Prepare your child for her first aptitude test by giving her mock exams.
As soon as our little ones turn three (or even two!), most of us parents start to look for a preschool that will prepare them for big school. Most preschools actually advertise their student body’s passing rate in the entrance exams of highly regarded private schools! It is therefore not surprising that many parents wonder how they can help their preschooler do well in an aptitude test, which is what entrance exams are.
Designed to gauge a person’s ability in specific skills, aptitude tests are taken by people of all ages for different purposes. Those applying for entry-level jobs often take an aptitude test revolving around a specific skills set that the job requires. Senior high school students, on the other hand, prepare for college entrance exams in the areas of language, math and logic. Preschoolers, meanwhile, are tested on their readiness for big school.
But how can parents prepare their preschoolers for their first aptitude test? According to mom and former preschool teacher Donna D., parents should focus on the art of taking a test as much as, if not more than, the possible content of the exam.
Since the entrance exam for elementary school is a child’s first experience with an aptitude test, an incoming preschooler should know what to expect and what to do. Here are five things that you can do to prepare your preschooler for that first big exam.
1. Teach the different ways of answering
Preschoolers should know how to answer an aptitude test. This means that you have to show your child what it is exactly meant when the instruction says underline, encircle, cross out and check.
2. Practice prompting
Standardized tests usually require everyone to start answering a specific portion at the same time. Students cannot start answering their test sheet until the teacher says so. Kids have to sit quietly and wait for the next part to begin when they finish a section early. Practice this with your child using any practice materials that you may have.
3. Practice listening skills
It is advantageous if your child already knows how to read as he or she can read the test instructions. However, for kids who are not reading yet, listening is an important skill to have as the teacher reads aloud the exam instructions. Play listening games such as “Simon Says” and any sound-guessing activity.
4. Help with confidence and relaxation skills
Sometimes, even the brightest people do not do well on aptitude tests. They get frozen with fear or negative thoughts. To address this, Donna taught her son to think, “I can do this.” You can also teach your child some relaxation techniques such as stopping and taking deep breaths if panic arises.
5. Set expectations on behavior
According to Donna, big schools evaluate children’s emotional intelligence, too. She advises parents to remind their kids to walk quietly, sit properly and listen well to the teacher. It is also important to emphasize basic rules such as no touching of things in the classroom and no looking at another child’s test paper.
What’s a better way to prepare for an exam than by getting hands-on experience with it? Prepare your preschooler for his first aptitude test by letting him practice on workbooks that cover early childhood concepts (letters, numbers, colors) and general aptitude questions (sequencing, analogies, association, comprehension). Once he is confident with how to answer most of the questions, you can then set up mock exams focusing on the five points listed above.
Taking aptitude tests is part and parcel of people’s academic and professional lives. We have to remember, however, that knowing the answers to questions is just half the battle. For preschoolers, also learning the art of taking an exam makes a big difference in their preparations for taking their first aptitude test.
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