Core Concepts and How They Affect Test Prep

February 29, 2016

When parents think of test prep, most think back to sitting in a classroom learning when to eliminate incorrect answers and rigorously memorizing vocabulary and math formulas. What we here at Bright Kids have noticed throughout our Kindergarten Admissions test prep sessions is that some students should begin guided, focused learning at an earlier stage than other students. We realized that some students joining our program had already mastered all of the required core concepts for the test, while other students needed our tutors’ guidance to focus more on these primary concepts before moving to the more advanced materials. 



Foundational or Core Concepts include:


Shape Recognition


Number and Letter Recognition


Pattern Recognition


Basic Math Vocabulary


Direction and Position Vocabulary


and several more


As some children naturally develop skills in these areas through their own experiences, preschools, and time at home, parents sometimes believe their child does not need any help in these basic areas before beginning test prep. For the most part, every student has some gap in one of these core areas and they are usually drawn out when they become hesitant to answer specific test questions. This is the point where the tutor must start back at the student's earliest understanding of the concept and bridge the gap between the current material’s content and the student’s own knowledge.



Take for example the most common type of question on these tests Matrix Reasoning:




This basic problem may draw out a few concepts that the child needs to understand to answer question being asked. First, Shape Recognition to identify the objects in the top two boxes are different. Second, Color Recognition to understand the answer will be a yellow color and not blue. Last, they need to understand Patterns to identify that because there are two blue stars, there will need to be two yellow circles as well. 



For such a simple question, many concepts need to be addressed and established before advancing to questions where the colors, shapes, and patterns become even more visually complex. This again is where students who already have grasped these concepts will advance more quickly than students who need to focus again on the basics.



By keeping each of these important concepts in mind in the earlier stages of prep, students will get a jump start on development in their test prep. Testing strategies and familiarity will become much easier to attain when they have already begun working towards an understanding of each of these areas.


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