New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE) are required exams for future teachers in the state of New York. These exams are objective-based and designed to assess a teacher candidate's skills and knowledge before teacher certification.
The NYSTCEs are not designed to be competitive. Instead, they measure a candidate's mastery within a standard score range unique to each exam. These tests aim to ensure that teacher candidates in New York have the knowledge and skills to be successful educators. In addition to tests for classroom teachers, the NYSTCE suite includes exams for teacher assistants and school leaders. Each exam is accompanied by its own unique study guide, preparation guide, NYSTCE practice questions, and test framework. Committees of various stakeholders, ranging from teachers, teacher educators, and assessment specialists worked as consultants in the creation of these exams.
NYSTCE provides a wide range of exams, encompassing a variety of fields and grade levels. Below is a list of the major sub-groups of exams, each of which has its own practice test, including tips on how to pass the NYSTCE exams.
Assessment of Teaching Assistant Skills (ATAS) (095)
This computer-based test (CBT) consists of 100 selected-response questions. The total appointment time is 3 hours and 15 minutes, with 15 minutes for the CBT tutorial and nondisclosure agreement added to the 3 hour testing time. A passing score on this exam is 220, out of a range of 100 to 300.
Educating All Students (EAS) (201)
This computer-based test contains 40 selected-response questions and 3 constructed-response questions. The total appointment time encompasses 2 hours and 30 minutes, with 15 minutes allotted for the CBT tutorial and nondisclosure agreement and the remaining 2 hours and 15 minutes allotted for testing time. The passing score for this exam is 520, out of a range of 400-600.
Assessment of Teaching Skills - Written (ATS-W)
There are two versions of this exam, Elementary (090) and Secondary (091), and they both follow the same format. Both are computer-based tests and consist of 80 selected-response questions and 1 constructed-response question. Both exams are 4 hours and 15 minutes long, with the first 15 minutes dedicated to a CBT tutorial and nondisclosure agreement. The testing time encompasses 4 hours. Out of a range of 100-300, the passing score for this exam is 220.
Content Specialty Tests (CST)
NYSTCE administers 45 Content Specialty Tests (CST), ranging alphabetically from Agriculture to Visual Arts. Each exam has its own framework, timeframe, and score report. Refer to the NYSTCE Tests Page to learn more about each one. Here, you will also find helpful tips on how to pass the NYSTCE CST exams.
Communication and Quantitative Skills Test (CQST)
A computer-based test, this exam consists of 100 selected-response items. The total appointment time is 4 hours and 15 minutes, with the first 15 minutes allotted for the CBT tutorial and nondisclosure agreement. The testing time is 4 hours. Out of a range of 100-300, the passing score is 220.
Bilingual Education Assessments (BEAs)
There are more than 45 BEA exams available from NYSTCE. Each of the exams follows a similar framework in that they are all computer-based tests. Each consists of 40 selected-response items and 5 constructed-response items. The total appointment time is 4 hours and 15 minutes for each exam, with the first 15 minutes constituting a CBT tutorial and nondisclosure agreement. The passing score on a BEA exam is 220 out of a range of 100-300.
School Building Leader (SBL) (109/110)
This computer-based test has two parts. Part One consists of 41 selected-response items, 1 extended performance task, and 2 shorter performance tasks. Part Two contains 26 selected-response items, 2 extended performance tasks, and 1 shorter performance tasks. This will include a 15-minute video of a teacher's instruction. Each part is 4 hours, 15 minutes long, with the first 15 minutes designated for the CBT tutorial and nondisclosure agreement and the remaining 4 hours allotted for testing. The passing score is 520 out of a range of 400-600.
The edTPA is a multi-platform assessment required for most New York State teaching candidates. It's portfolio-based and includes videotapes of the candidate, student work, and written reflections.
CST NYSTCE Practice Tests
CST NYSTCE Practice Tests can be found online and in print. Some will focus on practice questions and their answers, while other will also provide the study guides. Practice tests are an essential tool in exam preparation because they will introduce candidates to the content and difficulty level of the CST exams. Candidates can guide their own preparation through these practice exams and ensure that they are prepared to demonstrate proficiency in their content area(s) of specialty.
NYSTCE Preparation Guide
It is highly recommended that all candidates review the NYSTCE practice questions and preparation guides available for their individual exam(s). The preparation guides provide practical roadmaps for teacher candidates and help answer many exam-related questions. Candidates should also look for high-quality resources from other educational companies, many of which provide a number of helpful materials to help with NYSTCE practice. Additionally, it is helpful to create a study schedule, and perhaps find an accountability partner with whom it is possible to read practice exams and analyze the results. Finally, it is important to understand all testing procedures ahead of time, as well as the exact location and policies of the assigned center.
Teaching candidates can take the NYSTCE exams year-round, Monday through Saturday, at an approved testing facility. There is a list of available test sites and dates available on the NYSTCE website. Exam fees vary and typically range between $60.00 and $120.00, though some are much higher. The registration process begins on the NYSTCE website, where candidates are then routed to Pearson Vue for testing centers and dates.
Identifying Test Content
Each NYSTCE exam has a unique frameworks that lays out and structures its contents. Looking into the framework of the test(s) one needs to take is a great step to take early on when studying. Once one knows what they will be tested on they can then look for relevant practice questions. Practice questions can be a particularly effective tool in determining what is likely be on a test. Preparation guides will encompass the required content as well as offer helpful suggestions for studying.
Preparing a Study Routine
NYSTCE preparation guides are the most effective way to plan and prepare a study routine for each of the NYSTCE exams. Study guides, test frameworks, and practice tests are all essential tools for preparation, as they will guide a candidate through the most important elements of each exam. Additionally, the frameworks will indicate the weight of each portion of the exam. Many candidates benefit from a structured study routine that includes these strategies:
Studying at the same time every day
Taking 15-minute breaks every 1-2 hours
Incorporating a review period for the previous day's content
Taking practice tests every week or two
Tailoring study times to the results of the practice tests (spending more time on areas of weakness)
Test Day Strategies
After registering for an exam, candidates will receive exam confirmation information. This information will include the date, time, test center location, and required procedures at the test center. There are tutorials available via NYSTCE to help prepare individuals for what to expect at the test centers and how to prepare to take computer-based tests. Candidates must bring proper government-issued identification and review the list of prohibited items. Numerous items will not be allowed into the testing center, so it is essential to be aware of any items that might disqualify an exam. These policies may vary from test to test and from testing center to testing center. Test-takers should arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled exam time; this will allow for administrative tasks and help them ease into the process at a more relaxed pace.
In addition to knowing the policies, candidates should:
Get a good night's rest
Avoid cramming material on the exam day and the night before
Stay away from alcohol for 2-3 days before the test
Prepare an exam day bag the night before
Make a plan for getting to the test site
Eat a light, healthy breakfast
Armed with a study plan, test competencies and test day strategies, candidates should be well on the way to acing the NYSTCEs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I prepare for the NYSTCE ATS-W?
Look through the NYSTCE ATS-W test's framework to familiarize yourself with its contents. Use practice questions or a test to see what areas you could improve in. Then study up in those areas.
Is the NYSTCE ATS-W exam hard?
The NYSTCE ATS-W exam has a high pass rate, typically about 90% or more. An individual should be prepared and relaxed for this exam, just like any other.
How many questions are on the NYSTCE tests?
There are a wide variety of NYSTCE tests with varying amounts of questions. Many of the exams are a combination of constructed and selected-response questions. Most consist of between 40-100 questions.
How do I pass the NYSTCE EAS test?
Get acquainted with the EAS test's framework. Then look into various test prep materials and pick out the ones that work best for you. Study the topics you could be stronger in, and you should be prepared for test day.