When our children exhibit exceptional talents and brilliance in certain areas and subjects, it’s probably safe to assume they are gifted. However, we can’t simply declare our own children to be gifted or talented without formal testing. Parents who suspect their children to be brilliantly-abled should have them tested.
Many parents wonder about how they can get their children tested and how to prepare them for these tests so that they can be enrolled into gifted programs at school. While there is some variance between states of what is required, the general process begins with a school entrance exam. These exams can vary too, so it’s important to prepare your child for taking the test.
The best way for your child to succeed is to have your child become familiar with the admissions test. In this way, your child will know what to expect. It will also diminish any anxiety your child might feel, resulting in an increased chance of being accepted into a gifted program.
There are an abundance of test preparation materials you can find online. The school will also likely provide you with a testing packet designed to help prepare your child for the test. Exploring these options is your best bet for success. These packets are grade specific and will help your child target the areas of study that will be tested.
NNAT (Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test) and OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test) are the most common types of tests administered across the country to determine if a child is gifted. They have sections on pattern completion, reasoning (both by analogy and serially), and spatial visualization.
For younger children, one of the most important things you can do to prepare your child is to teach them about the concept of taking a test. When multiple choices are given for example, smaller children may only point out things they like, not realizing it is a test. Talk to your child about the upcoming test and how to sit still and stay focused during it.
A great way to help your child build the stamina needed to sit and take the test is to give them activities like puzzles or even memory games. These things require sitting and concentrating for long periods. It’s also a good idea to bring the concepts that the test will cover into your daily life. Ask your child to bring you 2 different fruits from the produce section, or one thing that is red and one thing that is orange.
By incorporating these concepts as well as some of the testing words into daily life, they become familiar. And the more familiar your child is with the process, the easier it will be for your child to let their gifts become known and test well.