How to Pass the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)

General Information and Scoring

The subjects offered on the test are reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies and science. It is administered at the beginning of the school year to students enrolled in grade 3, 5, and 8. ITBS produces a developmental standard Score (SS). This is a number that describes a student’s location on the scale. There is also a National percentile rank (NPR) score, which compares the scores of students from different schools and districts. The core total score is the combined scores recorded from both the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Iowa Test of Educational Development.

Exam Content

Here is a brief description of the content and the skills measured by the separate tests that make up the ITBS. There is also a practice page in the test that has six questions that cover many test areas.  The main components of the test are:

Vocabulary. This measures listening to vocabulary, for levels 5 and 6. Here, students listen to a word or words used in a sentence and choose a pictorial response option.

Word Analysis. This tests letters’ recognition, as well as letter sound relationships. No written words are used in level 5.

Reading comprehension.  The test presents students with a variety of tasks, which progressively require more independence in reading. It also includes using point context and tells about a picture by filling in the word in the blank.

Listening. Short oral sentences are presented here, and then one or more multiple choice questions are read. Since all responses to the questions re pictorial, the scores from the test do not depend on the student’s reading abilities.

ITBS is used by the majority of schools in the state of Iowa, both in the public and private educational sectors, as well as other regions of the US.

Study Tips and Test Preparation

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Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) Practice Test Questions

Practice Reading Comprehension Questions - (includes Main Idea and Making Inferences)
Practice Math Questions (General)
Basic Math (Very Basic - Long & Short Division, Multiplication, Decimals, Fractions, Percent etc.)
Basic Math II (Percentage, Fractions Decimals exponents, simple algebra, parentheses removal etc.)
Basic Algebra
Exponents (Adding, subtracting and multiplying exponents and exponent fractions)
Word Problems
Basic Science
Vocabulary part 1
Vocabulary Part 2

Word Problems

Increase your Score on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS)

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ITBS Exam Study Guide