Mastering Teacher Certification Exams: Good Words vs. Bad Words Strategy

In this blog post, we'll delve into the essential strategies of identifying good words and bad words within exam questions, enabling you to think like a test maker and navigate your teacher certification exam with confidence.

Understanding the Strategy

To excel in your teacher certification exam, it's crucial to adopt the mindset of a test maker. One effective strategy involves discerning between good words and bad words in exam questions. By recognizing and leveraging good words while avoiding bad words, you can enhance your ability to identify correct answer choices.

Exploring Good Words

Let's begin by exploring the realm of good words. These are terms or concepts that often signal correct answer choices in teacher certification exams. Some examples include "standards alignment," "scaffolding instruction," "differentiating instruction," "data-driven instruction," "critical thinking," "metacognition," "modeling," "explicit instruction," "systematic instruction," "recursive instruction," and "communicating expectations.

Application of Good Words

Recognizing these good words is pivotal during the exam. Whether it's assessing standards alignment, employing differentiated instruction, or fostering metacognition, these concepts are frequently embedded within exam questions. By identifying and understanding these terms, you'll be better equipped to select the most appropriate answer choices.

Accessing Test Specifications

It's important to note that these good words are derived from test specifications provided by exam authorities. These documents outline the content, skills, and standards assessed in the exam. While we can't display these specifications directly, they are freely accessible online. By reviewing the test specs, you'll gain insights into the language and concepts emphasized in the exam.

Avoiding Bad Words

Equally important is recognizing and avoiding bad words in exam questions. Common examples of bad words include "standardized tests," "homework," "worksheets," "round robin reading," and any punitive or negative practices. These terms typically signal incorrect answer choices and should be approached with caution during the exam.


In conclusion, mastering teacher certification exams requires a strategic approach that involves identifying good words and avoiding bad words within exam questions. By familiarizing yourself with these concepts and applying them effectively, you'll be well-prepared to tackle your exam with confidence. Stay tuned for part two of our series, where we'll delve deeper into practice test questions to reinforce these strategies.

Good Words vs. Bad Words Part 2

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