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What Is the Praxis Exam?
Many states require that prospective teachers take one or more Praxis exams, created and facilitated by Educational Testing Service (ETS) for licensing and certification purposes. These Praxis exams aim to verify an individual's academic knowledge and teaching abilities. In certain instances, those who intend to teach a specific subject area may also be required to pass one or more subject-specific Praxis exams to demonstrate their expertise within their discipline. The Praxis tests include the following:
Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators: This exam assesses an individual's expertise in reading, writing, and mathematics content regardless of their discipline or intended grade level.
Praxis Subject Assessments: These exams test an individual's knowledge in a specific subject area that they intend to teach in grades K-12, in addition to overall teaching skills and practices.
Praxis Elementary Education: Content Knowledge for Teaching Assessments (CKT): These tests assess expertise in a specific subject area with the intention of teaching at the elementary level.
Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators
Those who wish to begin a teaching career usually take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test (formerly known as the Pre-Professional Skills Test or PPST) in order to validate the content and instruction-based knowledge they possess, as well as the areas upon which they can improve in a teacher education program. Most colleges and universities will issue the Praxis Core exam to students to assess their reading, writing, and mathematics basic skills prior to them enrolling in a teacher education program. Additionally, many states typically require a passing score on the Praxis Core exam for individuals to become eligible for a state teaching license or certification.
The Praxis Core exam is made up of multiple-choice, numeric entry answers, selected-response questions, and two essay responses. Study guides and practice tools for the Praxis Core are widely available online for test takers to utilize in preparation for the exam.
The Praxis Core exam for teachers is usually an online test that is administered through the ETS to individuals at local testing centers.
Praxis Subject Assessments (Praxis II)
While the comprehensive Praxis Core exam may be a state requirement for prospective teachers prior to admission to a teacher education program and/or earning licensure and certification, those who intend to teach a specific subject area or grade level may also need to take a Praxis Subject Assessment, or Praxis II, test. The Praxis II exams allow educators to demonstrate their expertise in a specific discipline, as well as general teaching practices for teaching grades K-12.
Depending on the state in which they intend to teach, individuals may be required to pass the Praxis II exams to earn their teaching licensure and certification. Similar to the Praxis Core exam, Praxis II tests, excluding the exam for Braille Proficiency, are administered digitally at a local testing center.
There are approximately 90 Praxis II exams in wide-ranging academic topics such as algebra, sociology, psychology, theater, and world languages. Educators should review their state's requirements for teaching a specific subject area to determine which Praxis II tests they need to complete, as well as the minimum passing scores their state requires them to earn.
It is recommended that educators review the Praxis test preparation materials (e.g., study guides, study companions, and practice tests) for their intended Praxis II examinations.
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Who Should Take the Praxis Exams?
Prospective or first-time educators may be required to take the Praxis exams for teacher credentialing purposes in their state. Additionally, some professional licensing agencies or higher education institutions may also require a passing Praxis score.
Students looking to enroll in a teacher education program should take the Praxis Core exam (and may also be required to do so by their college or university) to gauge their educational knowledge and identify areas in need of improvement.
While each state has its testing standards for Praxis exams and teacher certification, individuals who have scored a passing score on the Praxis test may be able to submit their scores for licensure in other states, as well.
Which Praxis Exams Do I Need to Take?
Individual states determine the different types of Praxis exams an educator must take, as well as the minimum passing score a person must meet for licensing. This means that test takers are responsible for investigating their state's Praxis testing requirements. Individuals can find information from their state's credentialing body to learn more about the different Praxis exams, certifications, and other requirements based on where they intend to teach.
If a state requires educators to submit their scores from the Praxis Core exam, individuals will need to complete all three subtests, which encompass reading, writing, and mathematics. Each state also decides whether or not prospective teachers must complete the Praxis II exams to teach a particular subject or grade level.
Which States Require Praxis Exams?
Nearly all states, except for a few, use the Praxis tests for teaching licensure and certification. States that do not require the Praxis exam typically use the National Evaluation Series (NES) instead of, or in addition to, various Praxis tests.
Some examples of varying combinations of Praxis testing requirements are represented by the following states:
Praxis Core, Praxis II, and School Leadership Series
Praxis Core and Praxis II
Praxis Core, Praxis II, and School Leadership Series
Praxis Core, Praxis II, and School Leadership Series
Praxis Core and Praxis II
How Do I Register for a Praxis Exam?
Before scheduling a Praxis test, candidates should review their state's requirements for certification and licensure, as well as the Praxis testing policies, accompanying fees, and available accommodations for those with disabilities.
Individuals may register to take a Praxis exam online by filling out the online form and providing their debit/credit card information. An admission ticket (sent by email) will provide further details about the testing location and time that a person is scheduled to take the exam. It is recommended that individuals bring a hard copy of their admission ticket to the testing center on the day of the exam in case the administrator asks to see it.
Candidates may also register to take a Praxis exam by mail or phone. For those who wish to register by mail, a hard copy of the Test Authorization Voucher Request Form from the ETS website must be printed and mailed in. Phone registration is also available at a nominal fee for applicants who have a Praxis account and intend to take the test in the United States.
When Can I Take the Praxis?
Depending on the state and/or college or university, students seeking an education major may need to pass the Praxis exam(s) to obtain their teaching credentials. The dates in which candidates may take the Praxis Core and the Praxis II exams are usually fluctuating, particularly since many schools require that students pass the Praxis Core in order to apply to a teacher education program, while Praxis II exams may need to be completed at the end of the program or the beginning of a student teaching component. By the time a student takes the Praxis Subject Assessments, it is expected they have completed all their other coursework and have gained the content knowledge necessary to be successful on the exams.
Students should refer to their college or university's website or speak with an academic advisor to determine when they should register to take the Praxis exam to meet any program deadlines.
How Much Does It Cost to Take the Praxis Exam?
The Praxis exam fees typically vary depending on the type of test an educator is registered to take. The Praxis Core charges candidates approximately $90 per subtest (reading, writing, or mathematics). Test takers also have the option to take a Praxis Core combined skills test that includes all sections for $150.
Praxis Subject Assessment tests tend to be more expensive, with exam fees ranging from $120 to about $200 depending on the subject area or grade level. Additionally, prospective elementary school educators may opt to take the Praxis Subject Assessments as a bundle, ranging in price from $60 to $170.
Praxis test takers may also be subject to service fees for phone registration, making changes to test centers or exam dates, and obtaining additional score reports. A fee of $65 is also typical for reviewing Praxis score reports.
College students who are enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, are receiving financial aid, and who are required to take the Praxis exams for a teacher education program may be eligible for a fee waiver. Fee waivers are limited, however, per date and institution.
Where Can I Take the Praxis?
The Praxis exams are administered at several different testing centers around the United States and internationally, including universities and colleges, Prometric centers, and additional locations. Each site delivers the Praxis exams through digitally-based testing for the Praxis Core and Praxis II exams. However, the Praxis Braille Proficiency exam and the Praxis American Sign Language (ASL) exam are not digitally administered and entail different kinds of testing formats.
For those seeking additional information regarding testing centers in the United States or internationally, the ETS website provides a searchable map where test takers may look up local Praxis testing sites by zip code.
Praxis Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Reasonable Praxis testing accommodations are available for students with disabilities and must be approved by the ETS before scheduling an exam. Accommodations can be requested online, email, or mail, and may take about six weeks for the paperwork to be received. Additional paperwork could take longer to process, so accommodation requests should be made as soon as possible. Upon being approved, the ETS will notify the individual of exam registration procedures.
Some common accommodations for the Praxis exams may include the following:
Longer testing time
The ability to test in a different room
Sign language interpreter
Having a writer/recorder to assist with answering questions
While all Praxis exams are delivered in English, individuals whose first language isn't English may request additional time to complete their exam, as well.
What Is on the Praxis Exams?
Each state requires a different combination of Praxis examinations (Praxis Core, Praxis Subject Assessments, and/or Praxis Elementary Education: Content Knowledge for Teaching Assessments) for credentialing purposes. The aim of the Praxis exams is to help determine whether a prospective teacher meets the content knowledge and instructive expertise necessary for certification in the state that they plan to teach.
The Praxis exam material ranges depending on the type of test or subtest being completed. While the Praxis Core material is often more generalized in reading, writing, and mathematics content and pedagogy, a Praxis Subject Assessment will cover material geared toward a particular discipline.
Prospective teachers taking the Praxis Core exam will be required to answer questions within the three subtests: reading, writing, and mathematics. Each of these subtests is designed to assess the academic skills of teacher candidates no matter which grade level or subject they intend to teach.
The Praxis Core Reading exam typically covers various reading comprehension topics and skills, such as conceptualizing the objective of a passage, recognizing the author's tone and style, subtexts, critical analysis, and drawing inferences.
The Praxis Core Writing exam evaluates the test taker's ability to develop perspectives and arguments in expository and argumentative essay writing. An emphasis is placed on language, sentence structure, revisions, writing style, research skills, etc., and individuals will also have a series of multiple-choice questions to answer.
The Praxis Core Mathematics exam assesses the test taker's ability to solve a variety of mathematical questions, including integers, fractions, and decimals; data sets; perimeter and area formulas, geometry concepts, and algebraic equations.
Praxis Test Length & Format
The various Praxis exams' lengths and formats depend on the type of subtest being taken. Praxis Core subtests (reading, writing, and mathematics) may be taken on separate days and times, or be completed in one sitting. The following table breaks down the time and delivery format for each Praxis Core subtest:
100 (40 minutes for multiple-choice; 30 minutes for essays)
The Praxis II exams vary in length and structure according to the subject area an individual is testing in. On average, subject tests may take anywhere from 2-4 hours to complete. The format of each individual test may be made up of multiple-choice, selected response, essay questions, or a combination of each. The number of questions also varies by the subject-based exam.
Test takers can view details on each Subject Assessment and familiarize themselves with each exam's preparation materials as they begin to develop their study strategies.
How Is the Praxis Scored?
Scoring of Praxis exams is determined by the types of questions being asked (e.g., multiple-choice or written response). For multiple-choice questions, answers are scored by a machine for accuracy, and each correct response is worth one raw point. Raw points are based on how many questions are answered correctly within the exam.
For essay or constructed-response answers, scoring is done by a qualified scorer who must meet stringent scoring standards set by ETS. For example, written answers are reviewed and scored by a minimum of two highly skilled scorers who specialize in a particular set of questions.
Any pretest or sample questions included in the Praxis exams will not be applied toward the scoring of the Praxis exam; however, the questions themselves may be used in future tests.
It should be noted that only correct answers are counted toward the final score of the exam, so Praxis test takers may wish to guess the answer on questions they are uncertain about.
How Hard Are the Praxis Exams?
Essentially, the Praxis Core exam aims to measure an individual's academic skills when it comes to educational content. While the content may sound simple enough, it is important for test takers to reacquaint themselves with their educational background and the types of academic skills they used when they were in school. The U.S. Department of Education's 2010 data report states that approximately 86.9% of test takers pass the Praxis exam; however, that rate continues to decrease as states raise the minimum pass scores and the exam itself becomes increasingly difficult.
Individuals taking the Praxis II subject tests may find that the Praxis material is more in-depth and specialized to the subject area or grade level they intend to teach. In that respect, the Praxis II test may be somewhat simpler than the Praxis Core as it tests within an individual's discipline of study.
There are several Praxis study guides and materials to prepare test takers for the exam.
Praxis Passing Scores
Each state defines its standards of passing scores on Praxis exams. Test takers can find complete information on passing scores by checking information shared by their state's credentialing organization.
For example, minimum passing scores on the three Praxis Core subtest sections are as follows in the following states:
Praxis Retake Policy
If a teaching candidate does not pass the Praxis exam, they must wait at least 28 days before they can retake the Praxis test. Additionally, for those who take a Praxis exam with a series of subtests, it is also prohibited to retake any subtest within the 28-day timeframe. Examples of subtests may include Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects, the CKT test, or the Pennsylvania Grades 4-8 Core Assessment.
If a teaching candidate cancels their scores on a previous Praxis test, the same 28-day rule applies for retaking the exam. Individuals who violate the retake policy will be subject to having their new retake scores being canceled by the ETS, as well as being unable to receive a refund.
How Can I Study for the Praxis?
There are many options available to anyone preparing for a Praxis exam, including detailed study guides that cover specific Praxis subtests and subject assessments, interactive practice tests to determine areas of strength and potential for growth, and study plans to help test takers feel confident going into test day. These study tools are available at a wide range of price points and can offer flexibility for test takers with varying amounts of study time available to them as their test date approaches.
Specific study tools that are available to anyone preparing for the Praxis exams include study guides, interactive practice tests, study plans, content-specific apps and online courses, and both local and remote study groups.
Praxis Study Guides
Many prospective teachers will find study guides useful as they strategize their studying across the reading, writing, and mathematics skills needed to successfully pass the Praxis Core exam. Study guides are also available for the Praxis Subject Assessments and often begin with a diagnostic test that helps gauge a test taker's strengths as well as the skills and knowledge they need to improve. After the initial diagnostic test, students may design a tailored study plan for themselves, watch video lessons, and complete full-length practice exams to measure their progress.
Additionally, comprehensive study guides are often available in interactive online or PDF form and provide an overview of each Praxis Core subtest or individual Subject Assessment. These guides include in-depth information on individual tests, practice questions, tips for test takers, and links to further information.
Praxis Prep Courses
Those preparing to take the Praxis exams may utilize an online prep course. These courses are designed to teach specific content found on the Praxis exams to ensure that test takers can review the most essential topics. These prep courses are often taught by Praxis experts through video lessons and instructional examples. Often, prep courses will allow learners to quiz themselves on the material following each lesson or set of lessons to demonstrate their learning and address areas that need improvement.
Praxis Practice Tests
Praxis practice tests provide the chance for test takers to familiarize themselves with what the Praxis exam is like, including the amount of time they spend on each question, areas in need of improvement, and the content itself. Practice tests are available for many Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessment disciplines and can be invaluable in helping to prepare for test day by mimicking not just the specific content areas addressed on each exam, but also giving a peek into the tone and question formats that each exam will use.
Adrianne Baron, M.S. has taught and developed biology courses for over 20 years. She has brought her insights to both high school and college classrooms, in-person and online. Adrianne passed Praxis and GACE exams during the course of her certification. She has an M.S. in Cancer Biology from the University of Texas and an M.S. in Biology with a Concentration in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry from Georgia State University.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who has to take the Praxis test?
Praxis tests may be required for prospective educators at one or two points in their path toward teacher certification. The Praxis Core exams are often a requirement for entry into a teacher preparation program, and passing scores on Praxis exams are a requirement for teacher certification in more than 40 states.
What happens if you fail the Praxis test?
If you do not earn a high enough score on your Praxis test to meet your state's credentialing standards, you may retake the exam. There is a required waiting period of three weeks (21 days) between tests, but you may register to retake the test as soon as you feel you're ready.