ITBS Test Prep 3rd Grade - How To Ace the Iowa Test!

ITBS Math Sample question - 3rd Grade

ITBS Math Sample question - 3rd Grade

The ITBS, or Iowa Assessment of Basic Skills, is a series of subject tests that assesses student ability in a variety of content areas. The test also measures how well students are learning the information needed for success in college and careers.

In this article we offer information to help your child prepare for the 3rd grade ITBS test. We also offer a third grade ITBS practice test to download. You can access this test by clicking on the button below. In addition, you will also receive a bonus PDF "5 Proven Test Prep Strategies for Using Practice Tests" to help you develop a study plan.

ITBS Practice Tests Grade 3

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Test content and timing varies according to level for the ITBS, and levels are based on age and grade. Third grade students take the Level 9 assessment.

ITBS Level 9 Basics

The ITBS has long been the gold standard in standardized multiple choice assessments, but the test got a makeover for the 2011-2012 school year to align more closely with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Iowa Core.

The newer version of the test, renamed the Iowa Assessments, is more rigorous and requires higher level thinking than previous versions of the ITBS. This version also provides parents with more detailed score reports that are focused on student growth and college/career readiness.

On Level 9 of the Iowa Assessments, students must complete tests on the following subjects:

  • Reading

  • Written Expression

  • Mathematics

  • Science

  • Social Studies

  • Vocabulary

  • Spelling

  • Capitalization

  • Punctuation

  • Computation
  • There are two additional optional subtests for Level 9, Word Analysis and Listening. Without the optional subtests, the total time required for the Level 9 Iowa Assessments is 4 hours and 55 minutes. It is 5 hours and 40 minutes if the optional subtests are included.

    Although test administration may vary, the tests are typically administered over a period of several school days.

    ITBS Level 9 Content

    One of the keys to successful ITBS test prep 3rd grade is to ensure that your child is familiar and confident with test content. To help you, we’ll briefly describe the types of questions your child will be asked on each section of the test.


    The reading section is divided into two parts and includes both literary and informational passages. Students answer passage-based questions focusing on analyzing and interpreting the information in the passages.

    Students may be asked to make inferences, understand vocabulary in context, analyze figurative language and author’s choice, and provide evidence to support their responses.

    In total, there are 41 Reading questions on the test, and Level 9 students are given 30 minutes for each Reading section.

    Written Expression

    Questions in this section may address sentence structure, clarity, organization, and effective vs. inappropriate language.

    Students may be required to find the most appropriate way to express an idea in a piece of writing or to identify the line of text that contains an error.

    Level 9 students are required to answer 35 questions in 40 minutes.


    Like the reading section, the Mathematics portion of the test is administered in two parts.

    Questions relate to number sense and operations, algebraic patterns, data analysis/probability/statistics, geometry, and measurement. These are the essential mathematics skills identified by the Common Core State Standards.

    Each Mathematics section is 30 minutes long, and Level 9 students must answer 50 questions total.


    Questions focus on the knowledge of life science, earth and space science, and physical science. Students may also be asked to answer questions about the methods and processes involved in scientific inquiry.

    Level 9 students must answer 35 questions in 30 minutes.

    Social Studies

    Students must interpret social studies materials and answer grade level appropriate questions about civics, government, economics, history, and geography.

    For Level 9 students, the Social Studies section lasts for 35 minutes and consists of 30 questions.


    Students are tested on grade level appropriate vocabulary words, usually in the context of a short phrase or sentence. Students must select the word that is closest in meaning to the provided word. Vocabulary can include nouns, verbs, and modifiers.

    This 15-minute section contains 29 questions.


    Each Spelling question gives students four words, one of which may be misspelled, and the option “No mistakes.” Students must select the word they believe is misspelled or signal that there are no mistakes in the options listed.

    Questions emphasizes errors in root words (such as substitutions, reversals, and omissions), as well as errors associated with suffixes.

    Level 9 students are given 10 minutes to answer 24 Spelling questions.

    ### Capitalization

    Similar to the Spelling questions, Capitalization questions require students to select the line that contains a capitalization error or select “No mistakes.”

    Capitalization of names, titles, and dates is emphasized.

    Students have 20 minutes to answer 10 Capitalization questions.


    ITBS Punctuation sample 3rd grade

    ITBS Punctuation sample 3rd grade

    Again, students mark the line of text that contains an error—this time with punctuation—or select “No mistakes.”

    End punctuation, quotation marks, and commas are the focus of this section.


    These questions emphasize subtraction, addition, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, decimals, or fractions. If the correct answer is not provided, students must select “N” for “not given.”

    Level 9 students answer 25 questions in 20 minutes.

    Word Analysis

    This optional test focuses on decoding, sound-letter association, and word structure as applied to initial, medial, and final sounds, silent letters, affixes, compound words, initial syllables, and final syllables.

    There are 33 Word Analysis questions. Although this test is untimed, it generally takes about 20 minutes to complete.


    The Listening test is also optional, and it emphasizes the ability to comprehend material that is presented aloud. Some response choices are text-based, while others are pictorial.

    The test is untimed, but it generally takes students about 25 minutes to answer the 28 questions.

    ITBS Test Prep 3rd Grade

    Now that you know all about Level 9 content, how can you help your child prepare to ace the test?

    First, keep in mind that the skills required for this test are aligned with the CCSS and the Iowa Core, and these standards also shape each teacher’s curriculum.

    This means it’s important for your child to pay attention in class, take notes, complete classwork and homework, and study, especially in the core areas of Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, and Math.

    If your child seems to struggle in one of these key areas, it may be a good idea to hire a tutor or to ask the teacher for extra help.

    Reading a certain amount of pages or minutes weekly can help your child enhance his vocabulary and increase reading comprehension, as well as improve the ability to recognize mistakes in spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

    Last but certainly not least, it’s important for your child to complete sample questions and practice tests in order to build familiarity and confidence with test content. Discuss why right answers are correct and wrong answers are incorrect, and work together to develop more effective strategies for approaching these questions in the future.

    We hope our information and tips for ITBS test prep 3rd grade help you and your child have a stress-free, successful experience with the ITBS/Iowa Assessments!