Do Well on the IPT

Things you should NOT do when taking the IPT

  • Do not study for the IPT - you can answer the prompts by using the information in the IPT booklet and things that you already know.
  • Do not worry about taking the IPT - you will not get a grade on the IPT in any subject. The IPT is to help you, your teacher and your parents understand how you use ideas and information to solve a problem.

Things you SHOULD do when taking the IPT

  • Take the IPT seriously. It is good practice for situations, problems, and choices you will need to make as you get older.
  • Listen carefully and follow along in your IPT booklet while your teacher reads the directions and the IPT. (The situation and documents will be read aloud to fourth graders. For seventh graders, only the IPT situation will be read aloud.)
  • Circle, highlight, or underline important information and take notes in your IPT booklet as you read.
  • Circle, highlight, or underline words or phrases you don’t understand as you read. (Fourth-grade teachers have a glossary in their IPT Administration Directions booklet. Seventh-grade students have a glossary included in their IPT booklet.)
  • If you can’t read a word, a phrase, or a sentence, or if you don’t understand a word or a phrase in the IPT booklet, raise your hand so your teacher can help you.
  • Make sure you have read carefully and understood everything in the documents before you begin answering the prompts.
  • Save enough time so you can finish typing your answers to the prompts. If you are slow at typing, start typing on your computer any time you want to - you do not need to write your answers in the IPT booklet first.
  • Read your answers to all the prompts carefully to see if they make sense before you raise your hand to submit your answers.

Critical Thinking and the IPT

The first element of the IPT is Critical Thinking or CT.

CT has to do with whether the information in one of the IPT documents is correct and believable. Prompt 1 asks you to find examples of incorrect, unbelievable, or misleading information in one of the documents in the booklet. For each example, you must also explain why the information is incorrect, unbelievable or misleading.

If you find many examples of incorrect, unbelievable or misleading information and explain why each example is incorrect, unbelievable or misleading, you should be scored at Level 3 or Level 4. Responses are scored at Level 1 for CT when students say they believe everything in the document that Prompt 1 tells them to look at.

Problem Solving and the IPT

On the IPT, Problem Solving, called PS, has to do with making a choice and giving reasons for the choice. The last prompt asks you to write a letter or a recommendation explaining your choice and supporting your choice with important reasons.

To be scored at Level 3 or Level 4 for PS, you need to:

  • Recommend only one of the choices - do not recommend more than one choice.
  • Give many reasons for why you recommended your choice - look at your answers to the other prompts to help you think of some of the reasons for your choice.
  • Explain why each reason supports your choice.
  • Use information from the IPT booklet in one or more of your reasons - you can also give reasons that were not in the booklet that you thought of.

Responses that do not clearly recommend one of the choices or do not include any important reasons that support one choice are scored at Level 1.

Written Communication and the IPT

Written Communication, or WC, has to do with how well you write the information and your ideas in your response to the last prompt.

Do not worry about spelling or how well you type - these are not scored on the IPT.

To be scored at Level 3 or Level 4 for WC, you need to:

  • Organize the information in your response and use details to support one choice with many reasons.
  • Use transition words so that ideas and sentences flow in your response.
  • Use complete ideas and do not repeat any information except when summarizing.
  • Use a variety of appropriate words to support your choice and write for the intended audience.

Responses that are unclear and disorganized use few or no details and transition words, have incomplete ideas and no variety, and are not written for the intended audience are scored at Level 1.

Practicing for the IPT

  • While you are reading, watching TV, or listening to someone, think about these things:
    • Does everything you are reading or hearing seem correct or believable? If it does not all seem correct or believable, think of reasons why it may not be. Think to yourself, “that doesn’t sound right because...” and then finish the sentence.
    • What other information do you need to help you have a better understanding of what you are reading or hearing? What exactly is it that you don’t understand and how could the information help you gain a better understanding?
  • If you are in a situation when you have to choose, take some time and ask yourself:
    • Did I think about all the good things and bad things that go along with each choice?
    • Is the choice I decided to make based on the right reasons or the wrong reasons?
  • Practice persuasive writing - write letters that give reasons why your ideas are best.
  • Practice typing. Here are some websites that have free typing games and lessons: