How can I prepare my child for standardized tests?

Educational Specialist Carolyn McWilliams, MA, shares advice for parents on the best ways to help your child prepare for standardized tests
Tips For Parents To Prepare Your Child For Standardized Tests
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How can I prepare my child for standardized tests?

The best way to prepare for any exam is to know the content deeply and well. The best way to do the best on a college preparatory test or college entrance exam is to know more vocabulary, more math skills and more grammar skills and to be able to write better. There are some tricks and some strategies that are basic test-taking skills, but the tricks really don't pay off in the long run. Kids who know more, and can be able to show that they know more are those that do better on the standardized tests. So it's important for your child to be, to have tests desensitized to them, that they know about the fact that on standardized tests you are not expected to know all the answers, that the goal is to find as many questions that you know how to do and do them to the best of your ability. But for the long run, it's learning material in really solid ways that is really going to help your child do the best in any kind of standardized or performance tests.

Educational Specialist Carolyn McWilliams, MA, shares advice for parents on the best ways to help your child prepare for standardized tests


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Carolyn McWilliams, MA

Educational Specialist

Carolyn is currently an educational therapist and educational consultant helping students, parents, and schools meet the challenges of gifted students with learning challenges through her offices in Santa Monica, California. Carolyn also does general consulting with schools on topics from curriculum development to teaching study skills to interpretation of student test scores.

Carolyn began her educational career in Santa Barbara, California, where she received her B.A. and M.A. and became a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Administration with an emphasis on Curriculum and Instruction. She served as a supervisor of student teachers and taught courses across the educational curriculum during her eight years at UCSB.

After completing her studies, Carolyn moved to Los Angeles where she served as the head of Adat Ari El Day School in Valley Village and as a consultant on issues of learning and instruction to Jewish day schools across the Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Spectrum, as well as to elementary and secondary schools of all types. During this time she also served on the faculty of California State University at Northridge.

The parent of three highly gifted daughters of her own (one with learning challenges), throughout her career, Carolyn has designed innovative strategies, as well as unique programs to help gifted students achieve life success. She established the Johns Hopkins Center for Academically Talented Youth (CTY) Summer Commuter Program held at the University of California Los Angeles and served as parent liaison for the CTY to the press and larger community. She was the founder and head of Bridges Academy, which serves a population of twice-exceptional students in grades 6-12, from 1994-2003 (

Carolyn has been a classroom teacher in both Goleta Union and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. She was LAUSD Teacher of the Year, was one of five finalists for California Teacher of the Year, and was given an Outstanding Educator Award by the Los Angeles Times. She has published curriculum and articles in the areas of special education, social studies, English, educational computing, ESL, multi-cultural education, study skills, and classroom organization. She regularly presents at conferences and schools on topics related to curriculum, instruction, classroom organization, gifted students, and special needs populations. 

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