5 Things to Know to Pass the Praxis the First Time
Becoming a teacher takes a lot of hard work. After years of study and countless practicum hours in the classroom, only one hurdle stands in the way: the Praxis test. Created by the Educational Testing Services (ETS), this challenging exam serves as the official teacher licensing test for educators across the country. Whether you're hoping to share your love of art with kindergarteners or explore the universe with high school astronomy students, you'll likely have to take and pass the Praxis before you're offered such a job.
In order to pass the Praxis the first time, you'll want to spend some serious time preparing. Thankfully, there are a few tried-and-true preparation strategies that will serve you well no matter which version of the Praxis you plan to take. Understand these five things about the Praxis test and you're certain to pass on your very first attempt:
Understand the Context
You wouldn't walk into a job interview without knowing for which position you are interviewing. Context, after all, is everything. In order to best prepare for the Praxis test, it helps to understand the big picture. Before you dive into studying for the exam, take a look at the ETS-provided “Test at a Glance” document. This tool outlines all you need to know about the content of the exam, how many of each type of question to expect, and some sample questions and answers.
Once you've got a better understanding of what is expected of you, you can begin preparing in earnest. Anyone hoping to pass the Praxis the first time they attempt it would do well to map out a study schedule that incorporates the details they learned from the “Test at a Glance” document. It's the most direct path to a successful first attempt!
Identify Blind Spots
One of the most difficult parts of any standardized test is identifying the things you don't know. While you may be well aware of your weaknesses in the mathematics department, for instance, you may not realize you also struggle with the fundamentals of pedagogy. It's hard to know which aspects of the Praxis test fall into our blind spots, though, which is why practice testing can be so useful.
In order to best prepare for the Praxis, you'll want to start and finish your studies with a practice test. Research shows that practice testing is one of the best forms of exam prep available. Because your skills are put to the test in ways you can't predict, you'll experience a more authentic examination of what you do – or do not – already know. The results of your practice test can guide the rest of your exam prep.
Understand Why Wrong Answers are Incorrect
It's not enough to simply take practice exams ahead of the Praxis test. You've got to also work to understand why you got certain questions wrong. When taking practice tests, make detailed notes about your results. Go through each incorrect response to discover why you got a particular item wrong. Analyze the mistakes you made and consider how you'll avoid making such an error again. Simply chalking a wrong answer up to bad luck won't help you improve!
Learning from your mistakes is what has led you to success all your life. Now is your chance to use that strategy and pass the Praxis the first time you take it. Spend some time with each incorrect item and delve deep into why you were led astray. You'll be surprised at how much you can learn from your incorrect responses!
Practice All Skills
Knowing the content of the Praxis test backwards and forwards will certainly help you perform well, but it's not the only avenue to a passing score. In order to ensure you pass on your first attempt, it helps to practice a variety of test-taking skills. Time management, educated guessing, and the use of the process of elimination can all bolster your Praxis efforts. You've been successfully taking tests for years – now is the time to really show all you've learned!
Answer Every Question
There is no penalty for guessing on the Praxis test. That means you can take your best guess on questions you feel especially clueless about. Rather than leave such questions blank, take time to make an educated guess. Eliminate answers you know to be incorrect in order to up the chances of getting the question right. While it never feels good to guess on such an important exam, the alternative is leaving the question unanswered – never a good option!
Start Practicing Now
Only 46 percent of teaching candidates pass their licensing exam on their first attempt. To ensure you're not wasting valuable time and money on exam registration, take a few Praxis practice exams ahead of the real thing. Exam Edge offers free sample practice tests to help aspiring teachers pass the Praxis the first time they take it. Get started with your sample now!