Thursday, February 14, 2013

Grades 3 to 8 Math State Exam Test Taking Strategies

Small Group Classes Begin this weekend!

Kweller Prep –– Math Test-Taking Strategies


1. Underline key parts of the questions as you read.

                -Ask yourself:

                                -What is the question asking me?

                                -What do I need to figure out in order to get my final answer?

*Once you get this intermediate answer, make sure you solve the question to completion!! Often times, one of the answer choices will be the answer to one of the steps but not to the whole question.

                                -What information do I already know?


2. Use the Process of Elimination.

                -Estimate and eliminate any answers that are definitely outside the reasonable range.

                -For example, if a problem asks for 4/7 or 5/8 of a number, eliminate any answers that are less than half of the original number. Similarly, if it asks for 2/5 or 3/7, eliminate any answers that are more than half of the original number.


3. Plug in the answer choices to see which one works.

                -Do this if:

                                a) You have no idea how to do the problem systematically

                                b) You know it will take a long time/long calculations to get the answer systematically

-Ideally, first use the process of elimination; then use the Plug In method with the remaining choices.

*This method is good for age problems (eg: “Jane is 3 years older than twice her brother’s age…”), coin problems (eg: “I have 75 cents. I have 49 coins. How many dimes do I have?”), etc. – any type of problem that involves multiple combinations of things or isn’t easily calculable.


4. Simplify your numbers as you work!

                -Reduce fractions.

                -Use fractions rather than decimals or percentages (because they might reduce).



-Especially in longer problems, it is essential that you work in an organized fashion so that you don’t get confused. Every time you calculate a number, jot down what that number means (Is it number of items purchased, the cost per item, or the total cost? Keep track of these details!)


6. Look for patterns.

-No question requires extensive calculations: try to look for a pattern over a smaller set of numbers and then apply it to the more complex conditions of the question itself. If all else fails, guess and move on.


6. Check your answers.

-Once you have an answer, reread the question, plug in the answer, and see if it works.


7. Pace yourself – do not spend too much time on any particular question. Skip it & go back to it later if you have time left over.

-“Nobody is perfect” – and that includes test makers. Sometimes, there ARE legitimate mistakes in tests, and it is NOT worth it to waste your time if you really cannot solve a problem.


8. If you have no clue how to solve a question, GUESS. Do not leave ANY blank.

                -If you can, eliminate some choices and then make your best guess.

                -If you cannot eliminate any choices, guess the SAME letter for all remaining questions; eg: If you cannot solve 5 questions by the end of the test, put down B or C for ALL of them; do not alternate.

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