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How Easy is the Praxis Test?

Students often ask me how easy the Praxis will be. So how easy is the Praxis test? Well, that depends a lot on which Praxis test you’re talking about.

How Easy is the Praxis Core?

The Praxis Core, a set of three exams in Math, Reading, and Writing, is probably the most widely taken Praxis assessment. The idea here is to test basic K-12 academic skills, the kind that teachers will need to share with their students. Praxis Core Math is a combination advanced middle school math and early high school Math— think eighth, ninth, and tenth grade level math, for the most part. Similarly, Praxis Core Reading is comparable to eight grade and possibly ninth grade language arts coursework.

EDIT: There is a lot of spirited debate in the comments section, when it comes to just how hard Praxis Core Math is. Your own experiences may vary from mine. Feel free to weigh in with your own thoughts and reflections.

Compared to other general academic skill exams, the Math and Reading portions of this three-exam set are relatively easy. Praxis Core Math and Reading are simply not as challenging as Math and Reading on the SAT or ACT. And the questions are definitely not as hard the ones you’d see on other graduate exams such as the GRE and GMAT.

Praxis Core Writing multiple choice questions are closer to the difficulty level of the SAT or ACT. Core Writing also has the same content focus as these two college entrance exams: grammar, mechanics, sentence correction, paragraph revision, and so on. The Core Writing Essay component is harder than the SAT or ACT essays, though. The SAT requires you to analyze a text and the ACT asks you to give your opinion on an issue. But Praxis Core Writing asks you to analyze two texts and take a side int he issue covered in the texts. You’ll also be asked to do a second personal opinion essay, while the SAT and ACT only have one essay. So Praxis Core Writing is ultimately not easier than a college entrance exam. (But still easier than the GRE and GMAT!)

How Easy is the Praxis PLT?

The Praxis PLT is not a general academic skills test. Instead, the PLT tests your knowledge of the teaching profession.

If you’re nearing the end of a teaching degree or have just graduated,  the PLT tests should be reasonably easy for you. The questions will be a review of your recent coursework., You’ll need to study for the exam to be sure you get the best possible score, but the concepts tested on the PLT will  probably be ones you’re familiar with.

On the other hand, if you’re taking the PLT in relation to an alternative certification program, or if it’s been a year or more since you finished your education degree, PLT content will be a little harder for you. You may need to look up and learn (or re-learn) the content listed in the PLT Study Companions (you can find these on official Praxis Preparation Materials web page).

How Easy is the Praxis II?

As I’ve mentioned before, there are nearly 100 different Praxis II tests. The questions on these Praxis Subject Assessments cover various content areas in depth. How easy a Praxis II test is depends on the test-taker’s level of expertise in the content area.

Even if you recently completed a degree in your chosen subject concentration, every Praxis II has a few questions that are really hard to get right. For instance, a Language Arts Praxis II exam may include questions about a specific work of literature– when it was first published, how it was received by critics, details about the plot or the use of literary devices, and so on. It’s pretty much impossible to know every single content-related fact that might come up on the Praxis II.

The more general content questions on the Praxis II will be easy for anyone who has really studied their content area. But easy for an expert is not the same as truly easy, and the Praxis II series of tests probably shouldn’t be described as easy.

The takeaway

There are some pretty concrete ways to measure how easy different Praxis exams are. However, other factors in Praxis easiness are a little harder to estimate. Your own skills and training determine how easy a given Praxis test might feel for you. And it can be easier to get a passing Praxis score in some states, since each state sets its own Praxis standards.

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7 Responses to How Easy is the Praxis Test?

  1. Charlene August 26, 2016 at 11:38 PM #

    The Praxis Core math test is not easy middle school math. Most people I know who’ve taken it could not pass it even after several tries. I work in many schools substituting and 6th graders are still working on multiplication word problems. I never learned the Praxis Core math in 6 years of college, and it was not part of the GED test I took in 1986 either. Unless you are fresh out of high school, you will have trouble passing this test.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 5, 2016 at 9:16 AM #

      Charlene– good point, and thank you for bringing this to my attention. I misstated the exact proportion of middle and high school math in the Praxis Core. Praxis Core Math is largely a combination of eighth grade math and early high school math. And this level of math really isn’t easy unless it’s pretty fresh in your’e mind, or you’re a strong “math person.” I’ve revised the second paragraph of this post for accuracy regarding Core Math.

      • Karen April 3, 2017 at 3:04 PM #

        I wouldn’t even say that this is late middle/early high school math. This is late high school math and I’d go on to say college-level math. I have taken it numerous times and have failed. I got a 146 twice–which is 4 points away from passing in my state (NH). Passed the reading and writing sections with flying colors the first try.

        The test is a complete joke. 85 minutes for 56 questions? 1.5 minutes per question when most of them are word problems? It takes 30 seconds to read the problem, and 30-45 seconds to process what sort of math you’ll need to figure it out. Then you have another 30-15 seconds to solve it? Unless you’re excellent at math–and QUICK at it, too–you’ll have trouble with this test.

        I’m hardly good at math (understatement), but I’m not a complete moron. This test has made me feel as if I am.

        The best part about all of it is that I have zero intentions upon teaching math. Ever. I’m entering high school special education (English). So, now I’ve spent $30k on a degree that I cannot use until/if I pass a meaningless test.

        It’s a scam and just a way for them to steal nearly $100 each time you take it. To say I am upset, angry, and frustrated doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface with regard to how I feel about this unreasonable exam.

        • David Recine
          David Recine April 4, 2017 at 12:58 AM #

          Karen,

          I appreciate you sharing this. Beyond your dispute of what I said about the math, I think you’ve touched on a lot of important frustrations that we all share. A lot of people, including me, really do question the one-size-fits all nature of the Praxis Core. These questions are also being asked by some state administrators. This is why certain states require the Praxis PLT instead of the Core.

          I’m sorry you’re having this experience. It does seem like your Core Math scores don’t measure your ability to teach in your chosen area. That has to be frustrating. 🙁

          (I’ve also added yet one more edit to this article to clarify that my own feelings on the difficulty of Praxis Core math are not the final word on the matter!)

  2. Tee May 2, 2017 at 8:14 PM #

    The problem I have with studying for the Praxis II 5169 Middle School Mathematics Exam is knowing exactly what to study. I don’t want to study too much or too little because both are not helpful. I don’t even know which resources to utilize that are even close to the real test. If anyone knows, please inform me. Thanks!

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 4, 2017 at 12:12 PM #

      It’s understandable that you’d have some uncertainty about how to prep for your Praxis II. For the Praxis IIs, there is very little in terms of third-party guidebooks. And third party materials can often be unreliable.

      So the best thing to do is to look at the official materials, rather than the third party ones. Go to the official prep page for Praxis Middle School Math (5169). There, you can access the free Study Companion eBook for the exam. You’ll also be able to find two full length practice tests. The study companion and full practice exams for 5169 should give you a very good idea of what’s on the test, and what you should– and shouldn’t– study in order to be adequately prepared.

      Note that the questions in the Study Companion and the practice tests are exactly like the real test, because the questions are taken form recent versions of the actual exam.

  3. Mam May 11, 2017 at 4:59 PM #

    In TN, the score to pass the Math 5169 test is 165. I missed it by 1 point. I have been teaching 7th grade math and their were problems on their that I did not not recognize at all. I am hoping to find away to dispute my score since they so many problems from one topic on there. We’ll see.


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