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How to Prepare for the MTEL

Instructor: Loren Rozanski

Loren has a B.S. in History and a M.S. in Special Education. She works actively in the education field.

Preparation is key when taking the MTEL. This lesson reviews some strategies that you can use when studying to take MTEL tests. You'll learn about computer based testing, creating a study plan, and preparing for open ended essays.

Getting Ready to Take the MTEL

Meet Marisol. She is a college senior preparing to take the MTEL. She has spoken with some of her classmates who have already taken the exam and gotten some solid advice on how to best prepare for the test. Let's take a look at some of the advice her classmates recommended.

Preparing for Computer-Based Testing

The MTEL utilizes computer-based testing for all of its current examinations. Marisol has never taken a computer-based test before, so Joe recommended that she familiarize herself with the computer based testing prior to test day. Joe suggested that Marisol log onto the MTEL website and navigate to the preparation materials that they provide for free. This includes tutorials that will help her navigate through the login, nondisclosure agreement signature, and sample questions. Marisol will be given an opportunity to try the different buttons and features of online testing.

Familiarize Yourself with Content

As there are many different type of MTEL exams, Annie suggested that Marisol familiarize herself with the content in her specific exam. Marisol knows she may be taking multiple exams in one day, so she categorizes the material she already knows and the material she needs to review. On the MTEL website she gains access to Test Information Guides, which will tell her the number and types of question on each exam, and Practice Tests, where she can access the type of questions on the test. The practice tests also come with answer keys so she can self-check her work and determine any areas of weakness.

Marisol has two weeks before her first MTEL exam - the Foundations of Reading test. She has read the Test Information guide for her exam and has also taken a practice test, where she scored 55%. Her two areas of weakness were Foundations of Reading Development and Development of Reading Comprehension. Marisol decides to spend five days focusing on each area, after which she will retake the pretest. This will leave her four days to focus on any additional areas of weakness and practice using the computerized exam software.

Marisol made a clear study plan. She pretested herself and identified her areas of weakness and was able to dedicate enough time to each section. She had a plan to retest and also a plan to prepare herself to use the computerized software.

Open-Ended Questions

Some MTEL exams have open-ended or essay response questions in addition to multiple-choice questions. For each question, you will be given an prompt, which will include the topic to write about, and a length requirement. This will vary from test to test. However, all MTEL open-ended questions are graded on the same four criteria:

  • Purpose - Does the response answer demonstrate understanding of the question?
  • Support - Are you supporting your answer with fact-based evidence?
  • Subject - Does the response stay on subject?
  • Rationale - How strong is the argument and supporting evidence?

All MTEL open response questions are based on a four-point scale. Scoring a three or four demonstrates proficiency on the question.

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