Ready for the Test

Every spring, your child takes a state test in math and English language arts. The test results are an important measure to see how your child is gaining the skills needed to succeed in the next grade.

Here are five simple ways you can help your child feel confident and ready for the test.

  1. See how it all fits together. 1

    See how it all fits together.

    Along with grades and classroom work, the state test is another measure of how well your child is meeting grade-level expectations in math and English. Even if your child gets good grades, pay attention to his or her state test results. The results can serve as an early warning sign that your child may need more support with specific skills. Check out our Family Guide to learn more about the state test results and why they matter for your child.

  2. Look at last year’s results. 2

    Look at last year’s results.

    Last year’s state test results can help you understand where your child may still need extra support and where progress has been made this year.

    The GreatSchools Test Guide for Parents helps you understand each section of your child’s score report, including the skills your child is expected to know, where your child excels, and where support may be needed. You’ll also find fun, grade-level activities to help your child with specific skills identified on the test.

  3. Take a practice test. 3

    Take a practice test.

    This test measures the skills your child is learning in class. While your child can’t study for it, looking at sample test questions or a practice test lets you know what’s expected and can help relieve test anxiety. Look over your state’s practice test here.

  4. Ask the teacher. 4

    Ask the teacher.

    It’s important to know the basics such as: How long does the test take? What are the testing days? When will I get the results? How will the teacher use the results? To learn more about your state’s test, click here.

  5. Tackle test nerves. 5

    Tackle test nerves.

    Test anxiety is a normal part of life. Help build confidence and show your child how to take on challenges with a positive attitude and determination. Remind your child to take their time and focus on the questions he or she knows first.

Sample Test Questions

Test questions range from traditional multiple-choice to ones that require your child to describe his or her reasoning and explain the answer. In math, your child will be asked to explain how he or she came to a solution. In English, your child will be asked to analyze grade-level reading passages and write well-developed essays. Here are sample questions and links to your state’s practice test.

  • Math


    A rattle snake at the zoo is 5 ½ feet long. A corn snake is ¾ of that length.

    What is the length, in feet, of the corn snake? Enter your answer in the box.

    Answer: 4 1/8 feet


    *From a 5th Grade PARCC practice test.

  • English Language Arts


    Your child reads articles from three different sources about recycling.

    Which source would most likely be the most helpful in understanding why it’s important to recycle? Explain why this source is most likely the most helpful.

    Answer: Give at least two details from the source to support your answer.


    * From a 5th grade Smarter Balanced practice test

Which Test is Your Child Taking?

To see a practice test for your child, select your state:


The GreatSchools Test Guide for Parents explains the English and math skills your child is expected to learn in each grade. It also provides simple ways you can help your child at home!

Learn More »

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