Cognitive skills tests are used to measure a student's academic learning ability, primarily in the school setting. They also are used to identify students who are gifted or may be struggling in a specific academic area. The test looks at the student's reasoning abilities in three different areas: verbal, nonverbal and quantitative. Parents are typically sent a notice saying the test will take place at a specific time and instructing them to have their child rested and well-fed before the test. There are a few other ways parents can help their child prepare for the test.

Read to your child or have her read to you. This is one of the most important steps in preparing for this test. Although each section targets a specific learning ability, being able to read, understand the words on the page and repeat the story is the starting point. If you have an excellent reader, you can elect to skip this portion (or any part of the test that is their strength) and move to the other two areas.

Purchase books that are geared to help your child at the grade and age level for the test. Online stores, such as Amazon, are a great place to look to find the right preparatory book for your child.

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Review your child's verbal reasoning skills, such as the classification of words, completion of sentences and analogies. Doing this in a fun environment will help your child retain a better understanding of these principles. You also can find online games that are geared specifically to the skill you want your child to practice.

Talk about how certain figures are alike or not alike or what words go with what pictures as in a multiple choice test. This will help your child with the portion of the test that relates to nonverbal reasoning. You can make it fun by using fruit if you are working with younger children. Make cards with the names of fruit and lay them on one side of the table, then lay the pieces of fruit mixed up on the other side and have the child match the words to the fruit. When you're done, you can both enjoy a healthy snack.

Increase your child's quantitative reasoning by playing some math games in which she has to reason out the answer, such as a series of numbers that are missing the next in sequence. Or play a counting game and have your child continue the number sequence. Of course, these options differ if your child is older, which is where purchasing books or taking online preparatory quizzes become useful.

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