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!