Difficulty Level of NES Tests
The difficulty level of any test is subjective and can vary widely from test-taker to test-taker. In order to understand what areas of National Evaluation Series (NES) tests may present challenges, it is necessary to look at the requirements unique to some tests and the grade level of knowledge needed to pass NES exams.
Level of Education Required
The purpose of NES tests is to ensure that teacher certification applicants know the material they would be teaching and that they have the skill set needed to effectively instruct students in elementary, middle or high school. The tests were developed based on input from hundreds of education experts, meaning that individuals taking NES tests must meet the expectations professional teachers and education administrators have of new teachers entering the field. In order to pass, test-takers will need to demonstrate they are ready to assume careers as professional teachers.
These tests are typically taken when individuals have graduated from college with a bachelor's degree or when test-takers are in their final year of studies towards their degree. This means that the tests would likely be notably more difficult for individuals who are in their freshman or sophomore years of college.
Challenging NES Test Items
Although multiple-choice questions make up the foundation of most NES tests, some of the exams present individuals with unique challenges because they have different question types that must be completed.
There are some NES tests that include constructed-response questions or assignments. These question types present test-takers with the difficulty of developing a coherent response in a limited amount of time. Individuals will need to be able to demonstrate that they can organize their thoughts and write a coherent response to the prompt given, whether it be asking them to demonstrate their knowledge of proper instructional techniques, as is the case with the Assessment of Professional Knowledge exam, or to prove their skill in their teaching area, as with the Computer Science exam. Types of constructed-response items used on NES tests include:
- Case Studies
- Written Assignments
NES foreign language tests all require test-takers to complete a speaking assignment. This requirement applies to these tests:
- Chinese (Mandarin)
Individuals who have more difficulty expressing themselves verbally may find this part of their NES test to be challenging. The verbal portion of these tests is also worth 22% of the overall test score, which is a considerable amount. Individuals will need to demonstrate strong spoken language skills.
The NES tests are computer-based, so individuals will need to be comfortable with this type of testing system. Individuals may also need to use computer-based apps specific to their test, such as calculators. Some tests also require test-takers to scan and upload portions of their test answers, so it is important that test-takers make time to review the requirements for their test and familiarize themselves with the tools used.
Preparing for NES Exams
Individuals who are required to pass an NES test to earn their certification can use online study materials to help them review the appropriate information. Check out these NES Study Guides in addition to the links below. Each study guide includes quizzes and practice tests individuals can use to identify exam topics that might prove difficult, and the self-paced format of these resources allows them to devote as much study time as they need to these areas.
- NES Chemistry (306): Practice & Study Guide
- NES Health (505): Practice & Study Guide
- NES Mathematics (304): Practice & Study Guide
- NES Physics (308): Practice & Study Guide
- NES History (302): Practice & Study Guide
- NES Biology (305): Practice & Study Guide