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Tips for Taking the Stanford Achievement Test

by Tanya Lee

The Stanford Achievement Test has been around for 80 years and is in its 10th edition. The multiple-choice test, of which there are 13 levels, is intended to measure the academic progress of students in grades K-12. There are several different versions at each grade level, and materials for students who need testing accommodations are available. The Stanford Achievement Test is usually administered by elementary and secondary classroom teachers. Individual children's scores help teachers identify students who are falling behind and give teachers an objective basis on which to communicate with parents. Composite scores for a class, grade level or school give administrators valuable information about how successfully the school curriculum is being implemented.

Practice

Many practice tests for the Stanford are available online. Some states release old versions of standardized tests, which you can download, or you can go to the website of your state education department to find free practice tests. Becoming familiar with the mechanics of the test -- how to match up the question with the answer sheet, how to mark the answer sheet and how to correct mistakes -- will save you time during the test. Practice tests also allow you to accustom yourself to the kinds of questions you'll encounter and the range of information you'll be expected to know.

Answer the Easy Questions First

Answer the easy questions first. Go through the section of the test you are working on and answer every question you can. If a specific question is too difficult for you to answer within a reasonable amount of time, move on. Then go back and work on the more difficult questions. The Stanford Achievement Test is an untimed test, so you can work on the difficult questions until you figure them our or you realize you won't be able to answer them.

Guess

Guessing does not count against you on the Stanford Achievement Test. When you're stumped on a question, eliminate the answers you think are wrong, then guess. However, if you're reviewing your answers, do not change an answer unless you have a good reason. According to McGraw-Hill, most of the time your first choice is more likely to be correct than an answer you change.

Helping Young Test-Takers

Pearson suggests parents help younger children taking the Stanford by talking to them about the test and what to expect and explaining that listening carefully to the directions to the test and following them exactly is important. Tell them they can ask the teacher to repeat the instructions if they do not understand. Convey a positive attitude to youngsters. Assure them that they are not expected to know every answer and they should just do their best.

About the Author

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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