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Is the FTCE General Knowledge Test Hard?

Instructor: Bill Sands
The FTCE (Florida Teacher Certification Examinations) General Knowledge test assesses a prospective teacher's reading, writing, language, and math skills. Read on to learn more about this exam and find some study resources that can help make the test feel less formidable.

FTCE General Knowledge Test: Exam Difficulty

The FTCE General Knowledge test measures the same core academic skills you've been using in college, so the exam shouldn't be particularly difficult, especially if you've been doing well in your studies. The duration of the test, however, might prove challenging to students who are unfamiliar with the format, but with proper preparation and diligent studying, you can have a much easier time on test day.

Check out the information below to explore how the different structures and subjects for each of the exam's four subtests could pose a unique challenge for test takers.

Essay Subtest

The format of this section is fairly straightforward. Candidates are shown a pair of topics and have the option of choosing which one they would like to address.

The challenge in this section comes from composing a thoughtful and coherent response in only 50 minutes. Candidates will need to prepare an organized and articulate answer that addresses the major ideas of the topic. Responses are also evaluated for their grammar and spelling.

To get help preparing for this part of the exam, check out the writing and organizational tips included in these lessons on Essay Skills and Essay Writing.

English Language Skills (ELS) Subtest

The ELS portion of the exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions that measure a candidate's vocabulary skills and knowledge of English grammar and usage conventions. Questions might ask them to correct errors in a sentence or select the right word to fill in the blank.

Whereas the essay involves a lot of writing in a short period of time, the ELS section involves plenty of reading in a short amount of time. Though questions often include no more than a few sentences, candidates will almost certainly need to re-read them multiple times to confirm answers. This section only allows 40 minutes to complete the 40 questions.

If you need to brush up on your skills in this area, check out this FTCE General Knowledge English Language Skills Subtest prep course.

Mathematics Subtest

By far the longest section of the General Knowledge test, the mathematics subtest gives candidates an hour and 40 minutes to finish all 45 multiple-choice questions. Candidates are tested on their understanding of a wide range of mathematical concepts, including geometry, algebraic thinking, measurement problems, statistics, probability, and data interpretation.

Candidates are provided with a reference sheet and a calculator, but these materials are only helpful if they understand the concepts being covered on the test. Unprepared test-takers will struggle with or without these supplies.

Brush up on these concepts by checking out the lessons in this study guide for the FTCE General Knowledge Math Subtest. You'll also find quizzes useful for checking your problem-solving skills.

Reading Subtest

The Reading subtest measures a candidate's reading-comprehension skills and knowledge of craft and structure. Candidates have to answer 40 multiple-choice questions related to a series of reading passages that cover a range of topics.

The challenge stems from candidates' ability to critically analyze an excerpt and draw the appropriate conclusions using analytical and critical-thinking skills. Candidates only have 55 minutes to complete this part of the exam, and they might feel pressed for time, especially if they need to re-read passages to look for clues and missed information.

Get tips for working efficiently and methodically through this test section with a course especially designed to prepare you for the FTCE General Knowledge Reading Subtest.

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