The Praxis Writing is a little bit different from the other Praxis Core tests. That’s because in addition to the selected response questions, you also need to write two essays. Let’s break down how to study for the Praxis Core Writing.
What does the Praxis Writing Cover?
The ETS Study Companion for the Praxis Writing is the best resource for learning more about the topics covered on the test. The test covers constructed response questions, an argumentative essay, and an informative/explanatory essay (also known as the source-based essay).
The constructed response questions ask you to identify errors in language, mechanics, and grammar. A full list of topics covered in the constructed response questions can be found beginning on page 7 of the study companion. You will also be asked to evaluate research sources.
The argumentative essay asks you to take a position on an issue and write an argument clearly and coherently. A full list of qualities can be found on page 6 of the study companion. The informative/explanatory essay asks you to base your writing from a source, drawing evidence from it to support your argument. This essay is not about choosing a side, but rather examining multiple points of view and bringing together (synthesizing) more than one source in your writing. Again, you are asked to write clearly and coherently. You can read more about writing great Praxis essays in David’s post, How to Write Top-Scoring Praxis Essays.
In both essays, you need to show command of English writing, including mechanics, grammar, sentence structure, and vocabulary. You should organize your thoughts clearly and logically and use a thesis statement.
How to Study for the Praxis Writing
For the Praxis Writing test, practice makes perfect, especially for the essays. Use practice prompts available on the Magoosh blog or on the ETS Study Companion and practice writing timed essays. Have a friend or family member who has a keen eye for written English look through afterwards and help you recognize mistakes you are making. Are you making a lot of grammar mistakes? Is your organization unclear? Did you take time to revise? Make note of any areas for improvement and focus on them with your next practice round. It’s also helpful to compare your responses to the sample responses found in the Study Companion (descriptions starting on page 29 with samples following).
For the structured response questions, start by taking a practice test or a wide range of practice writing questions. Get a feel for the question format and make note of any topics where you need to brush up. Plan out your time so that you have ample time to study. Then, return to the practice test to see how you’re doing.
One important side note: if your native language is not English, you may qualify for testing accommodations, like extra testing time.
The Praxis Writing can feel tricky because so much of your score is based on essays, which have no right or wrong answer. With a little practice, though, this can be a great opportunity to show your skills! Remember, practice makes perfect.