NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

Tips and Tricks to Raising Your Child’s IQ

By age 5, most children in America will have been given some kind of intelligence test

Whether it is for private school admissions, NYC gifted and talented qualification, or public school placement in slow, average or accelerated learning groups most kids will be given some sort of intelligence test. IQ tests cover the 7-abilities children need to thrive in the classroom: language, information, memory, math, spatial, thinking and fine-motor skills.  Here are some of my tips for building these abilities from Karen Quinn, the Testing Mom.

Tips and Tricks on helping raise your child’s IQ!


1.  Talk to your child about anything and everything all the time.  This will strengthen her language skills. Children raised in high-language households have IQ scores that are 38-points higher than kids brought up in low language homes.


2.  Read concept books such as Richard Scarry’s Best First Book Ever or DK Publishing’s My First Word Book to your child.  Children tested for kindergarten are expected to know colors, shapes, seasons, fruit, farm animals – all the basicinformation kids are exposed to through picture books, preschool, and life itself.  If your child knows everything covered in these books, she’ll be ready.


3.  Challenge your child’s memory.  After you read your child a book, ask him to tell you the story back in his own words. Make patterns using Fruit Loops or colored beads, cover them up, and see if he can recreate them. These activities will build your child’s verbal and visual memory.


4.  Inject math concepts into your conversations.  “Dinner will be ready in five minutes.”  “Do you want a whole cookie or a half a cookie?”  “Look how cute your toes are.  Let’s count them.” “You have three M&Ms. I’ll give you two more.  Now you’ll have five.” You can even bring up math when reading picture books.  “Look at that funny octopus.  How many legs does he have?”


5.  Give your child blocks, puzzles, Lincoln Logs, Legos or Duplos to play with.  These will bolster his spatial skills.  You can also look for spatial challenges in Highlights Magazine, which always features hidden pictures inside other pictures, or read a Where’s Waldo book and let your child find Waldo.


6.  Let your child solve problems. When the ball rolls behind the console, ask him to come up with ways to retrieve it.  When he can’t get dressed in time for school, let him think of ideas to get ready faster. Give him a voice in making simple choices so he’ll become a decision-maker.  Children who are allowed to think for themselves at home develop solid cognitive skills.


7.  Keep craft supplies handy and let your child create on rainy days. Colored paper, crayons, scissors, glue, glitter, paint, markets, brushes, Q-tips, Play-Doh – working with these materials strengthens fine-motor skills, which are simply your child’s ability to control her hands and fingers.

Debunking myths of the NYC Gifted and Talented Program

Well folks, the DOE is debunking all the rumors and innuendos floating around the city about the NYC Gifted and Talented Program. We’re here to set the record straight by debunking myths of the NYC Gifted and Talented Program.

  • There are two type of G&T programs in NYC. TRUE!
    • District G&T programs give an admissions priority to applicants who live in their district. These programs are located within district elementary schools. Citywide G&T programs give no admissions priority based on district of residence and all students in these schools attend the G&T program.
  • Students must take both the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests to participate in the NYC gifted program. TRUE!
    • If your child attends public kindergarten through second grade, they will take the G&T Test at school during the school day. If your child attends pre-K or non-public school, they can take the G&T Test on one of several weekend dates. Submit the RFT online and early for the best chance to get your preferred test date and location.
  • Students must score a 90th percentile combined score on the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test to get a G&T application. TRUE!
    • A student who scores 90 or higher can apply for District G&T programs. A student who scores 97 or higher can apply for District and Citywide G&T programs. Make sure you check out free practice questions from programs like Testing Mom! 
  • There is NO guarantee that a student will get a G&T offer letter, regardless of their score. TRUE!
    • G&T programs are so high in demand and usually there are more eligible students than there are seats available. Even at a 99th percentile there are no guarantees.
  • G&T programs give an admissions priority to students with siblings currently enrolled in their programs. TRUE!
    • If your child applies to a G&T program at a school that their sibling attends, they have greater priority to attend that program than applicants without siblings at the school.
  • Only current pre-K through second grade students can participate in the admissions process for the Gifted and Talented Program TRUE!


Non-profit HOPEorgNYC helps prepare kids for gifted and talented test
October 7, 2016, 10:37 am
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The non-profit HOPEorgNYC helps prepare kids for the gifted and talented test in New York City.  Jill Goldstein, founder of @HOPEorgNYC, founded the non-profit in 2015 due to the lack of participation of students in lower-income areas of NYC who take the NYC gifted and talented test for children entering kindergarten through 3rd grade. The mission of this group is to lessen the divide within the gifted and talented program in New York City.  HOPE meets with students every Saturday morning from September through January to help them prepare for the upcoming NNAT and OLSAT tests.

Over the years, it has been evident that the NYC gifted and talented program skews to more Caucasian and Asian students vs. African American and Latino students. The population of gifted and talented students based upon race is disproportionate to the racial population of the city. According to the NY Times, this racial segregation within the schools begins as early as pre-K and then really manifests itself going into kindergarten with the gifted and talented program.

HOPE plans to even out the playing field within district 10 in the Bronx where the program meets at the local library every Saturday to help local students prepare for the test. Their goal is two fold: help the kids succeed on the the G&T test and to do well in school.

Here are students who have benefited from the wonderful work HOPE is doing in the Bronx. The kids thank for giving them test prep materials and for sponsoring the HOPE team.


Testing Mom hosting free seminars
January 5, 2016, 3:56 pm
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Testing Mom hosting free seminars for NYC parents to review the NYC Gifted and Talented Admissions and Testing this week! These seminars are free but you need to register to attend (links below).

Here’s what you’ll learn at the seminar:

  • The various tests given to children for gifted and talented programs in New York City
  • Learn about the NNAT-2 test and OLSAT test that’s used for admissions into the New York City G&T programs
  • Prepare your child for testing without “prepping”
  • Shy child? Find out how to help a shy child overcome testing anxiety.
  • Easy and fun things you can do at home to help your child prepare for testing
  • Live questions and answers from the audience.

You can register here:


Will NYC Gifted and Talented Test go to 50 50 split?

Well, rumors are flying around about possible changes to the OLSAT and NNAT-2 test coming up this January and Feburary. Will the NYC gifted and talented test go to 50 50 split? (instead of the 65 35 split like last year). Well, according to a recent article from WNYC about the screw-ups on the scoring of the regents test this quote is nicely tucked at the bottom of the article:

Department of Education spokeswoman Erin Hughes told WNYC that the change was made because the city would be able to get more data on how its students performed.

“Last year, the D.O.E. did not have data on the performance of New York City students” on the Naglieri test, she said.  “For this reason, the D.O.E. used data from the national samples for these tests in the 2012-13 scoring methodology.”

This year, Hughes explained, the city is returning to its old methodology, the Normal Curve Equivalency, and will weight each exam equally.

I suppose we’ll find out when the gifted and talented handbooks are published in the next couple of weeks but after last year’s screw-ups who knows what the Dept. of Ed. will do this year!

NYC Department of Ed Announces Dates for Gifted and Talented Testing

Mark your calendars everyone. The NYC Department of Ed announces dates for the gifted and talented testing for 2012-2013!  The NYC G&T handbooks still haven’t been released but here’s the timeline:

  • November 9, 2012: Deadline to submit Request for Gifted and Talented Testing forms. Stay tuned for the link to register your talented tot online!
  • October 15 – November 9, 2012:  Community Information Sessions Dates, times, and locations. The exact locations have yet to be announced but historically these take place in all 5 boroughs over the 3 week period.
  • January 7 – February 8, 2013:  Current K-2 Public School Students, G&T assessments administered at school sites
  • January 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27;  February 2 & 3, 2013: Current department Pre-K Students and Non-Public School Students, gifted and talented tests administered at school sites
  • April 2013 – Gifted and Talented Score reports and applications with available G&T programs communicated to eligible students
  • April 19, 2013 – G&T school applications due
  • Week of May 20, 2013 – Gifted and Talented Placement offers communicated to families
  • Week of June 3, 2013 – Deadline for families to accept or decline placement offers for their gifted and talented school for city-wide or district-wide schools.

99th Percentile Gifted and Talented Scores Sky Rocket

Can scoring in the 99th percentile on the OLSAT test no longer guarantee your child a spot in the NYC G&T program? In this last round of NYC gifted and talented testing, 11 percent of OLSAT test-takers scored in the Top 1 percent; meaning 1,603 children scored in the 99th percentile out of the 14,239 test-takers. DNA info reports this is a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of eligible kindergarteners over last year. The number of children scoring in the Top 1% has steadily been rising over the years, but with 11% of children tested in the Top 1%, this year is a new high.

For a child to be eligible for any of the five NYC G&T programs, they must score in the 97th to 99th percentile on the OLSAT and BSRA test combined. Although, nexts year the Naglieri (NNAT) will take the place of the Bracken (BSRA test). In those five NYC G&T programs, there are fewer than 400 seats available for the incoming kindergarten class. Testing into the G&T program is available for Kindergarten to 3rd grade, but the number of children accepted into the program decreases with every grade increase. So testing your child later than Kindergarten is an automatic disadvantage in the system.

Further exasperating the size problem are the siblings within the system, with a spot reserved for the sibling of a child already in the G&T program, provided that sibling has eligible scores. An article at Inside Schools provided the sibling break down in the 5 different NYC gifted and talented rograms. At STEM in Queens, 4 seats are reserved for siblings and 12 seats are set-aside for siblings at Brooklyn School of Inquiry. NEST+M already has 15 out of the 100 seats saved, and for The Anderson School, 16 seats out of the 50 are destined for qualified siblings. That is 12% of the incoming spots for the NYC G&T program taken, in addition to more children qualifying for those spots. The shortage of spots in the NYC gifted program affected school visits as well, with The Anderson School only opening tours for parents of children who scored in the 99th percentile. Even with this limiting of spots, the school could not accommodate all the parents that wanted to visit.

Despite an outcry from the parents of gifted children to expand the G&T program in New York City, the Department of Education has no current plan for expansion. However, the DOE will replace the Bracken School Readiness Assessment with the more challenging Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test. This new exam places the stress on cognitive ability with identifying patterns and sequences, instead of simply identifying shapes and colors. The DOE will change how they weigh the tests as well, with the OLSAT 8 currently being weighed at 75% with Bracken at 25%. The test is changing, the weighing of the tests is changing, and the number of children testing into eligibility is increasing, decreasing the spots available. So what is a parent to do?

Practice and Prepare for the test to ensure your child is in the Top 1%, so they can even have a chance at getting into the right G&T School for them. To get 100 free practice questions for the G&T exam, to start preparing your child now, go to

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