OK...so I am in school, since the fall, learning to TEACH. And I am learning. One thing I've learned is how little I know. Yup, I am being challenged to learn some stuff, and it's so fun. Also I have some proficiency tests that are required, so I'm meeting those challenges. One such test, early on is the Praxis Core. It's a minimum skills type test to assure competencies by my university before entrance into the Early Childhood Ed program.
Last week, I took the Praxis Core.
For more information on it, go to ets.org and read what it says about the actual test.
It's $130 bucks to take it. It takes about four hours to do all three parts: Reading, Math, Writing. My testing location was about 1.5 hrs away from my home, so the whole ordeal was exhausting, but I did it. Last Monday. Yup, forged a head.
My program requires that I have it accomplished by a certain date, and so I began a couple months ago in preparation, particularly in Math. SisterT readers KNOW that math isn't my talent...but let me say a couple of things first about preparation for these kinds of tests when you KNOW you have weak areas: DO IT!
And I have...
I also bought a couple of books, Praxis Core For Dummies which has online testing practice, as well as Kaplan Praxis which also has online practice. I have been meeting with a tutor/study group at the University nearly twice weekly do work on math skills and take practice tests... One area of huge prep was to use Khan Academy online. This is a free WONDERFUL website that covers loads of math skills...it's accessable 24/7 and totally interactive and even intuitive so it figures out what you might need to practice a little more. Or you can choose to practice a little more...it's ABSOLUTELY GREAT and is age graded from preK-college level skills...I recommend khanacademy.org to anyone for math...even children (which it's child geared with parent/teacher tools)!!! GREAT SITE and I used Sal back when he was just on youtube in our homeschooling...LOVE SAL~TY SAL! ;-)
And the results of my prep are not totally known at this point. It takes about 2 wks for scores on the writing portion to come in. I do know about math and reading, though. I passed the reading and failed the math. NO surprise here. So I press on in my learning...but I have some insights into the test. While I am nearly sworn to secrecy for the content, it's nothing short of secret that there are things I CAN discuss which will help future test takers and myself as I pursue retaking the math portion if not the writing...
- I found that a great night's sleep and rest were essential. NO KIDDING! I slept and rested the entire weekend before my Monday test. DO THIS..do NOT short cut on rest and relaxation. The test and arrival/check in are STRESSFUL...you are wanded for contraband and nearly 'searched.' NOT kidding! Get ALL your faculties together...your mind, body AND soul...
- EAT healthful food for breakfast and plenty of hydration with good quality water...This helps the body/brain to function better...you are in a cubicle with either or not, headphones on to block out noise, which is just people coming and going in and out of testing area...but you are THERE...for the entire time, unless you want a time penalty...no breaks are scheduled...none...it's BAM-BAM-BAM. Now, the test is offered at a three in one price for the $130 OR you can take each separate for $80 each...See how it makes sense to prepare?
- Comfy clothes...Wear no clothing that is binding or restrictive or just plainly miserable. I think I should have worn my pajamas!!~LOL...well, nearly!...but aside from the security photo...WHO saw me, that I care about?? Ha!
- Pay CLOSE attention to the registration and 'ticket' instructions. IF you do, there are no problems in this area. I had none, but be aware you will be keeping your photo ID with you the entire time you are in the testing area~ It will be displayed out where it can be seen...on the desk as you work...
- The testing admins will give you pencils. I hunted for ones in the pencil can with good erasers...There weren't many, as most of the erasers were clearly worn down...DO what you feel you will need...I didn't want to have to hunt something once I got started...because once you are started, you are IN the test...and it will be BEST TO keep going....
- One REALLY crucial skill that I've not heard anybody talk about it typing. Let me say that I don't have gobs of typing experience in a sitting straight up/pro kind of way....as I type this post, my keyboard is on my body...not exactly how I typed for the test...so, what helped me was that some time ago, in one of my classes, I began taking my laptop to type lecture notes from one of my classes as it was happening...This led me to really work on my typing speed and accuracy. You will want both of these skills when taking the writing portion of the Praxis Core. You don't have a lot of time to compose and organize a well written essay if your typing isn't up to par. Just a word to the WISE, here...I didn't realize how important my typing would be in getting my essays DONE and proofed prior to the expiration of the time. I'm so happy that I had practiced this skill. ;-)
- I also suggest knowing the area where the testing center is located. I didn't know the area, so I packed a lunch, and while I didn't stop, it would have been helpful to know what food/rest areas are available in route, if you are traveling. Know where to park and other things as well. I had to hunt the testing center in an office building. This was stressful...and could have been more relaxing if I had known more...do your research. It's worth it!
Okay, so this is pretty much all I can think of that should make your testing experience a little better and hopefully more successful. I confident that I can succeed in retaking the math portion in a coming session. I already have rescheduled and have begun working..again! I would have been so shocked had I gotten the needed score the FIRST time! Experience is a great guide!
Please, DO NOT give up, no matter what your score, if you feel you are inclined to become a teacher...state requirements to teach other people's children and become state certified can be rigorous, but with preparation and hard work, for many this goal is attainable.
I am welcoming the challenges.
I hope today is amazing for you!