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So you want to become a teacher. You know it’s not an easy path, nor should it be, given what’s at stake. Across America, curriculum standards have been stiffened, with the rapidly evolving demands of the Information Age finding their way into the classroom with increasing frequency.
Now, all that stands between you and your admission into a teacher education program and to becoming a licensed professional is an exam battery called the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, better known as the Praxis Core tests.
It may sound overwhelming, but don’t worry. Our test prep has everything you need to pass the tests and start your teaching career. Let’s start with the basics.
The three tests in the Praxis Core battery gauge academic skills and content knowledge in three areas:
• Reading (5712)
• Writing (5722)
• Mathematics (5732)
You can take each test separately, but if you want to take all three tests at once, register for the Praxis Core Combined Test (5751).
How to Use This Book + Online Prep
Developed with the needs of future teachers in mind, this book, along with REA’s online diagnostic tools, helps you customize your prep so you can make the most of your study time. Use all of it or just what you need to brush up in select areas.
Our Praxis Core Book + Online Prep package includes:
• Expert test tips and strategies
• Focused content review for all three Praxis Core tests
• Practice exercises on every selected-response topic
• Extensive essay samples and analyses
• Advice on how to solve math problems quickly
• Three online diagnostic tests (one for each test subject) to help you pinpoint where you need to spend your study time
• Six full-length practice tests (two for each test subject) offered in the book and also online with the added benefit of timed testing conditions and diagnostic score reporting
Test Yourself at the Online REA Study Center
The REA Study Center (www.rea.com/studycenter) is where you’ll find the online material that
accompanies this book—the three diagnostic tests and six full-length practice tests. We know your time is precious and you want an efficient study experience. Our online content gives you feedback on where you stand right from the start.
Automatic Scoring—Find out how you did on your test, instantly.
Diagnostic Score Reports—Pinpoint the areas that challenge you the most, so you can study effectively.
Detailed Answer Explanations—Learn not just why a response option is correct, but also why the other answer choices are incorrect.
Timed Testing—Manage your time as you practice, so you’ll feel confident on test day. The Praxis Core tests are computer-based, so practicing online at the REA Study Center will simulate test-day conditions and help you become comfortable with the exam format.
Step One: Take REA’s Praxis Core Diagnostic Tests
We’ve included three online diagnostic tests at the REA Study Center—one for each Praxis Core subject. Our customized diagnostic tools will show you how to spend your time and focus your study, highlighting the areas where you need the most help.
Step Two: Evaluate Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Check your diagnostic score report. Are sentence-correction items your weak spot? If so, you’ll know where you need to extend your review. But even where you’re already strong, be sure to read our answer explanations. This is a prime opportunity to reinforce key concepts and hone your skills.
Step Three: Create Your Customized Study Plan
Based on your diagnostic feedback, use our self-evaluation chart and sample study plan to create a study schedule. We suggest you start your preparation at least five weeks before test day. This will give you plenty of time to study the review materials and take the practice tests.
Step Four: Review the Content
Improve your weak areas by reviewing the appropriate content areas in this book.
Step Five: Take the Practice Tests
With two REA practice tests for each Praxis Core subject, this book will test your subject knowledge and build your test-day confidence. Taking these tests online at the REA Study Center comes with the benefits of timed testing conditions and automatic score reports. Unlike the diagnostic tests, which are designed to help you identify your problem areas, our practice tests give you a thorough feel for the real exam.
To be assured you’re on the path to success on the Praxis Core, you’re looking to earn a score of at least 70% correct on your practice test’s multiple-choice questions. Think of this as a good approximation of a passing score. We also encourage you to take the interactive practice tests available from Educational Testing Service (ETS), the Praxis Core test developer. For details visit www.ets.org/praxis.
WHAT’S ON THE TESTS
We'll break down the Praxis Core tests for you in just a minute, but first a little background. The Praxis Core tests are used to comprehensively assess the academic skills and content knowledge of teacher candidates. They're typically taken early in your college career for entry into educator preparation programs. In addition, many states require Praxis Core scores for you to secure your teaching license.
These tests are used in more than 30 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity, which serves children of active duty military and DoD civilian families.
The Praxis Core comprises three tests:
• Reading—Rich with passages (sometimes presented in pairs), this test asks you to pick out key ideas and details, and to make logical inferences. You'll find questions drawn from informational documents and other nonfiction texts. The test also places emphasis on interpretation of words and phrases based on author intent. Mainly, these are standard multiple-choice questions that ask you to find the best answer. However, you'll also see some that have multiple correct answers; you won't be told how many, but such questions may have fewer response options than one-answer items.
• Writing—This test is divided into a multiple-choice section and two 30-minute essay sections. The first section puts you through your paces on usage, sentence correction, revision in context, and research skills. The two essays require very different approaches—in the first case, presenting an effective argument; in the second, analyzing a topic based on source material given to you.
• Mathematics—This test features mainly standard multiple-choice items with one best answer. But, as with the Reading test, be on the lookout for a few questions that require more than one correct answer. The Math test also includes numeric-entry questions. An on-screen four-function calculator that also computes square roots is provided to help you avoid simple arithmetic errors.
The Praxis Core tests are a regeneration, or rewriting, of the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests, or PPST, by Educational Testing Service (ETS) to reflect the more demanding Common Core State Standards adopted by most states. The new tests also align with the College and Career Readiness Standards released by the U.S. Department of Education in 2013. Like the PPST battery, these new tests are gateway assessments, designed to evaluate your proficiency in basic academic skills as you prepare to begin your teaching career. Most students take a computer-delivered test. However, students with ADA accommodations may qualify to take a paper-based version. For more information, visit the ETS website at www.ets.org/praxis.
ETS has updated its tests to measure better what teachers should know and be able to do as they implement the Common Core State Standards in their classrooms. The Common Core standards were developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. These English and Math standards encompass the knowledge and skills high school graduates are expected to master in order to succeed in college or a career. For more details, visit www.corestandards.org.