The Praxis Core Exam: Your Ultimate Guide

What is The Praxis Core Exam and Who is it For?

The Praxis Core Exam is a standardized test used by many states to assess the basic skills of aspiring teachers. If you want to obtain your professional teaching license, the Praxis Core is most likely one of the exams you must take.

Some states use a different exam than the Praxis, but all states have some form of a basic skills test similar to the Praxis Core.

The Praxis Core consists of three subtests:

  • Reading (5713)
  • Writing (5723)
  • Mathematics (5733)

Each subtest is scored separately. Therefore, if you are unsuccessful on one part of the exam, you will only have to retake that specific subtest.

The Reading Test)

The Reading test (Praxis 5713) is designed to measure a candidate's ability to understand, analyze, and evaluate written material. The test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and is scored on a scale of 100 to 200. Every state has its own score requirements. However, a score of 162 is considered passing for most states.

The Writing Test

The Writing test (Praxis 5723)is designed to measure a candidate's ability to write effectively and communicate their ideas clearly. The test consists of two parts: a multiple-choice section and an essay section. The multiple-choice section consists of 40 questions and is scored on a scale of 100 to 200, with a score of 162 considered passing. The essay section is scored separately by two trained raters on a scale of 0 to 6, with a score of 4 considered passing.

The Mathematics Test

The Mathematics test (Praxis 5733) is designed to measure a candidate's ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts and skills. The test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and is scored on a scale of 100 to 200, with a score of 162 considered passing.

Which states require Praxis?

A passing score on the Praxis Core is required in most states as part of the certification process. In fact, 46 states use some form of the Praxis exams for teacher certification.

This test is one of several you must pass in order to obtain a professional teaching license. Every state has different requirements; therefore, you should check with your state Department of Education to determine exactly what is necessary in your state. You can look up required Praxis exams according to each state, by visiting this link

How many people pass the first time?

According to the National Council on Teacher Equality (NCTQ), only 46% of prospective teachers who take the Praxis exams pass their first time. That’s why it is very important to understand how these tests are administered and scored

It is also very important that you purchase and use relevant test prep materials that are aligned with the test specifications and blueprint of the exam. That way, you are studying with questions that are structured similarly as those on the exam. You can find the ETS study companions that outline everything on the Praxis tests here

Why is the Praxis Core Exam So Hard to Pass?

While the Praxis Core is considered a basic skills test, it is not easy and many people are unsuccessful on the exam the first time they take it.

One of the biggest reasons for this is the exam tests skills and content you may have not seen since you were in middle or high school. 

For example, the reading section can be complicated because you have to read long passages and answer comprehension questions. This can be a daunting task for many. 

The writing section has questions that cover complex grammar applications not explicitly taught such as prepositional phrases, pronoun antecedent agreement, and conjunctions. Also, you are required to write two essays in a short amount of time. This is difficult for most people.

Finally, the math section of the test covers algebra, geometry, and data probability and stats. Questions will include inequalities, proportions, and area and volume. You will also have questions that cover mean, median, and mode. If you have been working in a field where those concepts are not used every day, you may have to dust off some skills you haven’t used in a while.

We have several products, including study guides and online courses to help you pass the Praxis Core. You can even purchase them by individual subtest.

Is the Praxis Core the only exam to become a teacher?

The Praxis Core Exam is just one part of the process of becoming a certified teacher. In addition to passing this exam, candidates must also complete a teacher education program and pass additional state-specific certification requirements, which include subject area exams and professional teaching exams.

How many questions do I have to get right to pass the Praxis Core?

It is difficult to predict exactly how many questions you will have to get correct to pass the Praxis Core because a scale score is used rather than a raw score. This simply means that your raw score–how many you got correct–is put into a formula to calculate a scale score. We recommend scoring 75% of the questions correct on the practice tests. Achieving at least 75% correct on the practice tests indicates that you are ready to take the actual exam. Remember, each section of the exam is scored separately.

We also recommend examining the ETS study companion for this exam. There you will find the test specifications and blueprint for the exam and specific questions. We provide this information in our study guide as well.

If you would like to learn more about how Praxis exams are scored,  Check our our blog post on how to calculate your Praxis score

What does passing the Praxis core provide me with?

This depends on the route to certification you are taking. If you are a career changer, meaning you have a four-year degree in something other than teaching, a passing score on the Praxis Core is required for your certification. The Praxis Core is one of several tests you must take before you can receive your professional license. 

If you are an undergraduate student studying education at a university, a passing score on the Praxis Core is usually required before you can move onto other classes required for your major. In addition, many universities now require a passing score on the Praxis Core for graduation. 

Along with the Praxis, you must pass your subject area exam and the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam. Every state is different, so be sure to check with your state’s Department of Education for its specific requirements. 

How long should you study for the Praxis Core?

People have a range of skill levels in reading, writing, and math, so it is difficult for us to give you a specific number of days or hours you should spend on your studies. However, this is a very large exam that covers expansive content for each subtest. To be successful on test day, you will need to dedicate an extended period of time to your studies. We recommend short, incremental practice rather than cramming all of your studying into one or two weekends.

We believe 20-30-minute study sessions over a 1-2 week period for each subtest is ideal. That means it will take you anywhere from 4-6 weeks in total to study for this exam.

At the beginning of each subtest in our study guide, we provide you with a study plan to help you manage your time.

What is the best study guide for the Praxis Core?

We believe our Praxis Core study guide is the very best resource you can purchase to prepare for the Praxis Core. Our Praxis Core test prep is 100% aligned to the exam. The book is sectioned out by subtest, and within those subtests we’ve aligned all of the information to the test specifications and blueprint. This ensures you are studying what you will see on test day–nothing more, nothing less. 

In each section, there are practice items that align specifically with the skills you just studied, so you can see exactly what a question for that skill or content will be like on test day. In addition, we have detailed answer explanations for every question in our study guide. This ensures you know why you got something correct or incorrect. Finally, our study guide contains two-three, full-length practice tests with answer explanations at the end of each subtest. Therefore, you have hundreds of practice questions to work with. 

We sort every practice test question by test skill. This helps you identify the skills in which you are low, so you can go back and study those aspects of the study guide. Knowing what skill the questions assess is a huge benefit to your studies.   

The study guide is an amazing resource to help you pass the Praxis Core. However, you might need more support in one or more areas. In that case, we have online courses packed full of video tutorials and extra practice. Our Praxis Core online course also includes the digital study guide. If you need more support, you can check out our Praxis Core online course. Like the study guide, you can purchase the whole course or individual subtest.

Does the study guide have the same questions as the real exam?   

State tests are secure, standardized, and heavily regulated. No one is privy to the questions on teacher certification exams. In fact, it is against testing policy to share items you see on your certification exams. ETS–the company that makes the exam–has hundreds of test questions in its item banks for each exam. When you take the exam, your version of the test has questions randomly pulled from these item banks. Therefore, trying to memorize what you think will be on your test is an exercise in futility. Instead, you should study the skills and content outlined in the specifications and blueprint of the exam. 

We provide the test specifications and blueprints for the exam in our study guides. That way, you can review how the test is designed and what skills are assessed. In fact, the questions in our study guide are structured similarly to what you will encounter on test day. We align all of our questions to the test specification and blueprint. This ensures you’re studying the content and practicing the skills you will need to be successful on the exam. 

Where Can I find free Praxis Core Math practice tests?

We have several Praxis Core webinars that come with free study guides and free practice test questions. 

In these webinars we go through specific questions that will help you prepare for the exam. These free courses are one to two hours and cover a ton of material. This is a great place to start if you want to save money and try our products before buying. 

You can also find free practice test questions in the ETS study companion. This document contains the specifications, blue print, sample items, and explanations.

What is the difference between the Praxis I and Praxis II.

Up until 2014, the Praxis Core was referred to as the Praxis I, and the Praxis subject area exams were referred to as the Praxis II. This is because people usually took the Praxis Core first (Praxis I) and the subject area exams second (Praxis II). However, now this is not always the case. Depending on your road to certification, you may not take the exams in that order. 

Currently, there is no more Praxis I or Praxis II. There is the Praxis Core and the Praxis subject area exams, which are specific to the grade and content level you are trying to get certified in. For example, if you want to be a middle school English teacher, you would take the middle school English certificate subject area exam. If you want to be a high school biology teacher, you would take the high school biology subject area exam.  

In addition to the Praxis Core and the Praxis subject area exams, teachers are required to take a professional teaching exam called the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT). This test consists of scenario questions that cover school law, student rights, students’ developmental processes and other universal education topics. 

You may also be required to take additional exams if you are seeking certification in specialized areas like reading or special education. This varies from state to state. It is important that you check with your State Department of Education to determine exactly what exams are required for certification. 

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