Praxis® II Test Study Guide & Exam Info

What Is the Praxis II?

The Praxis Subject Assessments, formerly known as the Praxis II, evaluate the prospective teacher's knowledge of specific subjects at the K-12 level.

All of the subject assessments (SAs) are computer-based tests, except the Braille test. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers both the Praxis Core and the Praxis Subject Assessments, which comprise over 90 exams in diverse areas of study.

It's important to note that the Praxis II exams were modified in many ways when they became the Praxis Subject Assessments. Several of the Praxis II tests were discontinued entirely, and several more underwent significant changes. That being the case, beware of outdated, recycled, and potentially flawed guides that you may find elsewhere on the internet. Instead, when studying for your SA, make sure to use the most current and complete guides and study companions so that you can be properly prepared and truly confident on your chosen Praxis test dates.

What Are the Praxis Tests?

The Praxis suite of exams consists of dozens of exams that can be taken singly or as part of a bundle of related exams. Praxis tests may be taken by prospective educators as a condition of admission to a teacher preparation program and/or as a fulfillment of teacher credentialing requirements in their state. The exact sequence and timing of the Praxis exams depend on the state in which they are being taken, and the exam content largely depends on the subject(s) and level(s) the test taker wishes to teach. While many of the Praxis exams are intended to measure a test taker's knowledge of a subject, there are others whose purpose is to assess the readiness of a future teacher to use their pedagogical expertise and lead a classroom. The sections that follow describe both the Praxis Core exams as well as the Praxis Subject Assessments (previously called Praxis II) in more detail.

Praxis Core

The Praxis Core, which every prospective teacher in the 40 states below (with some exceptions) is required to take, is composed of three elements: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.

In the Praxis Core Reading exam, examinees have 85 minutes to read and evaluate passages and answer around 56 corresponding selected-response questions.

In the Praxis Core Writing test, examinees first answer 40 selected-response questions in 40 minutes. They then have 60 minutes to compose two essays, one argumentative and one explanatory/informative.

In the Praxis Core Math, examinees have 90 minutes to answer around 56 selected-response and numeric-entry (typed into a box) questions.

Praxis Subject Assessments

The Praxis Subject Assessments include over 90 subject tests, including specific tests for special education, Braille, school counseling, school psychology, and more, but aspiring educators need only take the tests that correspond to the subjects they wish to be certified to teach. For example, an aspiring high school math teacher wouldn't be required to take a middle school English subject assessment.

The SAs vary in length of time (from 1 to 4 hours), the number of questions, and the question format. Most clock in at 2 to 2.5 hours and contain somewhere between 60 and 130 questions. Some tests are entirely composed of multiple-choice questions; others include constructed-response (short essay) questions and essays.

Praxis CKT

The Praxis CKT exam, or Content Knowledge for Teaching, is composed of four tests that evaluate the examinee's ability to put their subject knowledge into action in the classroom. Rather than simply measuring content knowledge itself, the CKT measures instructional ability or how well a prospective teacher can apply content knowledge.

The CKT is only for prospective elementary educators, and its four subtests are:

  • Reading and Language Arts: 63 selected-response questions, 90 minutes
  • Mathematics: 52 selected-response and numeric-entry questions, 85 minutes
  • Science: 47 selected-response questions, 60 minutes
  • Social Studies: 60 selected-response questions, 50 minutes

Who Should Take the Praxis Subject Assessments?

Most states require that prospective educators be certified via the Praxis Subject Assessments (you may have heard them referred to as the Praxis II exams or the Praxis II tests). This requirement only applies to educators in public schools; private schools may or may not require the Praxis or equivalent certification. Nonetheless, the Praxis is a reliable evaluation for teacher candidates, so even if you do wish to teach at a private institution, obtaining Praxis certification can be useful.

The following locations use the Praxis Subject Assessments to evaluate prospective public-school educators for teaching certification:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Prospective examinees should have a bachelor's degree, though the degree can be in a field other than education. The Praxis Core is often used to screen candidates for teacher education majors at universities. Prospective education majors must pass the Core before being admitted to the major. However, the Praxis Subject Assessments and CKT are used to determine eligibility for a teaching credential and are usually taken during the prospective teacher's last semester of college or after graduation with a bachelor's degree.

What Is on the Praxis II Subject Assessment Exam?

While it may be tempting to ask yourself which Praxis II test is the easiest, it's important to understand that each SA is designed to test content knowledge for the purpose of teaching a specific subject and, particularly in the case of special education, a specific demographic. There are many resources that prospective test-takers can use to help familiarize themselves with the content and concepts covered on each Subject Assessment.

For example, the Geometry SA (50 questions, 130 minutes) is shorter and may be seen to some as potentially ''easier'' than the Algebra I SA (60 questions, 150 minutes). If you're aiming for teacher certification in high school math, you might be thinking, ''Why not take the geometry test?'' Here's why: passing the Geometry SA will only grant you certification in Geometry, not math overall. If you wish to qualify to teach high school math overall, you may need to take multiple SAs, including Geometry, Algebra I, Mathematics, and Mathematics: Content Knowledge.

''So, which Praxis 2 tests should I take?'' Great question. Your required Praxis tests are determined by the state in which you live. You can find out the Praxis test requirements by your state through the ETS and your state's Department of Education. You'll choose which exam to take based on the subject you want to teach and whether your state requires teachers of that subject to take any Praxis exams. (Bear in mind that even if you don't have to take the Praxis, there may be other requirements for teacher certification in your state.)

Let's look at a few examples (New York, Idaho, and Texas) and assume you want to teach middle school math.

Aspiring teachers in New York must complete a bachelor's degree and a state-approved teacher education program. In New York, only one Praxis test is required: the Speech-Language Pathology exam; New York teachers who are not speech-language pathologists do not need Praxis certification. But, to become a middle school math teacher in New York, you do not need to take any Praxis SAs.

In Idaho, the Praxis SAs are the route to certification in nearly every subject: all subjects in grades K-8; nearly all subjects 5-9, 6-12, and K-12; World Languages including ASL, Latin, Spanish, French, German, and Chinese; and Special Education (including Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Visually Impaired). To become a middle school math teacher in Idaho, you need to take Mathematics: Middle Level (5-9) and/or Mathematics (6-12).

The state of Texas is one of 10 states that do not require Praxis testing; Texas teachers have alternative certification routes through the Texas Education Agency (TEA). If you want to become a middle school math teacher in Texas, you do not need to take a Praxis exam.

What Do Praxis Subject Assessments Test For?

The Praxis Subject Assessments test for a variety of different subjects and skills. There are over 100 tests, each containing either selected-response questions, constructed-response questions (short essay prompts), longer essays, or a combination of all three.

The Content Knowledge tests are exactly what they sound like: they measure knowledge in a given subject. Early and elementary education tests measure both content knowledge and skill in classroom instruction. The middle school tests are also content knowledge tests but are specific to the middle grades.

Like Content Knowledge exams, the World Language tests include listening, reading, writing, and speaking components, which evaluate understanding, production, and cultural knowledge of target languages, including Mandarin, French, Japanese, and Spanish. World Language Pedagogy tests instructional ability in foreign languages.

The Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exams are designed to measure test takers' understanding and application of instructional theory, including methods of assessment, theories of cognitive development, and professional leadership. Each PLT Praxis exam is designed to measure prospective educators' knowledge of teaching for a specific age group (for example, early childhood education or grades 5-9).

The Teaching Reading and Reading Specialist exams test knowledge of the science of reading, understood as one's understanding and application of pedagogy related to reading concepts from phonemic awareness to reading fluency and comprehension. Essentially, these exams evaluate a prospective teacher's ability to increase student performance in these five areas through both reading and writing.

The Special Education tests are also focused on application rather than content knowledge. Each Special Education Praxis exam is devoted to measuring the test-taker's ability to work well with students with varying degrees of many special educational needs. They evaluate the examinee's understanding of students with special needs' development, characteristics, and learning needs, as well as the examinee's ability to provide a supportive learning environment, manage the classroom, and maintain professional conduct.

Taking Multiple Praxis II Subject Tests

To take more than one Praxis Subject Assessment, all you have to do is log in to your Praxis account and register for a Praxis test in the same way you registered for your first one. Although each test has a separate fee, there is no additional processing or registration fee for additional exams.

What Is the Format of Praxis Subject Assessments?

The Praxis Subject Assessments mainly contain selected-response (SR) questions. The math tests tend to include numeric-entry questions as well. Many tests (especially in the language and social studies categories) also include constructed-response (CR) questions, where examinees are asked to write a short essay in response to a prompt. Some tests include only selected-response questions, while others include a combination of formats.

The World Language assessments also include speaking and listening portions. In speaking portions, examinees must verbally respond to prompts or conduct an interview. In listening portions, examinees must listen to a recording and then answer a set of corresponding selected-response questions.

There is a good deal of variation among the different SA tests; they can range from 1 to 4 hours, and the number and format of questions and sections varies. The table below lists a few examples:

Subject Assessment Content Categories Format (SR, CR) Time Allotted Number of Questions
Middle School Science (5440) 6 SR 2.5 hours 125
World and US History: Content Knowledge (5941) 4 SR 2 hours 120
Geography (5921) 5 SR 2 hours 120
French: World Language (5174) 5 SR, CR, speaking (includes listening and reading for SR and CR) Approximately 3 hours 75 (SR), 6 (CR)

How Are Praxis II Tests Scored?

The Praxis Subject Assessments (Praxis II) tests are scored based on the number of correct answers. As a result, it's best to answer all the questions on each test even if you must guess, as you are awarded points for correct answers but do not lose points for incorrect answers.

What Score Do I Need to Pass the Praxis II?

There is no universal passing score for the Praxis Subject Assessments. Praxis exam passing scores are determined by panels of teachers and education administrators in each state, who review the tests and judge their difficulty. The tests' contents are regularly reviewed and updated, meaning that the passing scores are also be reviewed and updated. What is considered a passing score varies from one state or licensing agency to the next. Individuals can use the ETS Praxis Minimum/Passing Score Requirements tool to see specific score requirements for their state or education agency.

Can I Take the Praxis II Test Multiple Times?

There is no limit to the number of times you can retake a Praxis Subject Assessment. However, there is a mandatory waiting period of 28 days between attempts. This Praxis retake policy also applies to subtests of a multi-part test.

If you want or need to change Praxis test dates, you may cancel or reschedule for a $40 fee. This change must be made at least three full days before the scheduled test, not including the day of the test itself.

Praxis II Subject Exam Test Registration

To register for your exam, all you need to do is visit the official ETS Praxis website and register online. You can accomplish Praxis registration by mail or by phone, though there is a $35 fee for phone registration. When registering for your Praxis II exam, you'll have to create an account and complete payment for your test.

Praxis Subject Exam Testing Locations

There are many Praxis Subject Assessment testing locations across the United States and abroad. To find a Praxis testing center near you, you can visit the official ETS website and go to the Praxis Test Dates and Centers page, where you can type in your city, state, and/or ZIP code to find a nearby testing center. Those wishing to test outside of the US must find a Prometric testing center, which may not be available nearby.

Praxis Subject Assessment Test Dates

Prospective examinees should choose Praxis testing dates that are distant enough to allow for sufficient study time, but also soon enough to allow sufficient time for score reporting to the appropriate school or agency. Praxis scores are usually reported approximately one month after the test date.

Praxis tests for teachers are offered nearly every day. To find a test and score report date, simply select your desired subject assessment and choose a highlighted date from the calendar on the ETS Test Dates and Centers page.

Can I Take Praxis II Subject Exams Online?

The short answer is yes, you can take Praxis online test at home if you have concerns about your health and safety at a public testing center. There are many stipulations to this allowance, however. Examinees must take the exam:

  • with a secure browser on a desktop or laptop computer, not a tablet or smartphone
  • in a private location (not a public space such as a library)
  • in a room without other occupants (no one may enter or exit during the test)
  • without food, drink, study aids, or electronics (except for the computer used for the test)
  • with a movable web camera that can move 360 degrees to show the environment and examinee
  • with internal or external speakers and a microphone to communicate with the proctor, not headphones, earbuds, or a headset
  • sitting upright at a table or desk, not reclined on a bed or couch
  • with a whiteboard or paper inside a transparent sheet protector and erasable pen; all notes must be erased at the conclusion of the test.

Can I Request Testing Accommodations for the Praxis II Subject Exam?

There are Praxis accommodations for test takers with disabilities and health-related needs and for people whose primary language is not English (PLNE).

Although Praxis tests are only available in English, PLNE is granted 50% more time on all tests except language tests. This accommodation is available at all test centers and dates.

Accommodations for disabled persons and those with health-related needs may vary; test-takers are encouraged to list requests in the application for accommodation.

Both PLNE and disabled persons must prove eligibility and apply for accommodation. A prospective examinee may fill out the application online by logging into their Praxis account, clicking on ''Praxis Accommodation Status/New Request,'' and following the instructions.

Praxis Subject Exam Costs

Each Praxis Subject Assessment carries its own fee, and prospective examinees must pay the fee for each SA they are required to take.

The CKT costs $199 altogether; if you need to retake one of the subtests, the fees are $60 each for the Science and Social Studies subtests and $74 each for the Reading and Language Arts and Mathematics subtests.

The Pennsylvania tests cost $50 or $75, depending on which you take, and the Virginia Reading Specialist tests each cost $130.

Most content knowledge tests, including special education tests, with selected-response questions, cost $120; those with constructed-response components, including special education tests, cost $146. World Language tests cost $160.

Test bundles are available for some tests. Praxis Elementary Education Multiple Subjects costs $170, and Elementary Education: Three-Subject Bundle (Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science) costs $140. Each component subtest costs $60 if taken on its own.

Additional score reports cost $50 per Praxis score report, and score reviews cost $65.

A full list of test fees is available from ETS.

How Should I Prepare for the Praxis II Subject Assessments?

The best way to prepare for the Praxis Two, or Praxis Subject Assessments, is to first determine what you'll be tested on. ETS provides a breakdown of the concepts covered on each Praxis II exam, and many test takers find it helpful to complete a Praxis diagnostic test in order to strategically plan their study schedule.

Using any practice test scores, known areas of need, and other study materials, such as textbooks, study guides, essay questions, flashcards, and other test prep materials, prospective test takers should outline study concepts and make a plan to cover them all well before test day.

Timing your Praxis practice test can help you get an idea of your pacing throughout the test; timing yourself during practice will help you avoid getting nervous on test day when the clock is ticking.

You may also want to go over Praxis 2 review questions with a study partner. Remember to use updated Praxis study guides.

You should plan to cover all the materials, including the Praxis prep course, at least one to three days before exam day. You don't want to be cramming at the last minute. By studying a little each day (perhaps twenty minutes to an hour), you can both review the material and practice pacing yourself, whether answering multiple-choice questions or writing essays. As a result, you'll walk into the Praxis testing center feeling prepared and assured rather than anxious and jittery.

Praxis II Practice Tests

Taking practice tests is a crucial element of preparation for the Praxis Subject Assessments. Timed practice tests allow prospective examinees to assess their pacing, determine which sections slow them down or take extra time, and where they can move more quickly through questions. Most people tend to focus on their strengths rather than working on their weaknesses; practice tests show test-takers their weaknesses so that they can improve. Practice tests can improve confidence, too, by familiarizing test takers with the format of the test; practice tests always include Praxis test sample questions.

Praxis II Subject Assessments Test-Taking Tips and Strategies

If you've done your due diligence by studying regularly, you should feel ready and even excited for test day. After all, the Praxis test is your gateway to teacher certification, so it's an exciting event! Make sure that you have a positive experience by following these Praxis tips, strategies, and guidelines.

  • Verify testing locations before the Praxis test dates. Give yourself ample time to travel to the Praxis testing center, check in, and use the restroom. You should arrive at least 30 minutes before your test is scheduled to begin.
  • Bring your printed admission ticket, photo ID, and a calculator (if allowed--see your specific testing requirements), but don't bring pencils, erasers, or scratch paper. Do not bring electronics, personal items, food, drinks, jewelry, watches, hats, or outerwear (you may consider bringing a sweater in case you find the testing room chilly, but outerwear is subject to inspection).
  • Read questions fully before answering.
  • Pace yourself. If you get stuck on a question, make your best guess and move on. You can return to the question later if you have time.
  • If you finish the Praxis exam early, double-check your answers.

Expert Contributor

Jenna Feldman

Jenna Feldman, M.Ed. has taught high school math for over 11 years. She has developed curricula for Algebra, Algebra 2, Precalculus, Geometry, Statistics, and Calculus. She passed the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Reading, Writing and Math, as well as the Praxis Mathematics Content Knowledge exam. Jenna earned her M.Ed. from Wesley College and her B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Delaware.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the Praxis II exams?

    The Praxis II exams are a series of tests created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Praxis II exams cover a wide range of subjects within the humanities, mathematics and science, and foreign language. There are also Praxis II exams for prospective educators in specific grade ranges (from pre-kindergarten through high school) and those who wish to teach students with special educational needs (including Braille proficiency, Deaf and hard of hearing, and learning disabilities). More than 40 states require Praxis II exams as a component of their teacher certification process.

  • What is the difference between the Praxis 1 and 2?

    The Praxis I, known since 2014 as the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, is an exam that includes subtests in reading, writing, and mathematics. It is typically used for admissions into a teacher education program and must be passed before a prospective teacher can apply for their certificate or license in many states. The Praxis II exams, of which there are more than 90, cover both pedagogy for specific grade ranges and student groups and domain-specific content in subjects ranging from art and biology to technology and world history. Praxis II Subject Assessments are also a component of the teacher certification process in more than 40 states.

  • What is on the Praxis 2 test?

    There are more than 90 Praxis II Subject Assessment Exams that cover both specific content knowledge as well as pedagogical strategies for working with students in specific grade ranges (pre-kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school) and with special learning needs (including learning and physical disabilities). Questions on the Praxis Subject Assessments include both multiple-choice items and constructed-response items of varying lengths, from brief paragraphs to longer essays. Many resources and study guides are available to assist in preparing for the Praxis II test.

  • How much is the Praxis II test?

    In 2021, the Praxis II Subject Assessments range in cost from $70 for individual subtests in Elementary Education, such as Science and Social Studies, to $209 for the Elementary Education: Content Knowledge for Teaching exam. Additional fees are attached to changes in testing centers or test dates, phone registration, and additional score reports beyond the initial four that are included in the regular exam fees.

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