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How Should I Practice for Praxis Math Problems?

teacher certification

The Praxis is a series of exams designed to test aspiring teachers' knowledge and competency. Here, you can learn some useful strategies and pick up helpful tips for math problems on the Praxis.

The Praxis

If you're an aspiring teacher, you may need to go through the Praxis Series in order to become fully licensed. Administered by Educational Testing Services, the Praxis is a set of exams used by licensing boards to determine a candidate's skills and knowledge. The test(s) you take are determined by your state's requirements, so not all students will encounter the same content.

Nevertheless, many Praxis assessments, such as the Core tests, heavily feature mathematics questions. If you're nervous about Praxis math problems, the article below contains some helpful tips and strategies to ensure your success on this portion of the test.

Studying

Consult Your Program (If You Have One)

If you're also enrolled in a teacher preparation program, your school will have plenty of resources to help you out. Your professors and advisers are most likely familiar with the Praxis, and chances are good that they may even have taken the exams themselves.

Practice test review

Either way, you should absolutely consult with them prior to taking the test. Even if their memory is a little rusty, these experienced professionals will certainly be able to steer you in the right direction and ensure that you are adequately prepared for the mathematics portion of the Praxis.

If you're taking the Praxis to gain entry into such an academic program, you can still use resources from schools that provide review materials and study guides. Many institutions, such as Marian University, post helpful information about Praxis math problems that can be accessed by anyone, student or otherwise.

Go to the Source

When it comes to study guides and preparation tools, who better to provide insider information than the very people who design the test?

ETS is notoriously generous when it comes to test prep, as evidenced by the copious amounts of materials provided to students studying for the Praxis. Help for the math portion can be found on this page. Even better, these guides and tools are provided free of charge.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As the old saying goes, 'practice makes perfect.' This is especially true when it comes to preparing for the Praxis. By taking a practice test, you can gauge your knowledge and become familiar with the test's layout and style.

Standardized test

Practice tests do much more than just make you comfortable with the format and structure. After taking the practice exam, be sure to diligently review your scores. What areas did you breeze through without any trouble? Where did you struggle? Was there anything that completely blindsided you? Go over your test results with a professor or adviser to identify your weaknesses, then get to work shoring up these deficiencies.

Use Traditional Strategies

Though the Praxis may seem like an especially daunting exam, remember that at the end of the day, it's just another test. As such, you can (and should!) use the same conventional studying habits and methods that worked for every other test that you've taken up to this point. In addition to any tricks that you already know, here are a few strategies and tips that might help you out:

  • Form a study group: Preparing with your friends and peers poses two immediate benefits: studying becomes more enjoyable, and you have instant access to a panel of people who can answer your questions. Depending on your study style, working in groups can break up the drudgery of endless reviewing and make studying fun. It's also extremely beneficial if you're having trouble, as you're guaranteed to have three or four other people to help you with any questions or issues.

Study group

  • Stay healthy: Your physical well-being plays just as big a role as anything else when test day comes around. You don't need to be in prime physical condition, but don't underestimate the value of a good night's sleep and a high-protein breakfast. Showing up to the test feeling healthy and refreshed allows you to focus on the task at hand.
  • Avoid cramming: A little last-minute studying is to be expected, but marathon sessions the day before the exam can actually be counter-productive when it comes to retaining information. Studies have shown that it's much easier and more effective to study in short, 20-50 minute sessions. Use your break time to recharge mentally and physically: go for a walk or take a short nap to refresh your body and mind.
  • Change things up: By constantly disrupting your routine, you can 'trick' your brain into working better. According to the New York Times, subjects who studied in different locations performed better on memory tests than those who stayed in one place. Instead of going to your favorite corner of the library, try reviewing content in your room or a nearby coffee shop.
  • Relax (as much as you can): Though being nervous is only natural, staying calm and cool will help you focus and avoid panic. Arrive to the testing site early to reduce any anxiety about finding your seat, take deep breaths when you need to, and don't worry about how fast or slow other people seem to be working. Above all else, stay positive. You're smart, and you've worked hard to get ready. Don't let any doubts distract you; you've got this!
By Bill Sands
October 2016

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