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Is the FTCE Middle Grades English 5-9 Test Difficult to Take?

Instructor: Bill Sands
The FTCE Middle Grades English 5-9 test is administered to prospective middle school English language arts teachers in Florida. Learn about the challenging nature of this test and pick up some useful resources to make your testing experience easier.

How Difficult Is the FTCE Middle Grades English 5-9 Test?

The FTCE Middle Grades English 5-9 exam has proven difficult for many prospective teachers. According to the Florida Department of Education, only 37% of first-time test takers passed the exam's multiple-choice section in 2015, while only 42% passed the writing section.

However, how difficult you find the exam is entirely dependent on your willingness to adequately prepare. Candidates who study will have a far easier time than their counterparts who go into the test unprepared.

What's on the Test?

The first step to reducing difficulty is understanding what kind of content you will encounter during the exam.

The test is computer-based and consists of about 80 multiple-choice questions. There is only one essay to complete. The multiple-choice section lasts an hour and a half, while the essay section is exactly one hour. Candidates do not get breaks; any time spend relaxing or planning is counted in the testing session.

Multiple-Choice Section

This section is demanding in that the questions will test your knowledge of both English language arts and your understanding of how to impart this knowledge to students. Test questions fall under one of seven subject areas (known as competencies) covering a variety of topics, such as factors affecting student learning, pedagogy, and the use of assessments.

Multiple-choice question types fall into four basic categories:

  • Sentence completion
  • Command
  • Direct question
  • Scenario

Essay Section

Candidates are presented with two topics and must choose one. Typically, both prompts will require you to analyze a work of literature or nonfiction.

Your response will be graded based on your reasoning, logic, and ability to support any claims you make about the text. Your organization, word choice, and mechanics also factor into your final score.

Moreover, you'll need to structure and present this argument in only an hour, and this time limit can prove difficult for many candidates.

How Can I Get Ready?

Understanding the format and structure of the FTCE Middle Grades English 5-9 test is an excellent start, but in the end, nothing is more effective at reducing the difficulty than studying.

If you need help studying and getting ready for the assessment, check out this FTCE Middle Grades English 5-9 Practice & Review Guide. This study tool is a helpful guide that reinforces crucial knowledge through a combination of short video lessons, quizzes, and practice tests that can help you feel comfortable and confident heading into your testing session.

What Happens If I Don't Pass?

While unfortunate, failing the FTCE Middle Grades English 5-9 exam is far from the end of the world. It can be a challenging exam, and it is not uncommon for students to fail.

The FTCE employs a very generous retake policy that allows for an unlimited number of retakes from any one candidate. The downside to this policy is that you'll have to pay a retake fee, which is higher than the fee for the original sitting ($200 for the first attempt vs. $220 for a retake of the entire exam).

If you manage to pass one section but fail the other, you will only need to retake the one portion you did not pass. The fee to retake an individual section is $150.

While you may have unlimited opportunities, you most likely don't have unlimited funds, so the sooner you can pass the exam, the better.

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