Having strategies anytime you try something difficult is important.
Here are some tips and strategies to help you pass the FCAT in reading. Some strategies need to be started weeks or even months before taking the test, and some are for during the test itself.

Weeks before the Test

-Read as Much as Possible:
Since this part of the FCAT is a reading test, the better your reading skills, the better you will do. Anything you read will prepare you for the test, but remember that the test includes both literary and informational text. Therefore, you should definitely try to read both kinds of text. So even if you do not like reading that science book of yours- remember it can help you pass the FCAT (and your science class!).

-Practice Reading Informational Text:
As mentioned before, 70 percent of the FCAT in reading informational text. The way that you read informational text is not the same way that you read fir enjoyment (novels, magazines, and so on). You should practice interacting with the text so you know what to expect and how to read informational passages on the FCAT.

-Improve Your Vocabulary: Since difficult words appear on the FCAT, the better your vocabulary, the better you will perform. The more words you know, the better you will understand the passages and the better you will do on vocabulary questions. Another good strategy is to learn Latin and Greek prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

-Familiarize Yourself with the Test:
Just know how the test is set up and what kinds of questions are on it will allow you to do better on the FCAT.

-Practice FCAT-type Questions:
The more questions you answer that are in the same format as the questions on the FCAT, the better you will do on the test. So when you see multiple-choice, SR, and ER questions in you classes, do not complain-be glad! Your teachers are preparing you. Another good place to practice-type questions is on the free web site called FCAT Explorer. Check it out at www.FCATexplorer.com

-Get Used to Pressure:
Since the FCAT is a times test foe the first-time takers, it would be very beneficial if you got used to working under timed situations. Many people get very nervous during testing. When a timed-situation is involved, some people just freeze up. If you are already used to feeling that pressure of time, on the day of the test, it will be no big deal to you.

Days Before the Test

-Get Rested:

You know that you do not really so anything very well when you are tired. So make sure that you rest up for the few days before the test. Get a good eight hours of sleep each night or more!
-Eat Well:
Not only does your body need to be rested to perform well; it also needs to be fortified. Eat lots of good for you food days before the test, and your body will get those nutrients into your system.
-Hydrate Yourself:
Drink lots of water! This is also good for your body and specifically, your brain. Just do not wait until the night before or the day of the test to do this; you will succeed only in making yourself have to go to the bathroom during the test!
-Keep Reading:
Just because the test is getting close does not mean you should stop preparing. Read, read, read!

The Morning of the Test

-Eat a Good Breakfast:
If you are hungry during the test, you will only be distracted by the growling of your stomach. You will also find concentrating on the reading passages to be difficult. You body will not have the energy it needs.

-Do Not Drink Too Much:
Again, if you have to go to the bathroom during the test, you will be distracted from the concentrating on what you are doing. Also, you will break your concentration and use up valuable time if you have to get up and leave the room to use the restroom.

-Dress in Layers:
This may seem like silly advice, but sometimes testing rooms are very cold of very hot. If you are uncomfortable because of the temperature, you will not concentrate well on what you are doing. If you dress in layers, you can put on or peel off as the temperature lower or rises, allowing you to stay comfortable.

-Be Sure You Have All the Right Supplies:
Do not throw yourself into a tizzy the morning of the test because you do not have the supplies you need. For the FCAT in reading you will need a couple of number 2 pencils with good erasers-that is all.

-Know Where and When to Report:
Every school is different, so be sure that you know that time and what room to report to on the day of testing. You do not want to create more stress for yourself by running around at the last minute, not knowing where to go.

-Stay Calm:
You will not help yourself at all if you are very nervous. Relax you have prepared. Just do your best.

During the Test
-Listen to the Directions:

On the FCAT test; a monitor will read the instructions to you. Pay attention, even if you think you know what you are doing. Better safe than sorry. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions if you are not sure what to do.

-Read and Interact with the Passages:
If you do not read the passages completely, you will find answering all of the questions to be difficult. Do not get bogged down, but read through each passage to get the main idea of what it is about. Underling and circle important items. You should do this before attempting to answer the questions.
Read Everything. This means titles, italics, charts, graphs, maps, and obviously the passages. All information provided can help you find the correct answers.

Read the Questions Carefully: How many times have you gotten a test back and realized that you got an answer wrong just because you didnt read the question carefully enough? Be sure you know what the question is really asking before you answer it.

NEVER Leave an Answer Blank: on the FCAT, a blank answer means an incorrect answer. It is important to at least guess-you have got nothing to lose.
Budget Your Time: If you are taking the test during a timed session, be sure to watch the clock. Do not get so bogged down on one question that you do not get to the others. If you cannot answer a question, guess and then come back if there is time.

Go Back to the Passage to Find Answers: Remember that this is a reading test, not a memory test. All of the answers to the questions can be found or inferred from the passage you have read. Even if you think you remember the correct answer, go back and check. Some passages are long and confusing, so it is better to be sure.

Write on the Test: This copy of the test is yours (even though you will never see it again). Write all over it. Underline, circle, and cross out items: this should help you concentrate and get the right answers.
Answers Should Be Based Only on What You Have Read: Since this is a reading test, you should get your answers only from the passages. Do not answer questions based on your own knowledge (they are not testing that). Do not choose answers that have nothing to do with what you have read-even if they sound good. They cannot be correct.

Come Back To Questions You Do Not Know: You might be surprised if you come to a question you could not answer before and find that you can now figure out the answer. Your minds subconscious may have not been working on it all the time. However, if you still do not have an answer, guess!

Stick With It: The FCAT in reading may be more difficult than other tests you have taken, and you may have to read more different kinds of material than you are used to reading. As a result, you may be tempted not to read the passages or just to quit altogether. However, if you just Christmas tree the test, you will only have to take it again. Stick with it and try your hardest.

Do Not Panic: Panicking cannot help you. Breathe and relax. Concentrate on the test, and do your best.

Tips for Multiple-Choice Questions

Read All of the Choices: Even if you are positive that the first answer is correct, you should till read all of the choices. Many times FCAT questions will have you choose the best answer, so more than one may sound correct.

Practice the Process of Elimination: When answering multiple-choice questions, you should always cross out the answers that you know are incorrect. This will help you arrive at the correct choice. It is also helpful when you are not sure of an answer and have to guess. You should be able to eliminate at least two of the answers, giving you a 50/50 shot at getting the question right. Those are pretty good odds!

Watch Your Bubbles: When you answer the multiple-choice questions, you will bubble in your answer with your pencil. Be sure that you bubble the answer you really want and that you fill in the bubble completely. Erase completely if you need to change your answer. Also, always be sure that you are bubbling the correct answer for the right question. This is especially important if you have skipped questions to come back to later.

Tips for SR and ER Questions

Do Not Be Lazy! Many students skip these questions because they tae more time and are sometimes more difficult. You should not do this! These questions are worth 2 or 4 points. Answer them the best you can. Even if you think you do not know the answer, try anyway. You might get partial credit.

Answer the Entire Question: These questions often have more than one part. They always ask that you support your answer with details and examples from the reading passages. You should underline what you need to do in order to answer the question completely

Support, Support, Support: If there is one reason that students lose points on SR and ER questions, it is because they do not support their answers well enough with examples and details from the text. To avoid losing points, be sure to provide as mush support as will fit in the answer space. A good rule of thumb is to include two or three details or examples for a short-response question and three to four for an extended-response question.
If there is one reason that they give you a certain amount of space to answer these types of questions. If you have used only one line of the space provided, there is a pretty good chance that you will not get full credit for your answer. Try to fill up as much of the space as you can with good answers, explanations, details, and examples.

Do Not Write Outside of the Answer Box: Even though your answers will be cored by real people, they are first scanned into a machine (that is why the answers must be written in pencil). Anything that is written outside of the box will not be scanned by the computer so it will not be scored.

Write Legibly: Remember that real people will be reading and grading these questions. If they cannot read what you have written, it will be marked wrong.

Use Good Grammar, Spelling, and Punctuation: Even though you are not being tested on these items, you should still use the best grammar, spelling, and punctuation that you can. Failure to do so could cause the judges not to understand what you have written.

Reread Your Answer: You should tae just a minute to reread what you have written for your SR and ER answers. Make sure that you have answered the question completely and that your answer makes sense.

After You Finish the Test

Check Your Answers: No one really likes to check their answers, but doing so is very important. It could be the difference between passing and failing the test. Be sure you have not left any blanks. Be careful not to change the answers that you are not sure of; usually your first instinct is the correct one.

Check Your Time: If the majority of the time is still left and you have finished the test, then you probably have not done a very good job. This test is not a simple test, and you will need to spend a good chunk of time on it in order to get the answers correct.

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