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Preparing for the Praxis Core Reading and Writing Exams

assessmentWhat are the Praxis Core exams?

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exams measure academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.  Reading, writing, and mathematics are essential skills for all candidates preparing to be teachers for all grade levels and content areas.  These tests are designed to provide an assessment that measures skills and content knowledge of candidates entering the teaching profession.

Who takes the tests?

Colleges and universities may use the Praxis core exams to evaluate individuals for entry into teacher education programs.  The assessments are generally taken early in college.  Some states in the United States require  Praxis Core scores as part of the teacher licensing process.

How are the Praxis core test given?

The tests are delivered by computer.  There is an international network of test centers that offer the exams continuously. The tests can be booked by following this link.

Overview of the Praxis Core Reading test

The exam is 85 minutes in the form of 56 passage-based questions covering:

  • Key ideas and details
  • Craft, structure, and language skills
  • Integration of knowledge and ideas

The exam measures academic skills in reading needed for teaching. In particular, there is an emphasis on skills that are critical to learning and achievement in teacher preparation programs.  The exam tests the candidate’s ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate texts of different kinds.

What does the test contain?

Multiple-choice questions based on passages. These questions vary in complexity and difficulty. The reading material on the test is drawn from a variety of subjects and real situations.

Each passage has questions that relate to reading skills.  All of the questions can be answered using the information in the passage.

There are four types of material:

  • Paired passages totaling about 200 words followed by four to seven questions
  • Long passages with about 200 words and four to seven questions
  • Short passages of about 100 words with two or three questions
  • You will be given a brief statement and then a question.

Passages are drawn from newspapers, magazines, journals, books, and graphics (for example, charts and diagrams)

Questions vary in difficulty and test the following skills:

  • Main idea
  • Supporting ideas
  • Purpose of the sentence
  • Authors attitude
  • Relationship of ideas
  • Inferences
  • Evaluation of evidence
  • Meaning of words
  • Recognize similar situations
  • Draw conclusions

The Praxis writing exam

The exam is 100 minutes with three sections.  The first section is multiple choice, which is 40 minutes.  The second section is an Argumentative essay, which is 40 minutes.  The third section is an Explanatory essay, which is 40 minutes.  The Core Academic Skills for Educators exam in Writing measures writing skills needed for a successful career in education.  All the skills have been identified as needed for college and career readiness.

What is in the Writing exam?

There is four parts to the multichoice section.

  • Error identification – these questions ask you to recognize errors in mechanics, in structural and grammatical relationships, and in idiomatic expressions or word choice.  You will be asked to identify sentences that are free of errors.
  • Sentence correction –  You will be asked to select the best way to restate a certain phrase or sentence.  In some cases, the phrase or sentence is correct as stated.
  • Revision in context – These questions ask you to recognize how a passage can be strengthened through editing and revision.  As you work through a short passage, you will consider development, organization, word choice, style, and the conventions of standard written English.  In some cases, the indicated portion of a passage will be most effective as it is already expressed.
  • Research skills – These questions ask you to recognize effective research strategies, the different elements of a citation, information relevant to a research task, and assess the credibility of sources.

The Essay section

The Praxis core writing test contains two essay task which asses your ability to write effectively within a time limit.

The argumentative essay section is 30 minutes.  This task will prompt you to discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with a commonly held opinion.

The Source-based essay section is 30 minutes.  This essay will prompt you to extract information from two provided sources to identify significant concerns related to an issue.

Tips for passing the Praxis reading and writing exams

  • Allow your self enough time to prepare. Avoid last-minute study, because it is best to enter the exam fully prepared and with a clear head.
  • Take care of the travel to the exam.  Allow plenty of time to get to the exam to avoid potential lousy traffic.
  • Get proper rest before the exam; do not stay up late studying.
  • Dress in comfortable clothes that are appropriate for the weather
  • Have a good meal beforehand, because you do not want to be distracted by hunger during the exam.
  • Bring a photo ID to the exam.
  • Try to avoid people or situations that create stress before the exam.
  • Manage your time by tackling the easy questions first.  Then select priorities the remaining questions from easiest first to most difficult.  you do not get penalized for not answering a question
  • Check your answers.  If you have time left at the end of the exam, look over each question.
  • Relax, and do your best, it is possible to miss a few questions and still pass the exam.  What matters most is the minimum passing score.


Aaron Skudder

6 Comments

  1. Hi, thank you so much for this information! Understanding the exam really makes it seem a lot less daunting. I do have a few questions though. Do you know of any practice essays or rubrics that are available? It would be helpful to know exactly how they are going to grade the essays. Also, what is the minimum passing score? Thank you!

    • The books that I have recommended provide practice examples.  The passing score varies from state to state, it is best to check with your university about their passing requirements.

  2. I never knew about these Praxis tests and found it interesting that they are used to assess the level of competence in our teachers, what a great idea. It is of concern that the standards for our teachers has dropped lower and a shame, if you don’t know it, you can’t teach it. This is a great way to keep that standards up.

  3. Wonderful Post. Brought me back to the days I had to take my NCLEX exam for my nursing license. The stress of trying to make sure you studied and crammed the night before to make sure you were as prepared as possible only to find that the test wasn’t anything like you pictured it would be.

    While I was reading your post I thought about how much in trouble our schools are in. Their are so many regulations, and changes to the teaching abilities nowadays. I am old school with how things are taught. I think the old way is perfect for learning your multiplication by learning your times tables is the best way to learn them. Now with Common Core they have complicated things so much we can’t even help our children at home anymore. Do you think this is good or bad? How does this change the exam process for students who want to go into the teaching field? 

    I think we need to go back to the core basic’s and teach our children phonics, and math facts. Why must we be so fancy with our math? This to me is causing our education system to be too concerned about how to keep up with Asia, and less about teaching out children. 

    I think these exams are great at trying to assess the teachers ability prior to going into the teaching field, but I really think it fails them. We have cause our teachers to have less time to teach, and we are just pushing students through without having even the basic idea of how to read, write, and do basic math. My daughter is in 4th grade, and she struggles with reading, and her writing is terrbile with mis-spelled words. What I have noticed is they are now encouraging our kids to guess rather than actually teaching them, and passing them on actual knowledge. 

    Great Post. I look forward to reading more.

    Kevin

    • I agree with you.  Have you read Rudolf Steiner? Steiner suggests that traditional methods of teaching are flawed and that kids learn through play and dance.  Teachers should be trained to accommodate the different ways in which students learn, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ type approach.

  4. Hello dear, thanks for sharing such exclusive information with us, I was actually doing some reviews when I saw your post online, I am glad I got to see these I will surely recommended all my kids l, cause these is a nice , I believe all kids will find these woteup soon okay, thanks for sharing these topic, I’ll surely do some recommendations

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