First of All Relax
The first thing you should do is relax. Not only have you spent the last four or five years taking classes in the given topics you’ll be testing on, but you’ve likely completed your student teaching at this point. Both of these things together mean that you have learned the information and been able to apply it in the field. You’ll be surprised at how many of the questions on the teacher’s exams are common sense in your chosen field(s) of study.
Also, tension can cause you to do worse on a test than you might if you are relaxed. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep, a decent breakfast and plenty of sharp pencils.
What in the World Should You Study
It isn’t hard to know what topics you should study, because almost every standardized test you’ll ever be given as a college student has sample tests and study guides available. For example, if you need to take the Praxis II, you can get more information about how and where the test is administered in your area at www.ets.org.
If you click on the link titled "Praxis", you will find a list of study guides for each type of test. Here are a few:
- Business Education
- Driver Education
- Social Studies
- World and U.S. History
There are also specialities within each topic to study for, such as content knowledge or pedagogy.
Test Preparation Manuals
Test preparation manuals are one of the easiest ways to go through the material you’ll need to know. Most of the time, you will quickly spot areas where your knowledge is lacking or these areas will show up when you take your sample test. This tells you that you need to do additional research in these areas. You can email old professors for ideas for further resources and preparing in these areas or do online searches. Although some information is limited online, you may come across some used textbooks that will help you further prepare.
Some other guides that will help you study include:
- Cliff’s Test Prep for Praxis II
- The Praxis Series Official Guide
- What Every Teacher Should Know to Pass the Praxis II
These guides are easily found online through sites such as Amazon.com and Ebay.
A Few Final Tips
Plan to spend at least several weeks preparing for your teacher’s examination. Although you will already know much of the material, consider this a refresher of everything you’ve learned during your college career. Instead of just using the opportunity to study for the test, try to discover any areas where you might be lacking in knowledge, so you can brush up before you begin your career as a teacher. You may want to try out many of these methods and concepts in your own classroom soon.
If possible, talk to others who have recently taken the test and ask for any tips they might have in preparing. For example, a classmate may tell you that she really struggled with a particular area. You can be certain you are familiar with that material, if you struggle there as well.
Don’t despair. Although you will have to pay for any retakes of the test, you won’t be the first or the last one who has to retake a test. You may do better than expected, but if not, you’ll simply take the test again with less stress and more knowledge the second time around.