10 Tips to Prepare for Teacher Certification Tests

Female teacher instructing her students

Students who complete their degrees in education can become classroom teachers after they take a certification test. Most states require specific tests for future teachers, and these tests may be based on grade levels or subject areas. Some states also require tests of pedagogical theory and professional classroom practices.

Any education grad should feel well-prepared for the teacher certification tests in their area, with a firm grasp of the latest research and recent classroom experience under their belt. Here is how you can get ready to ace the test and become a certified teacher.

1. Know What’s on the Test

In most cases, the testing company will offer preparation manuals and lists of subjects covered on the test. Make sure you are familiar with everything that the test could cover and pay special attention to the content specifications to find out more details about the skills measured on the exam.

2. Create a Study Plan

Once you have signed up for your test date, you will know how much time you have to prepare. Make a detailed study plan to ensure that you’re not cramming in the days leading up to the exam. Know your personal study habits and construct your plan around them. If you like online test prep, start looking for services early. If you like to study with a group, reach out to your fellow education grads to see who else is prepping.

3. Take Practice Tests

Utilize any free test preparation materials available through the publisher of the exam. Take a practice test all the way through and see how well you do. This practice test will help you decide where you need to focus your study efforts. And remember, the practice tests do not necessarily cover all of the possible content, so be sure you have an idea of any other topics the exam might throw your way.

4. Learn the Structure of the Test

Some teacher certification tests are multiple choice, while others include essays. If you are getting a certificate to teach a foreign language, you will likely have a speaking and listening component to the test as well. If you are taking the exam online, you will want to read the directions carefully. Some answers might require multiple answer selections, while others might include highlighting text or dragging and dropping content from one part of the screen to another.

5. Practice Constructed-Response Questions

It can be easy to assume you will do fine with an essay question if one comes up. But practicing them early and having someone else read your response will help you feel more confident. The trick to essay questions to answer accurately and completely. Address the question posed, give a detailed response and reread your work for clarity and correctness.

6. Know How the Test is Scored

Some questions may be worth more or less than other questions. If you find yourself running out of time on test day, you will want to know if there are questions that are worth more points and should be answered first. Familiarize yourself with any and all scoring practices that are shared by the test publisher.

7. Time Yourself

After a few weeks of studying, take another practice test and time yourself to be sure you stay within the allowed limits. This test will show you where you have improved and what you need to keep working on, as well as if you need to speed up a bit.

8. Study When You Have Time

Consider studying during commutes, breaks at work and even at the gym. Record your notes and listen back to them whenever possible. This will ensure that you are exposed to the material often enough to recall it easily when taking the test.

9. Tell People You’re Studying

Let your family and friends know when you are studying to keep social engagements from derailing your study plan too often. Instead of taking time off from studying, try asking your family and friends to help you. They can review your essays, help you create flashcards or score your practice tests.

10. Be Prepared for Test Day

Before the actual test, make sure you know exactly where you are going. If you’re driving to the location, know what route you’ll take and what parking options there will be. Arrive early and with all the required paperwork and identification. Eat a good meal before the exam so you are not hungry, and do your best! Your future students are waiting for you.

There are many exciting education degree options at Grand Canyon University. If you are ready to answer your calling to become a teacher, visit our website to learn about some of our degree programs, which include elementary and secondary education. To learn more about how Grand Canyon University’s College of Education helps prepare future classroom educators to excel early in their careers, visit our website or click the Request Information Button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.