Why use our website?
We've collected and organized publicly available information about NYC testing. We don't need you to make a purchase or sign up for our program before helping you.
Why trust our suggestions?
We've been researching the skills needed to do well in gifted and talented testing for over 20 years. We were gifted children. We have gifted children. We have suggested resources to countless parents of gifted children and made changes based on their feedback.
Why don't you just sell practice tests?
Athletes cross-train. If you're preparing to run a marathon you don't just run marathons to get ready. The same is true of developing cognitive skills. Different skills develop in tandem. If you focus on just what will be tested in the format that it is tested you will miss learning opportunities and risk not fully developing the skill needed. Think about spelling tests. If you know the list of words that will be tested you focus on that. The test is defined and you know exactly what will be on it. In contrast if you're preparing for a Spelling Bee you do a lot more learning etymology and pronunciation and ... This is a test of your skill as a speller. That's different from a test of whether or not you know a list of words.
There's nothing wrong with practice tests as a supplement but test type questions shouldn't be the focus of your learning.
Parents phone and say "I know how much practice tests helped when I was studying for the SAT or GMAT." Yes that's true but these are tests where you already knew the material. The level of math on the SAT is below what most good students are studying when they're tested. Some review of concepts that you're rusty on is helpful and reviewing them in the format that you'll be asked them makes sense. Your highly capable child is unlikely to have been exposed to all the skills tested at the level they'll be tested. They have more things to learn. There are better ways to learn those things than just doing practice questions.
Should I be preparing my child?
Apart from practice tests everything we recommend here as "test prep" we would also recommend to a parent looking for enrichment material for their bright child. Much of what we recommend has been in print for decades. This is material that has stood the test of time and has been shown to improve children's cognitive skills. Improving cognitive skills leads to higher test scores because your child has a higher skill level. Doing lots of practice test questions may improve test scores but it may be just because your child now knows the answer to the questions rather than because they have increased their underlying skill level.
We've heard New York tutors tell their parents not to let their child know that they're doing test preparation. That's because some of what is being done in New York skirts the edge of what is ethical. You needn't feel uncomfortable about any of the material we recommend. Your child will test better because they have a higher level of the skills that are being tested not because someone has coached them on the questions.
Here's some feedback from grateful parents.
Just following up with you….thanks for all the info last summer….the products you recommended really helped our son. His OLSAT scores went up to 96, 99, 99 and he was selected for the gifted magnet school starting next fall….we just found out today. The time you spent recommending products was very much appreciated and we truly think that they helped him “see” relationships that are on the test.
Again, thanks! You are great at your job and very helpful to parents like us…
I spoke with you several months ago regarding which workbooks, etc., to buy to prepare my two third graders for the NNAT test as well as critical thinking, in general. You gave us some excellent suggestions of games, workbooks, and dot-to-dot books. I am happy to report that we just got the results of the NNAT test and our children scored in the 97th and 98th percentile. I really appreciated all of your recommendations. Both kids are now in the screening pool for the gifted program in our county, which was the goal of buying the workbooks.
Thank you for your thorough guidance regarding my daughter's preparation for her GATE. You were right on target with what books to use. Not only did she pass the test with only one weekend to prepare, she was the ONLY ONE in her 2nd grade who passed the test. Exposing her to the materials was astounding. The books allowed her to see such different perspectives on everything and learning ways to solve problems. I am so excited in having her use the other books in the summer. I will definitely be buying more books from you as soon as we are done with all the books.
A Truly Appreciative Parent, CA
It is a rare chance when the owner of a learning company spends time with a parent on the telephone to guide her to appropriate product choices. You did do this and I am grateful. Our child, already in an accelerated program, was readying to take several exams for different accelerated schools in New York City. Your recommendations, three different books, were attempted and completed by him in a period of 8 days (700 pages!). You assured me that the only way to properly prepare was in familiarizing him with 'critical thinking' problems in English and in Math. He did this on his own and we just had news that he was accepted into the number one middle school in New York City. I would like to say thank you. Your time and advice transcended what we would have done for him on our own and there is no tutor who can guarantee such success.
Wonderful website! Great resource! I especially appreciate your advice on specific products-- it's like having well-informed, more experienced parent give me suggestions on products that will help my children. We recently ordered the "Building Thinking Skills" based on your recommendation. My son has been enjoying it, and I appreciate that it is teaching him skills that aren't necessarily emphasized at school. Please keep the suggestions and advice coming!
I purchased some materials for my son and daughter a few months ago. For my son, I specifically wanted to help him for a very hard entrance exam into a VERY hard to get into prep school in Dallas. Well, we went through a lot of the material in that thick book and he took the exam on Jan. 31. As soon as he came out of the exam he said: “Mommy, a lot of the stuff in that book was on my exam and I knew the answers, it was easy!”. Well, that was the first step, 3 weeks later we got the acceptance letter. The funny thing is that he has 2 friends who were not accepted into the school who are close to geniuses and have high honors, and my son has more of an 88-98 average on all subjects with regular honors, not all 99-100’s and he was still chosen. So we wanted to thank you for your advice, since you wrote me and recommended which books to get. Now my question is, I don’t want him to fall behind when he starts this school in the Fall, I will probably contact you around May to see what else I can get for him to keep up with the demand of this school and to do well (study skills, reading comprehension, analytical skills, etc.). Thanks again from very happy customers.
Connie H., TX
We just found out that my daughter passed the GATE test and rec’d at or above the 96th percentile to get into the program. The books really helped and I will be ordering from you again shortly as we want to review over the summer. Thanks again for speaking to me on the telephone too.
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