David Recine

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.


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