The Test of Their Lives

As state grade school exams spread, some ask: Are the stakes too high?

For Lajoi Moore, the past year has been all about The Test. She started preparing last summer with a six-week Kaplan test-prep course, in which she took mock exams and brushed up on test-taking strategies. Since then, she has dedicated part of each afternoon--and nearly all her Christmas vacation--to writing practice essays and memorizing 150 vocabulary words on flash cards. In the final days before the test, she stepped up her studying regimen, cramming sometimes until after midnight. And when the big day arrived last week, Lajoi took a lucky rabbit's foot to the test along with her No. 2 pencils....

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