RICA Test Tips & Strategies

RICA Test-Prep Tips

If you're preparing to earn a California teaching credential in an area that requires you to take the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA), there are several tips you can employ before you even schedule your test date to ensure you do as well as possible on the exam.

Understand the Focus of the Test

There are five main topics that the RICA exam looks at when assessing test-takers. These content domains are:

  • Planning, Organizing and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment
  • Word Analysis
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary, Academic Language and Background Knowledge
  • Comprehension

One of the ways that you can prepare for the test is by reviewing information about the performance objectives for each content domain. These are discussed in detail in a pdf file provided by the CTC website (www.ctcexams.nesinc.com).

Take Advantage of Study Resources

This RICA Exam: Test Prep & Practice course is designed to ensure that you focus on reviewing the right material before your exam date. One of the advantages to this course is that it allows you to work at your own pace. Content is broken up into more than 120 short lessons, each of which lasts ten minutes or less.

Information about what the video test entails and how it's scored is available on the CTC website. You can also learn about the scoring system for the written test and take a practice exam.

Written RICA Test-Taking Strategies

The specific strategies that you use when you actually complete the RICA exam will depend on which test format you choose. Individuals who take the written test can help improve their chances of passing by employing a few specific strategies.

Budget Time

You have four hours to complete the written version of the test. In addition to the multiple-choice questions, there are five constructed-response assignments. Two of these constructed-response questions require you to draft a response of between 75 and 125 words, while two others require a slightly longer response of 150 to 300 words. The last constructed-response assignment is a case study asking you to apply skills in all content domains. Your response is expected to be from 300 to 600 words. You should make sure you leave yourself enough time to complete all constructed-response questions.

For tips on how to make the most of your test time, check out this lesson on How to Write a Great Essay Quickly.

Make an Educated Guess

There are 70 multiple-choice questions on the written RICA exam. Responses are graded with a computer system. The system only allots points for questions answered correctly. There are no deductions for wrong answers, so if you do not know an answer you can guess without jeopardizing your test score.

To learn more about how to make an educated guess and get other tips for answering these types of questions, check out this lesson on Strategies for Multiple-Choice Questions.

Answer Clearly and Thoroughly

It is important to ensure that your constructed-response answers are written legibly in English and stay on topic. If they are not on topic, are written in a foreign language or are unreadable they will not be scored. They also won't be scored if they are incomplete.

Check out this collection of lessons to get tips on How to Structure Your Essay and How to Focus Your Essay and Respond to the Essay Prompt to make sure you fully answer all of your test's constructed-response questions.

Video RICA Test-Taking Strategies

The RICA video exam covers the same five topic areas, but it is scored differently from the written test. To succeed, you will need to pay close attention to the submission requirements.

Understand the Scoring System

It is important that you consider the focus of the scoring for this test when you are preparing the lesson plans you will be filmed teaching. Reviewing the content domains to be assessed in each of the whole-class, small group and individual instruction videos can help ensure you have properly prepared for all relevant testing considerations. This information is available through the CTC website.

Complete the Requirements

The video exam is made up of three required submissions. All parts must be complete. If any part is incomplete you will fail your video exam.

Take the time to carefully review the requirements for each submission's instructional context form, video recording and reflection form before submitting these materials.

How to Pass the RICA

California offers educators and prospective educators two RICA assessment options. Read on for study and preparation tips to help you pass whichever RICA assessment you plan to take.

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