What to Study for the English Praxis Exam

girl prepares for the English Praxis exam

Decide what to study for the English Praxis exam and make your own study plan. Eric Bailey.

The English Praxis exam consists of 130 questions that need to be answered within a 150-minute period of time. The test covers 3 sections:

  1. Reading
  2. Language use and vocabulary
  3. Writing, speaking, and listening.

To prepare for the exam, there are certain things that you need to study in these sections. Breaking down the information covered in each section can help you determine what you should study to prepare for the English Praxis exam.


The reading section includes approximately 49 questions. It asks you to identify major works and authors and discuss the historical and cultural context of the literature. You should also know how to pick out textual evidence to support an interpretation of the text. Some of the other things that you should know include:

  • Genre types
  • Themes
  • Story elements
  • Poetic devices and structures
  • Rhetorical devices, such as word choice and figurative language
  • Reading strategies
  • Research-based strategies

Language Use and Vocabulary

Language Use and Vocabulary has approximately 33 questions. In this section, you’ll be asked to identify problems with grammar, usage, syntax, and mechanics. You may also need to fill in the blank with the correct usage of a particular grammar principle. Be prepared to identify parts of speech, parts of a sentence, and sentence structures, too.

Writing, Speaking, and Listening

The final section has about the same amount of questions as the reading section. It covers a wide range of topics, including

  • Characteristics of the modes of writing (argumentative, informative, narration, etc.)
  • How task, purpose, and audience influence a story
  • Writing with details, organization, etc.
  • Oral communication
  • Identifying purpose for writing
  • Evaluating credibility of resources
  • Speech and presentation delivery
  • Effective use of digital media for students
  • Assessing writing, reading, speaking, and listening skills
  • How to incorporate students’ backgrounds into effective teaching

The questions in this category consist of the typical multiple-choice questions, as well as, various innovative testing options using audio, video, and other testing strategies.

It’s a lot of information to cover in order to guarantee that you’re prepared for any questions that may come your way. You can simplify things by reviewing this list and thinking about the things that you feel confident in for the exam. Then, determine which areas you’re going to need to study more. Use this information to create a study schedule and give yourself plenty of time to review all of the information to effectively prepare for the English Praxis exam.

By the way, sign up for our 1 Week Free Trial to try out Magoosh Praxis Prep!

7 Responses to What to Study for the English Praxis Exam

  1. Sheema May 25, 2019 at 9:51 AM #

    I have taken the Praxis 2 test 5038 three times! I’ve came close to passing but I’ve not passed. I need a 167 to pass in Virginia. The closest I’ve came is 160. Please help!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 5, 2019 at 4:20 PM #

      Hi Sheema! You are so close!! Maybe this post will help: https://magoosh.com/praxis/praxis-ii/english-praxis-exam/ Then you can identify the areas that are giving you trouble and do your best to improve those skills 🙂 Also don’t forget to stay organized. Stick to a study schedule and meet daily goals to improve. That’ll give you the best chance of improving!

    • April June 22, 2019 at 10:50 AM #

      Sheema, I’ve taken it Just today and I think I failed as well. Did you purchase the material on the praxis site? Are the tests that different? I’m just curious. Are your raw scores different from your official ones? I’m so discouraged to take this test again.

  2. Shelby Ostergaard November 25, 2019 at 5:05 PM #

    I am a little confused by the scoring of the ELA Praxis II test — according to the Praxis website, I need to get a 167 to pass. However, the test has only 130 questions and seems to be scored with one raw point per question. What am I missing here?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 5, 2020 at 10:13 AM #

      Hi Shelby,

      There is an important difference between the scaled score (100-200) and the raw score (total number of questions you answer correctly. You can read more about Praxis II scoring here.

  3. Makita Maull July 20, 2020 at 8:11 AM #

    I took the Praxis ELA 5038 yesterday and I got a raw score of 110 out of 130 questions, and I am nervous cause I don’t understand if I passed or not? In Alabama in order to pass you have to have a 167, am I close or not? Help please

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