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Gifted and Talented Education and Testing (GATE)
Talented and Gifted (TAG)
Honors and Advanced Placement
High Ability Learners

So you've just realized that your child is going to be tested for a Gifted and Talented Program very soon and you've got a sinking feeling that perhaps you should have done something before now.

First stop, and take a deep breath. Your child probably isn't worried about upcoming testing and you don't want them to catch the feeling from you.

Next think realistically about how much time you've got and what your child's strengths and weaknesses are. Is your child a good listener, do they rush and make silly mistakes, are they strong on math, are they bilingual? All these factors, and more, affect what is most likely to be helpful to your child in a short period of time. Unfortunately there is no magic single preparation book for testing that will prepare your child for everything. What you can do is introduce your child to a range of thinking activities and begin addressing any weak areas that impact their test performance.

Practice tests are a possibility but most tests for gifted and talented placement are "protected." The same test is used for many years and the questions are not released publicly. In the past few years a number of tutoring companies have published practice tests for the most commonly used ability tests. We've reviewed a lot of them. While they are reflective of the question format we haven't seen any practice tests which have the range of difficulty and variety of coverage that the real tests have. We've also been amazed at how much is charged for these practice tests.

If you are concerned about a particular skill then you might like to choose something specific to that skill from our Thinking Skills Section.

Even with a short amount of time you can, at a minimum, reduce the uncertainly factor associated with testing. With any luck your child will learn something they didn't know before too. For many parents uncertainly is the issue. Seeing the contents of a book like Building Thinking Skills helps parents to understand what the buzz words like "non-verbal reasoning question" mean and to appreciate that their child isn't going to be blindsided. Unfortunately there is no one book that can cover everything. If you want just one book then the appropriate level of Building Thinking Skills is likely to be it.

We strongly recommend getting more than just one book both so that your child can cover more skill areas and so that they have variety in presentation. Just like we eat more when there is a variety of food presented to us a child is likely to be prepared to work harder if they're presented with a variety of topics presented in different ways. It is also worth noting that everything we suggest will continue to be beneficial after the testing date so you needn't feel that there is no point in making a purchase if you can't finish it before the test. We'd also like to make you aware that your child may know more than you think. You may find in some of these products (particularly spatial/figural/non-verbal reasoning if that is your child's strength) that your child is literally looking at problems pointing to the answer and turning pages in some sections. If your child is gifted you'll probably get through this much faster than you imagined.

If you're wondering if you can trust our suggestions please read our Testimonials. These were written by parents just like you.

For short term use our top suggestions are:

And if you're open to more:

These titles touch on the skills areas most commonly tested
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Non-Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantative Reasoning
  • Logic
  • Listening (not explicitly testing but when a test is administered orally listening is a very important skill)

Our recommended titles are included in our GATE Test Prep bundles but if you're short of time you don't want to overwhelm your child. Here's what we suggest:

  • Building Thinking Skills Level 1 book
  • Thinking Skills for Tests
  • Can You Find Me? K-1
  • miniLUK Challenger (as much of the set as you think your child will take)

Grade 1
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 1 book
  • Thinking Skills for Tests
  • Can You Find Me? K-1
  • miniLUK Advance Complete Set with Controller

Grade 2
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 1 book
  • Thinking Skills for Tests
  • Visual Discrimination
  • Early Patterns in Mathematics
  • and if your child is testing for a highly competitive program as much as they can manage of Building Thinking Skills Level 2
  • miniLUK Advance Higher Order Thinking 1 and 2

Grade 3
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 2 book
  • Gruber's Essential Guide to Test Taking Gr 3-5
  • Primary Grade Challenge Math

Grade 4
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 2 book
  • Gruber's Essential Guide to Test Taking Gr 3-5
  • Challenge Math

Grade 5-8
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Verbal
  • Gruber's Essential Guide to Test Taking Gr 3-5

Grade 9-12
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural
  • Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Verbal
  • Self Scoring IQ Tests

If your child is new to testing a conventional test preparation book can also be helpful. We recommend the Spectrum Test Prep range. While these books were written for traditional standardized achievement tests and focus on reading and math practice answering mini-tests, using a bubble sheet and managing time is important for some children. The Spectrum Test Prep series was written for parents. The Test Practice books provide additional test questions. They are more expensive because they were written primarily for school use and are reproducible.

For further assistance please contact us and we'll do our best to help.
CogAT® and Cognitive Abilities Test® are registered trademarks of Riverside Publishing (a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company). Riverside Publishing does not endorse any of the information provided here.

NNAT® and Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test®, Otis-Lennon School Ability Test® and OLSAT®, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children®, WISC®, and WPPSI™are registered trademarks of NCS Pearson. The recommendations made here are those of thinktonight and are not endorsed by NCS Pearson.

The recommended products have not been reviewed by, nor are they endorsed, sponsored or approved by either the author or publisher of the tests. While the contents of these books will help prepare students to master most of the skills tested, they do not reflect the actual test items on any given test.