Louisiana Sunshine

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Mar 07 2010

(Long Overdue) PRAXIS Postmortem

So the PRAXIS really kind of sucked. I mean, it sucked in all the ways that spending four hours of a Saturday taking a standardized test sucks, but also I had a terrible time with the PLT. Mostly in ways that were my own fault, because I took WAY too long on the first few questions, and then couldn’t really think of answers to a couple more (but was panicking about how behind on time I was, which made clear-headed thinking even more elusive), and then just completely ran out of time. So I ended up with two or three questions just completely blank, plus a couple more where I only managed to answer half the question. So.

Of course, one of the tricky things about the Praxis is the murkiness about what actually constitutes a passing score and where that number comes from–so I was reasonably confident that I would still come away from the PLT with at least 60-65% of the possible points, but had absolutely no sense of whether or not that would actually be enough.

(On the positive side, though, the content knowledge test turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would–the first round of practice questions I did were really hard and weird (especially the social studies, which asked about really oddball historical events), so I was a little worried about that. But the test itself was fine — all the questions seemed reasonable, even when I wasn’t sure about the answer.)

Fortunately, I passed everything and even had some points to spare — but for those of you about to take the PLT, I advise doing LOTS of practice case histories. I kind of enjoyed the multiple choice questions and did lots of practice ones for both the PLT and the Content Knowledge test, but I only did one full-on practice test where I actually wrote out answers to the case histories (because ugh, it’s so not fun to do that kind of writing). I was really diligent about watching the time during that practice test–and then when I didn’t go over, I stopped worrying about it. WRONG. I should have done a lot more of the short answer questions and checked to see how long they took when I wasn’t actively rushing.

Also, there’s clearly an efficient way to answer a case history question and an inefficient way, and I didn’t ever really figure out the efficient way. So I wrote a bunch of *really* long answers and then a bunch of way too short answers — no happy medium.

It’s over, though, and maybe my standardized testing days are finally coming to an end. (Though I thought that when I took the GRE, too.) At any rate, good luck to all of you who are PRAXIS-ing in the near future!

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    a Teach For America teacher's blog

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