School is well and truly back and teachers are already thinking about writing the first round of reports. This means that students are currently sitting their first round of assessments and getting lots of feedback on how their learning is progressing so far.

Preparing for a maths test requires a different skill set than preparing for an assessment in any other subject. Here’s a guide to what your child needs to do to achieve success in their maths assessments this year.

1.    Devise a list of topics to study

Hopefully a list of topics and skills has been provided by your child’s teacher to help them focus their revision efforts. Ideally this will be given well in advance. If not, your child’s program of study (that they are given at the beginning of the year or is available on the school’s website) should give a detailed idea on what content will be assessed. If you or your child have difficulty understanding the “curriculum-y” language, ask your child’s teacher to provide you with a user-friendly guide on what to study.

2.    Complete 10-15 review questions on each topic

It’s easy to find review questions for maths. Every textbook has a revision exercise at the end of each chapter. There’s also the option of doing a few questions from each exercise to test how well you’re remembering the work. Your child’s teacher may have even put a list together of possible questions to revise. The main thing is to help your child start revision early. Sufficient revision can’t be completed the night before a test so aim to start the process at least a week before.

3.    Identify problem areas requiring further practice

Once the review questions are completed and marked, areas of difficulty will become obvious. Help your child compile a list of problem questions and areas. Sit down with them and see whether you can help them with any of these areas.

Have your child organise a time to see their teacher for extra help. Believe me, there’s nothing a teacher likes to see more than a student who’s started studying early and has a well formed list of questions to ask!

If your child has a tutor the same process applies. You can get a lot more value out of the hour with the tutor if your child has already identified what they don’t know and what they need help with.

4.    Seek resources to assist with improving understanding and mastery

After a little bit of help with any problem areas it’s time to try a few more practice questions. This is a great time to turn to online programs like Mathletics, Mathspace or the Kahn Academy for easily accessible practice questions which also provide immediate feedback. Kids love the online nature of these activities and the best part is that these programs respond to how your child is doing. So if your child is getting lots of questions right, the program will set them harder questions to challenge them. If they’re struggling they’ll set easier questions to help your child build up their skills.

5.    Complete test style questions under timed constraints

It’s one thing to complete a few questions from a textbook or do an online task, and it’s something else entirely to sit for 45 – 60 minutes and work on a test paper. The reality is that your child’s results will only be measured by how well they perform in their maths tests. It’s crucial that your child has good test taking skills and has had ample practice of completing test style questions under timed constraints. This is exactly why we’ve created our Maths Practice Tests resource.

6.    Understand mark allocation and the importance of clear working out

It’s not enough to just sit a practice test. The real learning comes from marking the paper and understanding how marks are allocated. Long gone are the days when questions were marked right or wrong. Now it’s all about the process to get to the solution and all questions have marks allocated for demonstrating certain knowledge and processes. The more your child can understand how important it is to show their mathematical clearly on the page and how exactly they can gain marks, the more likely it will be that their results will improve dramatically. Our video solutions that accompany our Maths Practice Tests are designed exactly with this important understanding in mind.

Help your child work through these steps to achieve great results in their maths tests this year and you’ll be pleased with how much their results improve and how strong their confidence grows.


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