The Iowa Algebra Aptitude Test, or IAAT, is a standardized exam administered to students in Iowa public schools who are about to enter high school. The purpose of the exam is to assess how prepared each student is for high school-level algebra courses based on his mastery of the concepts taught in middle school pre-algebra courses. Educators use the test results to place students in the classes where they feel they are most likely to succeed. Although taking the IAAT may be a nerve-wracking prospect, preparing well in advance of the exam date will help you answer the exam questions to the best of your ability.

Review your notes and old tests and assignments from your previous pre-algebra course(s).

The four subtests on the IAAT are Pre-Algebraic Number Skills and Concepts, Interpreting Mathematical Information, Representing Relationships and Using Symbols. Pre-Algebraic Number Skills and Concepts tests your ability to apply mathematical concepts to solving computational equations. Interpreting Mathematical Information focuses on reading mathematical graphs and the definitions of mathematical terms. Representing Relationships requires that you identify the rules that determine the relationship between numerical information presented in either written or graph form. Finally, Using Symbols assesses your ability to recognize and apply commonly used algebraic symbols such as parentheses, brackets and the less than and greater than symbols.

These four topics demonstrate that the exam seeks to assess your understanding of virtually every concept in pre-algebra, so you should not skip any material while you study.

Take note of any concepts that you're unclear about while you review your old class materials. On a separate sheet of paper, write down any definitions, rules, symbols, or mathematical formulas that you need clarification on.

Schedule a meeting with your pre-algebra teacher or a tutor to go over the concepts on your list. Request that the teacher or tutor work through math problems with you until feel confident in your understanding of the concepts discussed.

Test your knowledge of pre-algebraic concepts by taking practice tests. The Edna Public Schools website features a sample IAAT test with questions similar to those found on the exam. You may also practice solving problems listed in your pre-algebra textbook if you have one available. If you don't have a textbook, request that a pre-algebra teacher at your school allow you to borrow one. The KUTA Software website also lists numerous downloadable sample worksheets on a variety of topics in pre-algebra.

Highlight any sample problems that you had trouble with once you have completed several practice tests. Consult with your tutor or teacher once again and ask for further help in solving the problems.

Perform one final run-through of your pre-algebra materials the night before the exam. Don't wait until the last minute to review your materials so that you can get a good night's sleep and show up well-rested to take the exam.

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Dawn Westin is an experienced professional writer who has contributed articles to publications including "South Magazine" and "The Inkwell." She holds a BA in English and professional communications from Armstrong Atlantic State University and currently takes courses at Georgia Southern University in hopes of soon enrolling in medical school.