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Arkansas State University

How to Prepare for the PRAXIS Exam as Part of Earning Your MAT Degree

Whether you are an aspiring teacher or transitioning to a new subject area or grade range, you know the importance of passing the Praxis exam. Requirements vary by state, but these pass/fail tests are mandatory in most states. So, to save time, money and stress, why not get a head start on preparing for the Praxis?

What Are Praxis Exams?

You are probably familiar with the Praxis Core exam, administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Often required by educator preparation programs prior to enrolling, this test measures academic skills in core subjects, including mathematics, reading and writing.

Praxis Subject Assessments take things a step further. For example, if you teach in Arkansas, you may take Middle School English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies or Mathematics for first-time licensure.

Ten Tips for Passing the Praxis

The good news about Praxis exams is that many free and low-cost resources help you prepare. Try these tips for building the skills and confidence for success on test day and in the classroom:

1. Be strategic about choosing your test date

At-home Praxis tests are available seven days a week, meaning cramming is not necessary. Choose a test date that gives you plenty of time to prepare.

2. Get to know the test

What do I need to know? Should I guess if I’m unsure of the answer? ETS offers free Praxis study companions to answer these and other essential questions. These comprehensive study companions are a great place to start your Praxis prep. For example, the Middle School Language Arts (5047) study companion includes:

  • Specific content categories
  • Question types to expect
  • Sample test questions
  • Strategies for success
  • Study plan template
  • Review study topics
  • Test-taking tips

3.Pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses

Similar to using students’ prior knowledge to guide instruction, use Praxis practice tests to identify what you already know and topics you need to prioritize.

4. Make a study plan

Once you have identified areas for focus, use the ETS study plan template to create a detailed outline of content to cover along with how and when you plan to study each topic.

5. Take a bite-size approach

The content on a Praxis exam may seem overwhelming. Again, ETS study companions can help. For example, the middle school math Praxis (5164) has five categories: numbers and operations, algebra, functions, geometry and measurement, and statistics and probability. Algebra makes up about 23% of the test. Breaking each category into chunks, such as algebraic expressions and linear relationships, can make things more manageable.

6. Think about how you learn best

As a teacher, you know that understanding students’ preferred learning styles can make it easier to develop effective instructional strategies. As you prepare for the Praxis, take advantage of study tools that support the ways you learn best. For example, if you are an audio-visual learner,’s library of video-based Praxis courses is just what you need.

7. Optimize your study time

Graduates of advanced education degrees know how to study. However, pay attention to research-based strategies for studying smarter. For example, neuroscientist Andrew Huberman recommends “micro-rest” pauses of 10 seconds for faster learning.

8. Use flashcards to self-test

For content knowledge, such as with terms, flashcards can effectively promote the retention you need for test day. The benefits of flashcards start to build when you make them, which requires thinking about the question on one side to write the correct answer on the flip side.

9. Review question types

Save time and minimize stress by becoming familiar with question types. ETS’s Computer-Delivered Testing Demonstration: Answering Questions covers multiple answers, changing answers, transferring calculated results and more.

10. Take another Praxis practice exam

Take a few practice exams before test day to fine-tune your study plans.

How an Advanced Degree Can Help

Getting a head start on Praxis preparation ensures optimal performance. Preparation can also help reduce test-day anxiety so you can put all your energy into doing your best. Typically, an MAT degree teaches prepares students for the practical side of teaching those knowledge-specific subjects, and there’s an assumption that you know the knowledge of the subject you’re planning to teach. Passing those subject-specific Praxis exams allows you to demonstrate that mastery. Graduates of Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) programs will need to sharpen the teaching skills learned in an MAT program to optimize their career trajectory as educators. An advanced degree will give future educators the tools to succeed in the education space and prepare for exams and certifications in the field.

Learn more about Arkansas State University’s online Master of Arts in Teaching – Middle Level Education 4-8 program.

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