The Terra Nova tests are one bank of exams that compares students to others their same age. The tests are administered through the eighth grade, and the results are used to compare student performance in districts and states. Results can also be used to determine areas in which students excel, as well as areas in which they may need more assistance. The tests assess student ability in most of the basic school subjects, including spelling, reading, science, social studies and mathematics. There are a number of ways you can help a student prepare for these tests.
Encourage the students to read as much material as possible within their grade level. If possible, read with the student. Depending on their grade level, students will be tested on grammar, spelling, punctuation and other reading and language skills; the more they can be exposed to the material, the better they can perform.
Teach students how to pick out key words in questions, like "sum" or "difference" in math problems. In order to perform well on the tests, students must be able to understand what each question is asking them.
Review with students methods for taking multiple-choice tests. Teach students to narrow down options by eliminating answers they know cannot be correct. This will give them a better chance of choosing the right answer.
Consult resources such as standards-based websites to find out what material students need to know. For example, the fifth-grade test may focus on cells, cell construction and cell purpose, while sixth grade will focus on earth science. Each test for each grade level requires different knowledge.
Encourage the student to take practice exams. Some of these exams are available free online, while others will come with the purchase of study guides or test packets. These exams will give students an idea of the material, as well as the type of questioning and time constraints they will face during the actual Terra Nova exam.
- Practice books and exams are available at many book retailers, as well as online.
Samantha Volz has been involved in journalistic and informative writing for over eight years. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, with a minor in European history. In college she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and completed a professional internship with the "Williamsport Sun-Gazette," serving as a full-time reporter. She resides in Horsham, Pennsylvania.