The Praxis inspires some serious test anxiety — you need it to launch your entire career! But is the Praxis test very hard? Is all this anxiety necessary?
If you’re feeling that Praxis pressure, the first thing you need to realize is that test anxiety won’t help you. No matter how hard an exam is, you need to be focused and determined, not anxious and scattered.
The difficulty of the Praxis depends a lot on what Praxis test you’re taking and the educational background you have.
Is the Praxis test very hard for the Core subjects?
The basic content of the Praxis Core is — in theory — not so hard. The Core Reading, Core Writing, and Core Math tests are designed to test the academic skills you were taught in middle school and high school. (The idea of this test is to make sure you are in touch with the same K-12 academic skills you’ll teach to your students.)
On the face of it, this sounds easy, right? After all, if you’re taking the Praxis, you passed middle school and high school classes years ago! Well, that “years ago” part can hurt you if you’re not careful. This is where you really need to think about your educational background. How long has it been since you’ve used the kinds of math skills you needed in middle and high school? When was the last time you wrote a short essay or answered reading comprehension questions?
You may find it’s been a while since you’ve dealt with Praxis Core-style academics. You’ve moved on to more advanced, more specialized coursework as a teacher in training. This means your general academic skills may have gotten… well… rusty! To minimize the difficulty of the Praxis Core, make sure you look at good preparation materials (such as ones from ETS or Magoosh Praxis). If you take the time to re-acquaint yourself with the Core tests’ broad academic content, the Praxis Core won’t be so hard for you.
Is the Praxis test very hard for other subjects?
To become a licensed teacher, there are three types of Praxis exams you may have to take: the Praxis Core, the Praxis PLT, or a Praxis Subject Assessment in a specific subject you’ll be teaching. (The Praxis Subject Assessments are also sometimes called Praxis II tests.)
The Praxis PLT is more specialized than the Praxis Core, but this doesn’t mean the PLT will be harder than the Core. In fact, you may find the PLT to be easier. This is because the Praxis PLT tests your knowledge of learning theory and teaching practice. If you’re finishing up your teaching degree (or have just finished), this subject matter will be very fresh in your mind. To do well on the PLT, you only need to recall things you’ve learned in recent months or over the last year or two.
Similarly, the information in a Praxis II test for your content area will probably be pretty fresh in your mind. Suppose you’ve spent the last few years studying to be, say, a psychology teacher or reading specialist. The Psychology Praxis II or the Praxis Test for Reading Specialists would be a review of stuff you’ve just learned.
Is the Praxis test very hard if you didn’t go to school for teaching?
Of course, if you’re getting a license through alternative certification, there’s a chance that no Praxis content is fresh in your mind. When I got my alternative certification for Language Arts back in 2010, I didn’t have an English degree. This made studying for the English Praxis exam a little bit hard for me.
Fortunately, I had a real love of English literature and writing. This helped me be a “quick study” for my Praxis II, in spite of my educational background. If you don’t have an educational background in teacher training, be prepared for a bigger challenge. And if you enroll in an alternative certification program, try to choose a subject area that you are comfortable with, regardless of your past coursework.
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