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Announcing the Launch of Georgia Test Prep

It is with great pleasure we announce that today we have launched Georgia Test Prep, an online solution to help parents and students of the state of Georgia create a solid foundation in Georgia Standards of Excellence.

Georgia Test Prep is meant to supplement a child’s school learning by providing a place to practice thousands of Georgia standards based math and ELA questions online, from the safety and comfort of home. Parents and students can easily track students’ progress and eliminate the need for purchasing a number of costly practice books or spending endless hours searching for worksheets and then checking them, because all of the content is digitally available.

Why Georgia Test Prep?

Georgia educators are doing an outstanding job of teaching the standards set for Georgia’s curriculum in school. But there isn’t enough opportunity for the repetition of concepts. For students to truly retain what they learn, they have to continuously practice answering questions on a topic they want to master.

So a team of parents of school children and Georgia state teachers got together to solve this. And thus Georgia Test Prep was born.

Georgia Test Prep Benefits Students and Parents

The content has been specifically designed to be aligned with Georgia school curriculums. It is made in Georgia, by Georgia teachers, especially for Georgia students.

Parents can use the tool to assign homework to their kids, and parents and students both get a dashboard to monitor the student’s progress. The entire bank of questions is being made available for less than ten cents a day.

Georgia Test Prep makes it easy for students and parents because:

  • All the material is available online.
  • The tool is available wherever the student is, all they need is an internet connection. There is no need to carry around cumbersome books or worksheets.
  • Parents don’t have to invest in multiple expensive books that soon become obsolete.
  • Parents can spend time helping their children strengthen their basics rather than checking the answers, since the web application does it automatically.
  • Since the content is developed based on Georgia school curriculums, you can be assured that it is an effective tool that addresses what students are expected to know by GSE.

Georgia Test Prep is a great ally for parents to help their kids get an edge in their education and an easy tool to help kids practice math and ELA questions closely aligned to the Core curriculum and GSE. It is available today at

The Issues Parents Have Been Facing With Virtual Learning

School districts have done their best to plan learning contingencies due to the COVID situation. Some schools have opted for virtual learning to keep children and staff safe, and this is an entirely new paradigm for everyone involved– the teachers, the students, and last but not least: the parents.

We are all figuring it out as we go along. It’s a bit like building the plane as you’re flying it.

Everyone is going through an abrupt change, and this is bound to produce anxiety in everyone. The idea of virtual learning is new and possibly intimidating for many parents. Many families may additionally be undergoing financial stress, employment flux, or pressures of home-working as a result of the pandemic.

The fact of the matter is that every parent wants their child to do well in school, even in the face of mitigating circumstances.

In a study by McAfee, Distance Learning Challenges, taken in April 2020, the following were found as the top five difficulties faced by parents (of kids in K-12) with virtual learning:

  1. Keeping their children focused on schoolwork (instead of other online activities) – 50.31%
  2. Establishing a daily routine – 49.26%
  3. Balancing household responsibilities and teaching – 41.83%
  4. Establishing a wake-up and bedtime schedule – 33.40%
  5. Balancing working from home and teaching – 33.31%

Whether they have kindergarteners or high school seniors, parents are sharing many of the same pains. 

There is no easy way to overcome the issues that parents are facing with virtual learning. We’re all learning how to manage our day and to make the best of learning at home in the most challenging of circumstances. This will require a learn-as-you-go approach, adapting to your child’s specific needs, and working with them as co-stakeholders in their success.

But just know that you are not alone. The task may seem daunting at times, given all the other things that you are juggling, especially if one of them is a job that requires you to be out of the house. We hope that knowing all of the major difficulties that parents are facing in these novel times will help develop a sense of solidarity and provide some comfort in knowing that we are all figuring this stuff out together.

Biggest Issues Faced By Parents with Virtual Learning

Parents are unsupported with the tech

A study by edtech company Promethean found that only 5% of teachers feel like they’re receiving full training and support for edtech in their schools. It shouldn’t be a surprise then if you as a parent feel unsupported.

Everyone is getting used to the virtual learning interface that their child’s school has provided, and many parents are likely to run into issues. But if you are running into issues, then many other parents probably are too.

Consider creating a WhatsApp group or other line of communication with other parents to share problems and fixes. We need to help each other as much as we can. For persistent issues, reach out to the school.

Students may not ask for help

Schools that are offering virtual learning are largely relying on students to self-learn. Students are expected to read the course material, watch a few videos, and print some learning material to study from. There is minimal instructor-led training to explain the content, though there might be a couple of help-sessions for those that need it.

However, a lot of children shy away from asking for help or do not know what to ask for. In that case, there will be gaps in the student’s learning which will give them a shaky foundation and have long-term repercussions for their education.

This is where the parents’ involvement is key. One thing that will help parents in this is giving the student a platform to practice questions based on their lessons. This serves a dual purpose:

  1. The results of the practice questions will help identify where the student needs help.
  2. The practice of answering questions will help create a stronger foundation and build the confidence students need during exam time.

Reducing distractions

There’s a number of distractions available to students in their home environments.  You can put them in front of the computer, but kids are kids – it’s not a stretch of the imagination to suppose they might switch over to a game at some point.

A 2016 report found that students check their devices for “non-class purposes” 11.43 times a day on average. And that was in an environment where a teacher could walk around and monitor what’s happening, and keep them engaged. The ease of that proximity is lost with virtual learning.

Creating an academic environment at home 

Home is home, and school is school. Both places have a very different vibe, and yet students are now being asked to get into the school mentality at home.

This can prove to be difficult, especially if everyone is at home for 24 hours. And a bustling household can be very distracting indeed. 

Parents need to do what they can to provide a quiet space for their kids, and help them mentally demarcate that as a learning space.

Investment in technology

Some families may find the investment in technology a little taxing. At a minimum, a high-speed internet connection is required. For families with multiple children and a single screen at home, this can present a real conundrum – on the one hand, it’s unfair to their kids; on the other hand, it may be financially prohibitive to invest in another machine. 

Devices like a Chromebook, noise-canceling headphones, an extra, larger monitor are all great additions that could enhance a child’s learning experience, but may not be within everyone’s budget.

Malfunctioning technology

There is little that parents can do if the school software itself crashes. And many school districts across the country experienced exactly that as they tried to kick off virtual learning this year.

School-issued Chromebooks in Maryland would not load on the first day. A ransomware attack in Hartford, Connecticut forced schools to postpone the start of online classes. A Zoom outage in Seattle forced schools to shut down for more than two hours. Online learning programs around the nation are crashing. And this is just in the first couple of months!

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do in these situations but be patient and help our children be patient. It’s definitely going to be hard on them, but if we remain calm, then they are more likely to do so as well.

Motivation needs monitoring

Classroom environments are explicitly designed to support learning, whereas bedrooms and kitchen tables are not. Those are comfort environments, and it can be difficult to get into “school mode”. 

Sustained motivation needs monitoring. A teacher on the other end of a Zoom call can’t really do that, so it often falls to the parent. Between doing their own job and running the house (making sure everyone eats on time, and so on), it’s asking a lot.

One of the best things parents can do is set clear, measurable goals with their children, and set them regularly so that students have something to focus on. Check in on them periodically to see if they are on course to reaching their goals.

Sometimes a student can’t stay engaged

Sometimes a student just can’t get into a certain lesson, and without a teacher to intervene with personal guidance, it can become a real hindrance to progress.

There’s no quick fix to this, but there are things that parents can do over time that will help students get unstuck and develop a growth mindset towards facing problems like these.

Parents can also get involved more directly to help students stay engaged. One analysis showed that school children benefit from discussions about learning and school-related issues with their parents and from joint readings. 

Children need to move

Children just aren’t used to sitting in one place for extended periods of time, and we may forget that. At school they had a structured schedule that gave them a lot of movement in recess time, walking through the hallways, talking to classmates, and a lot of other ways that are lost in virtual learning.

It’s not healthy to spend excessive time sitting (which is something that we parents would also do well to remember).

Make sure your kids are getting some movement throughout the day. Mid-lesson stretching and walks around the house are good enough to start with. They should also be encouraged to get some strenuous physical activity after school hours.

Brain breaks for virtual learning

Students all have different attention spans. This is really put to the test in a virtual learning setup. 

Additionally, paying attention on a Zoom call, which lacks many of the emotional and physical cues of in-person instruction, puts a heavier cognitive load on students.

Make sure your child is getting “brain breaks” between lessons. This time lets their minds relax and refresh.

Student’s physical health

Virtual PE classes are perhaps a bit of a force-fit, but it’s about as best as schools can do. But it’s not enough. And as we stated in a previous point, children aren’t getting nearly as much movement in virtual learning as they were getting in school.

Lack of physical exercise can lead to physical ailments, and reduced attention spans and cognitive function. On the other hand, repeated physical activity during school can improve children’s attention.

Encourage your kids to get some exercise before starting learning, and definitely after school hours. It might be a bit of a fight, because they may feel like jumping on video games as soon as school instruction is over. But sitting down to stare at a screen after a full day of doing exactly that is not ideal!

Feelings of isolation

Many students will miss school. The buzz of the classroom, meeting their friends, the daily activities of school life – everything they are used to has been replaced with sitting in front of a computer screen in their own house. Under these conditions, students can begin to feel a sense of isolation that affects their ability to learn. 

Keep an open dialogue with your child about their feelings. If possible, help them stay in touch with their friends (though let’s face it, their generation is way ahead of us when it comes to that). The point is to be present, be patient and understanding, and be as helpful as possible.

Getting the most out of virtual learning

Virtual learning has laid a plethora of challenges on students, and naturally, this has passed on to parents as well. Along with everything else, we have a responsibility to make school a priority and keep our kids from treating virtual learning as a vacation.

But we are all in this together, and we are all learning together. Regardless of what specific issues you might be facing, the following bits of advice should be the general program to follow:

  • Provide positive feedback.
  • Be patient and flexible.
  • Avoid disciplining children during school activities, especially if children are used to having teachers who use positive reinforcement rather than scolding.

Virtual learning may have its limitations, but dedicated practice testing will help students retain more and solidify concepts. Georgia Test Prep is committed to providing an excellent practice testing tool to help students excel at their studies and ease the burden on parents. With the Georgia Test Prep tool:

  • You will get thousands of questions for grades 3-8 written by Georgia state teachers, based on the Georgia school curriculum, specifically for Georgian students.
  • Questions are organized according to the lessons that are taught in the classrooms. You don’t need to search for the “right questions”, all you have to do is find out from your child or their teacher which topics are being covered from the Georgia standards.
  • You can take control of the learning. While the school will handle the classroom teaching, parents and students together can set out their practice testing plan.
  • You can immediately track the student’s progress as they are completing the practice questions, rather than waiting for school assignments to be checked. You can then focus on areas that need to be strengthened.
  • When practice testing is supplemented with classroom learning, it increases long-term retention of information and concepts. Even 30 minutes of practice testing a week has been found to be effective.
  • There are no additional infrastructure requirements or books needed. The tool is online and goes everywhere the child goes.

5th Grade Tests and Assessments on Georgia Test Prep

“Am I doing everything I can to help my child prepare for the Georgia Milestone Assessment exam?” is what every Georgian parent is asking themselves.

We know the teachers are doing a good job of teaching the curriculum, but we also know that just going to school isn’t enough to ace the exams. And the Georgia Milestones Assessment System is going to test your child every year to see if they are on course with national education standards.

That’s exactly why we created Georgia Test Prep, a tool for parents and their kids to take 5th grade online assessments from anywhere, at any time.

Practice testing is the key to long-term retention of subject material and concepts. This is proven by science, and is called the “testing effect”. Forcing the brain to recall information makes it stick for longer. The way to do this most effectively is to do practice testing in parallel with normal studying.

And Georgia Test Prep isn’t just a bunch of random 5th grade questions! Our bank of thousands of math and ELA questions are designed by Georgia teachers and based on the current Georgia state curriculum.

Georgia Test Prep is also a very convenient tool. Forget about buying and lugging around several 5th grade math practice workbooks, our entire question bank is online. It fits into your kids’ hands and goes with them wherever they go. Practice at home, on vacation, or in the car on the way to the grocery store.

Also, there’s no point in simply testing if you don’t know if your child is improving. That’s why we’ve implemented a dashboard for both you and your kids, so you can both track your child’s progress together. Everything is easy and contained within the app itself.

Here’s an example of the 5th-grade math practice and ELA practice questions that we’ve got in store for you:

Our math bank of questions tests students on all the math concepts they are learning in the 5th grade.

Our ELA bank of questions tests students on concepts of English language and grammar, and reading comprehension.

Georgia Test Prep is the premier 5th grade GMAS study companion that your child needs. To wrap up, the benefits of the tool are:

  • It will help you test quickly after learning a topic.
  • It will help you test frequently.
  • This will improve long term retention, which will help students do better on the final GMAS tests.
  • It’s easy to use and to track your child’s progress.
  • Everything is based on the Georgia state school curriculum, so questions are based on what your kids are actually learning in school.

And all of this is available for less than $0.10/day. That’s less than a Jolly Rancher lollipop, and it will last a lot longer too!

 Sign up for the free and get access for less than 10 cents per day!

Everything You Need To Know About the Georgia Milestones Assessment System

If you’ve got a child in the Georgia state school system, then you’ve probably heard of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System and how important it is. They can indeed influence how your child progresses through school. But what exactly is it, and what does it mean? And as a parent, how can you help your children do well on it?

This post is a comprehensive guide on what the Georgia Milestones Assessment System (GMAS) is all about.

What is the GMAS?

Simply put, the Georgia Milestones is an assessment program for school children from grades 3 through high school.

The tests provide information about whether students are grasping their subjects according to the state-adopted standards in the core areas of English language arts (ELA), math, science, and social studies, and whether they are ready to progress to the next grade.

They offer a “snapshot” of what students can do in those subjects. But they are also important for school and district accountability. Informing the students, parents, educators, and the public about how well students are learning important content is an essential aspect of any educational assessment and accountability system.

The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) is the authority for Georgia Milestones.

History of GMAS

The Georgia Milestones Assessment System was introduced in 2014-2015 to replace former state assessments which were setting lower standards for students.

In fact, the old tests – the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCTs) and high school End of Course Tests (EOCTs) –set some of the lowest expectations for student proficiency in the nation.

The Georgia Milestones are more rigorous and more in line with the rest of the country. In that way, they are a better system because they urge our students to do better. 

Part of what makes them a better assessment than older tests is that they require “constructed responses,” meaning students must provide the correct answer instead of selecting it, or they might have to explain how they got the answer or even explain why a provided answer is wrong.

Features of GMAS

  • Items in ELA and math are open-ended, i.e. they are constructed-response types for all grades and courses.
  • The ELA assessment has a writing component that is in response to passages read by students at every grade level.
  • All content areas and courses have norm-referenced items to compare how students fare at a national level (see National Percentile in Grading).
  • The number of questions in the tests (30-60) and the allotted time to each test (60-90 minutes with breaks between sections) vary by subject.

Educators say that the GMAS isn’t the kind of exams students can study for with a cram session the night before the tests. It takes a sustained effort over the school year and requires students to pay attention in class and as they do their assignments.

We’ve covered in an extensive article what parents can do to help their kids prepare for the GMAS. If you find your child is getting stuck often, there are things you can do to remedy that as well. Check out the rest of our blog for more tips and information.

Who takes the GMAS?

All students from grade 3 all the way up to high school take the GMAS. 

Grades 3 – 8 will take the End of Grade (EOG) assessment.All students who are enrolled in high school courses will take the End of Course (EOC) assessments.

Middle school students who are enrolled in a high school course are required to take the EOC assessment for that course and not the EOG assessment.

  • Grades 3, 4, 6, and 7 take EOG assessments in ELA and math.
  • Grades 5 and 8 take EOG assessments in ELA, math, science, social studies.
  • High School students take EOC assessments for each of the ten courses designated by the State Board of Education across four content areas (listed below).

The EOC tests are administered at the completion of the course for all grades. Additionally, since the 2015-16 school year, these test results serve as the final exam for their corresponding course, and contribute 20% to a student’s final course grade.

Language Arts

  • Ninth Grade Literature and Composition
  • American Literature and Composition


  • Algebra I/Coordinate Algebra
  • Geometry/Analytic Geometry


  • Biology
  • Physical Science​​

​​Social Studies

  • United States History
  • Economics/Business/Free Enterprise

Why the GMAS matters

The GMAS is important for all the stakeholders, i.e. students and the schools.

These tests determine if the student has understood the curriculum as per state standards, because they are pegged to Georgia’s new academic standards, which are guided by the Common Core, a national consensus of what each child should learn in each grade level. 

They are also used to determine whether students in certain grades are promoted or retained:

  • 3rd graders must pass the English subject test to be promoted to 4th grade.
  • 5th and 8th graders must pass the English and math portions to be promoted to the next grade.
  • For high school students, each EOC score counts as 20% of their final grade in that course.

The GMAS tests are also used to determine the state’s rating system for its public schools because they are part of the formula that produces the College and Career Ready Performance Index.

When is the GMAS taken?

Grades 3-8 take the EOGs annually in the spring, typically in April. 

Middle and high school students who are enrolled in a course that has an EOC will take the EOC when the course is completed, regardless of the grade level. 

Retest for the GMAS

Should students need it, a retest is available during the summer. Check with your school for the exact schedule.

Generally speaking, the following students can take a retest:

  • Students in grades 3, 5, and 8 who score Below Grade Level on the reading section of the ELA EOG test.
  • Students in grades 5 and 8 who score at the Beginning level on the Math EOG test (see more about scoring levels later in this article).
  • Students who earn a grade conversion score below 70 on a high school EOC test may retest during the next mid-month testing window, or during the summer if the first test was taken in the spring. 

How is GMAS taken?

The GMAS is taken online unless students cannot interact with a computer due to their disability and their Individualized Education Plan requires a different accommodation. The state’s education department mandated online tests for all of its standardized tests from the 2018-19 school year. 

Grading of the GMAS

Achievement Level

The achievement levels describe how well students have learned the knowledge and skills in the subject as per Georgia’s content standards, and give an indication of how ready a student is to move on to the next grade level. They also indicate how much academic support is needed to prepare the student for the next grade level or course and to be on track for college and career readiness. 

Georgia Milestones reports student achievement in four levels:

  • Beginning Learners: Proficiency in the course is not demonstrated. Substantial academic support needed.
  • Developing Learners: Partial proficiency in the course is demonstrated. Additional academic support needed. 
  • Proficient Learners: Proficiency in the course is demonstrated. The students are prepared for the next grade level or course and are on track for college and career readiness.
  • Distinguished Learners: Advanced proficiency in the course is demonstrated. The students are well prepared for the next grade level or course and are prepared for college and career readiness.

Lexile measures

A Lexile measure is an indication of reading level. It is a standard score that matches a student’s reading ability with difficulty of text material.

It can be interpreted as the level of book that a student can read with 75% comprehension. Experts have identified a 75% comprehension level as offering the reader a certain amount of comfort and yet still offering a challenge. 

The Lexile scale ranges between 200L and 1700L. However, some students may score a Lexile reading of below 200L for some reading material and may have a code of BR* for “beginning reader”.

Many books have a Lexile measure to identify material that is at an appropriate reading level for a student or to identify material that would provide a challenge to improve their reading skills.

National Percentile

The EOG assessments include a small number of questions in each content area that are used in assessments nationally. These items give a general snapshot of how a student’s answers compare with students nationally. The percentile number indicates that your child performed as well as or better than that percent of the national sample.

Here is a sample of an Individual Student Report for the GMAS, and a parent’s guide to the Individual Student Report.

The Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA)

The Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) is a key component of the Georgia Milestones Assessment System. It is for students with significant cognitive disabilities, and is an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards, as determined by the students’ IEP team.

Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states must ensure that all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, be taught a curriculum that represents sufficiently challenging academic standards. 

What’s in store for the 2020-21 school year

As things stand, the GMAS is most likely going to be conducted for the 2020-21 school year. Although the state of Georgia had moved for the suspension of the 2020-21 GMAS and CCRPI school and district rating, the official word from the U.S. Department of Education is that there is no plan to grant federal testing waivers for the 2020-21 school year.

This is the first school year since the COVID -19 situation, and we know that this is going to be a tough and unprecedented one for students, teachers, and parents. Nonetheless, we will have to prepare for things as per the decision of the U.S. Department of Education. Please follow the official Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) site for the latest updates.

As parents, what we can do is commit to continue practice testing to ensure that our children are prepared. Given that schools will be hard pressed as it is to make sure that classroom instruction is adequately given, extra practice testing becomes even more important. It’s also worth noting that science has shown that practice testing is an essential part of learning and increases long-term retention of subject matter and concepts. Practice makes everything stick. 

Georgia Test Prep is an online practice testing tool to help your kids test themselves on what they learn in school. It’s designed by Georgia teachers and based on the Georgia school curriculum, so it’s super relevant to what your kids actually learn. Get access to thousands of questions for less than ten cents a day, and give your child a jump start on their success.

How to Get the Most Out Of Practice Testing

Imagine taking an archery workshop. A trained guide gives you a brief history of archery, shows you how to hold a bow and notch an arrow, and teaches you how to fire an arrow. Does that make you an archer?

No! It will only provide the base. What will make you an archer is your ability to hit the bulls-eye, and that will only come after practice, practice, and more practice.

This is how human beings are wired. It applies to any kind of skill in life, including how well your kids do on their exams! It’s not enough that they pay attention in lessons at school and in their homework. In order for concepts to really stick kids need repetition. It’s the only way to ensure they hit their targets.

The notion that practice makes perfect isn’t just an intuitive one when it comes to testing – it’s backed by science. In fact, there’s even a word for it: it’s called the “testing effect,” which refers to the finding that long-term memory is often increased when some of the learning period is devoted to retrieving the to-be-remembered information.

Numerous studies since the early ‘90s have shown that learners who tested their knowledge during practice later remembered more information than learners who spent the same amount of time studying the complete information. This makes practice tests not only an assessment tool,but a crucial part of the teaching toolkit.

Read it again: Practice tests will help increase your kids’ long-term memory recall of the subjects practiced.

Practice testing basically exercises the brain like a muscle. Every time you retrieve information, you build new connections between synapses in your brain, strengthening the connections and consolidating the memories. This, in turn, enables you to more easily access the information in the future.

So, as parents, we definitely want to implement practice testing at home. But we want to do this effectively, without overloading our kids and thereby undoing any potential good effects it can have. How do we get the best out of practice testing? Well, science has some pointers.

How long to dedicate to practice tests?

Answer: At least 30 minutes practice per week

In order to get the benefits of practice testing, ensure that your kids are getting at the very least 30 minutes of practice on online programs every week. Multiple studies (including a peer reviewed study by Edmentum, an eLearning solution) have shown that students who spend at least this much time per week practicing online experienced significantly more growth than those who did not.

This finding is also backed by a meta-analysis on the effectiveness of educational technology applications published by Cheung and Slavin in 2013.

How long should practice sessions be?

Answer: Distribute practice over several sessions

For maximum effect of these online practice sessions, stick to several short sessions rather than really long blocks of time. The study mentioned in the previous point has also shown that students who have one session of 15 minutes or longer as a part of their 30 minutes of practice each week achieved the best results. The technique of spacing out short practice sessions over time is one of the highest-utility learning techniques according to leading research.

However, remember that longer sessions help students to build their stamina and focus their efforts on a single topic for a longer period of time. Work with your child to strike the right balance.

What kind of question formats to practice?

Answer: Different types of test formats

A 2017 meta-analysis of 118 research articles found the following regarding retention of information with different test formats for practice tests:

  • The most effective type of practice test was mixed format practice tests, which have more than one question type. This is perhaps because different question formats require students to load different cognitive processes and resolve the interference between them, leading to better long-term retention and transfer. This is due to a process called interleaving, and this strategy is particularly useful if you’re studying something that involves problem solving, like math practice.
  • The best single-format tests were multiple-choice practice tests. This may be because MCQs are easier, and research suggests that less demanding retrieval practice activities promote stronger retention because they allow students to focus all of their cognitive energy on a simple task.

What does this mean for test day? It means that it is of absolute importance to practice all the different formats. Memories are easier to retrieve when the retrieval process is similar to how they were encoded during an initial learning activity, due to a phenomenon known as Transfer-Appropriate Processing. So mix it up and make sure your kids are exercising all of their test-taking abilities.

Final thoughts

Practice testing is one of the easiest and most effective things you can implement at home to help your kids do well in school. And Georgia Test Prep has a comprehensive bank of GSA questions designed by Georgia parents and teachers to help you do this. 

The right online tools can be a big help in designing a rigorous and effective test preparation program for your child without taking up all of your time. Georgian Test Prep has your back with a tool that is created especially for Georgia state students.

Georgia Parents’ Ultimate Guide to Prepare your Child for Georgia Milestones Testing

As parents, we all want our children to succeed in life. In their early years, a large part of that involves doing well at school, and for Georgia state students a major landmark in their school years are the Georgia Milestones Tests.

The question on all of our minds is, “What can I do to help my child ace the Georgia Milestones Tests?”

The most important thing to understand is that preparation doesn’t happen overnight. It is an ongoing process that spans the entire school year. The good news is that Georgia state teachers are doing a great job in keeping students up to date with the curriculum, and there are things that you as a parent can do to motivate your children, help reinforce learning, and prepare them for Milestones Tests.

In broad strokes, parents can help their kids with Georgia Milestones preparation in the following ways:

  1. Help with subjects/school work
  2. Help with mental preparation
  3. Taking enough practice tests

Now, we parents are not trained educators, and we don’t have unlimited time to devote to our kids’ schooling. Although there are things that you can do to inculcate learning at home, you will need to entrust the majority of the load of curriculum teaching to the teachers. But mental preparation and practice testing are things that we can do that are high-impact and not high-load.

To that end, based on our research and experiences as parents who want their kids to thrive in their studies, we at Georgia Test Prep have put together this Georgia Parents’ Ultimate Guide to prepare your child for Georgia Milestones Testing.

Let’s get into it!

Treat your kids as stakeholders in their own studies

Your kids shouldn’t see going to school, learning, and taking tests as something that is forced upon them. Of course, it’s natural for kids to feel like this, and we’ve gone through it ourselves. But it’s our job to continuously create a positive mindset around their “learning career,” because learning doesn’t stop when school ends. Since assessments are an important part of school life, children must see them as a valuable part of their own growth journey. Building such an attitude starts with the way you talk about it with your children.

Encourage your kids to set goals

Setting a goal and writing it down is widely known as one of the best ways to motivate ourselves to do something. The same applies to our kids. Ask them to set a goal that is relevant to them. Perhaps they want to focus on being able to complete the test in time or to aim for getting a certain percentage of questions correct. Setting a goal encourages them to compare their actual results with intended results, and to assess what is working or not working in their own efforts. Children who set study goals progress more reliably than those who do not.

Encourage self-reflection

School moves a fast pace, and there’s a lot on a child’s mind other than their studies (let’s be frank). Recognize this, encourage your kids to recognize this, and adapt. One of the most effective things they can do is take some time for quiet self-reflection to contemplate and internalize what they know and what they still need to work on. This is why setting goals is very important rather than having a vague objective of “getting good marks”.

Build test-taking stamina

Studying for tests and the actual act of taking tests requires stamina, a fact that many of us ignore. Stamina is something we associate more readily with gym class. But when testing season comes around, reading, thinking, rereading, and answering questions for several hours, several days in a row is very taxing and requires a great deal of mental stamina to maintain focus.

One of the best test-prep tips you will hear is: Help your kids build their test-taking stamina, so they will be better prepared to answer GSA exams when the time comes. You can start small if need be, with 10-15 minute bursts of reading time or test-taking, and work up from there. Create a regimen along with your child that suits them best. This is gym class for the mind.

Read a little every night

Encourage your child to sit for 20 minutes reading silently to him or herself to build stamina. This shouldn’t be a problem if your child already has a reading habit, but if not, it’s a good opportunity to give them a bit of that. If they have focus issues, you can mix up the way reading is done by asking them to read to you, or listen while you read to them, or read together.

Praise the process

Praise is very important as a positive reinforcement, but praise wisely! In another article we covered in-depth the importance of creating a growth mindset in your kids. To summarize here, praise the process they took to solving problems and completing tests. This puts focus on the approach rather than sheer efforts or results, and instills in them a habit of refining their process to get better and better which will ultimately improve results.

Create a quiet study area 

Designate one area as their test-focus zone. Free it of distractions (as far as possible) during their practice test time. You can keep a chart to track their total study time or testing progress, anything that will help motivate them and keep their eye on the prize.

Review grades/speak with teacher

Parents no doubt keep a track of their kids’ grades with progress reports and report cards. If you notice any anomalies in their grades, arrange to meet with your child’s teacher. See how you can work together to set up a plan to make sure your child is successful during the school year. You can ask them for Georgia Milestones resources or if they have any test-taking tips that have worked with students.

Plenty of rest and a nutritious, hot breakfast

Maintain a routine bed-time. Kids need to get a solid 8-9 hours of sleep. Routines are especially important during testing time, as there will be a lot of testing for several days back to back. If your child isn’t already in routine, it becomes difficult to adjust at short notice. Your child will benefit on test day with plenty of rest, so make it a habit.

Let’s not forget, a good, healthy breakfast (low in sugar) in the morning is very important! And while there’s nothing wrong with a bowl of cereal and cold milk, try and make something hot for them to warm up the stomach and the mind.

Practice typing on the computer

With testing moving towards being online-based, it’s a good idea to make sure your child is familiar with typing. In all likelihood, today’s kids are more computer-friendly than we are, but if they need help then there are online resources to help them get better such as and

Practice testing

This is one of the most important things you can implement at home. And Georgia Test Prep has a comprehensive bank of GSA questions designed by Georgia parents and teachers to help you do this. 

Practice testing has been proven to be one of the most effective learning techniques. It has been found that taking practice tests on studied material promotes greater subsequent learning and retention on a final test as compared to relying on more common study strategies. This is called the “testing effect”. 

In other words, science supports what we know intuitively: in order for kids to retain what they’ve learned, they need to practice, practice, practice!

For maximum effect, do online practice for at least 30 minutes every week, and practice in short bursts over several sessions rather than long sessions. Read more about the benefits and science of practice testing in our other post.

The right online tools can be a big help in designing a rigorous and effective test preparation program for your child without taking up all of your time. Georgia Test Prep has your back with a tool that is created especially for Georgia state students. Check out our tool for online math practice and ELA questions.

Final thoughts

Preparing your child for the Georgia Milestones Tests is a multifaceted effort that takes time. Essentially, to prepare for any test requires two parallel efforts:

  1. Preparing for the subject of a test, that is, getting strong with the curriculum taught in school.
  2. Preparing for taking the actual test, that is, familiarizing your child with the test format, the different kinds of questions, and what the test actually feels like.

It sounds like a lot of work, but now that you know all the bases you won’t have to spread yourself thin. Concentrate your activities where your child needs the most help, keep an eye on their progress, and intervene with their teacher as and when necessary.

The most important thing to remember, before all else, is to make learning a positive experience. If kids are constantly living in fear of tests then it will hinder their learning process and knowledge absorption ability.

Check out the other articles on our blog for Georgia State Assessment preparation tips, tricks, and best practices.

How to Help Students Get Themselves “Unstuck”

Your student (or child) is trying to solve a math problem. They’ve been staring at the paper for a while now. You can almost feel their struggle. You can see the wheels turning, but no progress is being made. Finally in frustration they blurt out, “I’m stuck!”

We’ve all been there – in life we are often faced with problems that we cannot find an immediate solution to. We experience a kind of paralysis of decision-making because we simply don’t know how to proceed.

So, seeing your student or child in this position, what do you do?

Beware of learned helplessness

We need to avoid the temptation to immediately provide solutions. If students are always given a way out whenever they get stuck, it could lead to “learned helplessness”. 

Learned helplessness is a condition whereby they believe they cannot do anything without help (especially when they expect help to always come). So whenever they are faced with a problem, they immediately give up rather than try to solve it.

Importance of teaching problem solving

Real life is full of problems that are complex, without well-defined and straightforward solutions. Children will have to be able to identify and apply various strategies to solve these problems.

Children will not always have their parents and teachers to help them. They need to learn to become problem solvers – that is the deeper purpose of their education. But problem solving skills don’t come naturally; they need to be built through instruction and practice.

To this end, we need to be helping students to be able to think about achieving a particular goal and how to manage their mental processes in doing so. This is called “metacognition”, and will help students become better problem solvers.

This post covers how to approach teaching problem solving to the end of helping students get themselves unstuck.

There are a couple of things we need to understand before we proceed:

  1. You must be patient. We’ve all learned something new at some point or another, and we know how difficult it can be. Everyone progresses at a different pace. Don’t give in easily and give them the solution, that will negatively influence them to give up early.
  2. Students must be allowed to struggle! They must even be allowed to feel the frustration and pain of it. It’s all part of the learning process. It’s not just about teaching them problem-solving skills, they also need to learn to deal with the emotions that come with getting unstuck.

Alright then, without further ado let’s get into it!

How to help students get themselves “unstuck”

Make “being stuck” positive

Instil the attitude that getting stuck is a positive sign, and call it what it is: an indication that we are growing. Getting stuck means we have an opportunity to learn something.

Normalize the idea of “getting stuck”. Use positive language when helping them get unstuck. Teach your kids to recognize the quality of being stuck and to approach it with a positive mindset. This is something they can carry with them for the rest of their life.

Get students talking

Instead of just giving them the answer, get them to verbalize their difficulties. The more they talk about the problem, the more it helps them get unstuck.

If no one is around, encourage them to set up their own internal dialogue. They can ask themselves, “What do I know?”, “What do I need to know?”, and “What methods do I have at my disposal?” The simple act of talking the problem out will help them organize their thoughts and get specific about where they are stuck.

Find out what they know

This will help hone in on the real area of “stuck-ness”.

Being stuck can tend to feel like this vague blanket of emotion that students don’t know how to navigate.

By determining what they do know, they can begin to plot a map out of the situation.

Find the root of their stuck-ness

Once they know what they know, ask them what exactly is making them feel stuck?

Is it the academic language? Is it the context they aren’t familiar with? Do they have too many variables? Do they not see a pattern? This will require them to think more about the problem itself and what they need to overcome it. So when they are faced with a similar problem later, they will be able to think back to what helped them before.

Questions that you can teach your student to ask that force them to look more carefully at the problem they face:

  • What do you know?
  • Is this like any other question you’ve done?
  • How is this different from the last question you did?
  • Is there anything in the question you haven’t used?
  • What do you understand by this word/symbol?

Teach them to be wary of prior assumption

We all sometimes make assumptions about a situation that we may not even realize we are making. In teaching about problem solving, we need to also make sure students are aware of this tendency.

Help students think in terms of the information provided and not to make unwarranted assumptions.

Give them the language to solve problems

For instance, if a student writes the information from a math problem down in a chart, you can simply say: “Very good, you organized the important information into a chart.” This will give him or her the language to match what they did, so they now have a strategy they can use in other problems.

Encourage experimentation

When answers to a problem aren’t readily apparent, and you don’t know what will work, then sometimes the only option is to experiment and figure things out.

Build this habit in students who get stuck. See if they can approach a math problem with easier numbers, and build a method to follow up again. Or they can approach it with a trial-and-error methodology, trying out different things to see what works.

Also ReadHow to Help Your Child Develop a “Growth Mindset”

Just start writing

Encourage your student to start writing instead of staring at a blank piece of paper. The mere act of writing something is enough to get into the flow of solving the problem.

Get them to write anything. They can start with jotting down the given information from the problem if nothing else, and maybe possible methods to solve the problem – anything that gets their mental juices flowing.

Draw something

Some problems lend themselves better to diagrams. Ask your student to “draw out” the problem if that helps them picture it better. This can be especially useful for word problems and geometry problems (which often require a diagram anyway).

Besides, drawing can be quite fun. It can inject a little creativity into solving math.

Check in with them

This doesn’t mean come to their rescue all the time!

By following the previous tips, you’ll be able to set your student on the path to solving a problem. Then check back in with them to see how far they were able to get after the previous intervention, and if they are still stuck then you can strategize the next plan of approach with them.

As far as possible, encourage them to self-remediate. They have all the information with them in the form of textbooks or online help. Let them look for what they need to solve their problem themselves (a skill that will be invaluable to them throughout life).

Remember, we don’t just want to teach our kids how to solve problems on the blackboard, we want them to grow up with the ability to be problem-solvers! Teaching them to get unstuck will not only help them in their schoolwork, but it will prepare them for life.

Fun Math Activities for At-Home Learning

Who says learning math has to be a drag?

For a child, it might feel like math is all about problems on a blackboard and in worksheets. It could lead them to ask the very pertinent question: “What do I even need to learn this for?”

Of course, the importance of math lies in its application, and we need it in nearly every aspect of our life. That’s why kids’ math fundamentals need to be super strong.

But helping your child learn math doesn’t have to mean just replicating their classroom experience. You can make math a game! There are loads of effective math games for younger students that will encourage them to think critically about practical applications of math concepts.

Here’s a list of fun activities that you can do with your child to teach them math at home without making it feel like a lesson, ideal for kids up to grade 5.


This is a game that will test your child’s use of basic mathematical operations (add, subtract, multiply, divide), their mental math, and their speed.

What you need to play:

  • 4 “large number” cards with the numbers 25, 50, 75 and 100 on them.
  • At least two sets of cards with the numbers 1-10 on them.
  • At least 2 players.

Here’s how to play:

  1. Mix up the 4 “large number” cards and lay them out face down. Shuffle the set of 1-10 cards and keep them face down.
  2. Each player chooses one of the “large number” cards or one of the 1-10 cards in turn without looking. This continues until each player has 6 cards.
  3. The players need to generate a 3-digit number. This can be done by selecting 3 random cards from the 1-10 pile, or rolling a dice. (Example: You pick up, without looking, a 3, 1, and 5. Your number is 315). For very young students, you can select a 2 digit number instead.
  4. All players turn their cards over. They now have to race to make the 3 or 2-digit number using the number cards they have, and any of the math operators (add, subtract, multiply, divide). Set a timer to make it more competitive!
    1. Would You Rather?

      In this game, you pose a question with two options and ask your child to choose the “better” (or most optimal) answer. You can get them to use a variety of concepts depending on the question you set for them.

      In real life, we play this game all the time in various ways. For example, you are at the grocery store and you see that your favorite cereal has a special mega pack at 33oz for $10; but you know the regular 18oz pack costs $5, so you can calculate that the mega pack isn’t really the bargain it’s claiming to be.

      Here’s a sample of the different kinds of questions you can ask your kids:

      • Would you rather win ½ of a million dollars and have to give ¼ of it away, or ¾ of a million dollars and have to give 2/3 of it away? (This one tests their ability to calculate fractions in order to maximize the end result).
      • Would you rather have a small bedroom with all right angles or a large bedroom with all acute angles? (This will test their familiarity with geometrical concepts).
      • Would you rather slice 20 oranges into 8 wedges each or 30 oranges into 4 wedges each? (This will test their counting and multiplication/division as they figure out how to minimize the number of cuts they would have to make).

      You can search online for more mathematical “would you rather” questions.

      Shape Scavenger Hunt

      This game will train your child to recognize shapes in everyday objects.

      The game is simple: Give them a set of shapes (2D or 3D) and tell them to find them around the house. It will get them to see a cylinder in a soda can, or a rectangular prism in the fridge, and so on.


      Write down anything mathematical on a card. It can be a number, a shape, or even a math formula if you want to make things complicated.

      Now your child needs to guess what’s on the card based on clues that you give. You can decide how difficult or easy you want to make the clues, based on your child’s level.

      For example, if you have written the number “16”, you can give clues like the following:

      • It is the sum of two 8s.
      • It is below 20.
      • The factors of this number are 2, 4, and 8.
      • It is a perfect square.

      If you aren’t comfortable giving clues yourself, you can let your child ask yes-or-no questions, like in a game of “21 questions”. Put a limit on the number of questions to make it more challenging.


      This is a great, fast-paced group game to help your kids with multiplication. You’ll need at least 4 willing players to make it fun. The more the better!

      All the players sit in a circle. Choose any number from 2-9, and this will be the number whose multiple you will play with. Let’s say you choose 7. Starting with the first person in the circle, everyone starts counting in turn in a clockwise direction. (First person says 1, second person says 2, and so on).

      Here’s the catch: whenever any multiple of 7 or any number with 7 in it comes up, the player will not say that number. Instead, they have to say “buzz!” and the direction of the circle reverses. If anyone speaks out of turn or says the wrong thing, they are out. The fun gets intense as the count reaches higher and higher.

      Hopscotch math

      Tired of sitting in the house? Try a nice outdoor math game. This is a twist on classic hopscotch.

      Draw a hopscotch grid with a calculator layout and the math operators. With older kids, you can include the square root symbol and negative integer sign. 

      Shout out an equation, like “4+11”. The player must first hop on the first number, then the operation, then the other number, the equal sign, and finally the answer. For double-digit answers, the player can split their last hop so that one-foot lands on the digit in the 10s place and the other foot lands on the digit in the ones place.

      As students advance in their studies and become familiar with more difficult concepts, they can be introduced to more complex games. You can look for math-based board games, or introduce them to card games that require counting points, or math video games.

      But nothing beats using things around the house, especially if you’re on a budget. Be creative when coming up with things to do at home to teach your kids math. You can find everyday math activities in almost everything that you do because math is literally everywhere!

Smash Your Kid’s Math Anxiety: 7 Simple Tricks Parents Can Use

Math has a bad rep, and the reason is that a lot of people feel at least some level of math phobia. For them, anxiety and math just go hand in hand. The truth is that math anxiety isn’t a natural condition, but that it develops in our minds early in life. 

If math anxiety is not addressed early on in a child’s life, it can lead them to develop an emotional block and cause a mental paralysis when they are faced with math. Students will then develop an aversion to math, making it even more difficult to learn new math skills.

Children then wind up carrying this block with them for the rest of their life. In fact, one study reported that 93% of adult Americans experience some level of math anxiety.

The good news about this is that, if you detect that your kids have math phobia then there are concrete things that you can do to help them in overcoming math anxiety. And it’s not just about math tutoring, so you don’t have to be a genius yourself. It’s not the role of parents to be professors, but you can still help them be successful in math simply by:

  • Reassuring them, giving positive reinforcement, and helping them shake off mistakes.
  • Providing practical assistance that is at a level that both you and your child are comfortable at.
  • Making math fun and relatable. Yes, it is possible!

The cause of math anxiety

Math anxiety in kids begins when they don’t master early math skills. Lessons move on, and they are continually expected to learn more difficult math when they haven’t yet gotten the basics down.

They may feel anxious about not getting the answers right and not understanding what is being taught, leading to frustration. They may also see their peers excelling in math, and doubt their own skills and capacity to learn. It leads them to get stuck in a fixed mindset that they “are just not good at math” –and this simply is not true! (Do have a look at our article on the growth and fixed mindset; promoting a growth mindset in your child ties in crucially to this post).

Once anxiety sets in, it creates a negative feedback loop. It can impact a lot of the things that are important for learning, like attention, memory, and processing speed, thereby compounding negative effects as they get older.

How to help ease your child’s math anxiety

So, we’ve covered why early intervention in math anxiety is important. Now let’s get right into what you as a parent can do to help your kids smash their math anxiety with these 7 simple tricks.

1. Build a positive attitude toward math – starting with your own

The most foundational thing you can do to help your children in math is to build a positive attitude around it. This might involve assessing how you feel about math and how you express it! 

Have you ever said things such as, “I’m not good at math,” or “I just don’t like math”? If so, then perhaps it’s time to reset the way you think about math. After all, kids pick up attitudes from their parents. 

So express positive emotions about math, even if only for your kid’s sake! Also, ditch the idea that some people are not good at math, and be verbal about this. Constantly reassure your kids that anyone can learn math (and extend this attitude to all subjects).

2. Promote the student’s confidence

Students with math anxiety are almost always insecure about their abilities. They will approach a math problem or concept with the assumption that they will not understand it. 

Teach them that it’s normal, and even OK, to feel negative feelings when faced with a problem. Everyone goes through it! This will teach them to handle their emotions better.At the same time, keep giving them positive reinforcement. Sometimes it takes time to overcome the belief that we can’t do something, but constant encouragement helps. Remember to check out our article on promoting a growth mindset for more depth on this concept.

3. Make a game of math

There are plenty of math-themed games to play. Whether you want to play an online game specifically designed to teach math, or play a game that inherently involves math (like Monopoly Deal, or something), it will give children a chance to apply math skills in a playful context.

4. Practice with your child

Parents read to children to develop reading skills. But somehow doing math with kids at home for fun is just not as common, or almost unheard of.

Make it a habit to practice math with your kids. This helps them develop positive associations with math before they start school. But even if your kids are already in middle school, it will still be a positive experience when you take the time to practice with them.

5. Make math relevant to them

Bring math out of the context of solving a problem, and associate it with real life. After all, that’s where most of us wind up using math the most!

Ask them to help with calculations while cooking, or with change at the grocery store. Use metaphors with their favorite sport (how many touchdowns does Team X have to score to tie with Team Y who is 12 points ahead)? Get in on a game of Pokemon cards if you have to! 

This will help them come out of the “classroom mode”, which might be serving as a blocker to developing their math skills.

6. Read math books at bedtime

Sounds a little strange? Well, this one is backed by a scientific study. In a 2018 study from Columbia University’s Barnard College, researchers assessed how effective math-related bedtime stories would affect 1st-grade children’s math potential.

They used an app called Bedtime Math (available for free on Google PlayStore), where kids would answer content questions, simple addition, or math word problems after hearing a story. After one year of observation, it was determined that such an intervention can have powerful lasting effects on children’s academic achievements.

Note: Bedtime Math is actually an app aimed at helping parents with math anxiety to help their kids, but it can help all parents to bring math to their young child in a fun way. This app has numerous benefits.

7. Let kids take time to answer questions

The elegance of this solution lies in its simplicity and the science behind it.

A study has shown that teachers wait 0.7-1.4 seconds after asking a student a question before moving on. But it takes students up to 10 seconds to process questions and formulate answers. Simply allowing your children time to think after asking them a question will foster an environment for critical thinking and success.

In fact, another 1972 study showed that when you give students at least three seconds of undisturbed wait-time, there are numerous positive outcomes.