Praxis Test Prep for Education Students

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Table of Contents: Praxis Test Prep
1. Understanding the Praxis
2. Studying for the Praxis: Tips and Practice Exams
3. Scoring the Praxis
4. Testing Accommodations and Resources for Students with Disabilities
5. Disability Testing Resources for Praxis Exams
6. Additional Praxis Resources
7. Expert Interview: With Tommie Katz

A Comprehensive Look at the Praxis to Help You Pass the First Time

Students who are looking to become teachers have probably heard about the Praxis exams but may be unclear about certain aspects of these tests. The Praxis exams are used by most states to determine whether a person is qualified to be a teacher, and a passing score is often essential to gaining licensure. Students can streamline the testing process by preparing well and familiarizing themselves with all aspects of the Praxis, like which exams they need to take, how to register and receive their scores and best study practices.

Understanding the Praxis

Before taking the Praxis, prospective test takers should learn as much as they can about the exams including who they’re for and what they entail.

  • Who takes the Praxis?

    Students and educators seeking their teaching licenses will likely have to take at least one Praxis exam. Some teacher education programs also require students to take the Praxis prior to admission.

  • Why is the Praxis required?

    The Praxis helps determine whether or not a person is qualified to be an educator, and while it’s not necessarily required to become a teacher, the Praxis is the national standard for teacher licensing exams, and a passing score can lead to increased job opportunities. The exams assess proficiency in reading, writing and math skills essential to teaching a range of students, as well as classroom management skills and pedagogy.

  • What are the different types of Praxis exams?

    The Praxis Core, the Praxis Subject Assessments (also known as Praxis II), the Praxis PLT and the Praxis CKT Tests are all available to individuals seeking teacher licensure. The Core exam assesses a person’s general academic proficiency in reading, writing and math. This test is suitable for all teachers and is the Praxis exam most likely required by state licensing boards. However, some states may accept ACT or SAT scores in lieu of this exam. Educators usually only have to pass this exam once.

    Those who plan on teaching specific subjects, such as biology, political science or theater, may be required to take one or more Praxis Subject Assessments. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) offers over 90 of these tests in a range of subjects.

    The PLT, or Principles of Learning and Teaching, exam is a subject assessment commonly taken by prospective educators. Rather than subject-specific knowledge, however, this test measures a person’s pedagogical knowledge and classroom management skills. There are four different PLT exams, each focusing on a different age group, ranging from early childhood to grade 12. Unlike the Core exam, educators may have to take the PLT exam more than once over time if they decide to work with different age groups.

    There is also a Praxis exam specifically suited for prospective elementary school teachers, called the Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT) test. This exam helps determine whether those seeking generalist elementary school licenses have the full range of content knowledge in math, science, social studies, reading and language arts needed to successfully teach in an elementary school environment.

  • How to determine which Praxis to take?

    Praxis requirements vary between states, so prospective test takers should check with their teacher licensing board to determine which exams they need to take.

  • How is the Praxis taken?

    All Praxis exams (excluding the Braille Proficiency exam) are offered through ETS and administered via computer at a testing site. Tests may be composed of either selected-response questions, constructed-response questions or a mix of both.

Registration and Fees for the Praxis

Before taking the Praxis, prospective examinees need to register and pay for their exams. Registration times can vary, so test takers should familiarize themselves with the process in advance to make sure they have the funds and time needed to sign up for the right tests.

  • Registering for the Praxis

    Ways to register:
    Examinees can register for the Praxis online, over the phone or through the mail. The online registration page can be found on the ETS website.

    To register through mail, candidates first need to fill out a voucher request form and send it to ETS. A voucher number and further registration instructions should arrive in the mail about three weeks later. The voucher must be used within a year.

    Over-the-phone registration is only available to those who have already created an online My Praxis account and are testing in the U.S. Candidates using this method should register at least three days before their exam. There is a $35 surcharge to use this service.

    Documents needed for registration:
    The documents needed for registration vary by state, so test takers should check their state requirements before starting the registration process. States may require a social security number, school transcripts, valid out-of-state educator credentials or passing scores on pre-admission tests for student registrants.

    When to register:
    When to register largely depends on which Praxis examinations a person is taking, where they are taking them and how they choose to register. The Core exams are offered continuously and have a rolling registration deadline. Other tests have time windows, which can be found through ETS. Because processing times can vary, registrants should plan well in advance to ensure they can take the exam on a day that works for them.

    Determining testing center:
    Prospective test takers can find the closest testing center by searching the ETS testing center online database.

  • Paying for the Praxis

    How much does it cost?
    The Praxis Core exams cost $90 each. However, examinees who wish to take all three Core exams––reading, writing and math––in the same testing session can register for the Core Combined test for $150. Prices for Subject Assessments and Content Knowledge tests range from $60 to $210. Examinees should also be aware of a few other testing-related fees:

    • Additional score reports: $50
    • Tests administered in Nevada: $5 surcharge
    • Over-the-phone registration: $35
    • Change of test date or test center: $40
    • Score review service (available for constructed-response questions only): $60

    How to pay for the Praxis?
    Registrants can pay for the Praxis with a credit or debit card, check, e-check, money order or, if registering online, PayPal. Cash is not accepted.

    What if I can’t afford to pay?
    A limited number of fee waivers are available to eligible undergraduate and graduate students. Qualified applicants must be currently enrolled in a degree program, be receiving financial aid and must not already hold a master’s or doctoral degree. There are income requirements, which are listed on the ETS website. Applicants need to complete a fee waiver request form and should keep in mind that waivers are distributed on a first come, first served basis. Examinees can apply for one fee waiver per testing year and apply that waiver to up to three Core exams (the Combination Core must be selected if applying the waiver to all three exams) or one subject exam.

Studying for the Praxis: Tips and Practice Exams

Top Tips for Test Prep

Taking the Praxis more than once isn’t the end of the world, but examinees can increase their chances of nailing it the first time by following these Praxis study tips:

  • Make a study plan and schedule. Designating time to focus on specific subjects will help test takers get through all of their study materials and prevent cramming before the exam.
  • Know where to focus your study efforts. Taking practice exams can help identify weak points and areas that need more attention.
  • Get familiar with all aspects of the exam. Having a solid grasp of the content, format and scoring process will help prevent any test day surprises.
  • Understand why answers are right or wrong. This extra layer of critical thinking will help examinees work through difficult or tricky questions on the actual test.
  • Strategize for both selected-response and constructed-response questions. These questions are presented, answered and scored differently, so test takers should prepare for them differently, too.
  • Bonus tip: Prospective examinees can check out an interactive demonstration of the actual testing interface on the ETS website.

Praxis Practice Exams and Study Guides

Prospective teachers can help ensure they pass the Praxis by preparing well. Practice exams and study guides are excellent tools, and they are available in various formats, like video, text and interactive tests, from a wide range of sources. Using practice exams and study guides together can help examinees determine their strong and weak points, which is useful for making effective study plans. These tools can also provide explanations for right and wrong answers. Moreover, examinees who take advantage of study materials will get familiar with test content, structure and commonly-used terms and can walk into the testing center with more confidence.

Prospective test takers can check out these practice exams or do their own search to find practice exams that suit their needs and study styles:

Scoring the Praxis

  • What is a good score?

    When it comes to the Praxis, a good score is, simply, a passing score. Licensure boards are more interested in whether or not a candidate passes the exam than the specifics of their score. Those who wish to see how they stack up against other examinees, however, can compare their scores with the national averages.

  • How does scoring work?

    There are different scoring methods for selected-response and constructed-response questions. Selected-response questions are scored by computer, granting one “raw point” for each correct answer. Constructed-response questions are scored on their overall quality and given ratings by at least two trained, human graders. Essays are read by at least one person; an e-reader may provide a second score. Any major discrepancies between the human and computer graders will be broken by an additional human grader.

    Raw scores are converted into scaled scores to account for differences in difficulty between various forms of the same test. Scaled scores determine whether an examinee passes or fails the Praxis.

  • When are scores released?

    Scores for exams offered continuously, like the Core, are available about two weeks after taking the exam. Test-takers will get an unofficial score for their selected-response questions immediately upon finishing the test, but official scores will be available online through their My Praxis accounts 10-11 business days after the test. Constructed-response questions take a little longer to grade and should be available 15-16 business days after the test.

  • What’s the test retake policy?

    Examinees who want to retake the Praxis may do so once every 21 days. Those who don’t feel confident about how they did on an exam have the option to cancel their scores. Test takers can cancel their scores at the testing center after taking their exam, but they must do so before seeing their scores. Alternately, examinees can opt to not finish the exam. Incomplete tests do not receive scores, so test results will not be reported. In either case, testing fees are not refunded.

Testing Accommodations and Resources for Students with Disabilities

ETS works with examinees who have disabilities or health-related needs to ensure they are not at a disadvantage when taking the Praxis exams.

Common reasons for accommodations.

  • Hearing loss
  • Visual impairment
  • Limited or restricted mobility
  • Medicine administration
  • Insulin testing
  • Extra time needed
  • Necessary food, drink or bathroom breaks

How to apply for accommodations.

Before registering for their Praxis exams, test takers seeking accommodations need to fill out an application online, through email or through standard mail. Those applying online can find the application and instructions through their My Praxis account. To apply through mail or email, applicants need to download and complete the Testing Accommodation Request form, attach any additional documentation needed, and either scan and send the whole package via email or mail it directly to ETS.

It’s important to do this as early as possible because accommodation applications can take about six weeks to process. ETS also requests that applicants refrain from sending any unnecessary documents, as this slows the approval process.

Modified accommodations for disabilities.

  • 50% or 100% time extension
  • Specialized technology, like ergonomic keyboards, screen magnifiers, trackballs, touchpad keyboards and screens with background and foreground color options
  • Human readers, scribes, oral and/or Sign Language interpreters
  • Braille slate and stylus or Perkins brailler
  • Braille test
  • Large print test
  • Audio recording test
  • Special lighting
  • Adjustable chairs
  • Separate room for testing or necessary food, beverages or medicine administration

Guidelines for receiving accommodations.

ETS created their accommodation guidelines with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act in mind. An accommodation request application and supporting disability documentation are required to determine if ETS can grant the accommodation request.

Disability Testing Resources for Praxis Exams

ETS provides a wealth of helpful literature regarding testing accommodations. These pages contain the most pertinent information for test takers seeking accommodations:

Additional Resources

Preparation is key to passing the Praxis and moving into a successful teaching career. These sites and organizations can help examinees find extra Praxis information and tips, as well as useful resources for teachers after they pass the exam.

Association of American Educators. The Association of American Educators (AAE) is the largest non-union professional organization in the U.S. Current and prospective teachers can find professional development resources, scholarship and grant opportunities and helpful publications about the teaching industry.

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. CAEP is the primary accrediting organization that evaluates teacher education providers. This organization can help students find accredited teacher preparation programs.

Department of Education State Pages. Quickly navigate to a specific state’s Department of Education to find pertinent licensure information.

Educational Testing Services (ETS): Praxis. ETS hosts the Praxis exam and provides essential information for test takers. Examinees can log into their My Praxis accounts, register for tests, find study materials and more.

National Education Association. The National Education Association (NEA), the largest teaching labor union in the U.S., provides a plethora of information, resources and support for educators.

TeachAde. TeachAde is a free social media platform made specifically for educators. Experienced and prospective teachers can use TeachAde to make professional connections, learn about the profession and ask questions. Get firsthand Praxis tips and information from people who have successfully gone through the process.

Expert Interview on the Praxis

Tommie Katz has been an elementary school teacher within the Washoe County school district for over 15 years. She currently teaches 2nd grade. Before becoming an educator, Tommie took the Praxis I and Praxis II for educators.

How did you prepare for the Praxis exams?

I used a practice book to study for the multiple-choice questions and to help me understand the format of the Essay portions.

Do you think those study materials prepared you well? Is there anything you would have done differently to study?

I don’t think there is anything else I could have done differently to help prepare for these exams. I will say that I over prepared a bit for the Praxis II as there was no way of knowing what the topic was going to be or the angle the questions would come from.

What tips do you have for those getting ready to take the Praxis?

First time Praxis test-takers should definitely consult the most current book about the test they are taking so as to become familiar with the format of the exam.

Do you remember any portion of the exam being more challenging than others, or was there a section that you remember approaching differently from the others?

The Praxis II was more challenging for me than the Praxis I. The Praxis II, from what I recall, was a set of three essay questions based on some academic concept and its practical application or incident in a classroom. The thing that made it so difficult was that I had been practicing in an elementary classroom at the primary level, but at least one of the questions was about a much higher-grade level and asked about an academic topic I was less familiar with. The test expects you to be able to offer practical solutions to an academic problem or misconception from an educator standpoint (ie. what would you do if…?) The multiple-choice questions on the Praxis I were simply a regurgitation of knowledge and skills that could be reviewed and practiced ahead of time. I will say, however, there are way more topics than you can possibly memorize. More useful than memorizing facts and concepts would be to understand multiple choice test taking strategies.

I passed both exams on the first try, but Praxis I was definitely easier for me as a test taker. As an educator, I definitely see the need to have future teachers be able to think on their feet to answer what if questions pertaining to teaching concepts to children.

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