NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing


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!



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.

 



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!



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!


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!



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