How to Prepare for the CTEL

Preparing to Take the CTEL Test

Individuals must take the CTEL (California Teacher of English Learners) exam when they wish to earn their English Learner Authorization credentials in the state of California. The CTEL test contains three subtests, and individuals must earn 220 on each one in order to pass. There are a number of resources and strategies that CTEL test-takers can use to prepare for the CTEL test content and testing process.

Test-Prep Resources

CTEL Study Guides

There are study guides designed to help you review all of the key information that you will be tested on when taking the CTEL subtests. These materials can be accessed through the links below. They allow you to work through dozens of lessons at your own pace.

CTEL Exam Information

The CTC exams website features a CTEL preparation materials page. It includes a document that explains how to get ready to take the CTEL along with a resource that outlines the specific content areas covered in each subtest so that you have a clear understanding of what skills and knowledge you will be tested on. A third document accessible from this web page reviews a glossary of terms relevant to the CTEL subtests.

Sample Questions

The CTEL preparation materials page also provides access to three sets of sample questions, one for each of the CTEL subtests. Using these sample questions can help you identify what types of information you will be tested on and how familiar you are with the relevant test material.

Study Strategies

Join a Study Group

Sometimes individuals are more motivated to study when they are accountable to others. Working with a study group or a study partner can be an effective way of motivating yourself to study regularly and review all of the material that needs to be covered for the test.

Schedule Study Time

It can be a mistake to assume that you will have time to study every day. Be honest about your schedule and the demands on your time. Use your calendar to pencil in time to study. Recognize how much time you will need to cover all of the material before exam day so that you are fully prepared.

Test-Day Preparation Strategies

Locate Your Test Site

Before test day, review the information that is provided on your scheduling confirmation email from Pearson VUE. Although directions are provided by Pearson VUE, it is a good idea to travel to your test site before test day. Locate parking and identify any factors that could affect your transportation time, such as road work.

Review Test Day Information

The CTEL test page has information about test day, including details about what test-takers need to bring with them, testing policies and items that are not allowed in the testing areas. It is a good idea to be familiar with the expectations so that you can secure the appropriate identification you need to check in, arrive on time and dress appropriately.

Use Test-Taking Strategies

The multiple-choice questions on each CTEL subtest are worth 70% of the total points a test-taker can earn. There is no penalty for answering a multiple-choice question wrong. Points are only allotted for each multiple-choice question a test-taker gets right. This means that if you do not know the correct answer, you should choose an answer you think may be correct. It is better to guess and have a chance at earning points than to skip multiple-choice questions.

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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