How to Start Your Praxis Test Preparation
Follow these five steps to build a successful Praxis preparation experience for yourself:
1. Determine which Praxis Exam you need to take
2. Understand Praxis test-taking strategies
3. Familiarize yourself with your exam's format and content
4. Implement a study plan
5. Be prepared for test day
Read on to find out more about each step, and how you can best ensure you're feeling confident and ready when exam time comes.
Step 1: Determine Which Praxis Exam You Need to Take
First, begin by understanding the different types of Praxis exams. Praxis Core exams cover three fundamental subject areas: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. These tests can be taken separately, or as a combined test. Additionally, there are over 90 Praxis Subject Assessments covering areas and specialties from biology to world history to audiology. These Praxis exams test on subject-specific content knowledge, as well as pedagogical skills future educators will need to be proficient in their careers.
Which Praxis test you need to take depends on both your field and your state's licensing requirements. Check with your state or education program to determine which exam(s) you must take. Next, research your state's testing locations, exam dates, and passing scores for Praxis exams. Make sure that when you register for your exam, you leave an appropriate amount of time to comprehensively study test content.
Step 2: Understand Praxis Test Taking Strategies
There are two key exam strategies for acing the Praxis: navigating a timed test environment, and understanding what to do even when you don't know the answer. Praxis exam length varies; some tests, like Praxis Core, can be taken in a combined session. Other exams, like Subject Assessments, are only available separately. Know your exam length before you go into the test, and make sure you practice answering questions in a timed environment. The type of practice will help you handle the pressure of the test environment and move through the question at a regular pace.
The second strategy is understanding repercussions for guessing answers. Practiced test takers expect to encounter questions they don't know. It's possible to make informed choices even when you can't determine a clear answer. On Praxis exams, every question answered correctly is applied to the individual's test score. Questions that are answered incorrectly do not count and there is no penalty for incorrect answers. Since there is no penalty for a wrong answer, you should guess instead of leaving a blank answer.
Step 3: Familiarize Yourself with Your Exam's Format & Content
Next, get to know the topics and question formats that will be on your Praxis exam. This research will help you determine how much you already know and which areas need the most practice. ETS provides free study companions with content guides and sample questions so you can familiarize yourself with the overall makeup of your test, including question formats and total content covered. Make sure you understand format details including how many question types the exam contains, and how many of each type to expect. Praxis exams can contain question formats including:
- Selected Response (multiple choice)
- Numeric Entry (input a number)
- Constructed Response (essay format)
Step 3: Implement a Praxis Study Plan
Need a study plan, but not sure where to get started? Follow this checklist to create and implement a Praxis test prep plan:
- Schedule Study Time: It's important to be realistic about your schedule and available study time. Make a study plan that you can stick to - which parts of your schedule will accommodate studying? You might be able to prepare a little bit every day, or dedicate larger chunks of time just a few days a week. Take advantage of tools like Study.com's Study Goals feature that allows you to select your test day and work backwards to determine your study timeline based on the amount of time left and content to cover.
- Assess Your Knowledge: Use diagnostic tools like Practice Exams to assess your understanding and test proficiency. Once you know where you are starting from, you can more accurately understand how much time you need to dedicate to reviewing material. Using practice tests that give you detailed results with reported areas of strength and weakness can allow you to target your study time on high-impact areas.
- Review Content: There are a variety of sources you can use to build your review plan. It can be helpful to review coursework done for a specific subject area, such as work done for a math teaching course. You can also check out content or grade-specific textbooks available at a local or college library. Test preparation services like Study.com can offer a wide range of comprehensive Praxis Study Guides. Study.com's bite-sized video lessons with interactive quizzes and chapter tests make learning approachable.
- Re-Assess: As test day approaches, you may want to re-assess your knowledge. This will allow you to track your progress and understand which topics and concepts you need to return to one more time. Reinforcing these key areas will help your overall performance. Use Praxis Practice Tests to re-assess your test readiness. If your progress is not where you'd like, revisit your notes and study guide again before taking another practice exam. This time, focus on targeted areas of weakness only instead of completing a comprehensive review.
Step 4: Prepare for your Praxis Exam Day
Once you've completed your study plan and are feeling ready for test day, there's one more set of steps to ensure you do as well as possible on the actual exam. Complete this checklist in the final few days before you arrive to take your test:
- Double-check the testing location: Unforeseen circumstances may lead to changes in testing facilities. Check your testing location online (available on the Praxis account you made to register) to make sure that you know where your test will be held.
- Pack all applicable paperwork and documentation: On test day, you'll need to have appropriate identification with you, as well as a copy of your admission ticket. You can print a copy of your admission ticket from the online Praxis account you created for registration.
- Review testing rules: Personal items and most types of jewelry are not allowed in test rooms. Pencils and erasers are not permitted, and calculators are only allowed for specific tests. Some tests require that you bring particular items. The Praxis Test Information Bulletin is available online via ETS and contains a list of the rules and expectations for your exam.
- Leave sufficient transit time: Make sure you know how long it takes to reach your test location prior to test day. Test takers are expected to arrive 30 minutes before the test starts. Consider factors like poor weather and traffic conditions when planning your route and leave enough time to reach the test site on schedule.
- Dress in layers: To ensure that the temperature of your testing site doesn't adversely affect your performance, it is a good idea to dress in layers. Dress as comfortably as possible so that you aren't distracted by things like an itchy tag in a new shirt or clothing that's too tight.