What Happens if I Don’t Pass the Praxis II Exam?

In most states, you need to take two Praxis exams: the Praxis Core and the Praxis II. Sometimes you’ll pass the Core, but fail Praxis II. Then what? If this happens to you, here are some things you should know.

If you don’t pass a Praxis II Exam for your license, you will need to retake it before you can teach

In states that require multiple Praxis tests, every test must be passed before you’re issued a teaching certificate. If you pass the Praxis Core but fail the Praxis II, this will keep you from getting a license. If your state makes you take two Praxis II exams for your content area and you fail one of them, this will also keep you from getting a license. For any content area teaching license, states treat a set of multiple Praxis tests as an “all or nothing” requirement. Either you pass all the tests including the Praxis II, or you get nothing in terms of licensure.

If you are trying to get a dual license and you only pass one of your Praxis II requirements, you can still teach

Many teachers go for a “dual license”–a state certification to teach two different subjects. A dual license is really two separate state teaching licenses with two separate Praxis II requirements. So if you are going for two licenses at the same time and you fail the Praxis II in just one of your two areas, you’ll still get one license.

From there, you can go on to teach in the area where you have a qualifying Praxis II score. And you can work toward a retake on the Praxis II you failed if you still want to eventually have that dual license. Suppose for instance that you are seeking a dual license in Special Education for Learning Disabilities and Special Education for Language Impairments. If you fail the Praxis II for LD but pass the one for LI, you will still be eligible to get a job teaching Special Ed classes to LI students. But you’d need to retake the LD Praxis II before you could be dually licensed.

If you don’t pass the Praxis II, you can retake the exam 3 weeks after your initial test date

You can register for a new Praxis II test as long as the exam date is 21 days after your last one. Moreover, if your Praxis II was all multiple choice and selected response questions, you’ll know whether you passed the test on test day. Unless there was an error in the test center (which is rare), the unofficial score you get at the end of your testing session will be the same as the official score you receive later. With this kind of early score reporting, you can start studying for a retake right away, and get a full three weeks or prep time between exam sessions.

If you fell short of your state’s requirement by just a few points, you probably should do a retake in just 21 days. With the narrow topic focus of Praxis II exams, you can usually give your score a small boost with just a few extra weeks of study.

If you failed the Praxis II by a large margin, take your time before a retake

On the other hand, if your Praxis II score was way below the requirement, you’ll want to really assess what went wrong and make sure you’re better prepared the next time around. If you wind up needing more than one retake, your retake-related delays can really add up, and you could miss job application deadlines.

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

9 Responses to What Happens if I Don’t Pass the Praxis II Exam?

  1. Helena March 9, 2019 at 4:03 PM #

    So I just took my Praxis 2 for mathematics today and I got a 148, but I need a 160 to pass. There were some free response questions that haven’t been graded, but I’m trying to see if I can somehow bring it up with those questions. I believe I got a 27/60, so would getting 3 more correct help me reach 160? Thank you!

    • David Recine
      David Recine March 11, 2019 at 11:20 AM #

      A 27/60 is 45% correct. Since your official score will be (approximately) your percent correct plus 100, your 27/60 would be a 143. If you can get three more points, you’ll be at 30/60, or 50%, AKA a 150. You’d need 36/60 to be at 60% or a 160.

      With that in mind, if the test you’re referencing is Praxis 5161 (Mathematics: Content Knowledge), the free-form questions actually are graded instantly in the test center, because the answers are relatively simple, and there is only one right answer. If that’s the case, then the 27/60 is actually your final raw score.

      Either way, sorry to be the bearer of bad news! The good news is that you can definitely improve your score if you study and retake!

      • Robbie April 10, 2019 at 10:27 AM #

        My daughter is on the deans list at her university. She has taken the social studies part of the praxis 7 times and is unable to pass! She has taken quizlets, studied websites, studied studied studied and cannot pass. She is talking about quitting school ! Help!

        • David Recine
          David Recine May 9, 2019 at 12:16 PM #

          I’m sorry to hear you and your daughter are going through this, Robbie! And apologies for my delayed response– we’ve had a busy month overall at Magoosh, and I regret letting the Praxis comments slip through the cracks a little.

          I can keep a closer eye on the comments from here on out, and will reply to your next comment more quickly. As for your next comment, tell me– which Praxis Social Studies exam has your daughter been taking? There are several different Praxis Social Studies exams, but if you give me the test number (or better yet, a link to the official prep page on the ETS website), I’ll be happy to give advice that can help your daughter finally beat the test. It sounds like she’s a very skilled, promising student, and I’m sure I can help her build on her strengths and get over the sometiems-frustrating hurdle that is the Praxis.

          Let me know, and again, I’ll keep a close eye on this and give prompt answers from here on out. 🙂

    • Kelley Myers October 10, 2019 at 11:26 AM #

      My daughter I ready to give up she never failed a test and thinks that maybe she don’t need to be a teacher after all she taking the 5113 music test we bought the books and everything she need to pass this soon to do her student teaching plz help us

  2. Jeff Lindsey July 21, 2020 at 2:42 PM #

    My son has taken the Praxis II twice and missed the score by 1 point both times. There is a essay with his test and it takes weeks to get the score back. Any advice? He is becoming very frustrated.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2020 at 1:21 PM #

      Hi Jeff, I’m sorry to hear this! We hear from a lot of students in similar situations, and I realize how frustrating it is! We don’t currently provide support for any Praxis II exams, but I really encourage your son to seek out study materials. He can start with the official materials on the ETS page, but he may want to seek out other resources as well.

  3. Nancy March 31, 2021 at 2:40 PM #

    I need to take praxis 7811. I have been told it is the new praxis 2 test. Where can I find study guides? Can you tell me how this test differs from before

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 2, 2021 at 1:31 PM #

      Hi Nancy, our expertise is in the Praxis Core tests, so I’m afraid we don’t know everything about the dozens of different Praxis II tests. I’d start on the Praxis website with the preparation materials they have available there.

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