NY Citywide Test for 3rd Graders: Preparing for the New York City Test

New York City mathematics and English language arts tests are offered for grades 3-8. Your child will take the statewide Regents exams in these subjects for the first time in 3rd grade. Students who don't score well on the state exams may be placed in summer school where they're required to pass the city tests in order for promotion to 4th grade. Read on to learn more about these tests, and how to help your 3rd grader prepare.

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Preparing for the New York City 3rd Grade Test

New York City offers tests in two subjects to students who are enrolled in summer school to meet the necessary academic requirements for advancement to the 4th grade. These tests are taken in addition to statewide tests, which are completed during the late spring. City and state test results are used to determine whether your child will be promoted to the 4th grade, or whether he or she requires help beyond what is available at school.

Subjects on the New York City 3rd Grade Test

English Language Arts

This 65-minute test consists of 50 multiple-choice questions based on diverse, informational and functional reading material (http://schools.nyc.gov). Creative questions ask your child to detect literary aspects of poems or stories; information-based questions address non-fiction passages in science, social studies and biography. Functional questions are based on instructive or persuasive writing, such as schedules, brochures or advertisements.

Questions are designed to test your 3rd grader's ability to recall particular details, locate a passage's main idea, identify point of view and analyze a passage's characters, plot, setting or tone. Students are also expected to use the context of a passage to define new words, to draw text-based conclusions and to differentiate between cause and effect.


This 60-minute multiple-choice test is designed to evaluate your 3rd grader's math knowledge across five content areas: basic algebra, number sense and operations, probability, geometry and measurement. In the 3rd grade, math students should be able to tell time, recognize units of measurement and identify and count money. They should also have an understanding of arithmetic with up to three digits, decimal math, solving for arithmetic equations, number estimation and rounding, basic line and bar graph interpretation, fractions and polygon identification.

Because this test is required for all students whose promotion to the 4th grade is in question, including English language learners, it is offered in English, Spanish, Russian, Korean, Haitian Creole and Chinese. Students who cannot test in their native language may take the exam via an oral translator.

How to Prepare

English Language Arts Preparation

The New York City English language arts (ELA) exam will test your 3rd grader on a span of skills, thus it's useful to evaluate which skills your 3rd grader needs to practice. You can assess this by printing out a New York statewide sample ELA exam from the New York State Education Department (www.p12.nysed.gov) and checking for the types of answers your child struggles with most frequently.

Once you've located the concepts that frustrate your son or daughter, review them together via tailored online ELA worksheets. You can locate free, printable online ELA exercises on educational websites, such as SuperTeacherWorksheets.com.

Math Preparation

Assess which type(s) of problems your child struggles with the most by speaking with your 3rd grader's math teacher, or by printing out a diverse set of 3rd grade math worksheets from an education-based website, such as HomeschoolMath.com.

Once you've determined the problems your 3rd grader needs to practice, print out worksheets with similar problems or work through an online lesson plan on that topic with your son or daughter. For a general review, use sample New York state 3rd grade math tests and answer keys provided by the New York State Education Department.

Finally, playing math games produced for a 3rd grade level not only augments your child's math skills but also improves his or her problem-solving speed. Several websites, such as ABCya.com, feature well-designed math games.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

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