately, your Testing Mom membership also gives you access to interactive online games that prepare your child for the test while they think they’re just having fun!
  • Don’t lose sight of your child’s academic performance. It’s important to prep for the test, but it’s equally important to make sure your child stays a step ahead in school.
  • Parents have given Testing Mom rave reviews!


Importance of preparing for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests

Importance of entrance exams for the NYC Gifted and Talented program

I don’t have to tell you how important the exam for entrance in the NYC Gifted and Talented program is and how more important it is to prepare for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests. These exams are no joke!  At this very moment, parents around New York City are frantically preparing their child for these tests, since every extra point on the OLSAT test score can make a difference between getting a citywide seat vs. a district wide The process of researching, registering for, preparing for, and then finally taking the Gifted and Talented test is one of the most stressful experiences a parent will ever have.  Especially when the child is a mere 4 years old! But, of course, the opportunities that come along with admission into a highly-competitive Gifted program make all the sleepless nights and gnashing of teeth well worth it.

Here’s another OLSAT practice test question: Do you see the children in the first box? Each child needs 2 pencils for school. Point to the box that shows how many pencils the children need altogether.

For many NYC moms and dads, the process of preparing for the G&T test is so intense, and so all-consuming, that when the exam is finally over, they’re left with a strange sense of emptiness. I’ve had more than one parent ask me, half-joking but still sounding concerned, “How will I spend all my time now?” Mind you, these were parents of young children, many of whom had full-time jobs or other commitments outside of their home.

Well, I know firsthand that as unpleasant as the process of preparing for the test can seem, it’s a bit of a letdown once the process is finally over. I went through it with my own daughter several years ago and that was the catalyst to start this blog to help parents (like you!) ease the stress of going through this treacherous process.

That’s why I want to give you some suggestions for what to do after the OLSAT test is over. If you’re in the thick of preparing for the exam now, it’s important to maintain your focus and put all your energy into ensuring that your child receives a top score. (I trust that you’re already doing that and have been for some time!). But rest assured that, once the test is over, plenty of work remains to be done. Here are just a few things you’d be wise to focus on when your child walks out of the testing room:

  • Improve your child’s math skills

    • Even for children who are naturally good at math, it’s crucial that you work with materials outside your child’s normal homework assignments to give them an edge over their classmates.
  • Encourage your child to read more

    • What parent doesn’t melt at the sight of their son or daughter sitting quietly with a book (or, these days, a Kindle)? But many kids don’t like to read – or have learning delays that make the process frustrating and demoralizing. Make sure you use programs help your child develop the basic reading skills they need, and make reading so fun your child will never want to stop!
  • Explore the world

  • Get ready for the Common Core State Standards:

    • Yes, the OLSAT test may be over but that means the NY State Test (aka the Common Core tests) are around the corner starting in third grade. Now is not the time to rest upon your laurels.
  • Teach your child about the value of a dollar

    • Given how few schools teach children how to budget and handle money, is it any wonder that so many people are so bad at money management? Get your child started down the right path early counting money. TD Bank used to have a fun change machine called Penny Arcade but unfortunately, they removed these machines last year. Check with your local bank to see what fun activities they have to engage your child with financial literacy.

Make sure your child will maintain an edge once the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests is over – and that once they make it into that coveted NYC gifted and talented program, they start out ahead of their peers.



Secrets to acing the OLSAT test

Types of questions on the OLSAT test

So, when kids first see the different types of questions on the OLSAT test, they think they’re weird and they don’t understand them right away. As a parent, you want your child to experience their confusion in seeing these questions for the first time when they’re at home with you, and you can help them (contrary to what “they” tell you!). Not when they’re all alone at school under the pressure of taking an actual test without you there to support them. Especially, if you have a younger child ages 3 to 5 years old who has never (ever!) taken an actual test and has no idea of the different between a right and wrong answer.  No matter if you live:

  • Brooklyn,
  • Staten Island
  • Manhattan
  • Bronx
  • Queens

it’s imperative you prepare your child for the upcoming NYC gifted and talented test. The OLSAT test is no joke and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Even if your child it taking the OLSAT test next year there’s really no time to waste. Whether your child’s test is in three days or three months, working with  practice questions and online prep games for the OLSAT can make all the difference. These are just a few examples of the types of questions that are on the gifted test. Naturally, the questions get harder as children go up in grade levels. If your pre-K to sixth grader is taking the OLSAT and you’d like to learn more about the types of questions on this test. You can try a few practice questions for the OLSAT test here!

 

OLSAT
Test Subset
Grade Pre-K and K
Level A
Verbal Questions
  • Verbal Comprehension
No
  • Following Directions
Yes
  • Antonyms
No
  • Sentence Completion
No
  • Sentence Arrangement
No
Verbal Reasoning Questions
  • Aural Reasoning
Yes
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
Yes
  • Logical Selection
No
  • Word/Letter Matrix
No
  • Verbal Analogies
No
  • Verbal Classification
No
  • Inference
No
Nonverbal
  • Pictorial Reasoning
No
  • Picture Classification
Yes
  • Picture Analogies
Yes
  • Picture Series
Yes
Figural Reasoning
  • Figural Classification
Yes
  • Figural Analogies
Yes
  • Pattern Matrix
Yes
  • Figural Series
Yes
Quantitative Reasoning
  • Number Series
No
  • Numeric Inference
No
  • Number Matrix


Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island NYC Gifted and Talented Test Prep

Manhattan has been the mecca of the NYC Gifted and Talented test prep

Although, there is a high-demand for practice questions in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island Gifted and Talented Test Prep. And the Bronx is also seeing a slight increase in parents preparing their talented tots. Although Staten Island has 6 district wide programs for the G&T program there currently is no citywide program there and in the Bronx. Many parents use private tutors to help their child succeed on the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests while some use workbooks. The good news is there’s an online tool from Testing Mom that has tons of free practice questions for the NYC gifted and talented.

If you live in Queens, parents there are fighting the DOE to keep the policy of automatic admissions for middle school if the child is in the G&T program in elementary school. Here’s a quote from a mom who has a child attending the gifted and talented program in Queens:

Even in kindergarten, the homework workload is just over the top,” she said. “The kids who are there by fifth grade belong in the G&T program,” she added. “These kids work so hard.”

I suppose she’s inferring that other kids in non-G&T classroom don’t work hard and don’t deserve automatic placement like her darling child? Hmmmm. In my opinion, students applying to middle school should all be on the same playing field. If they are looking at state scores, report cards and teacher reports then shouldn’t G&T students already have an advantage? Seems that way to me.

Here’s the list of the gifted and talented citywide programs and any student who receives a qualifying score in any of the boroughs can apply to one of these very popular programs.

Borough

District

Location

School Name

Manhattan 1 Lower East Side New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math – NEST + M
Manhattan 3 Upper West Side The Anderson School
Manhattan 4 Far Upper East Side TAG Young Scholars 
Brooklyn 20 Bensonhurst Brooklyn School Of Inquiry
Queens 30 Flushing The 30th Avenue School