ITBS Test Prep 5th Grade - How To Ace the Iowa Assessments!

ITBS Test Prep 5th Grade

The ITBS, or Iowa Test of Basic Skills, assesses student ability in a variety of key content areas. It also measures student readiness for college and careers. The test is used by several states, as well as by many private schools and gifted programs as an admissions tool.

ITBS content and timing vary according to grade level. Fifth grade students take the Level 11 assessment.

In this article, we’ll break down key information about the Level 11 exam, including test content, test structure, and tips for ITBS test prep 5th grade.

We'll also provide you with a Grade 5 ITBS Practice Test PDF. Please click the button below to access this test and you will also receive a bonus PDF: "5 proven test prep strategies for using practice tests in your study plan".

ITBS Practice Test Grade 5

ITBS Level 11 Basics

The ITBS, a nationally recognized standardized assessment, underwent some changes for the 2011-2012 school year to align more closely with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Iowa Core.

The latest version of the ITBS, renamed the Iowa Assessments, is more rigorous and requires higher level thinking than prior forms of the assessment. This version also provides parents with more detailed score reports that include in-depth information about student growth and college/career readiness.

On Level 11 of the Iowa Assessments, subtests include the following:

  • Reading

  • Written Expression

  • Mathematics

  • Science

  • Social Studies

  • Vocabulary

  • Spelling

  • Capitalization

  • Punctuation

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

    ITBS Level 11 Content

    One of the keys to successful ITBS test prep 5th grade is to help your child become familiar and confident with test content. To help you get started, we’ll briefly describe the type of questions your child can expect on each subtest.


    Divided into two parts, the Reading section of the ITBS requires students to read both literary and informational passages and respond to passage-based questions. Questions ask students to interpret and analyze the information provided in the passages.

    Students may be asked to make inferences, define vocabulary in context, analyze figurative language and author’s choice, and provide evidence to support their responses. Students will need to know grade level appropriate literary vocabulary.

    The Reading sections are 30 minutes long each, and Level 11 students must answer 43 questions total.

    Written Expression

    For this section, students must answer questions related to sentence structure, clarity, organization, and effective use of language.

    Questions may require students to identify the line of text that contains an error or to select the most effective way to express an idea in writing.

    Level 11 students are required to answer 40 questions in 40 minutes.


    ITBS Mathematics Sample Question

    ITBS Mathematics Sample Question

    The Mathematics portion of the test, like the Reading section, is divided into two parts.

    Questions address the five essential mathematical skills identified in the Common Core State Standards: number sense and operations, algebraic patterns, data analysis/probability/statistics, geometry, and measurement.

    Each Mathematics section is 30 minutes long, and Level 11 students must answer 60 questions total.


    To be successful on the Science section, Level 11 students should have knowledge of life science, earth and space science, and physical science, as well as the methods and processes involved in scientific inquiry.

    Level 11 students must answer 37 questions in 30 minutes.

    Social Studies

    Students must be able to answer grade level appropriate questions about civics, government, economics, history, and geography and interpret material related to social studies.

    For Level 11 students, the Social Studies section lasts for 35 minutes and consists of 37 questions.


    This section assesses students on their knowledge of grade level appropriate vocabulary words, usually in the context of a short phrase or sentence. Students must identify the word that is closest in meaning to the provided word, which may include nouns, verbs, and modifiers.

    This 15-minute section contains 37 questions.


    For Spelling questions, students are provided with four words and the answer choice “No mistakes.” Students must select the word that is misspelled or indicate that there are “no mistakes” in the answer choices.

    Questions emphasize errors associated with root words and suffixes such as reversals, omissions, and substitutions.

    Level 11 students are given 10 minutes to answer 30 Spelling questions.




    Like the Spelling questions, Capitalization questions require students to select the line that contains an error or select “No mistakes.”

    Of course, in this case errors will be related to capitalization, and the capitalization of names, titles, and dates is emphasized.

    Students have 20 minutes to answer 24 Capitalization questions.


    On this section as well, students mark the line of text that contains an error—this time associated with punctuation—or select “No mistakes.”

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


    Computation questions focus on 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.”

    For this reason, the Computation section is more difficult than many other mathematics test, because students can’t rely on process of elimination or plugging in answer choices.

    Level 11 students answer 29 questions in 20 minutes.

    ITBS Test Prep 5th Grade

    Now that you know all about Level 11 content, how can you help your child master the information she needs to ace the ITBS?

    Most importantly, remember that the skills being assessed on the ITBS are aligned with the CCSS and the Iowa Core, and these standards also form the blueprint for each teacher’s curriculum.

    Remind your child that it is essential 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.

    Another helpful strategy is to have your child read a certain amount of pages or minutes weekly. This can enhance her vocabulary, improve reading comprehension, and make it easier to recognize errors in punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.

    It’s also very important for your child to complete sample questions and practice tests in order to build familiarity and confidence with Iowa Assessments content.

    Have your child explain each answer so you can discuss why correct answers are right and incorrect answers are wrong. For wrong answers, work with your child to develop a more effective approach to this question type in the future.

    If you notice your child struggling in a particular area, focus future practice sections on this specific question type.

    By using the information here and following our tips for ITBS test prep 5th grade, you’re helping ensure that your child turns in a successful performance on the ITBS/Iowa Assessments!