The Praxis I or PPST is a standardized test used by most tests as a requirement for teacher certification and licensure. PPST stands for – Pre-Professional Skills Test. It covered essential reading, writing, and math skills. The test is a useful guide for learning what to expect on a teacher certification exam. Forty-four states, including the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, currently require the Praxis exam. You can find additional information concerning the states at the Educational Testing Service (ETS) site.

One exception is Florida, whose Department of Education oversees teacher certification. All prospective teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and complete the state-approved educator preparation program. The state mandates a Florida Teacher Certification examination (FTCE). You can find information about the certification process on the Department’s website.

Examination

Individuals have the choice of taking the exam by computer-based or on paper. The former method consists of 127 questions, divided into three sections. There was also an essay question. For some reason, those taking the test on paper had fewer questions.

Teacher candidates who opted for the computer-based exam could take it in two separate, two-hour sittings. The alternative was one session that could last up to 4.5 hours. Those taking the paper exam could finish it in one three-hour session.

As stated, the Praxis I was split into three tests. The Reading Test assessed reading and writing comprehension. The mathematics test measured knowledge of concepts typical to this subject. The writing test was designed to evaluate your written communication skills and grammar skills.

Computer-Based Exam

The reading portion required candidates to read different long (200 words) and short (100 words) passages. Each passage had two to seven questions about the details and vocabulary, for example. This section had a time limit of 75 minutes to complete 46 questions.

The forty-six math questions covered problem-solving, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. The time limit was the same as the above.

The writing session consisted of two parts comprised of forty-four multiple-choice questions with a thirty-eight-minute time limit and a thirty-minute essay. The questions assessed language usage, sentence structure, grammar, and writing mechanics. Candidates had to write an essay expressing an opinion on a topic of your choice.

Paper Test

This format was in four parts. There was a reading and mathematics section, each of forty questions, which tested the same elements as the computer-delivered exam. Each had a sixty-minute time limit. The writing was also in two parts consisting of thirty-eight questions and a thirty-minute essay.

Test Centers

The computer exam offered thousands of locations throughout Canada and the United States. Before taking the exams, individuals could prepare via free Praxis Practice tests for Reading, Writing, and Math.

Praxis I Replacement

The Praxis I/PPST evolved into the Praxis Core on September 1, 2014. The new tests also had the same three components: reading, writing, and math. However, the computer-based test was the only format. The Core comprises:

Reading: 56 questions with an 85-minute time limit

Writing: 40 questions with a 40-minute limit, plus 2 essays with a 60-minute limit to complete

Mathematics: 56 questions – 85 minutes to complete.

Prospective teachers may take all three exams at one sitting or individually. If so, it might take up to five hours to finish for the one-time testers.

The exam material is different between the Praxis I and the Core. Therefore, students should have the most recent study aids. For example, the writing portion has one argumentative and one explanatory essay. Each requires citing quotations.

Preparation for the Core Exam

ETS supplies a Praxis Core Reading, Math, and Writing Study Companion. Available online, these resources are invaluable to future test-takers. You may have to review additional information on the subjects covered in the exam. The math guide tells you what to expect on the exam, but it does provide the knowledge you’ll need. The study companion informs readers that you need to know about transformation and Pythagorean theory. The guide doesn’t expand on this theory or teach you about assigning probability to an outcome.

There are online preparation sites that have all three Praxis segments. Magoosh is one example where their Premium course for $99 includes prep for Core Math, Reading, and Writing. You learn from 175 video lessons and 350 practice questions. Another benefit is email assistance from tutors.

The Kahn Academy that offers many free online education programs also has the Praxis Core Prep. They have authentic lessons, questions, instructional videos, and full-length, timed tests.

Fees

According to ETS.org, the cost is $90 per individual test or $150 for the combined exams. There is no registration fee.

Additional Resources:

What are the Praxis II tests?

What is the difference between Praxis I and Praxis II?

Are there any preparation courses for the Praxis tests? 

Do Charter schools have different requirements for their teachers?