Preparing for the FCAT Exam in Third Grade

If your child is entering the third grade in the state of Florida, he or she will take the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) in reading or math for the first time. Keep reading to find out what's on the test and strategies for helping your third grader get ready.

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How to Help My Third Grader Study for the FCAT

What's the Purpose of the Third Grade FCAT?

The purpose of the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test) is to determine how well your child is doing in school in contrast to all the other students in Florida. Assessments also can give your child's teacher an idea of how well the class places on a statewide and national level.

Children in Florida take the FCAT for the first time in third grade. You can expect your child's FCAT to cover both reading and math. Although the teacher will prepare your child for the FCAT over the course of the year, your son or daughter may benefit from extra at-home practice.

What's Covered on the Test?


One half of the third grade Florida FCAT covers reading. Typically, there are two illustrated passages or stories that your child must read, which are each several pages long. Your third grader will be required to read them and answer a number of multiple-choice questions about each passage to demonstrate reading comprehension.


The math portion of the statewide assessment test is also multiple-choice. It covers standard third grade level math including, but not limited to, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, measurements, degrees, probability, time, graphs, charts and basic equations.

How Can My Child Prepare during the School Year?

Your child can be confident when it comes time to study for the third grade FCAT if he or she is doing well throughout the entire school year. Stay in close contact with your child's teacher to make sure that the required schoolwork is being completed. If extra help is necessary, you may sit down and go over homework with your child and review difficult lessons. Consider hiring an after-school tutor if your child falls behind.

How Can I Help My Third Grader before the Test?

As your child is preparing for the FCAT in third grade, he or she can complete practice problems, which are helpful for getting used to the types of questions asked on the test. When your child is completing practice problems, simulate test conditions by creating a space for your child to work quietly with few interruptions.

Your child can also complete some full-length practice tests, which may be given in school or made available by your child's school online. Set a timer so that your third grader gets used to the amount of time that's allowed on the test. Some Florida elementary schools recommend the third grade TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) practice tests because the questions are based on a similar set of standards and the interactive tests can be taken online.

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