Preparation is the key to success. Any opportunities to practice for the exams you must pass in order to become a teacher in Texas should not be wasted.
A Texas teacher certification practice test is a preview to the real deal, and as important as your certification exams are, it’s a good idea to get as much practice as possible under your belt before you take any required tests.
To become certified to teach in the state of Texas, you must take at least one content exam in the area you wish to teach and the PPR, or Pedagogy and Professional Responsibility. The PPR is the final exam you take and is “designed to assess whether a test taker has the requisite knowledge and skills that an entry-level educator in this field in Texas public schools must possess,” according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
If you are seeking certification in the areas below, you must also take the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam:
Preparing for each of these exams is important, as passing each one gets you one step closer to landing a spot at the front of the classroom.
Taking a Texas teacher certification test offers the chance to see examples of questions you may see. Each test on your way to certification involves a great deal of material, so it’s always a good idea to get a sample of the subject matter you may see on the exams.
Here are four other reasons you should take a practice test:
A practice test also offers the opportunity to get to know the style of questions you may see. In other words, not all questions are structured the same way. For example, the PPR includes selected response (or multiple choice questions) and constructed response (or essay) questions. Within the selected response questions, there are single questions and clustered questions.
Single questions offer a direct question or an incomplete statement. They may be in relation to a passage you read, a movie clip you watched or a table you navigated.
Clustered questions comprise a stimulus and two or more test questions that relate to that stimulus. These types of questions also may relate to a passage you read, a movie clip watched or table navigated.
Many practice exams offer the opportunity for immediate feedback on your performance for the selected response questions.
Pearson, for example, administers the Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) exam, as well as a few others required for specific certifications or admission into an educator preparation program if you don’t meet the initial requirements.
Pearson offers an interactive exam simulation that provides immediate scoring so you don’t have to wait to see how you fared.
Certification tests cover a lot of material. When preparing for these tests, you may feel like you’re in the trenches, completely immersed in the material. Because of this, it can be difficult to take a step back and self-evaluate just how well you know the different areas covered in each exam.
Practice tests offer a great opportunity to get feedback on what you know well and where you’re struggling. This allows you to dedicate more time to the areas in which you need to improve … before you take the test that counts. It’s better to know this information now and not after the fact so that you can avoid a delay in becoming certified.
Incorrect answers don’t always come from not knowing the material. In fact, common mistakes test takers make include:
It’s better to catch these test taking mistakes early on a practice exam so that you can avoid them on any exam required for certification.
Depending on which exam you are taking, you may be required to take a practice test first.
For example, you must pass at least one content exam in the area you wish to teach in order to earn a Texas teacher certification. Content exams are also divided by grade levels and special certification areas such as special education.
At ECAP, you must complete 40 hours of training before taking a practice content exam. Aim for a score of 270 and concentrate on areas that your practice exam results indicate you need further training in. Once you score a 270 on your practice exam, ECAP will give you permission to take your content exams.
The Texas Education Agency has several resources available on its Test Registration and Preparation site, including links to practice tests and test taking tips offered by Pearson and The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (which administers tests in a number of languages for Texas teachers).
The TEA also offers preparation materials for the Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam on its website that include the exam framework and sample questions.
The best teacher training programs will also incorporate practice tests into their curriculum. ECAP, for example, helps individuals maximize their preparation for the PPR by offering in-person PPR exam review training courses. If you are already enrolled with ECAP, this review training is part of your curriculum and you will be notified of your specific training dates. If you are not enrolled with ECAP, you still sign up for this course as well.
Our TExES Study Resource Guide also offers a concise 2-page PDF that rounds up the best links to free resources available and even some links to recommended paid services if your budget allows.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth your time to take a teacher certification practice test, our answer is, YES.
There is a lot of preparation that goes into being a teacher, and the same can be said for the exams you must take to earn certification. Your content, PPR and STR exams are far too important to not take advantage of these helpful resources available to you.
Need more ideas on how you can prepare? Check out our article, How To Pass Your PPR Exam for more valuable tips that can be used for any of your required certification exams.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank. In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.