Studying for the AEPA Tests
Individuals who are interested in becoming certified teachers in the state of Arizona must pass one or more of the Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments (AEPA) in order to obtain the required certifications. There are a number of test preparation strategies to keep in mind in order to maximize study efforts and increase chances of success.
Develop a Study Strategy
In order to pass the AEPA tests, it is important to first develop an effective study strategy, including steps such as:
- Step 1: Determine what AEPA exams you need to take.
- Step 2: Establish how long you have to study for the exams and what score is needed to pass.
- Step 3: Take practice tests to understand the test format and determine strengths and weaknesses.
- Step 4: Utilize study materials to improve your performance.
Now, let's explore these steps in greater detail below.
Which AEPA Exams Should I Take?
The subject and level at which individuals plan to teach will help them determine which AEPA assessments they must take. In general, all individuals will need to take a Professional Knowledge exam at either the childhood, elementary, or secondary level. They can then take additional AEPA assessments in specific subject areas, like French, health, chemistry, or geography. There are also certification exams for administrators.
For example, an individual who would like to teach biology at the high school level is required to take the Professional Knowledge: Secondary exam in addition to the Biology subject area test. Someone who wants to teach math at the middle school level is required to take the Middle Grades Mathematics subject exam, in addition to the Professional Knowledge exam at either the elementary or secondary level, depending on the specific grade they plan to teach.
There are also teaching certificates available in the subjects of art, dance, music, physical education, and theater that are not grade-level specific, as long as an individual has also passed the appropriate Professional Knowledge assessment. Special education teachers must also pass specialized assessments in order to teach in this field.
Establish a Timeline
If you are planning on taking one or more of the AEPA exams, it is helpful to know when the tests are offered. Fortunately, students are able to take the AEPA on a year-round basis, as they can set an examination appointment at a time that is convenient for them. This will allow you to set an appointment that gives you sufficient time to study.
The AEPA website also provides information regarding what score is necessary to pass each exam. These scores vary, as a 220 is considered a passing score on the Biology subject area exam, while a 240 is a passing score on the Political Science/American Government exam.
Take Practice Tests
Practice tests are very useful study tools that you can use throughout your exam preparation time. It may be helpful to take a practice test near the beginning of your preparation period, as the results could provide insight into the content areas of the exam that may need extra attention. Additionally, knowing the format of the exam may alleviate some nerves and anxiety before test day.
Study.com provides over 40 AEPA assessment practice tests ideal for students preparing for these exams. Additionally, practice tests are available on the Arizona Department of Education website.
Utilize Study Materials
There are a variety of resources that you can use as you prepare for the AEPA exams. The AEPA testing website provides a test framework for each exam. These frameworks split the exams into content domain areas so that students know what type of information will appear on the exam as well as the percentage of the overall test score that each content domain area accounts for.
For example, the Biology subject test has five content domain areas: Nature of Science, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Genetics and Evolution, Biological Unity and Diversity, and Ecology and Environment. These areas account for 20%, 13%, 27%, 20%, and 20% of the overall exam content, respectively. Students can then refer to the study guides, practice tests, and practice videos that are available on the AEPA website to make sure they are familiar with all the information that they will be tested on.
The Arizona Department of Education website also provides students with a number of helpful resources to prepare for the AEPA assessments. For example, students can make use of the Study Plan document to help them create an individualized plan for each test they must take according to their own strengths and weaknesses.
Additionally, students who seek further preparation can complete the AEPA study guides available on Study.com. These study guides provide in-depth coverage of all of the content areas that appear on each of the exams.