CTEL Test Day Preparation

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CTEL Test Day Preparation

When preparing for the California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) exam, you'll need to focus on both the content and the structure of the exam.

While it's important to master the subject matter, you also need to know what to expect on test day. A sudden surprise can disrupt your rhythm and hurt your performance, so it's important to be ready.

Preparation Resources

The best place to start is with the source. The CTEL web site contains helpful preparation resources, including an overview of the entire exam and sample questions for the individual subtests that can test your knowledge and help you identify potential weaknesses.

The CTEL is a computer-based test (CBT). While you may be familiar with this type of test, the format of the exam could be off-putting on test day. To help examinees get comfortable with the format, the CTEL site contains a thorough explanation of the CBT model, including a downloadable tutorial that you can use to get familiar with the layout.

Outside of the CTEL official site, there are plenty of other online resources that you can use to brush up on important skills and feel confident on test day. For example, these CTEL exam study guides contain a plethora of helpful information:

These guides contain comprehensive reviews of test content and useful study tools, like self-checking quizzes, that are sure to have you feeling more prepared on test day.

The Day of the Test

Identification Policy

First and foremost, you need to have proper identification or you won't even be able to get in the door. You must have one piece of current, government-issued identification. The ID must have the same name that you used to register and it must be printed in English. It also has to have your photograph and signature.

Examples of acceptable IDs can include:

  • Driver's license
  • Passport
  • State ID with photo and signature

What to Bring

Other than ID, there is not much that you will need to bring to the CTEL.

On the day of the test, you will not be able to bring in any writing utensils. You will be given a pen and notebook, but you cannot bring in your own pens, pencils, or scratch paper. Other forbidden items include cell phones, electronic devices, purses, backpacks, and hats. Food and drink is not permitted.

In terms of clothing, standard test attire will work fine. Wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers so you can better regulate your own temperature.

Test-Taking Tips

The study guide mentioned above also contains several helpful strategies that you can use on test day. Suggestions include:

  • Take it one subtest at a time: The CTEL is a formidable exam, but focusing on one section at a time makes it seem much less daunting. Focus on your current subtest and worry about the others later.
  • Find a tempo: Of course you don't want to run out of time, but rushing through the exam will also hurt your chances of getting a good score. Try to work out a pace that lets you finish in time while still giving each question the time that it deserves.
  • Guess wisely: The CTEL doesn't punish guessing, so leaving questions unanswered will not save you points. When making your guess, try to eliminate as many wrong answers as possible to give yourself better odds of getting a question correct.

Get an idea of what the California Teacher of English Learners (CTEL) exam is used for, who is required to take it and what each of the CTEL subtests focuses on.

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