You've obtained the knowledge and skills necessary to begin your teaching career. Now it's time to show your abilities through taking the Praxis II middle school English certification test. This test is not one that you want to walk into without studying. Preparing for this test will help you to do your best and land you one step closer to becoming a middle school English teacher.
Become Familiar with the Test
The middle school English Praxis test consists of two parts: part A, which has 90 multiple-choice questions, and part B, which has two constructed-response -- short answer -- questions. The purpose of the test is to measure your knowledge of the following areas of middle school English: reading and literature study; language study; and composition and rhetoric. The test will also score your responses to constructed-response questions in the areas of textual interpretation and teaching reading and writing.
Reading and Literature Study
Brush up your knowledge of the major works and authors that middle school students are exposed to. Some of the multiple-choice questions will ask you to identify the author of a particular novel, poem or play. Other questions will ask you to identify a major work that a selected author has written. In addition to becoming familiar with these works and authors, practice your skills of paraphrasing, comparing and contrasting and analyzing the text of various genres -- fiction, nonfiction and drama. Refresh your knowledge of figurative language and literary forms. Creating flash cards can help you to memorize important authors, major works, reading skills, literary forms and figurative language.
Language and Writing Study
Get out those old linguistic and language textbooks and review the conventions of grammar, usage and mechanics. Become familiar with the parts of speech, sentence structure and proper usages of capitalization and punctuation. The multiple-choice questions in this section will ask you to identify what part of speech is being used or which sentence is grammatically incorrect. Some of these questions will even ask about the development and structure of the English language and dialects. The writing section of this test will measure your knowledge of the strategies for teaching writing. Prepare for this section by studying each step of the writing process: pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, publishing and evaluating. Proper research techniques will also be tested in this section. Review thesis statements, audiences and types of discourse in preparing for this section of the test.
Preparing for Constructed Response
The last item that you will need to study for is the constructed-response section of the test. A constructed-response question requires you to show your knowledge in a particular subject area. An example of a constructed-response prompt might be: "Identify the author's use of figurative language in the poem and determine its effectiveness." When responding to a constructed-response question, start with restating and answering the constructed-response question. Give examples or details -- usually two -- to support your constructed response. Then conclude your constructed response by giving a quick summary of the information you have provided.
The first constructed response on the middle school English Praxis test will require you to provide a textual interpretation. You will be asked to describe and give examples of literary elements in a text and analyze the effectiveness of its use. Study the different literary elements since the test-makers may expect you to show your knowledge of any of these elements during the constructed response. The second constructed response will require you to apply your skills of teaching by analyzing a piece of student work or describing an instructional activity. Review and study the proper procedures for analyzing student work, examine the strengths and weaknesses and determine whether the outcome met the goal.
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