September 16th, 2011

My daughter is going to be interviewing for private school kindergarten in the next few weeks. Can you tell me what to expect at these school visits?

It’s both easy and hard to generalize about these visits.  Most schools have a similar format.  They will gather the kids and parents in one place, then then invite the kids to line up and go with a teacher to visit a classroom.  Or they might do a slight variation on this theme.  You want […]

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August 9th, 2011

My child is taking the Stanford-Binet® to qualify for Hunter College Elementary. I have heard that the tests are scored according to age and kids may have a slight advantage by taking the test in certain months vs. others. Can you advise me on when my child should take the test?

For the Stanford-Binet®, younger children are compared to kids within a two-month range. So for a three to four-year-old it would be: 3 years 0 months through 3 years 1 month 3.2 – 3.3 3.4 – 3.5 3.6 – 3.7 3.8 – 3.9 3.10 – 3.11 4 years 0 months through 4 years 1 month […]

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July 17th, 2011

Both my husband and I are ESL, Polish is our native language. We speak Polish to our kids (2.5 year old and 11 month old). As we are trying to incorporate the strategies you discuss in your book into the daily activities I am struggling with figuring out if we should stick to our native language, mix it or perform testing related activities in English….. Both girls go to a small daycare where they speak English.

I think it is great that you are teaching your children two languages as they are growing up. My question to you is, what are your plans for school? Will they be tested for private school or a gifted program? If so, it is possible that growing up speaking two languages will limit them in […]

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November 25th, 2010

My son is born in the Fall and would qualify for a public gifted (and regular) program next year, but not private school. We are interested in exploring both public and private options. What advice do you have for us?

That is always a hard one!  I would suggest that you go ahead and have your child tested for gifted program and see how he does.  If he qualifies for a good one (or if you find a really good public general ed program), enroll him and if you are happy with the program, you […]

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November 25th, 2010

My son has his 5th birthday late in the year. So he qualifies for public kindergarten, which has a Dec. 31 cut off, but he doesn’t qualify for private kindergarten, which has an August 31 cut off. Currently he’s in public kindergarten. If we apply him to private school next year, will they make him repeat kindergarten? How strict are private schools about children with late birthdays?

When you apply, tell the private schools that he is currently in public school kindergarten.  Let them know that you are applying him to the kindergarten program, given their birthday cut off, but that you are open to putting him in first grade if they think that is the best placement.  Most likely, they would […]

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November 25th, 2010

Do they account for a child’s comfort level when testing? For instance, if a child is shy and has to warm up to the testing administrator before opening up?

If your child is being assessed by a proctor for public school, she will be more limited in what she can do to warm your child up.  There are more restrictions on public school evaluators in how they interact with kids.  For example, they can’t say, “Oh come on, give it your best guess,” if […]

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November 25th, 2010

What kind of sample questions can I give my child and how often?

Feel free to give him the daily practice test questions that you get with TestingMom.com.  If you are playing IQ Fun Park, one game a day should be plenty. If you are working with workbooks, I wouldn’t do more than 15-20 minutes a day or you’ll risk making your child tired of those kinds of […]

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November 25th, 2010

If a child starts in public grade school, is she at a disadvantage if she wants to go to private middle school?

No, most private middle schools open up at least one full classroom of spaces, sometimes more.  They take many children who are leaving public school.  Your child will have to test to get into the private school, so you may have to hire a tutor to prepare her, but you will have saved many years […]

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November 25th, 2010

What are private schools looking for in applicants?

Private schools are looking for children who will do well in their program.  So, if it is a tougher, academic school, then higher scores on a test will be the first hurdle toward acceptance.  They are looking for classes that are balanced in terms of boys, girls, diversity and temperaments.  So, if a school has […]

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November 25th, 2010

Are private schools required to contact you after they receive your application to set up interviews and playdates?

They should, but if you sent the application in and they haven’t contacted you in a reasonable amount of time, call them.  You can say that you are calling to confirm that they received the application.  As long as you have them on the line, go ahead and set up the appointments.

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November 25th, 2010

How do you avoid competition among other parents when going through the admissions process?

Avoid talking to other parents who are going through the process at the same time you are because you’ll hear things that will freak you out.  Half the time what they say will be wrong.  If you have a few good friends who are going through this, fine, but keep the talk to a minimum […]

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November 25th, 2010

How do you refrain from letting the school admissions process stress you out?

If at all possible, identify a public school in your zone that you can absolutely send your child to.  If you have a good back-up school you can rely on, you won’t be as stressed going through the process. If you can’t find a good public school that you know you can send your child […]

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November 25th, 2010

How is the admission/testing process different for entering a K program vs. a 1st grade program?

In most cases they are almost identical.  For a public G&T program, the big difference is that there will only be places if there was attrition in last year’s K class.  Currently, in NYC, the OLSAT® is given one-on-one to 4-year-olds.  When children turn 5 and are entering 1st grade, it is often given in […]

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November 25th, 2010

How do we educate our teachers at the Pre-K level to incorporate the 7-abilities into their teaching?

In Testing For Kindergarten, I talk about the 7-abilities children need to do well at testing and in school.  They are:  language, knowledge/comprehension, memory, math, thinking, visual-spatial, and fine-motor skills.  Any good nursery school curriculum already incorporates all of these abilities into the material they teach.  The teacher may not be thinking about every activity in […]

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November 25th, 2010

How do you get a young child in “test mode” on the day of the test?

If your child is being tested at her preschool, you won’t have to.  Your child’s teacher will pull her out of the classroom on a day when she seems to be doing well and the tester is there.  If, during the time your child’s school is testing kids, something upsetting happens at home or your […]

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November 25th, 2010

Twins! Private school! Any special words of advice?

When you have more than one child that you are trying to get into private school, it can get tricky.  There are usually a limited number of spots in a private school, and with twins, one family gets two spaces.  Private schools depend on parents giving to the annual fund and by letting one family […]

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November 25th, 2010

If my child gets into private school through testing success, do we have to pay the regular school fees?

There are no fees for “regular” school, just tax dollars.  And yes, you still have to pay those even if your child is in private school. I want to point out, however, that even if you have a child in private school, if your child has learning delays, your local Board of Education still has […]

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November 25th, 2010

Do most people get their children tutored for the tests or is that counter-productive?

I’m not a huge fan of tutoring because I think parents can do so much more at home in the course of daily life.  That said, it may be helpful for some kids who are very shy and need to learn to warm up to an adult tester.  If you do use a tutor, make […]

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November 25th, 2010

How do I best prep my child for the ERB without getting a tutor? What kinds of activities can I do?

My book, Testing For Kindergarten, tells you how to prep a child for the ERB and other tests without using tutors.   On my website, you can check out the top 20 products I recommend for test prep –http://testingforkindergarten.com/recommended. You can also work with IQ Fun Pack, a game I developed that prepares children for the most […]

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November 25th, 2010

How do you feel about tutoring and doing a lot of prep for testing if it affects a child’s ability to keep up when they are in school?

If you do test prep correctly, you are strengthening the underlying abilities a child needs to test well.  These would be his abilities in the areas of language, knowledge/comprehension, memory, math, visual-spatial, thinking and fine-motor skills.  If you do this, whatever your child scores on a test will reflect his actual ability to keep up […]

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November 25th, 2010

How do you manage conflicting time lines of private school acceptance and gifted program acceptance? Can I hold a spot at a private school while I wait to hear from the gifted programs?

In New York City, all of the private schools send out their acceptances on the same day making it easy to commit because they all have the same deadline.  However, the public gifted and talented programs send out their acceptances much later.  In other cities, private schools do not necessarily mail acceptances on the same […]

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November 25th, 2010

Are the results of the test dependent on who administers it?

Administrators try to take the “personality” aspect out of the equation as much as they can.  In a city such as NY, where thousands of tests are being administered, proctors are given specific instructions that they can say the question, but they cannot repeat it.  They cannot prompt a child or clarify a question, that […]

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November 25th, 2010

How are exams graded (i.e. WPPSI®) in terms of things like coding. For example, do vertical or horizontal lines need to be perfect in order to be counted?

The directions are as clear as they can be for a tester as to when a child receives credit for an answer and when she does not.  As it happens, with coding, vertical and horizontal lines or circles don’t need to be perfectly drawn as long as the mark is recognizable. With the WPPSI®, each […]

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November 25th, 2010

100% sure my daughter is ready for the test, should I hold her back a year? Her birthday is Dec. 5.

I’m assuming you are in NY and if this is the case, you can’t really hold your child back a year and get her tested later in the hopes that she will do better.  This is true in most public school districts across the country.  You have a window of time that your child must […]

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November 25th, 2010

My son just turned 3 a couple of weeks ago and is super bright…but he doesn’t like to talk to people, especially people he does not know. This was an “issue” with pre-school admission – where I was told by admissions directors that if he won’t talk to us, we’ll have a hard time testing or placing him. Assuming he doesn’t suddenly ‘morph’ into a chatty, extroverted 4 year old, what am I going to do when it comes to all these interviews and tests???

Some kids have a hard time “warming up” in admissions situations. If Jamie is in preschool now, he may be more talkative a year from now, after he has more experience interacting with teachers. If he is still very shy, let the admission directors/testers know before you go for interviews/testing. They might make accomodations to […]

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OK