Praxis® Practice Tests & Exam Prep

Praxis Exam Information & Overview

Most states in the US (that is, more than 40 of them) require aspiring teachers to take the Praxis 2, now known as Praxis Subject Assessments, as a part of the teacher certification process. Subject assessments measure knowledge and teaching skills in K-12 subjects, ensuring that teachers are prepared to deliver quality education to future students. The Praxis 1, also known as the Praxis Core, is used by colleges and universities as a screening method for students who wish to enter teacher education programs. Although it's possible to take alternative certification exams in many states, on your way to a career in teaching, you'll probably take a Praxis exam if you live in one of the following states:

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

Praxis Test Length and Format

The Praxis I (Core) and Praxis II (Subject Assessment) exams vary in length and number of items, but selected-response items range from 40 to 150 per exam, and 2 to 4 constructed-response (essay) items may be included in exams such as the Praxis Core Writing and English Language Arts Subject Assessments.

Test takers may answer questions on the Praxis I and Praxis II exams by typing responses in a box, selecting one or multiple answers in multiple-choice format (which may involve ovals, checkboxes, or a drop-down menu), clicking on parts of a sentence or diagram, or dragging and dropping answers into a target.

Praxis Core

The Praxis Core involves Reading, Writing, and Math assessments. If taken separately, each component takes two hours; if taken together, the whole Core suite takes five hours. The timing and length of each Praxis Core subtest are as follows:

  • Praxis Core Reading: 85 minutes, 56 questions
  • Praxis Core Math: 90 minutes, 56 questions
  • Praxis Core Writing (a two-part test): 40 minutes, 40 questions; then 60 minutes, two essays

Praxis Core Reading Assessment

The Reading assessment contains a series of passages that test-takers will need to read and evaluate in order to answer multiple-choice questions. These passages may vary in length, from a single paragraph to several paragraphs, and may also vary in genre and difficulty.

The questions mainly test for reading comprehension, so the best strategy is to read each passage completely and carefully. Another strategy is to read the questions first, then read the passage with the questions in mind. A third strategy is to read the questions first, then look for the answers in the passage without reading the passage entirely; this tends to be the least effective strategy, but some test-takers succeed with it.

Praxis Core Math Assessment

It's important to study for the Math assessment well in advance of your test date, as you may need to re-familiarize yourself with the content, which includes everything from fractions and decimals to data interpretation to algebra and geometry. Test-takers are given some formulas to work with, but you'll find it helpful to memorize commonly used formulas, as this will save you the trouble of referring to the formula page and thus save you time during the exam. A second crucial strategy is to skip any questions that are too difficult or time-consuming. Once you have reached the end of the test, you may return to skipped questions if you have extra time.

Studying early and often with a study guide, as well as taking a few practice Praxis tests, will help you to feel comfortable with the material and pace yourself on test day.

Praxis Core Writing Assessment

The Writing assessment is designed to measure the test-taker's ability to write effective arguments and informative/explanatory texts, to revise and improve texts with grammatical errors and stylistic shortcomings, to evaluate sources and strategically research a topic, and to demonstrate mastery of English grammar and usage. To prepare for selected-response questions, it's smart to review your study guide and memorize any unfamiliar vocabulary, grammar and punctuation rules, and commonly misspelled words.

For the essay section, one of the best strategies is to sketch a brief outline for your essay before you begin writing. You'll be scored based on your ability to make a persuasive argument and clearly explain information; your outline will allow you to keep track of building an argument and present all the information. If you simply start writing without a plan, you may end up forgetting an important point or skipping a critical detail.

Practice writing on a variety of topics and be ready for unfamiliar topics on exam day. If you know how to use logical arguments and clear structure in your writing, you can write a fantastic essay even when presented with a subject you know very little about.

Praxis Subject Assessments

Praxis Subject Assessments have greater variation in time and length, but a few examples include:

  • English Language Arts: Content Knowledge (5038): 2.5 hours, 130 selected-response questions
  • Algebra I (5162): 2.5 hours, 60 selected-response questions
  • Middle School: Social Studies (5089): 2 hours, 90 selected-response and 3 constructed-response (short-answer essay) questions

Before your Praxis II exam schedule, you should gather textbooks and other study materials for the subject you're testing on. Cramming the night before a test is never the best idea. Make a study plan and stick to it by setting aside time each day to prepare for the Praxis exam--studying for even a few minutes every day will help you to retain information, and it will also reduce your anxiety about the exam.

Praxis Exam Review and Preparation

The Praxis Two test contains questions on math, reading, and writing in various formats, as it's intended to be an interactive method of assessment for teachers. As a result, Praxis test sample questions are critical for prospective test-takers to get accustomed to the format of the exam. It's highly encouraged that test-takers go over Praxis review questions and sample Praxis exams more than once. The more sample Praxis tests you take, the better, as you'll tame the nerves of test day through repeated exposure.

Before you take the Praxis II practice test, make time to study the material so that you don't become anxious or frustrated while timing yourself. Use the resources available to you, including the Praxis study guide and Praxis prep course. Practice writing out essay questions, perhaps making outlines to establish main points. Memorize formulas and vocabulary, drill yourself with flashcards, or recruit a study buddy to check for weak spots. And remember to time yourself; try to improve your pacing with each practice test.

There are a number of general test-taking strategies that can help you master the exam on test day, including:

  • Answer all the questions, even if you must guess. There is no penalty for guessing, and you will not lose points for incorrect answers; your score is determined based on the number of correct answers.
  • Give yourself time to read each passage, question, and corresponding answer choices carefully. If you get stuck on any single question, move on and return to the question later if you have time.
  • If you do have to guess, first eliminate any answer choices that you're sure are incorrect. That way, you have a higher probability of guessing the correct answer.
  • Be prepared for a variety of topics, pictures, graphs, and more. You may encounter unfamiliar material, but that shouldn't stop you from getting the correct answer. Take a few moments to read and digest the information you're given; if you still feel unsure, make an educated guess and keep moving.

Free Praxis Practice Tests

Prospective educators who prepare ahead of their chosen Praxis test dates by studying, reviewing, and self-assessing through Praxis practice tests generally earn higher scores on exam day than those who have not strategically readied themselves for test day. There's a huge benefit to familiarizing oneself with the Praxis content by reviewing Praxis practice questions and taking a timed practice Praxis exam can help provide a good estimate of one's test-taking speed so that examinees can pace themselves.

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

  • Is the Praxis test hard?

    While the content on many Praxis exams - particularly those in the Praxis Core tests - covers material that test-takers will be familiar with from middle and high school, there may be concepts covered in Praxis Subject Assessments that may be more challenging. Often, however, test-takers are more intimidated by the fact that the Praxis test is a highly consequential exam that they must pass on their way to earning teacher certification. Developing strategies to reduce test anxiety, in addition to becoming familiar with the material covered on the exams, will help the Praxis feel less challenging.

  • How do I practice for the Praxis?

    There are many methods available to test-takers who want to practice for the Praxis exams so that they feel prepared and confident on test day. First, they might consider taking a practice test to diagnose their areas of greatest study need. Then they can create a study plan that works with their own school, work, and/or personal schedule and use any number of available practice tools, including flashcards, targeted sample questions, additional practice tests, and study guides to ensure they're familiar with the content and format of the Praxis exams they'll take.

  • What is on the Praxis 2 exam?

    The Praxis II exams, or Praxis Subject Assessments, cover specific subjects or education of specific student populations rather than broad ranges of content (as the Praxis Core exams do). Currently there are more than 100 Praxis II exams, which cover subjects from algebra and biology to world languages and vocational knowledge, and pedagogical approaches for students from pre-kindergarten through high school.

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