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How Do I Score Well on the English Praxis™?

By T. Carrier
Updated May 17, 2024
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Successful completion of Praxis™ tests is arguably the most crucial first step in a successful teaching career. English Praxis™ tests can ensure that a future instructor is prepared for teaching reading and writing. Strategies for doing well on this challenging test include general test preparation tips like proper studying and time management. A full understanding of the types of questions and subjects addressed by the test will further equip the test-taker with a solid foundation.

Praxis™ tests are teacher certification exams used in the United States that assess comprehensive knowledge in a number of subject areas. The English Praxis™ is a type of Praxis II™ subject examination that tests abilities in reading, writing, and basic language skills. These tests are designed for individuals who seek specific certification in teaching English subject courses. English-related questions may also be prominent on the Praxis I™ test, which is a general knowledge examination designed for all prospective teachers.

Studying is the main component of success in any test-taking endeavor. Questions are multiple choice or essay, and they generally address concepts learned throughout various English academic courses. Therefore, old notes or books from these courses can be prime study material.

In order to achieve proper preparation for the English Praxis™, a schedule of study should be created and maintained. Ideally, one will register for the test well in advance of the actual test date. At this point, a specific amount of time should be set aside each week for studying. Adherence to a schedule will help ensure that preparation is taken seriously.

Perhaps the greatest aid to a high score on the English Praxis™ is timing. The tests are expensive and time-consuming, and multiple attempts may reflect negatively on the test-taker. As such, one should be at optimal preparation when registering for the test.

Several resources are available that will give you a percentage estimate of the questions you answer correctly in each subject division. These resources will help you evaluate your familiarity with each subject and create a plan for improving your weakest areas. No matter the perceived level of familiarity, however, each area should receive attention. Besides old class materials, library books and study groups offer other options for thorough reviews. Many online sites and organizations also have practice tests for various subject areas, including the English Praxis™.

Understanding of English Praxis™ question types will also help garner an improved score. The teaching occupation requires thorough understanding and application of knowledge, so most questions will require more thought than simple recall. For example, a test-taker may be asked to fill in the blank on an incomplete statement relating to a piece of writing. In addition, questions that begin "which of the following" — in which several similar answers are offered in a multiple choice format — are not uncommon.

Question content is of great importance as well. Most English questions on a Praxis™ test will focus on reading comprehension and proper writing strategies. Often, test-takers will be directed to read a passage of writing and several questions will follow based on that passage. Questions may be directed at a passage’s theme, historical significance, or the inferred meaning of certain lines. Different literary styles may also be considered within the question, such as point of view, tone, and use of similes and metaphors. Further, test-takers may be asked to analyze the effectiveness of a particular piece of writing, noting concepts like organization, word choices, and suggested revisions.

While Praxis II™ multiple choice English exams measure general content knowledge, many prospective teachers must also take Praxis II™ English essay exams for full teaching certification. These essay exams typically ask students for themes, interpretations, and attributes about a literary writing sample. On certain exams, essay questions may also ask about teaching approaches to literature or about strengths and weaknesses of sample student writing.

All questions are intended to measure whether a prospective teacher understands and can apply the same concepts he or she will be instilling in students. Typically, literature-related questions and understanding literary passages comprises the bulk of an English Praxis II™ test. The next highest percentage will likely comprise identification and application of writing and research strategies. Roughly 15 percent of the test will consider basic language and grammar issues. These latter questions could include the following subjects: sentence structure, punctuation, parts of speech, word origins, and capitalization rules.

For the English portion of the Praxis I™ test, grammar and language are more prominent components. The multiple choice questions on this section of the test generally evaluate an individual's ability to identify errors in a sentence and make corrections. Test-takers should therefore have a firm grasp of basic grammar concepts. Essay questioning should also be expected on this test.

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