New York State 8th Grade Math Exam: Test Preparation Guide

If your 8th grader is gearing up to take New York State's annual math exam, this guide will help you get him or her ready. Keep reading to find out how the test will be structured and what material it will cover.

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Test Prep for 8th Grade Math in New York State

Test Basics

According to the New York State Education Department, 8th grade math exams are administered in the spring, along with exams in science and English language arts. The math test has a total of over 70 questions in a variety of formats, and your child will have 180 minutes (3 hours) to complete it.

The bulk of the questions (about 44%) will be on algebra concepts, and roughly 35% of the questions will be about geometry. Questions from the number sense and operations strand and the measurement strand will comprise about 21% of the exam.

Question Types

The exam includes 5 short response questions and 4 extended response questions, as well as 62 multiple-choice questions. By 8th grade, most students are used to working with multiple-choice questions, but it's still a good idea to review basic test-taking strategies, like process of elimination.

The written-response questions typically ask students to explain how they solved a problem or why a certain outcome occurred. You can help your child get used to writing and talking about math by asking him or her to write out the steps needed to solve a problem. Another way to get your child used to verbalizing math concepts is to have him or her describe what was covered in class each day.

Practice Tests

It's advisable to visit the New York State Education Department's website to get some practice tests for your child. Archived tests from 2005 to 2010 are available for download in PDF format, and answer keys are on the site as well.

To help your child practice, print the tests out and have him or her take them in a distraction-free environment. Be sure to impose an appropriate time limit so that your 8th grader can practice using his or her time efficiently. After your child has finished taking the test, you can score his or her answers and go over any incorrect responses.

Test Content

The test currently assesses your student's grasp of the NYS Mathematics Core Curriculum, which is available on the education department's website. However, beginning with the 2012 test, students will be assessed on the Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics. The major difference is that the new standards include statistics and probability, functions and modeling, while the old standards do not.

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