Throughout your child’s academic career, they will take several placement exams. These exams help to place your child in the appropriate math class. The placement exams are vital because students need to understand foundational principles before moving to more advanced math classes.
If that comprehension isn’t up to par, your child may be lost in their math class. Additionally, if they are placed in a class below their current understanding, the student may quickly become bored. Therefore, placement tests ensure the student gets put in a class that is adequate for their current level of understanding and allows them to build on their existing knowledge.
Algebra 1 placement tests are usually given to students at the beginning of their high school years. This exam will often map out the math classes your child will take throughout the remainder of their time in high school.
And because of this, the exam can give both students and parents some anxiety. However, preparing for it can reduce stress for all parties.
Strategies to help your child prepare for the Algebra 1 placement test.
1. Familiarize yourself with the covered topics. Many students get anxious before an exam due to uncertainty about what will be asked of them. Gaining a strong understanding of all topics on the placement test will help your child feel confident on exam day.
You may be able to talk about the scope of the exam with your child’s current teacher. The teacher could also provide study recommendations and identify areas where their current understanding isn’t quite where it needs to be. These recommendations can serve as a starting point when developing a study plan.
While each school district may have a different exam, they generally cover the same concepts. Therefore, students taking the Algebra 1 placement test should be expected to know the following tasks and objectives:
a. Numbers and Operations: The student will demonstrate an understanding of numbers, operations, and quantitative reasoning.
b. Patterns, Functions, and Algebra: The student will demonstrate an understanding of patterns, relationships, and algebraic reasoning.
c. Geometry: The student will demonstrate an understanding of geometry and spatial reasoning.
d. Measurement: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the concepts and uses of measurement.
e. Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability: The student will demonstrate an understanding of probability and statistics.
2. Use practice tests. Many resources can aid your child while studying and preparing for the Algebra 1 placement test. One of the best resources is practice tests. These practice exams can easily be found online and taken either on a PC or printed for a paper version. It is best to use the same format the test will be given.
So, if they are taking it on a PC, it’s better to use a PC when practicing. This process can help the student feel much more comfortable with the exam format and the types of questions they will find on the placement test.
3. Time the practice tests. Many placement tests are timed, adding stress for students who may not perform well under pressure. Providing timed practice tests can help your child get used to completing the questions within the allotted time for each section. You may want to get more details about the sections and time limits from the school before starting this type of practice.
4. Create a study plan. You may speak with your child’s teacher or review their practice tests to identify areas where they may need to focus their study efforts. Once you know what topics need more attention, you can develop a comprehensive study plan to help your child stay on target and schedule time for additional studying. You are more likely to ensure your child sticks with it when you have a plan or schedule.
5. Use study aids. Practice tests aren’t the only valuable resource when preparing for the Algebra 1 placement test. Study guides, online videos, and flashcards can all help reinforce the concepts that your child is learning. And some students respond better to different formats for studying.
Therefore, if your child isn’t learning well in one format, try another. Seeing the material in another format can often help the child understand the concept better.
6. Determine whether the exam allows students to skip questions. Anyone who has ever taken a placement test knows that getting hung up on one question is easy. And if you spend too much time on that question, it can kill your shot of getting many other questions right if the test is timed.
Therefore, it is often a much better testing strategy to skip more complex questions and return to them after all the easier ones have been answered. This technique ensures the examinee is budgeting their time most advantageously.
7. Work with a tutor. Math tutors were hard to access and could be costly in the past. However, the increase in online tutoring programs has made it easier for many families to afford a tutor.
Additionally, these tutors can tailor their study plans to meet your child’s needs. Working with a tutor can ensure your child sticks to a study plan and has access to additional instruction if they need it.
8. Try not to stress too much. While it is good to be prepared for the Algebra 1 placement test, many parents worry too much about their child’s performance. It’s worth remembering that this is a placement exam, which means it should reflect your child’s current understanding.
At the end of the day, getting into the most appropriate class is the best academic outcome you can expect. This outcome will ensure your child isn’t placed in a class that is too advanced or not advanced enough.
The Algebra 1 placement test is a significant milestone in your child’s academic career. It can set the pace for their high school math classes, which will be a factor in college math placement. And while it’s good not to become too anxious, it’s also great to help your child prepare. This preparation can often be the key to helping them feel confident about performing their best on exam day!