FTCE Middle Grades (5-9) Social Science: Practice Test & Study Guide

FTCE Middle Grades Social Sciences Exam

The Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FCTE) for social sciences in grades 5-9? You have come to the right place. This study guide will provide an overview of the FTCE social sciences 5-9 test, which is required for licensure and Florida professional teacher certification. We'll go over what content it covers, the types of questions you will encounter, and help you develop a study plan for areas you might need to familiarize yourself with. You will also get tips and strategies on how to take the FTCE. This guide will certainly help you to pass the FTCE social sciences 5-9 test.

Practice tests give you a better idea of the topics you have mastered and those you should keep studying.

FTCE Middle Grades Social Sciences Competencies

There are five competencies covered on the FTCE Social Science 5-9 exam: knowledge of history, geography, civics and government, economics, and social science curriculum and instruction at the middle grade levels. These are not focused on equally however. The most emphasis is on history, which comprises 33% of the test. Geography and civics and government are a close second at 25% each. Less emphasized is economics at 10%, and curriculum and instruction at only 7%. You may want to organize your studying time in similar ratios, unless you already know you are particularly deficient in one of the lesser areas.

The social sciences discipline covers a wide range of sub-disciplines. How does the state expect you to apply this knowledge? What skills and abilities must you demonstrate? This FTCE Social Sciences 5-9 study guide will take you through each of the FTCE competencies in detail and show you exactly what is expected of you on the test.

Knowledge of History (33%)

The most emphasis of the FTCE Social Science 5-9 exam is on knowledge of history. You must be able to

  • explain the causes and effects of important events around the world. For example, you might be asked what caused Great Britain and France to declare war on Germany and the Axis powers in 1939, or what was the effect of the Armenian genocide in 1915.
  • analyze primary documents. You may encounter a question such as What can you learn from bills of sale from a working plantation in Georgia in the 1700's? What do cave paintings in France tell us about the people who painted them?
  • know the contributions that ancient civilizations from all over the world made in the areas of culture, politics, economics, and technology.
  • know how geographic factors relate to major historical events, and how specific people and events influenced world civilizations. For example, you might be asked how Genghis Khan affected world trade, or what happened when Mao Zedong took China from an agrarian society to an industrial one.
  • know the causes and effects of exploration, migration, and settlement have been in various parts of the world.
  • show a robust knowledge of U.S. history, particularly the history of Florida. How did European exploration shape Florida? How did Cuban migration to Florida after World War II influence its history? How did Florida's economy come to be reliant on tourism and retirement?

Knowledge of Geography (25%)

The FTCE Social Science 5-9 geography competency will expect you to know the five themes of geography and the academic language specific to it. You should be able to

  • explain geography from a spatial perspective using maps and other tools.
  • analyze how and why people use locations for different uses and how people adapt to their environments. For example, why does most agriculture in Egypt take place along the banks of the Nile River? Why did many cities develop on coasts?
  • identify and evaluate effects on the environment caused by human forces.
  • explain the relationships between regions in terms of culture, politics, or economics. You might get a question about how the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) benefits each partner in that trade agreement. Or perhaps you'll have to identify interdependent regional relationships such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
  • show with statistics how various places make up different human and physical characteristics.
  • identify the reasons for the movement of people in the world, and differences in economic development between geographic regions. For example, a question on the test might ask you about mass migration from the Middle East to Europe in the 21st century and the reasons for it.

Knowledge of Civics and Government (25%)

Most of the civics and government section of the FTCE Social Science 5-9 deals with the United States. You can expect questions on:

  • how the U.S. government (local, state, and federal) is structured, how it functions and what its purpose is. You could come across a question asking what the role of the Executive branch of government is, or what percentage of the Congress does it take to override a president's veto.
  • the Constitution and other significant documents.
  • important concepts and content, for example, checks and balances in government, fundamental law, and the basic rights of citizens. *identifying the responsibilities of a citizen in the United States.
  • the electoral system and how U.S. elections function.
  • analysis of how social, cultural, and economic forces influence U.S. political institutions.
  • U.S. foreign policy. What are the consequences of our foreign policy in Iran or Russia?
  • international organizations the United States belongs to or deals with, such as the European Union and the United Nations. *comparing and contrasting the political system in the United States with other systems, i.e., communism, totalitarianism or monarchy.
  • U.S. Supreme Court cases and what changes they have had on different parts of U.S. society.

Knowledge of Economics (10%)

The economics part of the FTCE Social Science 5-9 exam is only 10% of the entire makeup of questions, but candidates should be familiar with:

  • various economic systems that operate in the world. What is the difference between a free-market economy and a state-controlled economy?
  • economic globalism and how it functions. How does the interdependence between nations influence trade and relationships? How do markets affect decisions about what a nation produces and consumes? For example, if there is a shortage of oil, will prices go up? Will consumption go down?

Besides international issues, you are expected to identify and evaluate issues important to individuals and communities, such as taxes, credit, and making consumer decisions. For example, municipalities, states, and the federal government collect all sorts of taxes. Property taxes, sales taxes, payroll taxes, estate taxes and gift taxes are just some examples. Those taxes and fees are used to fund a variety of needs, such as public schools, police and fire departments, our military, transportation costs and maintenance, and many other things. You can expect questions about both the purpose and effect of these various taxes. You might be asked about different types of credit, i.e., a mortgage and a credit card. What are their advantages and disadvantages?

Knowledge of Social Science Curriculum and Instruction

The fifth area of the FTCE social science 5-9 exam requires competency in social science curriculum and instruction. As you know, social science is an umbrella term for a variety of subjects; political science, history, sociology, civics, psychology, and anthropology are just some of the subjects under the social sciences umbrella. On the FTCE social science 5-9 curriculum test you must be able to identify:

  • relationships between the subdisciplines as well as show how they are incorporated into other major disciplines like math and science. For example, in both math and science, charts and graphs are common and much of the time they are developed using social science topics. In English, students write biographies, which are social science based.
  • a variety of differentiation strategies to make content accessible to all populations, e.g., English learners, special needs students, as well as gifted students.
  • the importance of using primary source documents and utilizing visuals (charts, graphs, maps) for effective teaching. You might get a question asking about non-traditional resources as well. If you are teaching a geography class perhaps you could incorporate Google Earth into the lesson, or if you are teaching civics, perhaps a trip to the courthouse is in order.
  • the different assessment strategies, both formative and summative, used in social sciences.

FTCE Middle Grades Social Sciences Test Registration and Logistics

How to Register

When you want to register for your FTCE social sciences 5-9 exam, be aware that it is by appointment only, but the FTCE test is given year-round. You need to register through your online account with FTCE, which will list available times and dates. After completing your FTCE registration, you will receive an appointment confirmation through email detailing when and where your test will take place.

Test Costs

The FTCE social sciences exam costs $150 and must be paid during online registration. Credit cards (Visa and MasterCard) and debit cards are accepted. Should you fail to pass the first time you take the exam, the FTCE retake fee for each subsequent retake also costs $150.

Test Sites

When you are ready to take your exam, you should be able to test at any of the FTCE testing locations near you. Florida has many computer-based testing (CBT) sites run by Pearson Vue throughout the state.

Session Length

The length of this FTCE test is 2 hours and 30 minutes. However, you need to arrive at the testing site at least thirty minutes early to go through screening. They will check your identification, take a palm scan, and make a visual inspection of your clothes. If you bring any personal items such as cellphones, electronic devices, hats, watches, or jewelry, you will be asked to store them in storage provided.

Passing Score

To pass the FTCE Social Sciences 5-9 exam you must receive a scaled score of 200. You will be given an unofficial pass/fail score on the day of the test. The FTCE official score report will be sent to you within four weeks.

Retake Policy

If you fail to pass the test the first time, you can retake it for a cost of $150. The FTCE retake policy requires you to wait 31 days and repeat the FTCE registration before you can retake the FTCE. The same guidelines detailed above apply if you need to retake the exam.

Languages Offered

The FTCE Middle Grades Social Science 5-9 (038) is offered in the English language only.

FTCE Middle Grades Social Sciences Question Count and Type

There are around 100 multiple choice questions on the exam in four formats: sentence completion, charts and graphs, direct questions, and command. Each type of question has four answer choices. This FTCE middle grades social sciences study guide will give you details below about each type of question.

Sentence Completion

The sentence completion format makes an incomplete statement that you must complete with one of the four choices given. Be sure that you read each one carefully to ensure you pick the best answer.


In geography, the theme that discusses place or position is:

a) location

b) place

c) movement

d) region

Charts and Graphs

In the charts and graphs format, you are given information organized in a chart or graph and you must answer a question based on that information. A good strategy for this type of question is to study the visual before you read the question. Look at the title, headings, and structure of the chart. After you understand the information in the chart or graph, then read the question carefully before you answer.


Town Total Budget School Budget
Town A $1,000,000 $600,000
Town B $2,000,000 $1,000,000
Town C $3,000,000 $2,000,000
Town D $3,000,000 $700,000

Which town spends the biggest percentage of their budget on schools?

a) Town A

b) Town B

c) Town C

d) Town D

Direct Question

Direct question is a standard question format. Read the question and answer carefully before answering. If you are not sure of the answer, use a process of elimination and then make your best guess.


Which branch of the United States government interprets law?

a) Executive

b) Congress

c) Judicial

d) Senate


A command question makes a statement and gives four answer choices. You can use the same process of elimination as in the direct question format if you are not sure of the answer.


Select the economic system that best describes the US system.

a) capitalist economy

b) mixed economy

c) socialist economy

d) communist economy

FTCE Middle Grades Social Sciences Practice Test

To pass the Social Science 5-9 test, prepare as thoroughly as possible. Sometimes the stress of test-taking can cause problems. There are several FTCE Social Science 5-9 study guides that can help you understand the expected content and structure your studying. Then, take a FTCE Social Science 5-9 practice test at least once to be sure you know exactly what to expect on the actual exam, especially in regards to question format and timing. There are free practice tests available with Florida Teacher Certification Exam sample questions to help you identify some weaker spots for further study. Taking FTCE test preparation courses and practicing with sample questions will help you pass this important test.


Take a Practice Test Online

Exam Instructions:

Complete the practice test below to test your knowledge.
Choose your answers below. Complete the 15 questions then click "See Results."

You have answered 0 out of 15 correctly.

The correct answers are highlighted with green below.

Sign Up
  1. The Arapaho people originated near which of the following regions?

    • Correct Answer
  2. The concept of novelty within historical research relies on researchers to

    • Correct Answer
  3. Which English explorer attempted to establish a colony in North Carolina?

    • Correct Answer
  4. Which constitutional amendments maintain the concept of the presumption of innocence?

    • Correct Answer
  5. What is the main component body of the United Nations?

    • Correct Answer
  6. Which of the following countries once had a fascist government?

    • Correct Answer
  7. What did the Stamp Act of 1765 do?

    • Correct Answer
  8. A person who buys ground turkey with less than 10% fat is engaging in what?

    • Correct Answer
  9. Which of the four qualities of good assessment consists of ensuring that the assessment is accurate?

    • Correct Answer
  10. Which is the final step in the naturalization process?

    • Correct Answer
  11. Select the term that refers to the development of a military force as a form of threat to another state?

    • Correct Answer
  12. Which of the following is a country located in West Africa?

    • Correct Answer
  13. Carly is in the School of Social Science at State University. Which of the following would not be her major course of study?

    • Correct Answer
  14. The Kush Empire weakened as a result of

    • Correct Answer
  15. The Renaissance was known for all of the following EXCEPT

    • Correct Answer