NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


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)



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.



Parents frazzled by gifted and talented testing

Many parents don’t know how to handle OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test prep

Many parents, already frazzled when their child begins school in the fall, receive a shock when they learn that their child is eligible to test for the NYC Gifted and Talented program. These G&T programs are invaluable to your child’s education and available in all 5 boroughs across the city. As parents have realized over the years, once their child was is admitted into a G&T program it determined their entire educational trajectory.

However, these initial notes usually do not contain much information on the program or the testing process. The test for NYC gifted and talented admission administered to students does not varies from district to district.

Many times, a citywide or district wide school will simply give a test date (for kids already attending the public school) and leave the rest up to the parents. Thankfully, in NYC the names of the tests (OLSAT test and NNAT-2 test)are given to parents and are able to start preparing months (and in some cases years!) in advance. It is extremely important to get a jump on test prep as soon as you receive word that your child will be tested. These programs are highly competitive and your child may miss out on the program by not testing into the top 99th percentile on the combined OLSAT and NNAT-2. That does not leave much room for error.

How do you discover which test your child will be given to apply to the G&T program?

As soon as you receive the note or email that your child can apply to the G&T program , start by looking on NYC Dept. of Ed website.

Gifted and Talented programs are becoming more and more competitive in New York City. Last year, there were over 2,000 more pre-K students who took the test (16,500) compared to 14,500 the previous year.  Some parents have gone through the process with one child already and have a head start on you if this is your first time through the system. The best way to help your child is to find out immediately which test they will be taking, and start preparing them for that test immediately.

If you do not prepare your child, they will be blindsided by the format of the test, especially if your child is testing to get into gifted kindergarten. This kind of stressful testing situation is what can create test anxiety in your children. Think about if you were 4 years old and asked question after question for an hour, not having been exposed to the format before or even understanding why you were there in the first place. That is a very confusing situation and greatly increases the chances that your child will receive a low score.

Good luck with your Gifted and Talented adventure!



Met Bige Doruk, CEO and Founder of Bright Kids NYC – NYC Schools Test Prep

If you have want to receive my free Gifted and Talented Newsletter or OLSAT test practice questions contact me at skipper646@gmail.com. Thanks! Michael

I  met Bige Doruk, the CEO and founder of Bright Kids NYC, and had a great conversation with her about the new service she started a few short months ago called Bright Kids NYC located downtown in the Financial District.  She herself had a child take the OLSAT test for kindergarten and she completely understands the pressures that parents face in NYC to get their child in the NYC gifted and talented program.  She has thorough knowledge of the NYC DOE system for NYC gifted and talented application process and retesting for the gifted and talented program – even for summer retake tests for the gifted and talented program for kindergarten. Continue reading



NYC Schools Summer Testing for NYC Gifted and Talented Program OLSAT Test

If you have questions or comments about this blog, please email me at skipper646@gmail.com. Thanks! Michael M.

I received a summer G&T testing notification from a NYC public school parent who is going to test her child via OLSAT / BRSA this summer for New York City schools gifted and talented program for first grade for the G&T. It seems they recently moved to the NYC area and needed to test their child for  New York City gifted and talented program.  Here’s the information she sent me regarding what she found out about summer testing for the NYC G&T program. Continue reading



NYC Gifted and Talented Program Placement Letter – Email Received!

Better late than never! 🙂 

We rec’d our placement letter for NYC gifted and talented program for kindergarten via email at 1:22am this morning. We were pleased that we received our first choice and look forward to going up to the school next week to enroll. We of course have TONS of questions for the principal prior to finalizing the details.

Here’s an excerpt from the email we received with Q&A for parents:

Key Questions and Answers

1) I did not receive an offer. What are my options?
– Some Gifted and Talented programs may have seats that become available due to
unexpected attrition. These seats will be filled by children who did not receive
an offer during the initial Gifted and Talented placement period.
– Children who did not receive an offer during the initial Gifted and Talented
placement period will be automatically considered for placement into seats that
become available. Families do not need to contact the Office of Student
Enrollment to be considered. Offers will be determined based on the same
criteria as the initial placements; i.e.: sibling priority, ranked program
choices and available seats.
– Placements to these seats will be made late in the summer, prior to the start
of the school year.

2) I have a sibling issue. What do I do?
– If there is an issue with your sibling’s Gifted and Talented offer please
email ES_Enrollment@schools.nyc.gov. We will review your submitted application.
– If a younger sibling does not make the qualification cut off for his or her
older sibling’s G&T program, you may file a placement exception request (PER) at
your local Borough Enrollment Office to attend the general education program
offered in the same school, provided there are available seats

3) I do not like my offer.  What are my options?
– All Gifted and Talented offers are final. There are no appeals of Gifted and
Talented placements. If you are offered a placement and you decline that
placement, no other placement offer will be made.



Still No Placement Offers Letter or Email Notification for NYC Gifted and Talented

If you have questions or comments about this blog, please email me at skipper646@gmail.com.

Well, I checked the DOE NYC public schools site and it indicates placement offer letters for the NYC Gifted and Talented program for kindergarten and first grade were due out today. We have yet to receive our email notification so maybe it’ll come out later tonight? It looks like registration is suppose to take place from June 19 to June 26 which really doesn’t give people much time to prepare if there has yet to be any communication from the DOE regarding the placement letters for the NYC gifted and talented program. I emailed the DOE this afternoon around 2pm but have yet  to hear back. Considering it’s almost 6:30pm now I doubt I’ll receive any response until Monday.

I also logged into the site where we selected the order of preference of Gifted and Talented schools in district 2 for NYC public schools. There were no updates on the site so I guess it’s a waiting game at this point in time to see what’s next.

If you’re interested, here’s the link with the schedule of when everything is to take place.

http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/GiftedandTalented/EligibilityApplications/default.htm