I took the Praxis II: 5015 (Elementary Education: Instructional Practice and Applications) today. I’m not allowed to write any of the questions from the test (I wouldn’t anyway), but I can tell you in general how it went. I thought the multiple-choice was pretty easy, with most of it being common sense (in my opinion). There were some terms that I was glad I had studied (phonemes, etc.) but on the whole I was able to infer the correct answers based on context clues, even if I didn’t know what a word meant. The hardest part was remembering to take into account grade-level, as the answers could differ depending on whether the question was referring to a kindergarten class or a 6th grade one, for example.

The test recommends you spend 90 minutes on the 90 multiple choice questions and 30 minutes on the 4 free-response ones. I finished the multiple choice in an hour and spent an hour on the free response. I thought I would finish early, but the free-response actually took a lot of time (I misjudged a little and spent almost 1/2 hour on one question!) It’s hard because you first have to conceive of situations/lesson plans before you can write about them.

That being said, don’t rush through the multiple choice section to get to the free response, thinking you can go back later. While you can go back to previous questions within a section (e.g. within multiple choice or within free response), once you finish a section, that’s it. Also, you have to backtrack one by one. If you’re on question 50, for instance, and want to look at question 1, you have to flip back through each of the previous questions to get there. I found it more useful to just pause and really consider the question, and then choose an answer (even if I wasn’t totally sure) than to mark it for review and go back later.

I should get my scores in about 5 weeks. I think I did well, but in exem veritas (in exam is truth). (Funny story, I took the SAT II English several years back and got a 730 (I think) out of 800 on it, which is a pretty good score. Later, I found out that the testing board reported my score to my college as having come from the SAT II Latin test. Bet the admissions committee was really impressed to see that!)

Anyway, wish me luck!

NOTE: The Praxis people are really paranoid about what you bring in for the test. You’re only allowed to have your driver’s license (I wasn’t even allowed to keep my car keys, but had to put them in a locker). Similarly, I couldn’t wear my jacket because it was deemed too “bulky.” So dress comfortably (wear a sweater if you get cold) and don’t bring anything extra. They have you turn out your pockets and scan you with a metal detector, too.

UPDATE: I scored a 192/200. Yay!

23 Responses to Praxis II: 5015 — Done!

  1. S. McClain says:

    Did you download the study guide or use the XAM Online: Praxis from the book store

  2. Lucretia Gordon says:

    What study techniques did you use? I am taking the test in September.

    • RMArceJaeger says:

      I read through some “Praxis guides” and google-searched some terms that showed up in the free ets guide that I was unfamiliar with. I found a lot of the information out there to be unnecessary and redundant, though, so I put together a list the pertinent terms and their definitions here: http://rmarcejaeger.com/2012/05/10/praxis-ii-5015-study-guide/. I found that as long as you understand the vocabulary, most of the answers are really just common sense.

      Good luck with your test!

      • Amy says:

        How difficult was the math portion? Math is my weakest subject and I was wondering what might be worth studying.

        Thanks!

        • RMArceJaeger says:

          It doesn’t ask you to solve problems or anything like that. It’s more how you would handle student work. For instance, if a child gets such-and-such answer, what was their mistake? A child who gets such-and-such questions wrong is having trouble with what concept? And so on.

  3. Amy says:

    Thanks for the post and tips. I am considering taking this test because I may move to a state that requires it.
    :)

  4. Grace says:

    I bought the ets study guide thinking it would be a helpful study tool but I’m completely overwhelmed. I have to take this exam to be eligible for acceptance into a lateral entry program, but from the ets study guide I get the impression the exam is for people who have a teaching education already. The study guide is full of terminology without their explanations so your definitions page has been helpful.

    • RMArceJaeger says:

      I’m glad! Also, if it’s any comfort, I had no background in teaching and was still able to score a 192/200. The biggest hurdle I had to overcome was the vocabulary, but with the words/definitions I provide in my Study Guide, you should do fine.

  5. Molly Mulhern says:

    I am about to take the test in 2 days and since I switched my major over to family science from education I was very nervous about this test. After looking at your study guide I feel more confident thank you so much for giving us a place where everything is right there instead of having to sear all around the internet

  6. Logan says:

    I’m currently studying now for my test in December. Your study guide is very helpful! I’m just wondering about the written portion at the end. Is is more of writing lessons plans on the spot? Or reviewing/revising a lesson plan?

    • RMArceJaeger says:

      It’s not revising. They might give you a prompt and ask how you would teach it (e.g. explain an activity you would do, etc). The ETS free practice test has a section at the end that is for the writing portion and I found it very helpful in anticipating the type of questions (and answers!) that were expected for the test.

  7. Sparkle says:

    So glad I found your blog. I have taken the Praxis exam (5015) twice. Both times I failed, my last score was 154. I need to improve on my writing. Any tips on what I should do to prepare for constructed response section. I thought about taking a Praxis review class, but unsuccessful in finding classes for this text.

    • RMArceJaeger says:

      What I found most helpful was analyzing the sample free write the ETS posts on their free Praxis guide here: http://www.ets.org/s/praxis/pdf/5015.pdf (it’s near the end). Really study the response that received a “3″ — the guide says the sample scored well because “it gave an appropriate activity, clear examples of what the students would be doing, and an explanation of how the students would be assessed after completing the activity.” Those are really the three key aspects your free write should cover. (The guide also reveals a positive bias for activities that teach via a game.)

      One thing I did to help myself prepare was to think of concepts I might teach (e.g. place value, adding decimals, etc.) and imagining activities I would make up for them, constructing clear explanations for what students would be doing in my head, as well as figuring out how I would assess students while they were doing the activity to see if they grasped the concept. I found this prepared me well for the kind of responses they wanted on the test.

  8. Lee says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your posts about this test have helped me immensely!

  9. jennifer says:

    Hello, thank you for share! What I need study ? Because I taked it two time and I don’t pass yet.

  10. Margaret says:

    Thank you so very much for taking the time to put this information out there. You have been so gracious with your knowledge and insight!

  11. Wendy Mobley says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for posting information concerning the PRAXIS II 5015 exam. There isn’t much study material out there that is specific to the exam. I’ve been studying/taking practice tests for the elementary education 0011/0014 exams. My weaknesses are science and social studies. Is the 5015 exam anything like the 0011/0014 exams?

    Thanks,

    Wendy

    • RMArceJaeger says:

      I think the 0014 exam is more of a content exam, whereas the 5015 mostly tests common sense teaching practices. You don’t really have to know content material, just vocabulary (for instance, what is the difference between “encode” and “decode”) the most relevant of which I’ve included here: Praxis II: 5015 – Study Guide, so you can understand what the questions are asking and what your answer choices are.

  12. Lindsay says:

    Thank you so much for your information on the test! It has given me some hope! Im also doing this to be able to go through a lateral entry program. Was the social studies and science section very detailed or hard? Also if you dont mind me asking how long did you take to prepare before you took the test?

    • RMArceJaeger says:

      I didn’t find either to be very detailed. The 5015 mostly tests teaching practices, not content. You do have to understand basic vocabulary (e.g. what a Hypothesis is) but nothing too specific.

      As for preparation, let me see. I think I spent a couple of hours? The hardest part was finding study material. I had to sift through a lot of irrelevant information in order to find what I really needed to study. In the end, I found the test mostly common sense as long as you understood the vocabulary. The free-response took some practicing in my head, but I just used the practice questions at the end of the free study guide to help with that.

  13. Angelie Bradshaw says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences in taking Praxis 5015. Somehow gave me a “heads up” on what to expect. I took mine last week and still anticipating for its success. Hope I did well. Sharing some terms which you defined on your own words helped me come up with understandable meanings, sometimes those in study guides and books were a bit tricky. As a whole, I found the tests a way to test would-be educators of how much they know as far as teaching applications is concerned. Your tips were truly helpful.

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