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PRAXIS & ACT Resources

This guide is designed to provide test-taking resources, specifically for the College of Education. It includes PRAXIS resources and strategies to help students from the College of Education be successful when taking required assessments.

Test-Taking Strategies


Test-Taking Tips

Test-Taking Tips

Below are some helpful tips and strategies to help you do your best on the Praxis® tests.

Tips to help you prepare effectively for test day:

  • Learn what the test covers.

You can find test specifications for your test(s) in the free Study Companion. Each Study Companion includes a comprehensive overview for the test, with detailed test descriptions and sample questions with answers and explanations to help you prepare.

  • Assess how well you know the content.

Research has shown that test takers tend to overestimate their preparedness — this is why some test takers assume they did well and then find out they did not pass.

The Praxis tests are demanding enough to require serious review of likely content, and the longer you've been away from the content the more preparation you will most likely need. If it has been longer than a few months since you've studied your content area, you will want to make a concerted effort to prepare for the Praxis tests.

  • Collect study materials.

Obtaining and organizing your materials for review are critical steps in preparing for the Praxis tests. Consider the following reference sources as you plan your study:

  • Did you take a course in which the content area was covered? If yes, do you still have your book(s) or your notes?
  • Does your college library have a good introductory college-level textbook in this area?
  • Does your local library have a high school-level textbook?

Additional test preparation resources are available for many Praxis tests. Check the Prepare for a Test page to see what materials are available for your test.

  • Plan and organize your time.

You can begin to plan and organize your time while you are still collecting materials. Allow yourself plenty of time to review so you can avoid "cramming" new material at the end. Here are a few tips:

  • Choose a test date far enough in the future to leave you plenty of preparation time.
  • Work backward from that date to figure out how much time you will need for review.
  • Set a realistic schedule and stick to it.
  • Develop a study plan.

A study plan provides a roadmap to prepare for the Praxis tests. It can help you understand what skills and knowledge are covered on the test and where to focus your attention. A written study plan (PDF) can help you organize your efforts.

  • Practice explaining the key concepts.

The Praxis® Subject Assessment constructed-response tests assess your ability to explain material effectively. As a teacher, you'll need to be able to explain concepts and processes to students in a clear, understandable way. What are the major concepts you will be required to teach? Can you explain them in your own words accurately, completely and clearly? Practice explaining these concepts to test your ability to effectively explain what you know.

  • Understand how questions will be scored.

Scoring information can be found in the Study Companion for each test.

Essay Test Strategies

  • Carefully read the question. Break the question into parts so you know what you need to answer for full credit.

  • Note what type of question is being asked - compare and contrast, analyze and comment...

  • Take the time to create an outline on your answer sheet so that even if you don't complete the essay the professor can see where you were going and may give you points. Although you are taking a few minutes away from answering the essay, it will increase your chances for a more coherent answer with examples that flow and an essay that makes sense. Use the parts of the essay to help create the outline - this will help with organization and keep you focused on topic.

  • Follow your outline and begin the essay. Write straight through and do not vary from the outline. You took the time to write it out so trust it. If you try to change the direction of your essay, you end up with arrows etc. and a difficult to read finish. The easier your essay is to read and the better it flows, the easier it will be for your professor to follow your train of thought thus a better grade.

  • Reread the directions and make sure you answered the entire questions. And if you still have time, reread your essay and correct spelling and grammar errors.

Test Anxiety

What is it?

Most students experience some level of anxiety but it is when it interferes with test performance that it is deemed excessive and labeled test anxiety. Test anxiety is often defined in physiological terms: sweaty palms, going blank, butterflies in the stomach...

But if it goes beyond the physiological and consistently interferes with performance then you may want to seek additional assistance from the College Counseling Center to gain a better understanding of its origin and how to cope with it.

What are ways to reduce it?
  • Assess your study skills and develop areas that are weaker to ensure successful learning efficiency
  • Be prepared. The more time you give yourself to prepare and learn the material the more confident you will feel the day of the exam.
  • Keep organized and on task. Keep to a schedule so that you know internally that you gave yourself enough time to study. Don't cram!
  • Get enough sleep starting two nights before the exam.
  • Keep hydrated
  • Exercise to eliminate stress
  • Eat well balanced meals. Make sure you eat breakfast or lunch before the exam with at least 20 minutes to digest. Do not eat greasy foods or drink caffeinated drinks they will upset your stomach.
  • Stay relaxed.
Test Anxiety and the day of the exam
  • Give yourself enough time to get to the exam and find a comfortable seat. Get your writing utensils out and blue book and scantron if needed. Take a couple of minutes to close your eyes and take a couple of deep breaths.
  • Do not discuss the material with other students who may sway you to think you don't know the material.
  • Do not bring your class materials with you. Going through the test information will only make you nervous.
Test Anxiety and taking the exam
  • Remember your test taking strategies - review the exam...
  • Occasionally stretch so that your body stays relaxed.
  • If you go blank then put your pencil down, sit up straight, take two or three deep breaths, then pick up your pencil again and begin. If you don't immediately recognize the question then go to the next.
  • Stay positive and remind yourself that you studied appropriately and that you know the material.
  • Remind yourself that some anxiety is normal and that you know the material
  • Don't pay attention to others movements or if they turn in their exams before you. You do not get points for being the first one to turn in your exam.