The Praxis I exam, a standardized test designed by the Educational Testing Service to measure knowledge and skills required to teach, asks test takers to plan and write an essay answering the listed topic in 30 minutes. The Praxis I exam essay demonstrates your ability to write on a general topic, while the Praxis II short response answers require writing on specific subject-area topics. Graduate-level teaching programs typically require applicants to take the Praxis I test for admission to the program, and many states demand Praxis II scores from applicants before issuing education credentials.
Read the topic silently without making any notes. Pause and think about the topic and then reread each of the words in the topic again and use your pencil or pen to dissect the topic. Decide to agree or disagree with the overall topic statement and then circle the important words in the topic that triggered your topic decision. These "trigger" words help you focus your essay on topic details. Take only a minute to evaluate the topic.
Use the words circled in the topic to brainstorm ideas for the essay. Take no more than two minutes to make a list of your ideas to support your position on the topic. Some topics ask you to write about contemporary issues. Note any facts or statistics you can recall for this type of essay question and then make a list of contemporary examples from real life. Move on to brainstorm examples and illustrations from history. Add fictional characters from important works when you can't recall any additional real life examples. Other Praxis I essay topics ask you to write on more personal experiences, and these require brainstorming a list of examples from your experience or incidents from family or friends.
Thesis and Support
Write a rough draft of a formal thesis statement for your essay, identify the two or three points to use as support of your thesis and circle the examples and illustrations from your brainstorm list to use support in the essay. Use your wristwatch to ensure you take no more than three minutes to complete the statement and identification of the supporting materials.
Begin writing the essay with an introduction, your thesis statement and a short preview of your main points. Develop each point in the essay body with specific examples and supporting materials. Summarize your main points at the end of the body and then write a psychological close to formally wrap the essay for the reader in a formal conclusion. Use no more than 20 minutes of your test time to complete your essay text.
Use your last few minutes to review and self-edit your essay. Make a quick scan for any dropped articles or words from sentences. Check your subjects to make sure the words match with your verbs in the sentences and look quickly over the essay for any misspelled words. While you should attempt to create a clean and neat presentation, any grammar errors and spelling mistakes reduce your essay score, so make the corrections in the neatest possible way, but correct your work before submitting your essay.
- Educational Testing Service The Praxis Series: Praxis I Test Content and Structure
- Educational Testing Service The Praxis Series: Praxis II Test Content and Structure
- Educational Testing Service The Praxis Series: Pre-Professional Skills Test -- Writing
- Marian University: Praxis Writing Test Tips
- Educational Testing Service The Praxis Series: Sample Test Questions
- Indiana University of Pennsylvania Writing Center: Strategies for Enhancing Your Writing Strengths and Diminishing Your Writing Weaknesses
- Todd Warnock/Lifesize/Getty Images