If you want to teach in the U.S. public school system, you’ve probably heard of the Praxis. So, what is the Praxis? It’s a series of exams used for certifying and licensing teachers in the United States. Some graduate schools of education will also require the Praxis as part of admission to their program. Run by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the organization that also administers the GRE and TOEFL exams, the Praxis Series is comparatively the simplest of these three tests in terms of difficulty.
A series of exams
ETS offers two sets of exams. The Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core), sometimes referred to as Praxis I, is composed of reading, writing and math sections. The Praxis® Subject Assessments (formerly the Praxis II tests) measure subject-specific content knowledge ranging from Agriculture to Latin and also teaching skills that teachers need for beginning teaching.
Test format for the Praxis Core
|Subject||Length||Number of Questions||Format|
|Math||85 minutes||56 questions||Select one answer choice
Select one or more answer choices
A calculator on screen can be used
|Reading||85 minutes||56 questions||Read passages and answer questions|
One 40-minute selected-response section
Two 30-minute essay sections
|40 selected-response questions
2 essay questions
|Answer questions pertaining to grammar as well as research skills
The Praxis Core tests are taken on the computer in test centers around the country. The Core tests are administered continuously throughout the year, but the Praxis Subject tests have specific windows of time throughout the year when they’re offered. It’s best to plan ahead to make sure your Subject test (if needed) fits with your schedule.
One important detail to note is that there is no penalty for an incorrect answer. Since only your correct answers count towards your final score, make sure to always guess whenever you’re unsure how to answer a question.
Not sure which test to take? Each state has its own requirements, so your required tests depend on where you want to seek your teaching certification. ETS has the most up-to-date information on requirements for your state.
And, if you end up moving to another state sometime later, you can transfer your Praxis scores (valid as long as you meet the minimum score in the new state).
A passing score is a good score
While GRE and TOEFL test-takers need to aim for certain scores to up the chances of acceptance for graduate programs, Praxis test-takers have their eyes on a different goal: passing on the first try, so they can move forward with their teaching certification and get into the classroom! As long as you pass, you’ll receive your certification.