4 Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for FTCE, GACE or TExES Tests

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The FTCE, GACE and TExES exams are mandatory teacher certification tests. If you're planning to teach in Florida, Georgia or Texas, you know that your career plans depend upon your test performance, so be sure to avoid these four costly mistakes.

Teacher Test Prep

You've earned your bachelor's degree and satisfactorily completed a student teaching stint. Passing your state teacher certification test is the final challenge, one that will allow you to teach in a public school. When preparing for the FTCE, GACE or TExES test, steer clear of these four potential pitfalls and you'll be well on your way to a rewarding classroom career.

#1: Not Understanding Test Difficulty & Structure

Misjudging the difficulty or structure of the test can undermine your ability to successfully prepare for the FTCE, GACE or TExES exams.

Test Difficulty

Changes to tests may increase their level of difficulty. For example, the FTCE pass rate plummeted by over 20% in three short years. If you talk to teachers who took their certification exams years ago, their memories of the tests' rigor may not be entirely reliable.

Long-time teachers may not have the most current information on the FTCE, GACE or TExES exams.

Test Structure

You'll be much better prepared for the tests if you're familiar with their details, such as the number of questions per section. The types of questions matter, too. Finding out the percentage of multiple choice to ''constructed'' (essay) questions can help you budget your time effectively during the exam. To avoid being penalized for any incorrect answers, save time by skipping instead of guessing at certain questions.

#2: Not Knowing the Exemptions & Limitations

Testing policies can impact which tests you take and when.

Exemptions

Your SAT, ACT or GRE scores might exempt you from taking the GACE Program Admission Test. Before you start paying GACE registration fees, find out if you can substitute your existing test scores for portions of the GACE test.

Exemptions can also affect which tests you might need to retake. For instance, in the case of these seven FTCE tests, you'll only need to retake the sections you failed, rather than the entire test.

Limitations

If you're requesting time off from work to take the TExES exams, keep in mind that you can only schedule two TExES tests per day. You might have to take several days off from work in order to complete all of your tests.

Learn about test limitations.

#3: Not Investing in Quality Test Prep

There's an old saying, ''Penny wise and pound foolish,'' which means that we sometimes try to save on small expenses while missing the bigger picture. Testing fees can be expensive enough, and you may not want to spend additional money on test prep. Additionally, free resources can be tempting when you're facing registration fees and other test costs. However, in the case of teacher certification tests, it makes more sense to spend a bit extra now to save money later on by avoiding retakes.

Quality test prep is a wise investment that can mean the difference between passing your exams the first time you take them or spending yet more time and money retaking the tests. Whether you're taking the FTCE, the GACE or the TExES exam, thorough test preparation is a must.

Invest in quality test prep for the FTCE, GACE or TExES exams.

If you're concerned about testing expenses, look for ways to defray the costs. Try applying for scholarships, such as the:

#4: Disregarding Cancellation Fees & Penalties

As we all know, life can derail the best-laid plans. If the unexpected strikes, you can find yourself owing unanticipated cancellation or retake fees. Even your test center location can partly determine how much you'll pay.

Cancellation Fees

If you're planning to take the TExES exams, you may be able to register as late as 48 hours prior to the test date. However, if you miss your scheduled testing day without giving 72 hours' notice, you'll lose your prepaid testing fees. Therefore, it's better to register before the mandatory deadline. GACE testing has similar cancellation penalties.

Retake Fees

Retaking some or all of the FTCE tests requires registering—and paying the full registration fee—all over again. In addition, FTCE retake fees are usually somewhat higher than those you paid the first time around.

Understand limitations, retake and cancellation policies.

International Test Center Penalty

Although there are testing centers in Mexico and Puerto Rico, both GACE and TExES tests cost more if you take them at a location outside of the United States. If you're overseas and can wait to return to the U.S. to take your exams, you'll save on testing fees.

Preparing for Success

The right resources can help you avoid costly and time-consuming testing mistakes.

Obtain the latest information and comprehensive study guides for the FTCE, GACE or TExES exams with Study.com's Teacher Certification Courses. Our self-paced lessons can be taken at your convenience and leave you feeling confident and well-prepared for your exams.

By Michelle Baumgartner
April 2018
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