Tips for Taking a Praxis Test as a Non-Native English Speaker

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Praxis exams are given in order to assess an individual's knowledge and skill level before entering into the field of teaching. In order to provide fair and equal testing for all individuals, non-native English speakers may request special accommodations for test taking.

Non-Native English Speakers and the Praxis Test

If you are studying to become a teacher, then you may already know that you will need to take the Praxis exam in order to qualify for a license to teach in most states. These tests are given by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and are used to determine your qualifications, skill levels, and knowledge of a broad range of subject matters. The test is in English and is timed. This may be a little intimidating if you're not a native English speaker. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to make the testing process run a lot smoother. Here are a few tips to get you started in your Praxis test experience.

Apply Online

One: Apply for Test Accommodations

Before signing up to take the Praxis exam make sure you apply for accommodation services for non-native English speaking test takers. This form is available through the EFT website. If your submitted request is approved, you may be granted up to 50% additional testing time.

In order to get started in the process, you will need to complete the Certification of Documentation Form for non-native English speakers. This form can be found directly through EFT online along with the remaining required forms and registration paperwork. The form must be filled out and completed with an embossed school seal or a notarized signature. Next, you will need to complete the Eligibility Form for Examinees Whose Primary Language is Not English. Once this is complete, you will then proceed to fill out the Test Authorization Voucher Request Form which includes a box to check indicating that you will need or have requested testing assistance.

Complete these requirements and send them to the appropriate address with payment if applicable. Do this as soon as possible in order to be approved for the test date of your choosing. EFT's Praxis Centers and Test Dates page will help you find testing centers in your area. You will then need to contact your testing center online or by phone to find out what testing dates are available.

Study the test.

Two: Familiarize Yourself with the Test

Taking the Praxis test can be less complex if you know ahead of time what test you will be taking and what that particular test involves. You can determine which test to sign up for by researching your specific state's Praxis test requirements. Praxis tests available include the Praxis Core Academic Skills Tests for Educators, Praxis Subject Assessments in your teaching subject area, and the Praxis Content Knowledge for Teaching tests.

The core academic tests are made up of three separate exams: Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators: Reading, Praxis Core Academic for Educators: Writing, and Praxis Core Academic for Educators: Mathematics. The tests are primarily made up of multiple choice questions. The writing test also includes essay questions.

Subject assessment tests can cover a vast range of subjects including economics, history, science, etc. The subject assessment measures an individual's general and subject-specific skills and knowledge. These tests include multiple choice questions and essays. They can last anywhere from one to four hours depending on what subject is being taken. You can prepare for these tests by visiting study.com's Praxis Exam Courses page where you will find study guides and practice test questions in numerous content areas.

The Praxis Content Knowledge for Teaching Assessments covers specialized content taught in grades K-12. Different states require different tests. Some states do not require the Praxis at all. Be sure to check first before registering to take a test.

Plan Ahead

Three: Prepare Ahead of Time

It's important to study ahead of time for the Praxis test so that you will know what to expect on test day. Sample Praxis tests are available online and can help you understand how the test will be composed, what the subject matter will look like, and what will be expected of you as the test taker. If you are taking subject assessments, make sure you pick appropriate study guides for your particular subject matter. Once you have gathered your prep materials, give yourself a quick assessment to determine how much of the content you are familiar with and what you need to study specifically. Developing a study plan can help you assess how much time you have to prepare before your assigned test date.

As a non-native English speaker you should also prepare by brushing up on your English comprehension skills.

  • Surround yourself with the English language. Listen to programs on TV, over the Internet, or on your phone or IPod.
  • Read newspapers and magazines to become more familiar with English words and word use.
  • Make a list of words you're not familiar with, look up their definition, and memorize them.
  • Focus on understanding the context of words as they appear in a string of thoughts or sentences. Don't focus on the individual word, but see how the words work together as one sentence.

Test Scores

Four: Understand the Scoring Process

Understanding the scoring process for Praxis tests can also be beneficial when taking the test. EFT provides a detailed summary of the scoring process in each test or assessment subject's study guide. You can access those by visiting the EFT Preparation Materials page and selecting the specific test you will be taking. You can also access additional study guides and practice tests in this area.

Praxis passing scores are generally determined by state. You may also want to contact the school you wish to apply to in order to learn what they require for Praxis passing scores, as they may differ.

Looking for resources to help you study for the Praxis? Check out Study.com's Praxis test prep resources.

By Amanda Johnson
June 2019
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