Praxis® II Study Guides & Test Info

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What Is the Praxis 2 Exam?

The Praxis Subject Assessments (SAs), formerly known as the Praxis II Exams, are designed to test content knowledge for the purpose of teaching a specific subject (such as geography, English, or algebra) and a specific demographic (early and elementary grades, middle grades, special education, and so on).

You might be imagining a torturous test day with questions ranging from kindergarten phonics to high school biology; how could you possibly prepare for such an exam? Relax! The Praxis II isn't one long test. Instead, ''Praxis II'' refers to a group of over 90 tests from which prospective educators choose according to their discipline. In other words, you need only take the tests that correspond to the subjects you wish to be certified to teach.

The Praxis II exams vary in length of time (from 1 to 4 hours), number of questions, and question format. The majority of tests take 2 to 2.5 hours and contain 60 to 130 questions. Some tests use only multiple-choice questions; others include constructed-response (short essay) questions or even longer essays.

Who Takes the Praxis II and Why?

Before reviewing the types of Praxis II tests, you should be aware that prospective test takers must hold at least a bachelor's degree in order to be eligible to sit for the exam. With certain exceptions, teachers must pass the Praxis 2 score requirements by state in order to be certified to teach in that state. In these states, passing the Praxis does not guarantee teacher certification, but it is a necessary step on the path to certification.

Whether you live in states that don't require praxis test or those that requires it, the Praxis exams may still be used by many educator organizations and professional associations to evaluate potential members and award licensure. Additionally, you may find yourself more eligible for hire if you have successfully completed the Praxis II tests in your intended field of instruction.

Praxis PLT

There are five different Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exams: Early Childhood; Grades K-6; Grades 5-9; Grades 7-12; and Pre-K-12. Each one is designed to measure one's understanding and application of instructional theory, including methods of assessment, theories of cognitive development, and professional leadership. Your state will designate which PLT you must take.

Praxis Core

The Praxis Core, which aspiring educators in the 40 Praxis-requiring states must take, consists of three sections: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Praxis Core is a basic evaluation of these 'big three' subject areas. Questions on these tests require multiple-choice responses (Reading, Writing, and Math); numeric-entry responses (Math); and essay responses (Writing). The Reading exam is 85 minutes long; Math, 90 minutes; and Writing, 100 minutes, split between multiple-choice questions (40 minutes) and the essay section (2 essays, 60 minutes).

Praxis CKT

The Praxis Content Knowledge for Teaching (CKT) exam evaluates instructional competence for elementary education in terms of the aspiring teacher's ability to properly use the student curriculum. Examinees must prove themselves proficient in the four major areas of Reading and Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The CKT is entirely made up of multiple-choice questions, with 90 minutes for Reading and Language Arts, 85 for Math, 60 for Science, and 50 for Social Studies.

Praxis Subject Assessments

The Praxis Subject Assessments encompass a wide variety of subjects, listed below. measure a test taker's subject knowledge in a range of K-12 content areas as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills. There are over 90 different Praxis Subject Assessment, ranging from Biology, Health Education to World Languages. These tests are administered by ETS, whose website allows test takers to search for state requirements for specific Praxis tests. Subject-specific testing of future teachers ensures quality instruction in the classroom in the following areas:

Content Knowledge

  • Agriculture
  • Algebra 1
  • Art Content and Analysis
  • Art: Content Knowledge
  • Audiology
  • Biology: Content Knowledge
  • Braille Proficiency
  • Business Education: Content Knowledge
  • Chemistry: Content Knowledge
  • Citizenship Education: Content Knowledge
  • Computer Science
  • Earth and Space Sciences: Content Knowledge
  • Economics
  • Educational Leadership Administration and Supervision
  • English Language Arts: Content and Analysis
  • English Language Arts: Content Knowledge
  • English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge
  • General Science: Content Knowledge
  • Geography
  • Geometry
  • Gifted Education
  • Government/Political Science
  • Health and Physical Education: Content Knowledge
  • Health Education
  • Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education
  • Journalism
  • Library Media Specialist
  • Marketing Education
  • Mathematics
  • Mathematics: Content Knowledge
  • Music: Content and Instruction
  • Music: Content Knowledge
  • Music: Instrumental In General Knowledge
  • Music: Vocal and General Knowledge
  • Physical Education Content and Design
  • Physical Education: Content Knowledge
  • Physical Science
  • Physics: Content Knowledge
  • Psychology
  • Social Studies: Content and Interpretation
  • Social Studies: Content Knowledge
  • Sociology
  • Speech Communication: Content Knowledge
  • Technology Education
  • Theater
  • World and US History: Content Knowledge

Early and Elementary Education

  • Early Childhood Assessment
  • Elementary Education Assessment
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Education of Young Children
  • Elementary Education: Bundle--Mathematics, Social Studies and Science
  • Elementary Education: Content Knowledge
  • Elementary Education: Content Knowledge for Teaching
  • Elementary Education: Curriculum Instruction and Assessment
  • Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects
  • Pre-Kindergarten Education

Middle Grades

  • Middle School Content Knowledge
  • Middle School English Language Arts
  • Middle School Mathematics
  • Middle School Science
  • Middle School Social Studies

Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT)

  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades K-6
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5-9
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grade 7-12
  • Principles of Learning and Teaching: Pre-K-12

Reading

  • Reading Specialist
  • Teaching Reading
  • Teaching Reading: Elementary
  • Teaching Reading: Elementary Education
  • Teaching Reading: K-12

Special Education, School Counseling and School Psychology

  • Special Ed: Core Knowledge and Applications
  • Special Ed: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications
  • Special Ed: Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications
  • Special Ed: Preschool Early Childhood
  • Special Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
  • Special Ed: Teaching Speech to Students With Language Impairments
  • Special Ed: Teaching Students with Behavior Disorders and Emotional Disturbances
  • Special Ed: Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
  • Special Ed: Teaching Students with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Special Ed: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments
  • Speech Language Pathology
  • Professional School Counselor
  • School Psychologist

World Languages

  • Chinese (Mandarin): World Language
  • French: World Language
  • German: World Language
  • Japanese: World Language
  • Latin
  • Spanish: World Language
  • World Languages Pedagogy

Praxis for Pennsylvania and Virginia

Prospective educators in Pennsylvania and Virginia may also be required to take these state-specific exams:

Pennsylvania

  • PA Grades 4-8 Core Assessment
  • PA Grades 4-8 Core Assessment: Pedagogy
  • PA Grades 4-8 Core Assessment: English Language Arts and Social Studies
  • PA Grades 4-8 Mathematics and Science
  • PA Grades 4-8 Subject Concentration English Language Arts
  • PA Grades 4-8 Subject Concentration Mathematics
  • PA Grades 4-8 Subject Concentration Science
  • PA Grades 4-8 Subject Concentration Social Studies

Virginia

  • Reading For Virginia Educators: Elementary and Special Education
  • Reading For Virginia Educators: Reading Specialist

State Testing Requirements for the Praxis

Praxis test requirements vary per state. Thus, even in a state that does require teachers to take Praxis exams for some subjects, usually the Praxis Core tests, they might not require you to take the Praxis Assessment Tests for the different subjects you want to teach. The ETS website provides a handy list of required Praxis tests for each state.

Here's a list of the 40 states that DO use the Praxis exams as a means of teacher certification:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Each state's Praxis testing requirements are different, including which tests are necessary as well as the Praxis passing scores by state. While aspiring teachers may choose to take additional Praxis tests above the minimum requirement in their state, they must at least pass the tests assigned to their area of teaching.

How Are the Praxis Subject Assessments Given?

With the exception of the Braille exam, all Praxis Subject Assessments are computer-based and are administered at locations across the US and abroad, including Prometric test centers and universities. The ETS Praxis Test Locations page allows users to locate test sites within a 200-mile radius using an address or zip code. International test-takers (those outside the US) may only test at Prometric test centers.

At Home Testing

You may also take the Praxis online test at home, provided that the examinee lives in the US or a US territory and meets the Equipment and Environment Requirements, a set of stringent regulations that ensure there's no cheating on the test. The examinee must take the online test:

  • with a secure browser on a desktop or laptop computer, not on a tablet or smartphone
  • in a private location and in a room without other occupants (a conference room in a library, even without others present, would constitute a violation since a library is a public space)
  • without food, drink, study aids, or electronics (except for the computer used for the test)
  • with a movable web camera that can move 360° to show the environment and examinee
  • with internal or external speakers and a microphone to communicate with the proctor (no headphones, earbuds, or headsets)
  • sitting upright at a table or desk, not reclining on a bed or sofa
  • with a whiteboard or paper inside a transparent sheet protector and erasable pen; all notes must be erased at the conclusion of the test

Braille Proficiency Test

Due to the nature of the exam, the Praxis Braille Proficiency Test is not administered via computer, but rather using printed text, paper, a slate, a stylus, and manual braillewriter. The Braille test is only required and administered in Mississippi, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia. The test is 4 hours long and costs $146.

Select a practice test to help you prepare for your upcoming exam.

Registering for the Praxis II

The main way to register for Praxis II is via the ETS website. Test-takers will have to create an account, select which tests they want to take, then sign up for the Praxis test dates and location. Payment options include credit cards, PayPal or eCheck. Registration is also permitted by mail or phone, although there is a $35 fee for phone registration.

Test Dates

Tests are offered nearly every day. To find a test and score report date, simply select the test you wish to take and choose one of the highlighted dates from the calendar at the ETS Test Dates and Centers web page. Once set, test dates can be changed, but such changes should be made at least three full days before a scheduled test and will incur a $40 fee.

Fees

Each Praxis test fees are different, but most of these tests cost between $120 and $146, while the World language tests cost $160.

The CKT costs $199 altogether; fees for retaking the Praxis are $60 each for the Science and Social Studies subtests and $74 each for the Reading and Language Arts and Mathematics subtests.

Test Bundles

Test bundles combine subject tests that are commonly taken together and reduce the total cost of testing. Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects costs $170 and Elementary Education: Three-Subject Bundle (Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science) costs $140. Component subtests cost $60.

Pennsylvania & Virginia

The specific tests for Pennsylvania Praxis cost $50 to $75 each.

The Virginia Reading Specialist tests each cost $130.

Scores

Additional score reports (beyond the original score report, which is sent to your state Board of Education and/or to your institution) cost $50 per report. Score reviews cost $65.

Disability Accommodations

Testing accommodations for those with disabilities and health-related needs and for people whose primary language is not English (PLNE) include the following:

  • Although Praxis tests are only available in English, PLNE are granted 50% longer on all tests except language tests. PLNE accommodation is available at all test centers and dates.
  • Accommodations for disabled persons and those with health-related needs may vary; they are encouraged to list requests in the application for accommodation.

Accommodations are not automatically granted; both PLNE and disabled persons must prove eligibility and apply for accommodation. Disabled and PLNE test-takers may fill out an accommodation application online by logging into a Praxis account, clicking on ''Praxis Accommodation Status/New Request,'' and following the instructions therein.

Praxis II Content and Structure

While this section addresses the most commonly found content and structure across various Praxis II exams or Subject Assessments, do be aware that both the content and structure of the over 90 different Subject Assessments vary and are subject to change based on the methods of creating and evaluating test questions (to be discussed below).

Overall, Subject Assessments can range from 1 to 4 hours, and the number and format of questions and sections, or content categories, can vary greatly. Most of the tests will heavily rely on selected-response (multiple-choice) questions, many will also include constructed-response (short answer or essay) questions, and some (the World Language tests) will require verbal responses as well.

Scores

Before jumping into the various tests, let's talk about the Praxis scoring system. Each content category is worth a given amount of raw points; in other words, each category is weighted differently. For example, 2 essay questions in one category might be worth the same number of points as 50 selected-response questions in another category, accounting for different percentages of your overall score. Your score report and official ETS Study Companion will indicate the raw points and percentages that you can earn and what score you did earn as a result. Score reports usually appear about a month after your test date.

Types of Subject Assessments

There is a wide variety of subjects covered among the Praxis II exams, designed to assess both the level of content knowledge held by a future teacher as well as their knowledge of pedagogical and professional tools for the classroom. The Praxis Subject Assessments range in topic from world languages to humanities and mathematics and are mainly composed of a variety of multiple choice questions and long or short constructed response items.

Principles of Learning and Teaching

Let's begin with the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exams since they're the Subject Assessments most often required by states. According to the ETS, these tests measure the examinee's understanding and application of instructional theory, including methods of assessment, theories of cognitive development, and professional leadership.

The PLT exams are 2 hours long with around 70 selected-response and 4 constructed-response questions.

Content Knowledge

Next, we have the Content Knowledge tests, which range from math to science to language arts to agriculture. They assess knowledge of the given subject--e.g. the Geometry test evaluates geometry content knowledge. Early and elementary education tests measure both content knowledge and skill in classroom instruction. The middle school tests are also content knowledge tests but are specific to the middle grades.

These exams vary quite a lot in length and number of questions. Here are a few examples:

Subject Length Number & format of questions Number of content categories
Middle School Science (5442) 2 hours 30 minutes 125 SR 4
English Language Arts: Content Knowledge 2 hours 30 minutes 130 SR 3
Geometry 2 hours 10 minutes 50 SR & numeric-entry 2
Communication & Literacy: Writing 1 hour 40 minutes 40 SR, 2 essay 2
Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects 4 hours 15 minutes 80 (reading & language arts) + 50 (mathematics) + 60 (social studies) + 55 (science) = 245 (total) SR & numeric-entry 2 (reading & language arts) + 3 (math) + 3 (social studies) + 3 (science) = 11 (total)

World Language

Although the World Language tests are similar to the Content Knowledge tests, they are more intense. It's a bit harder to evaluate foreign language fluency, so these tests are built on listening, reading, writing, and speaking components, which measure understanding, production (ability to use the language independently), and cultural knowledge of the target language.

These exams do include the standard selected-response and constructed-response format of the other Praxis exams, but add on more advanced components. In speaking sections of the tests, examinees must verbally respond to prompts or conduct an interview in the target language (these are categorized as constructed-response questions). In listening sections, examinees must listen to a recording of the target language and then answer a set of corresponding selected-response questions. (The World Language Pedagogy test evaluates instructional ability and does not include these 'extra' sections.)

As a result, the World Language tests are much longer. Take a look:

Subject Length Number & format of questions Number of content categories
Chinese (Mandarin) 3 hours 75 SR, 8 CR 5
French 3 hours 75 SR, 8 CR 5
Japanese 3 hours 75 SR, 6 CR 5
Latin 2 hours 120 SR 4
Spanish 3 hours 75 SR, 6 CR 5

Teaching and Reading Specialist

The exams for the Teaching Reading and Praxis Reading Specialist are designed to evaluate the examinee's apprehension and application of phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. These assessments evaluate the ability to increase student performance in these reading and writing skill areas. These are usually 2.5 hours long with around 90 to 95 selected-response and 2 to 3 constructed-response questions.

Special Education

The Special Education exams are designed to test the examinee's understanding of students with special needs' development, characteristics, and learning needs, as well as the examinee's ability to provide a supportive learning environment, manage the classroom, and maintain professional conduct. These aren't content knowledge tests, but more like 'situational awareness' assessments. These are usually 2 hours long with around 120 selected-response questions.

How Praxis Test Questions Are Created

Test questions are generated by education specialists, teachers, and teacher preparation program faculty members. The questions must meet high quality assessment standards, the first of which stipulates that the questions must actually evaluate the skills being tested and the content that examinees are expected to know (no new information is to be introduced). Thus, no question on any test should be confusing or irrelevant for a prepared examinee. To ensure that test questions meet these standards, test reviewers must follow a set of procedures that include trial exams and statistical analyses. The distilled results of these trials and analyses become the actual tests.

Getting Praxis II Scores

Praxis scores are usually reported approximately one month after the test date and can be found on the test-taker's Praxis account. According to the ETS, your score report includes:

  • Your score, and whether it falls into your state's range for passing scores
  • The possible scoring range for the exam you took
  • The total raw points available
  • The range of the middle 50% of scores on that test.
  • The highest scores you have earned on each Praxis exam taken over the last 10 years, if any

How Can I Prepare for The Praxis II Test?

The first thing you ought to do when preparing for your Praxis test is to make use of the ETS Praxis Information Bulletin, a 42-page long document that details how to register for a test, what to expect on test day, and how to obtain and interpret your score report. This bulletin is found on the page entitled ""About the Tests"" on the official ETS Praxis website.

Praxis 2 Tips

As mentioned earlier, it's important to familiarize yourself with the location of your test and time your route before test day. It's also of utmost importance that you bring proper identification and leave banned items at home.

Preparing for the Praxis II Test

When scheduling your test, give yourself time to study. Be realistic. If you can only spend half an hour studying each day, and you study five days a week, that's perfectly fine. But don't rush your test date under the assumption that you'll have two hours a night to review the material.

  • Make a study plan by reviewing the content you need to master and breaking it up into manageable chunks. You can use the Study Plan template provided by ETS to do this.
  • Study with friends! It's more fun and can help you stay motivated and on track.
  • Gather the study materials you need, e.g. textbooks, flashcards, and Praxis II online study guide.
  • You may want to memorize certain rules or formulas verbatim. Some formulas are provided with some tests on test day but knowing them by heart can save you time (and anxiety) when the clock is ticking.

Test Day

When test day finally arrives, it's time to put all that preparation and studying to good use! Here are some logistical tips to help things go smoothly on the day of your Praxis II exam.

Arriving at Your Test Center

Double-check your Praxis test locations before test day and add a few extra minutes to your estimated travel time in case of traffic and other delays.

Give yourself extra time to travel to the testing center, check in, and use the restroom--plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your test is scheduled to begin.

What to Bring

When you arrive at the testing center, you must present your printed admission ticket and photo ID. Forms of ID that do not include a photo and signature will not be accepted (and as a result, you will not be allowed to sit for the test).

You may also bring a calculator (see testing requirements for your specific test). Do not bring pencils, erasers, or scratch paper.

Additionally, you may not bring electronics, personal items, food, drinks, jewelry, watches, hats, or outerwear (you may consider bringing a sweater in case you find the testing room chilly; be aware that outerwear is subject to inspection).

Praxis II Test-Taking Strategies

  • Read questions fully before answering.
  • Look out for ''trick'' words like ''not'' or ''except''.
  • Pace yourself. If you get stuck on a question, make your best guess and move on. You can return to the question later if you have time.
  • If you finish the test early, double-check your answers.

Praxis 2 Study Guide

For trustworthy Praxis study guides, visit the Praxis Test Preparation Materials page at the official ETS website, check your state testing requirements using the link provided, and select your test by name or number. You'll be taken to a page with a free, downloadable Study Companion and Study Plan. From the same page, you'll be able to purchase an Interactive Practice Test.

Expert Contributor

Corey Sexton

Corey Sexton, M.Ed. has over 16 years of experience as a high school library media specialist. She holds teaching certificates for Pre-K, K-3, 1-8, and K-12 Library Media, as well as administrative licenses for 4-9 and 7-12. Corey graduated with an M.Ed. in Leadership from Concordia University and an M.Ed. in School Library Media & Information Technology from Mansfield University.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Praxis II exams?

    Praxis II exams, also known as Praxis Subject Assessments, are used to evaluate content knowledge and instructional ability for the purpose of licensing teachers in many states.

  • When should I take Praxis 2?

    You should choose a Praxis 2 test date that is distant enough to allow for sufficient study time, but that allows sufficient time for score reporting to the appropriate school or agency. Scores are generally reported one month after the test date.

  • Is the Praxis II hard?

    It is important to study and review all of the content that will be on your Praxis II test, which is evaluated on a pass/fail basis. The exam's difficulty corresponds to one's level of preparedness.

  • What is the difference between Praxis I and Praxis II?

    The Praxis I test (Core) evaluates ability in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics at the level expected of all teachers; the Praxis II test (Subject Assessments) evaluates content knowledge for specific subjects.

Praxis II Practice Tests

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