Jamie Goodwin

Why Can’t I Pass the Praxis Core Exam?

You studied really hard for the test. You take the test and feel good about how you did. Then, the results come back. You didn’t pass. Again. With the amount of studying that you’ve put into the test, you can’t imagine how this could have happened.

It’s frustrating and stressful when you struggle to pass the Praxis exam. You want to pass it in order to become a teacher, but you just can’t figure out why the scores aren’t where they should be. What should you do now? First, consider these 3 reasons that people often struggle to pass the Praxis.

Timing on the Praxis Core Exam

The Praxis Core exam consists of 3 separate timed tests:

  • The reading section contains 56 questions and needs to be completed in 85 minutes
  • The math section contains 56 questions and needs to be completed in 85 minutes
  • The writing section contains 40 questions that need to be completed in 40 minutes and 2 essays that need to be completed within an hour.

When you get hung up on one question, you end up wasting too much time. For difficult questions that take longer, it’s best to skip them and come back to them later. Use the time to answer all of the questions that you can answer right away. Then, go back to the more difficult questions if you have any extra time left over at the end.

Pay attention to the clock, and figure out how to pace yourself through the exam. The best way to prepare for this is to take plenty of timed practice exams. Get used to completing all of the questions within the given time frame.

Test Anxiety

test anxiety can't pass praxis core exam

Photo by Clipart Panda

According to the American Test Anxieties Association, approximately 16-20% of student have high test anxiety, and an additional 18% have moderately-high test anxiety. Anxiety impacts your working memory and reasoning abilities, causing you to make more mistakes that you normally would have made.

Fortunately, there are things that you can do to overcome test-taking anxiety, such as:

  • Thoroughly study and practice the concepts on the exam
  • Practice relaxation techniques (deep breathing, mediation, etc.)
  • Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy breakfast before the exam
  • Request any test-taking accommodations that you qualify for
  • Talk to a counselor or other mental health professional
  • Exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep

Figure out what works for you and create routines to help you relax and overcome your anxiety.

Praxis Core Exam Content Knowledge

Going into an exam, many people find that they’re overly confident in their knowledge and abilities. Some people fail to study enough because they assume that they already know everything for the exam.

In order to efficiently prepare, it’s important to know all of the content that could be on it. Attending seminars and workshops, participating in study groups, using study materials, and taking other steps to brush up on content knowledge and learn things that you didn’t know before will help you recall the information that you need for the exam.

Think about your experience with the Praxis Core exam. What is holding you back from passing the exam? What can you do differently in order to pass it? Consider these common reasons that people struggle to pass it, and take the steps you need to get successful results the next time you take it.


  • Jamie Goodwin

    Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

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