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My child is taking the OLSAT in 6 months. How far in advance should we start practicing? Since the test is so far away, I don’t want to overdo it.

Six months out is the ideal time to get started with your prepping. Many parents start earlier. Here’s why getting such an early start matters. If you start early and your child does really well on everything, then you can back down and wait until the six weeks before the test and do daily practice questions then for about 20 to 30 minutes a day. You just want him to be familiar with the kinds of questions that will be asked and you want to be comfortable that your child can answer those questions.

However, it is unusual that a parent starts prepping and finds their child is good at everything. Often, prepping makes them aware of areas where their child needs work – maybe in math, for example. You will want to leave yourself plenty of time to work with your child in the real world (not just through test prep) if she’s having trouble counting or adding or subtracting. The OLSAT requires very good listening and paying attention skills. If you ask your child some of the Following Direction questions (which require acute listening skills) and he asks for questions to be repeated, you need to work on listening and paying-attention-the-first-time skills! Some parents find that their child doesn’t have the stamina to sit still for up to an hour, which they’ll have to do when tested. They will need to spend time working on this in the months before testing. By starting prep early, you will see where your child is and you’ll have time to work with him a little bit every day on the concepts or abilities that are giving him trouble.

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