Prep for Success

Why it is important to practice before the EQAO test

For many students, the EQAO testing program will be their first experience in taking a formalized test. The modern classroom encourages collaboration and interaction among classmates. Students are taught to share problems and solutions. On the other hand, the sterile environment required for formal testing can result in anxiety for many students, because it is an unusual experience for the student. This anxiety can be heightened by the pressure they feel from home and school to achieve high scores. By having the students do the practice test, teachers or parents can help reduce this anxiety. Answer questions about procedure; counsel the students that they are not expected to get every question right; encourage them to read slowly and carefully‚Ķ It’s during this time of practice that the teacher or parent can get engaged in the process, and support a child in preparing for the EQAO process.

“If today is Tuesday, what day is tomorrow or what was yesterday?” Most, if not all, students can correctly answer those two questions. Let’s make the question more complex. “Today is Tuesday. The day before yesterday, Jamal e-mailed the following message to a classmate: ‘Let’s meet the day after tomorrow to do our class project.’ What day did Jamal and his classmate meet?

In a formal test setting, many anxious students could get the wrong answer. For success, students must apply a problem-solving strategy. The Summer Advantage resource booklet helps students to prepare for the EQAO tests by offering strategies which can be utilized, first on the practice test which is part of our package, and later on the official test which will be done in class.

Many of the mathematical questions require the students to show their work. This could be problematic for some students. The evaluators are more concerned about how the answer was achieved than they are about the final answer itself. Students who can do some of the steps in their head may forget to write down all the steps and thus receive only a partial rating, even though they know how to solve the problem and get the correct answer. Practice, review and the use of our practice test will result in better ratings.

Guessing on a Test

Without going into detail about test design, it is important to note that students will not be penalized for guessing on EQAO tests. In fact, they will actually be penalized if they don’t offer an answer for every question.

In simple terms, if students don’t know the answer to 12 multiple-choice questions, they shouldn’t leave the answers blank. Instead, they should take a guess. Each multiple choice question offers four possible answers. If you remember probability theory, you’ll have quickly calculated that by guessing on 12 questions, students will average 3 correct answers.

Using a guessing strategy could improve their average. I don’t subscribe to the theory that you should always guess answer (c). The professionals who create the EQAO tests certainly know how to structure the arrangement of possible answers on a random basis.

Of course, a student could guess c) for all the unsolved questions, but guessing (a) or (b) or (d) should statistically produce the same results. I would encourage students to eliminate known wrong responses from the choices and then make a guess from the remaining choices. I do, however, believe that first instincts have a somewhat higher success rate than pure random choice.

Here’s an example: What is the 6th largest city in Canada? You’re offered a choice of Mississauga, Toronto, New York or Montreal. Even if a student is not sure, s/he might know that New York is not a Canadian city, and can be eliminated. Likewise, the student may know that Toronto is the biggest city in Canada and thus can’t be sixth. This leaves the choice between Mississauga and Montreal. A one-half chance of being correct is better than a one-quarter chance. Again, our resource booklet and practice test will afford the opportunity for students to practice their knowledge and strategies.

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