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Praxis Core: A definitive guide to the test

Learn all about the test and how to prepare.

Author: Beneisha Williams

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Learn all about the test and how to prepare.

If you are thinking about becoming a teacher you probably already know there are quite a few tests you will have to take. To become a certified teacher in most states, you’ll have to pass The Praxis Core Academic Skills test along with a handful of other standardized tests. These tests may cover the subject you want to teach or even core skills in other subjects, such as math or reading (even if you don’t plan to teach those subjects).

For many aspiring teachers, the thought of test-taking can be overwhelming. From registration, cost, and planning study time, it may seem like a lot to tackle. No worries! We’ve got you covered. We’ll discuss the Praxis Core test in detail — what it covers, who the test is for, and what resources are available to help you prepare.

To become a certified teacher in most states, you’ll have to pass The Praxis Core Academic Skills test along with a handful of other standardized tests.

Your Praxis Core questions, answered.

  1. 1

    What is the Praxis Core Test?

    The Praxis Core is a fundamental skills test covering math, reading, and writing. The test is developed and administered by the Educational Testing Services (ETS). Currently, the Praxis Core is required in 30+ states and used by several state education agencies. 

    The Praxis Core test helps colleges and universities evaluate your readiness level before entering an Educator Preparation Program (EPP). It's similar to the SAT or ACT. In fact, many teaching programs may accept scores on the SAT or ACT instead of the Praxis Core. (More on that below.)

    Regardless of what subject you plan on teaching, you may need to take the Praxis Core when you apply to a teaching program. The test covers the following areas (1): 

    • Math: The math portion covers key math concepts such as understanding ratios and percents, or basic algebra and geometry. 
    • Reading: The reading portion covers key ideas such as language skills, sentence structure, and the ability to interpret passages. 
    • Writing: The writing portion is a combination of multiple-choice questions covering research skills, identifying errors, and two essays.
  2. 2

    Who Needs to Take the Test and Why?

    If you are an undergraduate student interested in becoming a teacher, you’ll likely need to take the Praxis Core test. If you’re a career changer who already has a degree, your Educator Prep Program may require you to take the Praxis Core as well. The purpose of Praxis Core is to evaluate and measure your knowledge and skill levels in areas that are deemed important for being able to lead a classroom successfully. 

    In some states, if you meet the required score for either the SAT or ACT, you do not need to take the Praxis Core. Ask your teaching program if you can substitute one of these tests. 

    Registration

    To register for the Praxis Core test, you first need to check the state testing requirements for your current state or the state you are planning to teach in. After confirming the correct test. You can register: 

    • Online: Register online at the Praxis Registration Page
    • Mail: To register by mail, you must complete the Test Authorization Voucher Form. Once ETS (the maker of the Praxis test) receives this form, your registration request will be processed, and you will receive instructions on how to complete the registration process. 
    • Phone: For those testing within the United States, you may register by phone at 1-800-772-9476. There is an additional $35 for phone registration. 

    If you need testing accommodations due to health or disability, ETS—that’s the organization that makes the Praxis and other academic tests—can help. For more information, visit the Praxis Accommodation Page

    Test Fees

    For a single Praxis Core Test, the fee is $90 per test. For the combined test (Math, Reading, Writing), the cost is $150. (1) The fee for a single test or the combined test can be waived if you are a college undergrad and graduate student currently receiving financial aid. Visit the Fee Waivers Page to learn more about the waiver requirements. 

    We know application fees, testing, transcript costs, and applying to educator preparation programs can add up. Learn more about our Fee reimbursement program here

    Location

    Due to the ongoing pandemic, ETS Praxis offers two options for taking the test. You can currently take the test at an official testing center or at home via a remote testing proctor. Both the home and in-person tests cover the same information. 

    If you are planning to take the test on-site, be sure to register for your desired test date in advance. Also, arrive a few minutes early to ensure you aren’t rushing in right before the test start time. The testing center Administrator (TCA) will provide you with all the necessary test equipment. 

    If you are taking the test from home your process will be slightly different. Once you have registered for the test through ETS, you will receive an email with additional registration instructions from ProctorU, the company used by ETS to administer at-home testing. When you have completed the ProctorU registration process, you can then schedule your Praxis Core test. 

    Search the Praxis Location Page to find a testing center near you. (1) In order to qualify for at-home testing, you must live within the United States, U.S. Territory, or Canada and meet the in-home equipment requirements


    Some physical testing centers may require proof of vaccination to enter the testing facility. Please check with your testing center for official health and safety information before your test date.

     

  3. 3

    How is the Praxis Test Scored?

    The Praxis Core is broken down into three scores. Each section (Math, Reading, Writing) can receive a score between 100-200 points. Unlike most tests, points are not taken away for wrong answers. Because of this, we suggest you answer all questions and not leave any blank responses. 

    What is the passing score on Praxis core?

    Currently, there is no “standard” passing test score for the Praxis Core. However, ETS does have qualifying scores for each area of the test.

    • Math (150)
    • Reading (156)
    • Writing (162)

    Each state also has its own set of passing standards. Please visit the ETS state requirements site for more information on what is considered a passing score in your state. 

    Reporting your scores

    When you register for your Praxis Core test, you can request that your scores get sent to your teaching program when they are available. You may also need to report your scores on your program application itself.

    Programs may have different deadlines to receive test scores. Make sure to check your program’s deadline and schedule your test early enough that your scores will be available on time!

  4. 4

    Preparing for the Praxis Test 

    Before you begin to study for the Praxis Core test, it is essential to have a clear understanding of what your test will cover. Once you have this information, here are a few steps to prepare you for a successful testing experience. 

    1. Give yourself enough study time. Planning ahead helps you to avoid cramming and prioritize your study time. Once you have the date of your test, it is best to prepare a study calendar or timeline that will ensure that you have enough time to study in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the test. Check out these free study schedule templates here
    2. Study quality test prep material. Because there is so much information available online, you want to make sure that you’re studying material that is specific to your Praxis Core test. Here are a few study resources that ETS recommends: 
      • Praxis Test Preparation Material: Here, you can find study companions, study plans, and additional online resources.  
      • Khan Academy Official Praxis Core Prep: An online test prep resource that allows you to create your own study plan, view sample test questions, take a complete practice test, and receive a real test score.  
      • Praxis Learning Paths: A new program that offers over 65 online lessons, including feedback and explanations. 
      • Praxis Video Library: Here, you can find several videos about important Praxis Core test facts, such as how to prepare for the test and what will take place on the day of the test. 
    3. Try different  study methods. Everyone learns differently, but methods such as flashcards, color coding notes, and practice tests are a great way to retain information. 
    4. Third-party study material. Head to your local library for free study material or check out these paid Praxis prep books from test prep gurus like Kaplan or CliffsNotes
      • Kaplan offers Praxis Core and Praxis II test prep books that have practice tests, detailed explanations of answers, question banks and content review.
      • CliffsNotes offers a study book for the Praxis Core. The book includes content review and sample exams.
      • For a monthly subscription fee, 240Tutoring offers access to the Foundations of Reading, Praxis Core and most Praxis content exam study guides. If you score 90% on their practice test but fail your exam, you’ll get a full refund for up to two months of your subscription. 
      • Test Prep Review offers free Praxis example questions and study tips, plus flashcards and study guide books in both printed and ebook formats.
      • Study.com offers study materials for the Praxis Core and Praxis II exams. You can get a free 30-day trial, followed by a monthly fee. Test prep materials include a free practice test, plus study guides, practice questions and video lessons.
      • Teachers Test Prep offers support for the Praxis Core and some Praxis subject area tests. You can get free study guides and practice tests, plus paid test prep courses, one-on-one tutoring, video instruction, and more. 
      • Kaplan offers test prep courses for Praxis Core and some Praxis II tests. Lessons include content review, hundreds of sample questions, full-length practice tests, video instruction, and more.

Next Steps

Once you have successfully taken and passed the Praxis Core Exam, you can move forward with your teaching program application process. 

Taking the Praxis Core Test is only one crucial part of the process of becoming a certified teacher, and we are here with tons of resources. From scholarships, fee reimbursement, and 1:1 coaching, get tailored advice for your certification process so that you can complete your journey with confidence.

 

 

 

References

  1. Praxis® core academic skills for educator’s tests. ETS. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://www.ets.org/praxis/about/core/
  2. Everything you need to know about praxis® scores. 240 Tutoring. (n.d.). Retrieved February 1, 2022, from https://www.240tutoring.com/praxis-prep/everything-you-need-to-know-abo…