How to Retake the FCAT

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In 1998, the state of Florida began implementing the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, commonly referred to as the FCAT, to test students' skills in mathematics, reading, science and writing. The FCAT is an integral part of graduation requirements for Florida high school students. To receive a standard diploma, students must pass the reading and mathematics portions of the Grade 10 FCAT in addition to meeting other academic requirements. Student who do not pass the Grade 10 FCAT may retake the test during their junior and senior years. To succeed on the FCAT, it is important to improve your math and reading skills and come prepared for the test.

Before You Retake the Test

  • Speak with the school guidance counselor if you did not pass the FCAT. Make sure the school has received notice of your scores and you are on the list to retake the test at the next opportunity.

  • Mark the upcoming test dates on your calendar so you will be ready to retake the test. FCAT retake dates are available in the fall, spring and summer for high school juniors and seniors who did not pass the required portions of the Grade 10 FCAT. The Florida Department of Education explains "from the 10th grade through the 12th grade, most students have six chances to pass the FCAT."

  • Prepare for the FCAT by enrolling in intensive remedial courses. In most cases, high schools offer these classes to students, so ask the guidance counselor to add them to your course schedule. If remedial classes are not available, seek additional help through tutoring. You are required to pass the math and reading sections of the FCAT, so focus your studying on those subject areas.

  • Sign up for FCAT Explorer. This online assistance program allows students to improve critical math and reading skills that are tested on the FCAT. The section entitled "Reading Timeline" contains reading passages, comprehension questions and lessons on important reading skills. In the section called "Math Timeline," students have access to more than 140 practice problems for the Grade 10 FCAT.

  • Take practice tests by using old versions of the FCAT. The Florida Department of Education releases old versions of the test for this purpose. You can find these practice tests by searching on the Florida DOE website.

The Day of the Test

  • Get a good night's sleep before the test. Do not stay up late cramming for the test. The FCAT tests skills, not knowledge. The preparation you have done before the test, such as extra classes and online practice, should improve your test scores. Trying to learn as much as you can in one night will not prepare you for the FCAT.

  • Wear comfortable clothes. Select clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for sitting inside for several hours. Bring an extra jacket or sweatshirt since the testing room may be chilly.

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast. As the Florida DOE reports on the FCAT Fact Sheet: "A healthy body leads to a healthy, active mind."

  • Arrive at school on time. FCAT retakes are usually administered at your school, so you should be familiar with the location. Report to your testing location early so that you have enough time to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water and not feel rushed before the test.

  • Make sure you receive any necessary accommodations during the test if you have an Academic Improvement Plan (AIP) that recommends test-taking modifications.

References

  • Photo Credit Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images
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