College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

How to Prepare

Parents have asked how they should prepare their children for these exams. In general, we recommend that the child have a good night’s sleep before the test and that the normal family routine, including breakfast, be followed the morning of the test. In explaining the purpose of the tests, we suggest saying something like, “You are going to take some tests in which you will be asked to answer different kinds of problems. These tests can help us consider the best type of school and classes for you. Some of the problems will be easy and some will be hard, just do your best and don’t give up.”

You may want to convey that the tests are all multiple choice and given in small groups in a classroom. There will be snack and lunch breaks, and the testing will be completed by 2:00 p.m. Our test proctors will explain the tests and answer any questions your child may have. The tests also include extensive directions and practice examples, so that every child will have ample opportunity to understand the types of responses being sought and what is being asked of him or her. These ability tests (CogAT and NNAT-3) will require your child to figure out different types of problems using words, numbers, and shapes. So again, be sure that your child has a good night’s sleep the night before and provide further explanation as necessary to ensure that you child does his or her best!