Responsive publisher continues to improve this series
Reviewed in the United States on 5 June 2018
I purchased a few books of this type to better understand the CogAT test. This book is one of a series by the same publisher, Origins Publications of New York, NY.
First off, although these books prepare kindergarteners, 1st graders, 2nd graders & etc., these books don't have to be used just to prepare for testing. They introduce and help young students practice important and significant cognitive and logical abilities, which some people even as adults don't seem to be able to do. These kinds of activities can be shared with children just because they are plain fun. In fact, adults who enjoy puzzles may enjoy these as well (as noted in some of the comments on these types of books). I found some of the questions challenging myself, LOL. I also thought that these types of questions/puzzles might be useful for senior citizens to help keep their minds active and slow the natural reduction of the same abilities.
I admit that I am new to CogAT testing, which some organizations use to identify gifted and talented students who would be candidates for accelerated programs and highly competitive schools. Overall, I feel this book, like the others in the same series, does a thorough, professional job preparing students. Since CogAT testing can occur at different grades/ages, these books introduce CogAT testing to newbies like myself by explaining what it is, how it is offered and whom to contact if you are interested in CogAt testing where you live. They also discuss how to best use the book to prepare your child/student and offers no-nonsense test prep tips and strategies as well as a few sample questions to orient both parent/teacher and student before the actual practice test. Of course, each book in the series also offers a complete practice test, a complete set of practice test sheets (the fill-in-the-bubbles similar to the sheets used during the actual CogAt test), and answers to the practice test. Pages are 8.5x11 (standard U.S. letter size) and thus can be easily copied if needed for multiple practice test sessions. The publisher also provides bonus challenge questions via email through the company's web site (the URL for the form is provided in the book) for each book I have purchased.
These book are professionally produced. The covers are full color and what one would expect from a professional publisher. Although there have apparently been some hiccups, the publisher seems to take them seriously and addresses the issues promptly.
The practice test questions in this 2nd Grade volume are generally, as expected, more complex than the 1st Grade or Kindergarten editions. For example, the sentence completion questions often add an additional element that must be considered when providing an answer. Some of the pictures also contain details which though they appear may be irrelevant and thus complicate the logical reasoning needed to select the correct answer.
The interior pages are black and white, like the actual CogAT test I understand. This better prepares students for the actual test. The images in the book are clear and sufficiently detailed with sufficient contrast to properly test the skills of the child rather than their ability to see and interpret color. Even some gifted children are color blind, and if color images do not have sufficient contrast without color, children with any level of color blindness may not be able to adequately distinguish the elements in the test questions and thus cannot be properly tested. They may, in fact, "fail" for their inability to distinguish color, rather than their true cognitive gifts. In a similar vein, this book prepares students for Form 7, which uses pictures to better test non-English speaking students, than its predecessors (Form 6 it would seem).
The purpose of these books is to acclimate students to the CogAT test and its conditions, which include verbal, quantitative and non-verbal skills, stress management, time management, test format, and test content. Most of all, these books provide confidence through familiarity with the CogAT.
It is also interesting to note that, although for Kindergarteners, 1st graders, 2nd graders & etc., some of the questions in these practice tests may be challenging for adults, too. As an adult, I found the questions sufficiently interesting, particularly the matrices, to check my answers against the answers in the back. My choice was not always correct!
Some of the answers on the answer sheet don't provide any explanation to better understand why the correct answer is indeed correct. It would appear that some effort has been made to provide these explanations, since grids are used on these pages, but not all explanations are provided. I thought also that perhaps pictures in the answers/explanations may be helpful, with elements in question circled or otherwise indicated. Sometimes explanations are difficult to express in words but might be more easily indicated using the same pictures in the questions.
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