By Rachel Hoeing

If you have never heard the term EOG, you are lucky. For the rest of us, it is a term that can quickly equate to stress! EOG stands for End-of-Grade or End-of-Course Test. This test is given in all public schools in NC to 3rd – 8th, graders. (Highschoolers take the EOQ’s). The EOG test is designed to measure students’ performance on the goals of the Standard Course of Study. Students are tested in Math, Reading, and/or Science, depending on their grade level. To pass the test, a student must score a 3 or a 4. If a student scores a 1 or a 2, it can mean summer school, or a remediation class with one more chance to try and pass it again.

Luckily my kids are only 3 and 5 years old and I do not have to worry about this quite yet, but when the school calendar came home with my kindergartner and I saw the EOG Tests dates listed in May, my heart went out to the parents of these kids. Since I taught 3rd and 5th grades for a total of eight years, I had quite a bit of experience with this test and thought I’d share a few tips with you on how to help your son or daughter with the test. Most of the teachers will have told your child everything below, but we never know how much our kids actually retain, so these are all good reminders!

First of all, if your child has been successful all year in their academics, this test should not be a problem. Tell them not to worry about it! Tell them that this is a chance to show off how smart they are and all that they have learned this year! Read them the tips listed below, but really encourage them to relax.
If your child has struggled this year academically, unfortunately a cram session within these last few weeks will not assure success, but a little help and encouragement with some of the things listed below, will definitely not hurt. Again, encourage them to remain calm throughout their testing week.

• You’ve heard this one since you took the CAT tests as a child: make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep and a well-balanced breakfast.

• The test is all multiple-choice. I always told my students this: “This is the easiest test you will ever take because all the answers are right there in front of you! All you have to do is choose the correct one!”

• There are parts of the Math test where a calculator is available. Use it! Some children forget the calculator is there and begin to work problems out the long way. There isn’t much wrong with this except that the test is timed. Anything they can do to work quicker is a plus. In addition to this, make sure your child knows HOW to use a calculator. Hopefully they have done so in class this year, but it never hurts to check.

• Students are allowed to write in the test booklet. (Not the answer sheet.) Encourage them to do so. Make notes as they read passages and underline important facts. Work out math problems in the booklet as long as there is enough space provided. This helps to lessen the chance that they will copy a problem incorrectly onto a piece of notebook paper.

• As you take the test, answer EVERY question. If you are unsure of the answer, circle the question in your test booklet, but still make a guess and fill it in on your answer sheet. Then when you are finished with the test, you can go back to find the circled questions and re-work the problems. The reason I encourage students to do this is because they have a bubble sheet for their answers. It is VERY easy to fill in the wrong bubble, skip a bubble, etc. If every question has an answer bubbled in, there is less of a chance of the student mixing up problems.

• Work all the way through your test before you begin checking your answers. Once you have completed the test, then begin going back through and re-working any questions you may have had trouble understanding or any that you circled.

• Use the entire allotted time. The test is not a race. Tell your student to make it a challenge to use the entire time they are allotted. Read the reading comprehension stories over again to see if they missed something the first time. Use the calculator to rework Math problems. It would just kill me when I would see a student finish the last question, close their booklet and just sit staring into space for the remainder of the time. It is so beneficial to use the time you have been given and check everything.

• If you have no idea how to complete a Math problem, try working backwards. Look at the answers listed and one at a time put the answers back into the problem to see which one works. If you still have no clue, always make an educated guess by eliminating any answers you know will not work!

• In the Reading Comprehension Section, quickly scan the questions asked before you read the passage. It can give you a clue what to look for while reading. ONE TIP: do not tell your child to do this if they are a slow reader. They will run out of time quickly on this section of the test.

• If you can, have your child bring home their Math book and work any problems from the Chapter Summary or Chapter Test pages. Some of the concepts taught this year have not been revisited in months, and these summary pages are great reminders. Some text books also provide the page numbers of concepts taught so that if the child cannot remember how to do the problem, they can flip back to that section and review.

I hope this helps you and your child get geared up for the EOG! If you are a teacher or a parent who has been through the EOG tests before, I would love for you to share some of your tips below!