The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test is a standardized test that determines whether students are proficient enough to move up to the next grade level. Tenth graders have the added pressure of the test determining whether they are on track to graduate from high school. While your 10th grader doesn't need to panic -- with a bit of practice and a few tips, the test is likely to go smoothly.


Nothing will prepare your 10th grader to be successful at the FCAT more than practicing often during the months leading up to the test. The Florida Department of Education offers practice tests with a variety of sample questions and answers to help students prepare. Take advantage of the FCAT Explorer website, which is hosted by the Florida Department of Education. It provides practice tests to students as well as a wealth of information about the test for parents. Encourage your teen to review his practice test answers to hone his test-taking skills and learn more about what to expect on the real test.


Because the FCAT assesses your 10th grader on information he's been learning in school, studying is a must. He won't be able to do well on the test if he doesn't practice and doesn't bone up on the subject matter upon which he'll be assessed. Encourage your teen to read fiction books and textbooks, suggests the Dade County Schools' website. In addition, expose your teen to newspapers and magazines and review the material he's been learning in the classroom. Hire a tutor if your teen is worried that he's not catching on. Go over the sample questions with your teen to offer him tips to retain and recall the information.

Sleep and Eat Well

In the week leading up to the test, feed your teen healthy foods and ensure he gets plenty of sleep. Nutritious foods will fuel his body and promote brain function so he's able to concentrate on each test question and put forth his best effort in answering it. Getting enough rest is also key to ensuring that your teen has the energy necessary to focus on the test. Lack of sleep is linked to poor performance. Feed your teen a good breakfast on the morning of the test as well so he's ready to give it his best.

During the Test

You won't be able to sit next to your 10th grader while he takes the test, but you can give him a few tools to calm his nerves. Remind your teen to read carefully, think each answer through and make sure he's filling in the appropriate bubble on the answer sheet. Encourage him to skip questions that he doesn't know the answer to and return to them later after he's finished the rest of the test items. Remind your child to answer each question even if he's not sure of the answer. On the FCAT, he'll get a higher penalty for leaving questions blank than for providing the wrong answer.

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About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.