Praxis® Social Studies Content Knowledge Practice Test
What is the Praxis 5081 Social Studies: Content Knowledge Exam?
Taking the steps to become an educator can seem daunting; there are unique requirements based on what certification you need, and taking a Praxis test is an important part of the process. If you have decided to work in secondary education, you will most likely choose a specific subject area that you would like to teach. If you enjoy humanities, politics, history, or behavioral science, social studies may be for you. Social studies in the American education system is a broad field that highlights the complex relationships between governments, countries, communities, and individuals. The Praxis 5081, or Praxis social studies exam, tests your understanding and interpretation of these concepts on both a general and specific level.
Practice tests give you a better idea of the topics you have mastered and those you should keep studying.
What is on the Praxis II Social Studies: Content Knowledge Exam?
The Praxis 2 social studies content knowledge test is broken up into six distinct sections with a variety of questions in each. It is a 2-hour-long, computer-delivered exam with 130 questions. You may see pretest questions that do not contribute to your score but introduce material that may be added to later versions of the test. These questions will also help you become familiar with the testing format prior to starting the exam.
Praxis 2 social studies questions are entirely selected-response (multiple choice). Historical documents, data, graphs, maps, and pictures can be included in the questions. It is important to read each question carefully to ensure you are selecting the answer that best describes the question. Correctly answering questions will require your interpretation of the provided materials and understanding of complex relationships between the areas of study. The table below will demonstrate the six sections, the approximate number of questions in each section, and their weight on your Praxis scores.
Test Content Table
United States History
Government, Civics, Political Science
Approximate Number of Questions
Approximate Percentage of Exam
United States History
The United States history section of the Praxis 2 social studies exam will ask for your understanding of the cause/effect, relationships between, and impact on the following topics specifically relating to North American history:
Bill of Rights and Constitution
Sectionalism and Reconstruction
Urbanization, industrialization, and immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
Progressive Era and New Deal
World War I and II
Counterculture, Globalization, and the Information Age
Race, gender, ethnicity, religion, economic status throughout history
Political process, and branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial)
Major economic transformations
Becoming a World Power and U.S. role around the world
Similarly to the United States history section of the Praxis 2 social studies exam, this section will test your knowledge and understanding of the following topics on a global scale:
Classical civilizations (Greece, Rome, Persia, India, and China) and their transformations
Trade exploration and colonization
Revolutions, nationalism, and imperialism
World War I and II
Religion, family structure, gender roles, and demographic trends
Conflict or cooperation
Economic transformations (spread of the market, industrialization, differing economies)
This section of the exam will focus on political theories and concepts in relation to individual governments/powers. Questions may include specific questions about the following subjects:
Types of governments
Comparative politics and international relations
The United States government
Processes of political institutions
Civil liberties and rights
The geography section of the Praxis 2 social studies exam focuses on analyzing, interpreting, and organizing spatial and geographic information in relation to the following topics:
Population density, literacy rates, infant mortality
Location, place, region
Climate and natural hazards
Earth's ecosystems, renewable and nonrenewable resources
Interaction between humans and the environment
Migration and settlement
Agriculture, industrialization, globalization
Political geography (borders, states, areas of conflict)
This section of the Praxis 2 social studies exam targets both macro and microeconomics. Macroeconomics covers the following topics:
Economic performance and growth
Monetary policies and banking
Trade and exchange rates
While microeconomics includes:
Choice and opportunity costs
Production, supply, demand, and market efficiency
Taxes, subsidies, and price control
Distribution of income
The final section of the Praxis 2 social studies exam covers the social services field (anthropology, psychology, and sociology). These questions will test your general understanding of human behavior including:
Influence of society, groups, and expectations
Human adaptation and diversity
Individual behavior-personality, identity, learning, and development
What is the Praxis Social Studies Exam Like?
The Praxis 2 social studies exam is unique because it consists entirely of selected-response (multiple choice) questions. You will be presented with a question, sometimes with a graphic, and a list of responses to choose from. The exam is computer-delivered and interactive, meaning that you choose an answer from the screen.
Selected Response Questions on the Praxis
In selected-response questions, you have the assurance that the answer is on the screen. Take your time, always read the question carefully, and look out for words like not, least, and except. This will also ensure you fully understand the question and you are answering with the best possible answer choice. When met with a graphic, it can be helpful to read the question first, so you know what you are looking for in the graphic. Remember there are no trick questions, this exam is formatted to test your knowledge in a straightforward way.
Praxis Question Types
There are different types of answer formats in selected-response questions. They may look like these:
Clicking one or more ovals from a list
Clicking checkboxes instead of an oval
Clicking on parts of a graphic
Clicking on a sentence or parts of a sentence
Dragging and dropping answer choices to a designated area on the screen
Selecting choices from a drop-down menu
Studying for the Praxis Social Studies Content Knowledge
Once you have decided to take the Praxis 2 social studies exam, studying the information can be intimidating, luckily there are a number of resources available to help you along the way! A good starting point for Praxis test preparation is determining what content areas you are confident in, which need work, and which you are new to. Taking a Praxis social studies practice test is a good way to measure where you are at, so you will know what to study. Depending on when you are taking the exam, you can create a study schedule or plan to help you stay on track and attain the most information before your Praxis test day.
Praxis Social Studies Practice Test Materials
ETS, the company that produces the exam, has a Praxis 5081 study companion that gives you an overview of test content, tips for taking the exam, and practice questions to familiarize you with the formatting. They also created an in-depth study plan for the social studies Praxis that allows you to input how well you know the material, resources to help you learn, and a self-made schedule of when you would like to study the content.
What is the Praxis 2 Social Studies Passing Score?
Praxis tests for teachers are graded by taking the raw points you earn on each question and transitioning them into a 100-200 point scale. On this scale 100 is equal to 0% and 200 is equal to 100%.
Each state institution or agency has the ability to create the standards of certification, thus the Social Studies Praxis passing score for your state may differ from someone in another state. The range of praxis 2 social studies passing scores is between 148-162, with 150 being the most common. On the ETS website, there is a helpful scores tool where you can input the test you took or your state/agency to see the passing Praxis score for your area.
Amanda Carpenter, M.S. is an ESL Teacher with 5 years of experience teaching English to students in China. She has also worked as a 5th Grade Teacher in Alabama. Amanda completed an M.S. in Curriculum & Instruction at Western Governors University.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I pass the Social Studies Praxis?
Passing any exam is reliant on your knowledge of the subject. The best way to pass the Praxis Social Studies exam is to:
Explore what is on the test
Get a baseline of what information you already know and what information you still need to learn
Create a study plan
Develop resources to help you study
Complete practice questions/test to prepare you for the actual exam
Most importantly, read the questions carefully and trust your knowledge!
What do I need to study for the Social Studies Praxis?
There are six general content areas on the Praxis Social Studies exam, each area is broken down into specific questions. Use the ETS study companion to determine what information you are comfortable with and what you need to practice. Then, focus on the information you still need to learn first. This will help you cover more information and do better on the test.
How many questions are on the Social Studies Praxis?
There are 130 questions on the Praxis Social Studies exam. Some are not graded, as they are pretest questions to introduce content that could appear on future exams. The questions are broken up among sections with 26 in the United States History, World History, and Government, Civics, Political Science sections; 19 in the Geography section; 20 in the Economics section; and 13 in the Behavioral Sciences section.
What does the Social Studies Praxis cover?
The Praxis Social Studies exam focuses on your general and specific knowledge of history, politics, economy, geography, and social/behavioral sciences. Questions will ask for your understanding, interpretation, and organization of this information.
Take a Praxis Social Studies Content Knowledge Practice Test Online
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