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Local Tutoring News in Harlingen

12 Tips to Shine on the STAAR Math

Feb 15, 2017
The STAAR is almost here and students are preparing for the exams with guidance from their teachers, parents, and school administrators. With testing set to take place in the next couple of months, now is the time for students to start preparing if they haven’t already.
STAAR preparation will help your child relieve some anxiety and keep them motivated during these upcoming stress-filled weeks. Test anxiety can be a major issue for your child, causing some test performance issues and affecting their memory. 
Your Sylvan Learning Center of the Rio Grande Valley is here with some useful tips to help your child shine on this year’s STAAR math exam. Read through these practical tips often enough with your kiddo so that they can remember to use them during testing.  
  1. One of the best ways to lessen anxiety is to practice some breathing techniques to help refocus the mind. Remind your child to take in several deep breaths to help them relax whenever they find themselves stressed during the test. To build up their confidence, they should also remind themselves that they have been learning and practicing these types of questions all year long.  
  2. The STAAR is a timed test, so your child should remember to budget their time effectively. That doesn’t mean that they have to be the first one to complete the test, and because everyone works at his or her own pace, let them know that it’s ok if they are one of the last to finish. If they do finish “early”, students should plan to review, and then review some more. 
  3. Make complicated questions easier by breaking them down into more manageable parts. Pay attention to math terms, negative words in the question, and make sure to reread through the question. The STAAR test focuses on a lot of word problems and grid-ins so reading through the question and answer choices cautiously is important.  
  4. To help budget time, your child should do the easy questions first and come back to the challenging ones after. Sometimes answering another question or reading a phrase can help to jog their memory for those more difficult ones. 
  5. Students should keep an eye on their answer sheet to make sure that they did not bubble any answers out of sync. The right answer in the wrong question can have a domino effect, leading to a much lower score if the students get the answers mixed up. As students are working, their best choice is to answer the question and fill in the corresponding bubble.  
  6. Use the process of elimination (POE) to help you get rid of any obviously wrong answers. Make sure to get rid of answer choices that don’t answer questions in the appropriate unit (i.e. yards, inches, minutes, hours, etc.). 
  7. Be careful of copying down the right figures when computing an answer. If the answer doesn’t happen to match any of the answers, then compute it again. Your child should also know if they need to round or estimate answers.  
  8. Make sure that place value and decimals are being correctly written down on scratch paper and in the answer. Test makers know what types of computation mistakes can be made and will purposely include answers with those mistakes to confuse students. Checking and then double checking needs to be done effectively, during computation, and when filling in the answer. 
  9. Listening attentively to the teacher/examiner giving the directions to the test is absolutely necessary so that your child knows what to expect on the test. Remind them to also pay careful attention as they read each individual question. Sometimes questions may ask which is NOT a correct answer.  
  10. Mental math is an awesome advantage to have, but on the STAAR, your child might be better off working out even the simplest of problems on scratch paper. This can help them catch any basic errors in their own computations and will slow them down, which can keep them from making a mistake. 
  11. Remind your child that there are no prizes for finishing first. There’s no need for them to worry if other students finish before them, the fastest isn’t always the best.  
  12. Parents, you can help too! Make sure your child gets a good night’s rest the day before and a healthy breakfast the day of the test. Also, remember to be positive and let them know that the grade doesn’t matter as much as their effort.

Does your child need a little extra help? Sylvan Learning can help them prepare for the STAAR. 

If you believe your child needs just a bit more to get them ready and running for the STAAR tests, then consider your Sylvan Learning Center of the RGV as your number one support team.
At Sylvan, we personalize our tutoring to provide each child with help where he or she needs it most. It’s not just about teaching the material for the standardized test but also helping students understand the ins and outs of subject topics. We focus on developing valuable test-taking and study skills to promote success and reduce test-taking anxiety.  
Our tutoring and test-prep programs get results. For more than a decade, we have partnered with school districts all over the Rio Grande Valley to provide tutoring and supplemental educational services for local students looking to improve in various academic areas.
Contact us today to get your child on the road to academic success.

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