How Can Kumon Improve Performance on Standardized Tests?

Coming up with the answers quickly and accurately is what counts the most.
- Toru Kumon

For many students, test is a dreaded four-letter word. In addition, this anxiety can turn into downright panic if the test happens to be timed (as is the case with most standardized tests). Trepidation over taking a test becomes even worse if the consequences of test results are overstated for the student’s future educational or career prospects. The SAT, ACT and other such tests are considered to be very important for assessing students academically. Unfortunately, many students are not adequately prepared for these tests. If they are nervous or apprehensive, they will probably not perform well on standardized tests.

With the Kumon Method, students develop their test-taking abilities naturally. In Kumon, every day’s assignment is a kind of test. The method trains students in ways that directly affect their ability to test well. Students not only learn several ways to approach a mathematical problem, but also acquire strong time management skills as well. Speed is another component of a student’s abilities, which facilitates standardized test performance. Whereas a typical standardized test may contain 45 math problems to be completed in 30 minutes, an assignment might contain 60 such problems with a Standard Completion Time of 30 minutes. The ability of students to finish quickly could provide them with extra time to check their answers on standardized tests while other students may still be struggling to finish all the problems. The process of achievement testing in the Kumon Method also reinforces the idea that a test is not something to be feared, but an opportunity to demonstrate mastery. Likewise, our students grow accustomed to being timed. A long-term student develops the ability to stay on task and complete assignments quickly, as well as demonstrating a strong mastery of the basic mathematical operations.
Students who are comfortable with being timed and tested have a definite advantage over those for whom the idea of taking a timed standardized test creates anxiety.

Mathematics is a subject of great importance on standardized tests, often comprising at least 50% of the content. Students benefit from having an eclectic mathematical capacity. In other words, students who know only one strategy for attacking a difficult equation are not as well equipped as Kumon students, who have been exposed to a variety of methodologies. There is often more than one way to solve a problem; the more of these techniques a student has mastered, the better the prospects will be for performance on standardized tests.

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