Need some help with math word problems and standardized testing?  Read through these below.

1) Read the directions and problems slowly several times.  Many times the issue with math word problems is not the math, but the reading.  Children tend to go too fast in general and miss an important detail.  Also, listen to your child read the problem out loud to see if she stumbles with any words.  If your child doesn’t know a word, have him look it up in a dictionary and discuss its meaning.

2) Draw a picture or write out the info.  Some problems may become clearer if the picture is drawn.  Area and perimeter problem?  Draw the shape and label the sides.  Shopping and tax problem? Write out the info given in a simple or chart type manner.  Sometimes just reorganizing the words from sentences into pictures or diagrams help clarify what needs to be done.

3) Practice more.  As with all things, practice helps familiarize the student to feel more confident and adept at solving the problem.  Give the problem again with different numbers.  Now reword the problem with the info given in a slightly different order.  Now give harder numbers.  Do several variations to help your child pick out the info and use it correctly. For extensive practice before the next standardized testing, download the previous years’ tests from your state testing agency and practice with those.  We have a few states listed below.