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English Language Arts and Reading 7-12
Study & Test Strategies

Strategy 1

Submitted by Casey

Study Strategy

I was confused going in because everyone said the test format changed, so I just gathered tons of study materials, unsure what to expect. I purchased the Mometrix: Secrets study guide and the flashcards (but they're the exact same information so you don't need both), certify teacher, youtube videos, Texas Teachers exam test, and the actual exam prep from the Texas Educator Certification Examination website. Pretty much anything I could get my hands on I used- even random universities prep I came across online. I don't feel like I studied all that much, I should have studied more, over all it was probably like a week and a half that I focused on the studying. I would randomly take quizzes and check the reasoning to figure out the thought process behind the answers. I felt like the signal words in the questions were the key.

Testing Strategy

I went through the test marking the MC questions I was unsure about planning to go back to them after the CR, I honestly felt like they were harder than all the practice tests I had gone through. For multiple choice I allotted 3 hours and 2 hours for the constructed response, clearly this was a mistake on my part. Even though I went in with a plan on the constructed response I completely blanked, ran out of time on it and knew walking out I bombed that portion. I left the test feeling like time flew by, that I didn't have enough time, that I didn't do well on the CR portion and the MC wasn't anything like I studied. I waited for my results knowing that it was now out of my hands and planning to have to retake it but I somehow I PASSED. I think as long as you know the material, go slow enough to read specifically what each question is asking (finding the signal words) and have a plan for how you're going to answer the CR then you should be fine! Good Luck!

Strategy 2

Submitted by Jordan Kirkham

Study Strategy

Heads up: They changed the test format completely over the summer. In other words, where Certify Teachers used to be extremely helpful (basically a carbon copy of the types of questions you'd see on the test) that's no longer the case. I didn't know that going in and panicked..BUT PASSED THANKFULLY! I would suggest using the TEXES Study Manuel as well the Context Exam material provided by Texas Teachers.

Testing Strategy

Don't spend a lot of time looking over literature movements/genres, I only had one question like that. Take your time reading the question and EACH answer. For the writing portion, find and PRACTICE as many times as you can. Mine was too short stories which took a while to read. As long as you have an outline and a plan of how you're going to attack the Constructed Responses you should be fine. Good luck!

Strategy 3

Submitted by Regina

Study Strategy

I started studying 2 weeks before the test. I used Texas Teachers study exam by having it added to my Canvas. I thought it was very useful because it was similar in format to the test. I used Certify Teacher which had useful tools in helping me focus on areas where I needed to spend more time and was also similar to the test. For content, I read the TExES Exam Manual, Cirrus TExES English language Arts and Reading which I bought from Amazon for 2.99, and TExES Exam 231 English Language Arts & Reading Grades 7-12 by Dr. Jane Thielemann-Downs for less than $20.00. I used the Kindle copies. Both books and the manual had practice questions which were useful. In retrospect, I think I made a poor decision starting to study 2 weeks before the test. I was actually studying something else when I saw the deadline was coming up on this test and decided to switch. I really should have studied and practiced a couple of weeks earlier. The books had editing errors, which were a little annoying, but they were still very useful. I watched some of the literature videos and literary analysis videos on YouTube which was a nice break between reading and practicing. Everything you can use for knowledge and practice is helpful.

Testing Strategy

It was harder than I expected and oh so long like many others have mentioned. I started with the questions and did not skip or go back until I had finished. The questions were in no certain order and there seemed to be more situational questions than I thought would be on the test. There were a lot of questions that asked for the "best" or "least likely" answers from the choices they give you. Of course, you have to eliminate two and take your best guess in some situations, but if you think it through then you will be fine. Some questions were straightforward where there is only one correct answer, but those were a relief because you can just click on the correct answer and move on without having to spend a lot of time thinking about it. Yes, there were some literature questions, but not that many to be concerned about if you are not familiar with it. I used 2 1/2 hours on the questions. I was dreading the essays but they were not as hard as I thought they would be. Both questions were similar to the practice tests. The literary pieces were well known to me. I used my planned course of action in comparing and contrasting and used up all of the 1 1/2 hours set aside for the literary essay. I had an hour left for the practical essay and I used 55 minutes of it. With only 5 minutes left to review, I went to my questions first and began reviewing some of the questions I had marked. With 3 minutes left, I wanted to review my essays for errors, but when I clicked past the questions to get to the essays I could not get back to them. They disappeared from view. I left there feeling like I failed and like many others I was very upset about it. In fact, the only reason I was looking forward to getting my score was so I could schedule for retesting. I waited 3 weeks and checked the website for any scores since I had not heard back from them, but the scores were not posted. Two days after the 3 week period of waiting, I got a phone call from a school district wanting to interview me for a position in ELAR. I immediately went back to the website and checked again and it was posted showing I had passed the test with a 250. From my experience, I would say don't over think it because I spent a lot of time over thinking my questions and it cost me time I could have put to better use in reviewing essays and problem questions. Also, don't get upset after the test because we tend to forget there are several questions that are not scored and we may stress over the questions we were not sure about, but that doesn't mean we might have failed. Don't stress; instead, celebrate having completed the 5 hour test.

Strategy 4

Submitted by Amy

Study Strategy

The only study materials that I used to prepare for the exam was CertifyTeacher.com and the state issued guide on the ETS website. I found them both extremely helpful because the test is formatted the exact same way and the constructed response portion is extremely similar to those.

Testing Strategy

CertifyTeacher, and the state issued guide is the EXACT same format as the real thing. I felt some of the questions on the exam were kind of easy. There was one that I remember that was not on either guide, but as long as your know your English, you can work through it. I was SUPER nervous. You have 5 hours to take it, but I had about 1 hour and 45 minutes left. I feel that if you pace yourself and try your very best the amount of time you use is not a big deal (just make sure you push through the essays and do not waste time overthinking).

Strategy 5

Submitted by Jessica

Study Strategy

To preprare for this test, I used the State Preparation study guide which you can find on the ETS website. I also purchased the program on CertifyTeacher.com for $50. I studied almost every day for a month and increased my study hours on the week leading up to the test. Both study materials helped me tremendously, by breaking down the each question, and explaining the right and wrong answers thoroughly. Be sure to brush up on literary devices/elements for the literary analysis response. The practice essays are VERY similar to what will be on the test.

Testing Strategy

The test was LONG. As soon as I arrived, I wrote down the outline for both essay responses on the sheet of paper they provide, so that I wouldn't forget once I started the section. I took a break after answering all 100 questions and reviewed any that I marked for review. I took almost the entire 5 hours given, with 25 minutes to spare. I walked out not feeling so sure if I had passed or not. I received my scores today (4 weeks later) and passed on the first try! You can do it too, good luck!

Strategy 6

Submitted by Levi

Study Strategy

I used Certify Teacher and the state prep materials. The test was a lot different from the Certify Teacher exams. Still, it was helpful because it gave me some direction. I also watched a few videos on The Great Courses Plus. Again, those videos just aided in giving me a general direction. Lastly, I read through Strunk and White's "Elements of Style". It was helpful for the writing portion.

Testing Strategy

The test was more difficult than I expected. I didn't spend much time on it. I've seen where people used the entire 5 hours; I took about 2.5 hours. Don't second guess yourself too much. I passed with a 251. It's not a stellar score, but its passing. Focus on what a teacher should do! Ask yourself, "What is the best thing for the student(s) in this situation?" I hope you knock the test out of the park!

Strategy 7

Submitted by Kendall

Study Strategy

I used the TExES study material on the ETA website. Those practice tests were a dream! Very comprehensive and helpful. I got my degree in English Literature and Writing, so those sections weren't difficult for me. The TExES study guide and practice tests helped me with the methodology and practices of teaching. Definitely worth the $50!

Testing Strategy

The questions are long. That's really it. Get a good night of sleep and have a piece of chocolate before the test and you'll do fine. DON'T RUSH.

Strategy 8

Submitted by Deborah

Study Strategy

I used CertifyTeacher.com, Dr. Jane Thielemans-Downs' book, TExES Exam 231 English Language Arts and Reading Grades 7-12, and the free study guide on TEA website. I read through all the strategies from this section. I liked all the materials I used and felt well prepared given the information provided here. The essay topics/format were expected even though I obviously didn't know specifics. Unfortunately, so much that was suggested was not covered on the exam and many items covered were not expected based on the materials I studied.

Testing Strategy

The exam was harder than I expected. The first essay - literary genre one - was very difficult. I could have used more time but was worried about finishing the second essay so I had to move more quickly through that one than I would have liked. The multiple choice questions were quite difficult. The comments about being able to narrow the answers down to 2 correct ones is the way to go. You can then re-reading the question and the answers to pick the more correct one. The exam is long and grueling, 102 multiple choice before the 2 essays. I took 4 hours and 50 minutes to complete the exam. It takes about 2 weeks to get the results.

Strategy 9

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I passed this test my first time taking it with a 275. I studied for approximately 8 hours in the week leading up to the test. I bought a couple of study books at first but found them a bit overwhelming and not all that helpful--my first practice test came back with a score of 195. I then paid for the certifyteacher.com software, which was a huge help. It has several full practice tests. You can also specify which competencies you want to be tested on, and it tells you why the answer was correct or incorrect after each question. Each competency has between 40 and 60 questions, so that was a ton of study material. The certify teacher software was by far the most helpful study material. A good 70% of the test is teaching methods, not actual content, and when I started studying I did not know anything about various teaching methods (hence my low score on my first practice exam). By going through hundreds of exam questions (all of which were extremely similar to the actual test), I was able to understand what methods they were looking for and what types of answers would be considered correct. Without a doubt actually seeing the knowledge applied to exam questions was much more helpful than just reading about teaching methods and trying to apply it later in a test setting. If I could do one thing differently, I would have spent more time reviewing literary terms and analysis; one of the essay questions was an analysis (just like the state test prep materials state), and though writing is usually my strongest subject (I got a perfect writing score on the GRE!) I did not score as highly as I expected on the writing section of this test.

Testing Strategy

The test itself was extremely similar to the Certify Teacher test questions. In some areas, I actually thought that the real test was a little easier than the test prep I had gone through. The writing section was harder than I anticipated, it is definitely more challenging than other standardized test writing sections. It is a little difficult to switch over to writing after 100 multiple-choice questions. It may have been easier to skip to the essays first and then go back to the regular questions, but the test format is set up so that you would have to click individually through each question in order to get to the essays.A lot of people advised that the best way to take the test was to imagine the questions occurring in an ideal-world scenario where teachers have more freedom and kids are better behaved than the usually are; I used this approach and it worked well for me.

Strategy 10

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I purchased one book that I saw mentioned a lot- Dr. Jane Thielemann's Preparing For Teacher Certification in English, LA & Reading. I also utilized the free State study manual and guide. If I had to do it over, I would focus the majority of my attention & time on the free state study manual/guide & made sure I understood the questions & reasoning behind them. It was the most relevant to the actual test.

Testing Strategy

What surprised me most was very few questions concerning areas that I had really focused on(literary time periods, etc)were included. I Passed, and again I feel it was in great part due to the free state study guide. Especially in regards to the written portion.

Strategy 11

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I looked at the state study guide and purchased an online study guide at www.passthetexes.com for $40. I felt incredibly unprepared b/c none of the guides seemed to define the materials/subject matter needed to pass the test.

Testing Strategy

I say don't waste your money. Read the state guide. Learn the types of questions asked and understand the logic behind the answers as given in the study guide. Know the history and genres of different literary works. Know your grammar rules. Aside from that, it is about how to take a test. Skip questions if you aren't sure and tag them to go back. The logic behind the answers are sometimes hidden in subsequent questions.

Strategy 12

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used the Certify Teacher software, I studied everyday day for about 2 hours for a month straight. I like this software because it broke the test down into study guides for the competencies. Also, after you take the practice tests it gives you the correct answer and tells you why it is the correct answer. I also studied the Free State manual for the written response portion.

Testing Strategy

The test was a little harder than I expected. I felt confident going into the test but then got a little overwhelmed by the five hours of sitting in the same spot. I recommend taking a bathroom break. The written response is very similar to the ones on the state manual guide so I recommend getting familiar with that. I passed with a few points to spare and it was because I did awesome on the written portion. Make sure you are familiar with literary terms and analyzing for the essay.

Strategy 13

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

Based on information in the online community, I used certifiyteacher.com. I discovered that two areas I needed to focus on were Competency 008-The Writing Process and Competency 0011-Media Literacy. Other than as an initial diagnostic, Certify Teacher wasn't as helpful as other resources. I obtained materials from two sites to focus on studying for the competency areas: www.ncte.org for writing and www.medialit.org for media literacy. I also used the following on-line resources to brush up on basic skills: AP: English Language and Composition from Educator.com on YouTube and Literary Terms Defined & Described by Raja Shama on YouTube & The Great Courses Plus. You can sign up for the Great Courses Plus for free for one month and then cancel your membership; there are a number of ELA courses and lectures available on the site. Lectures within the following classes were particularly insightful: The Irish Identity; How Great Science Fiction Works; and How to Read and Understand Shakespeare. In addition, I found a helpful series of TED-Ed clips that illustrated various literary terms on YouTube. I also checked out some Insight Study Guides and the Social Issues in Literature series published by Greenhaven Press from the library, as a quick way to review classic literature & plays, and I read the TExES Secrets Study Guide. For additional practice in essay writing, I used the essay example questions in Barron’s AP English Literature & Composition study guide. I studied a few hours every day for about four weeks, increasing the amount of time I studied as the test approached.

Testing Strategy

I took the test on a computer. My strategy going into the test was to do the essays first and then go back and do the multiple choice questions. However, when I started the test I was unable to find a way to go directly to the essays without clicking through all the multiple choice questions so I revised my strategy on the spot. I spent the first 30 minutes on multiple choice questions, marked on my scrap paper the question number I was at when the 30 minutes passed, answered the remaining questions “A” and went to the essays. I was relieved to find the literary analysis essay contained two passages from fiction with which I was familiar. I answered the practical question first and did one revision before writing my first draft to the literary analysis question. I took my time with that draft and made sure to reference the passages in support of my answer. My strategy paid off because I passed with a 272 and had very high scores on the essays. After finishing my first draft of the literary analysis essay, I returned to the multiple choice questions and answered the ones I had not read. I then went back through the multiple choice questions I had marked and reviewed them. Finally, I went back and did a revision of my literary analysis essay. I didn’t take any breaks during the exam and I finished with 40 minutes to spare. If I had to do it all over again, I would purchase Certify Teacher materials, as the multiple choice questions were structured very differently from the ones on my exam. The most helpful study information was practicing essay writing using the questions in the various study guides. I would also suggest going into the exam with a plan for answering questions within the allotted time and stick to that plan to the best of your ability. Good luck!

Strategy 14

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used a booked called "TExES Exam 231," by Jane Thielemann-Downs. This book was much more helpful than the Secrets Study Guide. Yes, the Secrets Book carries a lot of information and is very informative, but it is really difficult to study with if you are a visual learner and like things to be arranged. The Jane Thielemann-Downs book is divided by each domain, the important terms are in bold, and it is very visual. It was extremely helpful. I will be keeping this book as reference for the rest of my teaching career.

Testing Strategy

The test was a little harder than I expected in terms of the multiple choice. I walked out feeling a little less confident than when I went in! The literary genre/time periods questions were just fine, but there are not many of those. Most questions are based on teaching methods and making calls on what would be the "best method" for handling a given situation. For many of these, it was easy to eliminate two answers, but the other two both seemed equally correct. At times, taking a second, very close look at the question solved that issues (for instance, realizing the word "first" in a question ending in, "what method would be best to take on 'first'?"), at other times, I just had to guess what I hoped was correct. I took four hours and fifty minutes out of the five hours given to finish. I saved about two hours for the essay and last written response. The state manual helped me so much (more than my study book even!) with the essay portion. Read the sample essays for example scores - that is a major prep to know what's expected.

Strategy 15

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

Hello everybody! I was in your shoes just a couple of weeks ago, so I know what you are going through. But, I am here to reassure you, you can do this! I used two study materials: the free preparation manual and the Certify Teacher website. I paid $55 to use the online program and I'm glad I did. I had less than 2 weeks to study. I took the practice quizzes and exams over, and over. I read thru the free manual and took the practice exam at the end. I studied the flashcards and completed the practice essay prompts. The literary analysis seems daunting, but I actually scored better on that than the student's response; so I would say focus on having at least 2 strategies on how you will come up with the answer for tasks 1, 2, and 3 based up the area of strengths and weakness you find in the students response. The practice prompts these resources give you are very similar!

Testing Strategy

The test is a beast, like everyone is saying! I used all 5 hours provided. I worked backwards, did the essays first, then went and did the multiple choice. I don't know if that is helpful, because I took up a lot of time writing! But I would say do it, if you think the writing is going to be your weaker point. If not, go from front to back with the multiple choice first then essay. If you have any time left, then go over your questions. I had about 5 minutes to re-check questions. I figured i failed, but you can never know with these tests! So, when I got my score of 255 I was elated! Be confident, especially if you have more time to study. Use these materials; practice, practice, practice. Think student-centered and you will PASS!

Strategy 16

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

After reading all these comments, I paid for the CertifyTeachers online prep and used the state materials. I do think they helped, but I felt like CertifyTeacher didn't have enough content. After studying for several hours on the FIRST DAY of studying, I had already memorized most of the questions and answers that the CertifyTeacher prep provided. Although the materials helped give me an idea of the type of questions that would be asked and the type of answers they state wanted to hear, when I took the ACTUAL test, there were a few things this CertifyTeacher prep material did not prepare me for. The essay portion is basically THE EXACT same format as what CertifyTeacher & the state manuals provide. So definitely check out CertifyTeacher. I'm from California, and thought that I could use my same study materials, by the Texas test asked more questions on pedagogy, teaching methodologies, and what they consider to be "Best Practices" in teaching. The Texas test is mostly about "best practices" and how you would teach something to a student. I only studied with CertifyTeacher for 2 days prior to my test.

Testing Strategy

Because I did take the test from out of state, I guess the format was a little different. I wanted to write the essay first, but I tried multiple times and it forced me to complete all 100 questions before going to the constructed response portion. I felt confident doing the multiple choice portion, although there were a few questions that I had no idea what the answer was because I didn't see them in my study material. I was annoyed at many of the "best practices" questions, because I think its a little subjective. But CertifyTeacher definitely helps you learn how to answer the way they want you to answer. It is usually student-centered learning; very active/interactive teaching style where kids are encouraged to take responsibility of their own education. There are also questions that are multi-faceted and they want your responses to match up accordingly. If they ask you how to make your lesson connect to prior knowledge, use media and require kids to identify with the material personally. You want to make sure that the answer you choose fits exactly those 3 qualities! There will be plenty of times where all 4 answers that you are allowed to choose from sound great, but this helped me to narrow those kinds of questions and answers down. All in all, I thought the test was moderately difficult. It's not easy, but its not impossibly hard either. I don't know if I've passed the test yet, I will find out in a few days! Apparently, it takes about 7 days for you to get your scores after taking the test. I left the testing center hoping that I passed, but not feeling 100% confident, or even 80% confident. I'm a slow essay writer, and because I was forced to do my essays last, I felt rushed. I ended up using every second of my 5 hours. I was able to review my essays, but not my multiple choice answers. Good luck to all that will be taking this test!

Strategy 17

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used only two study materials: the free state preparation manual and Certify Teacher.

Testing Strategy

The exam was a lot harder than I expected it to be! If you focus the multiple choice answers toward student-centered teaching, you will be fine. I highly recommend using the free study preparation manual! The two essays in the manual were pretty similar to the real thing. If you study, practice writing and figuring out how to answer each question for the essay portion, you'll be just fine. Study the manual and Certify Teacher every day for a week or two leading up to the big exam.

Strategy 18

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used Certify Teacher and the state test manual as my study materials. I believe both were very helpful.

Testing Strategy

The essays were harder than I expected, but the multiple choice questions were easy. I felt prepared for the multiple choice questions after using Certify Teacher. Usually the answer that provides the most detail is correct. For the essay questions, remember who you will be teaching. Your essay should provide real world situations that relate to the age group you are teaching. Good Luck!

Strategy 19

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used the state prep manual and the Certify Teacher software. I recommend you study why the correct answers are correct. I made sure to talk through the answers so that it made logical sense. There is no study manual for the writing section, so I just studied how the "4" responses were written and based my writing on that style.

Testing Strategy

Take your time on the test. I started out with the essay. I took more time than I should have, but it was worth it. Relax and discuss the literary works logically. If you get overwhelmed (like I did) start answering the multiple choice questions. The multiple choice questions were very similar to the Certify Teacher software. I took the whole 5 hours and made sure to go back over my work. I spent a lot of time on the essay and pedagogy portion, but had time to check my multiple choice answers. I passed with a 251.

Strategy 20

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used the material from certify teacher to study for the exam. I took the practice exams at least 10 times before taking the real test. I only scored 240 on my practice exams, so I was really nervous going into the exam. I also used the TExES Secrets Study Guide to prepare. Unfortunately, I only had two weeks to get ready for the test, so I basically skimmed through the TExES Secret Study Guide. Being somewhat familiar with the information in it really helped me. I made flashcards from the Certify Teacher software.

Testing Strategy

I took the test in four hours and 10 minutes. I took a 15 minute break about two hours into it, and just walked around. I changed three or four answers by the time i had finished the exam. For those, I looked for the answer that most closely mirrored what I read in Certify Teacher. The essay part was the hardest. I wish I had studied more of the sample answers and practiced responding to various writing prompts. It was hard to find a common thread in the passages. In the end, I only got a four on the writing process, but I passed with a 253. It takes a lot of concentration to sit through 100 questions and then write essays after it.

Strategy 21

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I studied for two weeks before taking the exam. After some careful research, I decided that the online package from www.certifyteacher.com was the best option. It is an amazing resource! There are plenty of quizzes and practice tests you can take to help you prepare for the exam. It can get repetitive, but it helps you memorize content. I also recommend looking at the preparation manual the state provides. It lays everything out very clearly. The practice and essay questions are very similar to what is on the actual test. I recommend being smarter than the test and analyzing the way the questions are formulated. If the question is asking for teaching strategies that encompass writing, reading, and speaking, then I suggest you pick an answer that reflects all three activities. That is how I studied. Half was memorizing ELAR content and the other half was studying how the questions are asked and what answers are acceptable for the writing portion. I didn't really practice writing because I am a good writer. However, I studied and reviewed the answers of essay questions that received a high score to ensure I incorporated everything I needed to. I studied about 5-10 hours everyday. Time management will be really helpful in this scenario. I passed on my first try after only studying for two weeks. Therefore, I would not do it differently. If I had more time, I would have made sure to study more about time periods and literary movements.

Testing Strategy

It was harder than I expected. Honestly, it was one of the hardest exams I have ever taken. There isn't a lot of time for breaks. I suggest taking the exam earlier in the day, if you can. You get a scratch piece of paper. If you are like me and take the exam after you finish the multiple choice questions, then I would write down your outline for the essay on the paper before you begin the test. When your energy is low at the end of the test, you can look back at your notes and use it to help you. For the essay questions, you'll want to frame it like a traditional essay: Introduction, middle, and conclusion. Be as detailed as possible! The best part was being able to go back to questions that were tricky. You can even go forward all the way to the essay portion. If content is your weakest, then I suggest answering the questions and then finishing with the essays. This gives you the opportunity to reference key terms you can use to incorporate into your essays by going back. Again, I suggest being smarter than the test by carefully analyzing what they want. There will be two answers that seem like really good choices, but you should be able to eliminate one just by looking at what they are asking for. It took me the entire 5 hours to finish because of this strategy. Most of the questions are about pedagogy and strategies. Think like a teacher and you should be fine. It has to be strategies that are student-centered and engage students to participate.

Strategy 22

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used the TExES online manual and also purchased the Certify Teacher program. I first took the practice questions in the TExES manual to get a baseline. Afterwards, I got Certify Teacher and started studying. I would periodically return to the TExES manual to retake it (with several weeks in between so I wouldn't just memorize all the answers.) Both are helpful. I would buy the Certify program again, since it had a lot of test questions, but I was also disappointed the practice tests in it were not taken from a larger database. After going through the questions for each competency, I soon saw EVERY question. I would try to take a "random exam" and have literally every single answer memorized without even reading the question, which wasn't helpful. It had sounded like a much larger collection than it turned out to be. It was still useful in my preparation. Since Certify didn't have practice essays (I couldn't find them anywhere) I would just read a random poem and write an analysis of it to test myself. I started studying and wasn't able to take the exam due to its limited offerings for another two or three months, so I studied off and on for that time.

Testing Strategy

If you've looked through prep you have a great idea what the test looks like. The essays are EXACTLY what the manual says and lots of the questions are similar. It's a bummer because so many of the multiple choice questions have two answers that are so very close and almost right. I took exactly three hours and passed with a 285/300, passing is 240. On the essays, I wrote a lot. I was burnt out upon finishing and did not even revise/edit/reread but felt very confident. The multiple choice questions were about as hard as I expected, there were a few questions that left me totally stumped but most were doable. I felt great about the test and then panicked upon reading all the reviews that everyone took every minute of the five hours. If you need it, take it, that's why it's available, but don't feel pressure to over-analyze every choice you made or sentence you wrote.

Strategy 23

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I only used the free state study guide and CertifyTeacher.com. Study a lot of scenario situations. If you use Certify Teacher as a study guide you should be fine. Do not just learn the answer to the one question they are asking, but use the info within the question as a starting point and study more in depth. Don't stress over dates. Be familiar with major works and genres. Again, lot of scenario questions that reference literature. The free state study guide provides you with HOW they want you to answer essay questions. The essays were lengthy but not difficult.

Testing Strategy

The test was not easy. I passed the first time, but I didn't have a lot of points to spare. I recommend getting up midway through the multiple choice section. I have taken a couple other TEXES test for different subjects. The questions on ELAR are definitely longer, more detailed and therefore took longer to get through. Give yourself a mental break. I only had about 30 minutes left at the end, while the other tests I had at least half the time left. It's not an easy test, and you will need to study. Best of luck, my friends!

Strategy 24

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I passed on the first try with 255. I used the state certification prep test, CertifyTeacher.com, and ExamEdge.com. I also used the Texas Teachers lessons on line for pedagogy -- I could actually LEARN the stuff, and quickly, rather than just prepping for the test. Here's my roundup: ExamEdge doesnt deserve a bad reputation. It isn't a lot like the test, but it's ideal for students who are weak on English Lit buzzwords. The state practice exam is perfect, of course, but short. CertifyTeacher reflects the actual test better than the other (non-state) sources. I took to double checking every term on the web. Mind you, though, I wouldn't have known which terms to look up if it weren't for the practice tests. Also, CertifyTeacher may be adding questions, but I took the test over and over because each new test doled out only five to seven new questions out of eighty. Again, though, the CertifyTeacher exams are so similar to the real test that it's probably the best resource around.

Testing Strategy

I knew my best strategy for passing the test was to do well on the essays, so I started by paging through all the questions and writing the essays first. Then I went back and did the questions and ended by editing my essays once more. I also went through the questions again. I spent all but 20 minutes of the test time window, and I was not at all confident when I left.

Strategy 25

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I studied everyday for two weeks before the test. I am a bit of a worrier when it comes to test-taking, so I purchased multiple study materials to help me prepare. I will list them from WORST TO BEST *Texesprep.com Exam Edge Practice Tests: TERRIBLE! I bought a set of these practice tests for $45 from the website. These practice questions are NOT similar to the exam questions in any way. They are mostly literature based questions. This purchase was a waste of time and money! *TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12 (231) Flashcard Study System: OVERWHELMING! I bought this book from Amazon for $60. I absolutely would NOT buy this book again. It comes with about 300 flashcards that each have a paragraph or more of answers on the back. Unless you have a very strong, possibly photographic, memory, these cards are information overload! *TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12 231 Teacher Certification Study Guide Test Prep Book: USEFUL! I got this book from Amazon for $43. The only useful part was the practice test in the back. It was not a full-length practice test, but it did provide the answers as well as two sample essay prompts. Personally, I would check this book out at a local library and make a copy of the test in the back. The sample essay questions were EXACTLY like the test essay questions' formatting. *Certifyteacher.com TeXeS download: BEST OPTION! These practice tests were extremely helpful. There were over 800 questions, so you can at least test 4 or 5 times without any repeat questions. The only downside the this cite is that there are no sample essay questions, so the score you get at the end does not include essay scores. I would also make sure you are comfortable with the terminology for poetry explications; the first essay question is to discover themes in the two poems and discuss them throughout. The second essay question dealt with classroom practices and how you would address learning issues with certain students.

Testing Strategy

The test was grueling. I will start by saying that I did pass the first time; however, I walked out not being able to guess if I passed or failed. It took me 4 hours and 55 minutes of the total 5 hours. I skipped to the end and outlined the essays first; then, I answered all the questions for the first time; next, I went back and wrote my essays; last, I reviewed each question individually and then reviewed my essays. If you are comfortable with literature, then I wouldn't focus too much on that part--it was a very small portion of the test. Just make sure you have a basic understanding of the time periods and major authors and their works. The main part of the test dealt with classroom teaching scenarios (what would you do if..., what is the best way to approach x, y, or z situation, etc.) The questions are tricky because of the 4 answers, two will seem perfectly correct. It will be up to you to choose the "best" answer. Usually, 2 of the answers can be discarded right away, but to narrow down the other two, just remember to always choose the answer that is best case scenario (student-centered, collaborative learning, uses technology, uses multiple modalities in the teaching and learning processes, and allows the students to take authority in their learning). The answer choices with those options are going to be the correct answer. Good luck.

Strategy 26

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

This test is a real doozey, but fear not, it's straightforward. I used two primary materials for studying: the ETS practice test and manual and the website CertifyTeacher.com. I studied for about four weeks prior to the test; the first two weeks for an hour a day and the last two weeks a few hours a day. I memorized all the flash cards on CertifyTeacher.com (turned out that was unnecessary) and I took all the practice tests available to me (which was more helpful).

Testing Strategy

The test was certainly harder than I'd expected. I felt I had mastered the English and literature portions, based on my study materials, but so little of the test was on actual grammar and literature. The vast majority of the test was on ELL strategies and some Pedagogy. For that, I recommend taking the practice tests offered by ETS in order to familiarize yourself with the sort of responses that are expected. I used the entire five hours, answering the 100 questions first (leaving some blank) and then I answered the essay questions. I left myself 30 minutes to answer any left over multiple choice questions. I left the center feeling entirely defeated, but I passed with a 287. I can't stress enough the need to focus on ELL strategies. That and practice writing the essays! They're exactly like those given on the ETS practice tests. Most of us in this field write well, but after answering 100 questions, you'll thank yourself for having practiced.

Strategy 27

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

Certify Teacher is the way to go in order to pass this test. Some of the test questions were almost exactly the same as the ones that Certify Teacher provided. I would highly recommend studying for the writing part extensively because that was where I scored the lowest amount of points.

Testing Strategy

The test was not that bad because I felt well prepared after using the Certify Teacher program; however, the essay portion was difficult for me. Partly from nerves and the other part was writing an essay after just taking the test. I scored a 264 and passed.

Strategy 28

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used the Quizlet flash cards (look around, there are many lists), brushed up on ELL teaching strategies and activities, bought a book that has visual notes on terminology (from grammar to literature), TExES manual (best source for constructed response section), and used CertifyTeacher.com. I studied for 1 hour most nights for about 6 weeks. P.S. - I did NOT receive my education in the United States, making it difficult for me to understand many of the literary elements, therefore I had to study a lot.

Testing Strategy

I took the test at a center that had some network issues. The test does save as you respond, so do not fear if power or internet dies while you are typing. There are 100 questions, mostly best case scenario (perfect school, perfect kids, perfect teacher), but please review ELL strategies. 1-2 questions on literature. Yes, there are passages, but not so many . I had 0 questions on guessing authors. You must click your way through all the 100 questions if you wish to begin with the constructed responses. Took me about 2 hours for all 100 questions, a forced break (network issues), but when I returned I still had a little over 2.5 hours for the constructed responses. I was done in less than 1.5 hours. I walked out of there feeling accomplished and relaxed. Perhaps that forced break made me think about other stuff. Scores take about 3 weeks to come in. I am quite confident about my results.

Strategy 29

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I studied about 2 hours a day, for about 5 weeks. I used the state review and a yellow and black review book I bought on Amazon. I made tons of note cards and drilled myself. I spent way too long on writers and literary history. I wish I spent more time working the essay portion.

Testing Strategy

I found the test difficult overall. I used all but 4 minutes and I did not have time to review any of my choices. I went through the multiple choice first. I read and answered each question carefully as I did not want to go back and second guess myself, that's where I tend to get into trouble. The essays killed me. I scored poorly on them. I was not familiar with the passages chosen. I thought I recognized one of the stories, but I was mistaken and that cost me points. The second essay I did not score well, but all in all, I made a 242 first time around. Definitely, work on your lesson planning essay. Work to get as high a score as you can, that way if you are unfamiliar with the passages selected for the first essay, you can bolster your overall grade. Also, do not kill yourself on literary history and writers, the test asked maybe two or three total questions on those. Good luck!

Strategy 30

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I had several months to 'think' about studying, so I reviewed the comments from this feed, and chose to go with the CertifyTeacher.com website, and I purchased the TExES Exam 231 Book referenced in this material.

Testing Strategy

The exam was as difficult as could be expected. If I were studying for the test again, with what I know now, I would have prepared for the Constructed Response portion better, and brushed up on Pedagogy more. I ended up acing almost all of the multiple choice, but really struggling with the constructed response sections. I passed with a 245.

Strategy 31

Submitted by Texas Teachers

Study Strategy

I used Certify Teacher, the state study guide, and a book (TExES English Language Arts and Reading 231 XAMonline). The book was absolutely unhelpful--a complete waste of $75. The state guide and Certify Teacher was extremely helpful. The state guide gave a really good outline of the standards and a practice test, however there was very little content to actually study within it. Certify Teacher had great flashcards and practice tests. I started studying about a month in advance and made a lot of my own flashcards. The majority of the test was almost exactly like the practice tests on Certify Teacher, so I would rely more heavily on this resource than I previously did. I also spent a lot of time going over the different eras of literature, which there was literally one question over these eras. The essay regarding pedagogical strategies was almost EXACTLY like the one in Certify Teacher, as well as the state study guide; I urge you to complete the practice prior to the exam.

Testing Strategy

The test is a beast. Seriously, you will be drained afterward. The testing center is a bit overwhelming; they wand you down with a metal detector, make you pull up your pant legs and sleeves to make sure you are not hiding anything, walk you into the room, and are completely OCD on where you put your license or a sweater in the testing room. I completely understand why, but was definitely not prepared for the amount of pre-screening. You can take breaks throughout, but your time keeps going, so don't take long ones. I did the 100 multiple choice questions first and marked the ones I was unsure of; this took about an hour and a half. Then I took about a 5 minute break. I came back and did the two essays, which took about an hour and a half total. I took another 5 minute break after the essays. Finally, I spent my final hour reviewing my multiple choice questions, focusing primarily on the ones I was unsure of, but also double checking the other ones. I took about 4 hours and 15 minutes to complete the whole test and was completely drained afterward. Once you are done and feel relatively comfortable, stop taking the test. It was really easy to go back and keep double checking it and changing answers, however it just made me more and more unsure. I think my strategy worked, since I got a 282 on it.

Strategy 32

Study Strategy

I used the Certify Teacher software, I studied everyday day for about 2 hours for a month straight. I like this software because it broke the test down into study guides for the competencies. Also, after you take the practice tests it gives you the correct answer and tells you why it is the correct answer. I also studied the Free State manual for the written response portion.

Testing Strategy

The test was a little harder than I expected. I felt confident going into the test but then got a little overwhelmed by the five hours of sitting in the same spot. I recommend taking a bathroom break. The written response is very similar to the ones on the state manual guide so I recommend getting familiar with that. I passed with a few points to spare and it was because I did awesome on the written portion. Make sure you are familiar with literary terms and analyzing for the essay.

Strategy 33

Study Strategy

I looked at the state study guide and purchased an online study guide at www.passthetexes.com for $40. I felt incredibly unprepared b/c none of the guides seemed to define the materials/subject matter needed to pass the test.

Testing Strategy

I say don't waste your money. Read the state guide. Learn the types of questions asked and understand the logic behind the answers as given in the study guide. Know the history and genres of different literary works. Know your grammar rules. Aside from that, it is about how to take a test. Skip questions if you aren't sure and tag them to go back. The logic behind the answers are sometimes hidden in subsequent questions.

Strategy 34

Study Strategy

I purchased one book that I saw mentioned a lot- Dr. Jane Thielemann's Preparing For Teacher Certification in English, LA & Reading. I also utilized the free State study manual and guide. If I had to do it over, I would focus the majority of my attention & time on the free state study manual/guide & made sure I understood the questions & reasoning behind them. It was the most relevant to the actual test.

Testing Strategy

What surprised me most was very few questions concerning areas that I had really focused on(literary time periods, etc)were included. I Passed, and again I feel it was in great part due to the free state study guide. Especially in regards to the written portion.

Strategy 35

Study Strategy

I passed this test my first time taking it with a 275. I studied for approximately 8 hours in the week leading up to the test. I bought a couple of study books at first but found them a bit overwhelming and not all that helpful--my first practice test came back with a score of 195. I then paid for the certifyteacher.com software, which was a huge help. It has several full practice tests. You can also specify which competencies you want to be tested on, and it tells you why the answer was correct or incorrect after each question. Each competency has between 40 and 60 questions, so that was a ton of study material. The certify teacher software was by far the most helpful study material. A good 70% of the test is teaching methods, not actual content, and when I started studying I did not know anything about various teaching methods (hence my low score on my first practice exam). By going through hundreds of exam questions (all of which were extremely similar to the actual test), I was able to understand what methods they were looking for and what types of answers would be considered correct. Without a doubt actually seeing the knowledge applied to exam questions was much more helpful than just reading about teaching methods and trying to apply it later in a test setting. If I could do one thing differently, I would have spent more time reviewing literary terms and analysis; one of the essay questions was an analysis (just like the state test prep materials state), and though writing is usually my strongest subject (I got a perfect writing score on the GRE!) I did not score as highly as I expected on the writing section of this test.

Testing Strategy

The test itself was extremely similar to the Certify Teacher test questions. In some areas, I actually thought that the real test was a little easier than the test prep I had gone through. The writing section was harder than I anticipated, it is definitely more challenging than other standardized test writing sections. It is a little difficult to switch over to writing after 100 multiple-choice questions. It may have been easier to skip to the essays first and then go back to the regular questions, but the test format is set up so that you would have to click individually through each question in order to get to the essays.A lot of people advised that the best way to take the test was to imagine the questions occurring in an ideal-world scenario where teachers have more freedom and kids are better behaved than the usually are; I used this approach and it worked well for me.

Strategy 36

Study Strategy

I studied everyday for two weeks before the test. I am a bit of a worrier when it comes to test-taking, so I purchased multiple study materials to help me prepare. I will list them from WORST TO BEST *Texesprep.com Exam Edge Practice Tests: TERRIBLE! I bought a set of these practice tests for $45 from the website. These practice questions are NOT similar to the exam questions in any way. They are mostly literature based questions. This purchase was a waste of time and money! *TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12 (231) Flashcard Study System: OVERWHELMING! I bought this book from Amazon for $60. I absolutely would NOT buy this book again. It comes with about 300 flashcards that each have a paragraph or more of answers on the back. Unless you have a very strong, possibly photographic, memory, these cards are information overload! *TExES English Language Arts and Reading 7-12 231 Teacher Certification Study Guide Test Prep Book: USEFUL! I got this book from Amazon for $43. The only useful part was the practice test in the back. It was not a full-length practice test, but it did provide the answers as well as two sample essay prompts. Personally, I would check this book out at a local library and make a copy of the test in the back. The sample essay questions were EXACTLY like the test essay questions' formatting. *Certifyteacher.com TeXeS download: BEST OPTION! These practice tests were extremely helpful. There were over 800 questions, so you can at least test 4 or 5 times without any repeat questions. The only downside the this cite is that there are no sample essay questions, so the score you get at the end does not include essay scores. I would also make sure you are comfortable with the terminology for poetry explications; the first essay question is to discover themes in the two poems and discuss them throughout. The second essay question dealt with classroom practices and how you would address learning issues with certain students.

Testing Strategy

The test was grueling. I will start by saying that I did pass the first time; however, I walked out not being able to guess if I passed or failed. It took me 4 hours and 55 minutes of the total 5 hours. I skipped to the end and outlined the essays first; then, I answered all the questions for the first time; next, I went back and wrote my essays; last, I reviewed each question individually and then reviewed my essays. If you are comfortable with literature, then I wouldn't focus too much on that part--it was a very small portion of the test. Just make sure you have a basic understanding of the time periods and major authors and their works. The main part of the test dealt with classroom teaching scenarios (what would you do if..., what is the best way to approach x, y, or z situation, etc.) The questions are tricky because of the 4 answers, two will seem perfectly correct. It will be up to you to choose the "best" answer. Usually, 2 of the answers can be discarded right away, but to narrow down the other two, just remember to always choose the answer that is best case scenario (student-centered, collaborative learning, uses technology, uses multiple modalities in the teaching and learning processes, and allows the students to take authority in their learning). The answer choices with those options are going to be the correct answer. Good luck.

Strategy 37

Study Strategy

I passed on the first try with 255. I used the state certification prep test, CertifyTeacher.com, and ExamEdge.com. I also used the Texas Teachers lessons on line for pedagogy -- I could actually LEARN the stuff, and quickly, rather than just prepping for the test. Here's my roundup: ExamEdge doesnt deserve a bad reputation. It isn't a lot like the test, but it's ideal for students who are weak on English Lit buzzwords. The state practice exam is perfect, of course, but short. CertifyTeacher reflects the actual test better than the other (non-state) sources. I took to double checking every term on the web. Mind you, though, I wouldn't have known which terms to look up if it weren't for the practice tests. Also, CertifyTeacher may be adding questions, but I took the test over and over because each new test doled out only five to seven new questions out of eighty. Again, though, the CertifyTeacher exams are so similar to the real test that it's probably the best resource around.

Testing Strategy

I knew my best strategy for passing the test was to do well on the essays, so I started by paging through all the questions and writing the essays first. Then I went back and did the questions and ended by editing my essays once more. I also went through the questions again. I spent all but 20 minutes of the test time window, and I was not at all confident when I left.

Strategy 38

Study Strategy

I only used the free state study guide and CertifyTeacher.com. Study a lot of scenario situations. If you use Certify Teacher as a study guide you should be fine. Do not just learn the answer to the one question they are asking, but use the info within the question as a starting point and study more in depth. Don't stress over dates. Be familiar with major works and genres. Again, lot of scenario questions that reference literature. The free state study guide provides you with HOW they want you to answer essay questions. The essays were lengthy but not difficult.

Testing Strategy

The test was not easy. I passed the first time, but I didn't have a lot of points to spare. I recommend getting up midway through the multiple choice section. I have taken a couple other TEXES test for different subjects. The questions on ELAR are definitely longer, more detailed and therefore took longer to get through. Give yourself a mental break. I only had about 30 minutes left at the end, while the other tests I had at least half the time left. It's not an easy test, and you will need to study. Best of luck, my friends!

Strategy 39

Study Strategy

I used the TExES online manual and also purchased the Certify Teacher program. I first took the practice questions in the TExES manual to get a baseline. Afterwards, I got Certify Teacher and started studying. I would periodically return to the TExES manual to retake it (with several weeks in between so I wouldn't just memorize all the answers.) Both are helpful. I would buy the Certify program again, since it had a lot of test questions, but I was also disappointed the practice tests in it were not taken from a larger database. After going through the questions for each competency, I soon saw EVERY question. I would try to take a "random exam" and have literally every single answer memorized without even reading the question, which wasn't helpful. It had sounded like a much larger collection than it turned out to be. It was still useful in my preparation. Since Certify didn't have practice essays (I couldn't find them anywhere) I would just read a random poem and write an analysis of it to test myself. I started studying and wasn't able to take the exam due to its limited offerings for another two or three months, so I studied off and on for that time.

Testing Strategy

If you've looked through prep you have a great idea what the test looks like. The essays are EXACTLY what the manual says and lots of the questions are similar. It's a bummer because so many of the multiple choice questions have two answers that are so very close and almost right. I took exactly three hours and passed with a 285/300, passing is 240. On the essays, I wrote a lot. I was burnt out upon finishing and did not even revise/edit/reread but felt very confident. The multiple choice questions were about as hard as I expected, there were a few questions that left me totally stumped but most were doable. I felt great about the test and then panicked upon reading all the reviews that everyone took every minute of the five hours. If you need it, take it, that's why it's available, but don't feel pressure to over-analyze every choice you made or sentence you wrote.

Strategy 40

Study Strategy

I studied for two weeks before taking the exam. After some careful research, I decided that the online package from www.certifyteacher.com was the best option. It is an amazing resource! There are plenty of quizzes and practice tests you can take to help you prepare for the exam. It can get repetitive, but it helps you memorize content. I also recommend looking at the preparation manual the state provides. It lays everything out very clearly. The practice and essay questions are very similar to what is on the actual test. I recommend being smarter than the test and analyzing the way the questions are formulated. If the question is asking for teaching strategies that encompass writing, reading, and speaking, then I suggest you pick an answer that reflects all three activities. That is how I studied. Half was memorizing ELAR content and the other half was studying how the questions are asked and what answers are acceptable for the writing portion. I didn't really practice writing because I am a good writer. However, I studied and reviewed the answers of essay questions that received a high score to ensure I incorporated everything I needed to. I studied about 5-10 hours everyday. Time management will be really helpful in this scenario. I passed on my first try after only studying for two weeks. Therefore, I would not do it differently. If I had more time, I would have made sure to study more about time periods and literary movements.

Testing Strategy

It was harder than I expected. Honestly, it was one of the hardest exams I have ever taken. There isn't a lot of time for breaks. I suggest taking the exam earlier in the day, if you can. You get a scratch piece of paper. If you are like me and take the exam after you finish the multiple choice questions, then I would write down your outline for the essay on the paper before you begin the test. When your energy is low at the end of the test, you can look back at your notes and use it to help you. For the essay questions, you'll want to frame it like a traditional essay: Introduction, middle, and conclusion. Be as detailed as possible! The best part was being able to go back to questions that were tricky. You can even go forward all the way to the essay portion. If content is your weakest, then I suggest answering the questions and then finishing with the essays. This gives you the opportunity to reference key terms you can use to incorporate into your essays by going back. Again, I suggest being smarter than the test by carefully analyzing what they want. There will be two answers that seem like really good choices, but you should be able to eliminate one just by looking at what they are asking for. It took me the entire 5 hours to finish because of this strategy. Most of the questions are about pedagogy and strategies. Think like a teacher and you should be fine. It has to be strategies that are student-centered and engage students to participate.

Strategy 41

Study Strategy

I used the material from certify teacher to study for the exam. I took the practice exams at least 10 times before taking the real test. I only scored 240 on my practice exams, so I was really nervous going into the exam. I also used the TExES Secrets Study Guide to prepare. Unfortunately, I only had two weeks to get ready for the test, so I basically skimmed through the TExES Secret Study Guide. Being somewhat familiar with the information in it really helped me. I made flashcards from the Certify Teacher software.

Testing Strategy

I took the test in four hours and 10 minutes. I took a 15 minute break about two hours into it, and just walked around. I changed three or four answers by the time i had finished the exam. For those, I looked for the answer that most closely mirrored what I read in Certify Teacher. The essay part was the hardest. I wish I had studied more of the sample answers and practiced responding to various writing prompts. It was hard to find a common thread in the passages. In the end, I only got a four on the writing process, but I passed with a 253. It takes a lot of concentration to sit through 100 questions and then write essays after it.

Strategy 42

Study Strategy

I used the state prep manual and the Certify Teacher software. I recommend you study why the correct answers are correct. I made sure to talk through the answers so that it made logical sense. There is no study manual for the writing section, so I just studied how the "4" responses were written and based my writing on that style.

Testing Strategy

Take your time on the test. I started out with the essay. I took more time than I should have, but it was worth it. Relax and discuss the literary works logically. If you get overwhelmed (like I did) start answering the multiple choice questions. The multiple choice questions were very similar to the Certify Teacher software. I took the whole 5 hours and made sure to go back over my work. I spent a lot of time on the essay and pedagogy portion, but had time to check my multiple choice answers. I passed with a 251.

Strategy 43

Study Strategy

I used Certify Teacher and the state test manual as my study materials. I believe both were very helpful.

Testing Strategy

The essays were harder than I expected, but the multiple choice questions were easy. I felt prepared for the multiple choice questions after using Certify Teacher. Usually the answer that provides the most detail is correct. For the essay questions, remember who you will be teaching. Your essay should provide real world situations that relate to the age group you are teaching. Good Luck!

Strategy 44

Study Strategy

I used only two study materials: the free state preparation manual and Certify Teacher.

Testing Strategy

The exam was a lot harder than I expected it to be! If you focus the multiple choice answers toward student-centered teaching, you will be fine. I highly recommend using the free study preparation manual! The two essays in the manual were pretty similar to the real thing. If you study, practice writing and figuring out how to answer each question for the essay portion, you'll be just fine. Study the manual and Certify Teacher every day for a week or two leading up to the big exam.

Strategy 45

Study Strategy

After reading all these comments, I paid for the CertifyTeachers online prep and used the state materials. I do think they helped, but I felt like CertifyTeacher didn't have enough content. After studying for several hours on the FIRST DAY of studying, I had already memorized most of the questions and answers that the CertifyTeacher prep provided. Although the materials helped give me an idea of the type of questions that would be asked and the type of answers they state wanted to hear, when I took the ACTUAL test, there were a few things this CertifyTeacher prep material did not prepare me for. The essay portion is basically THE EXACT same format as what CertifyTeacher & the state manuals provide. So definitely check out CertifyTeacher. I'm from California, and thought that I could use my same study materials, by the Texas test asked more questions on pedagogy, teaching methodologies, and what they consider to be "Best Practices" in teaching. The Texas test is mostly about "best practices" and how you would teach something to a student. I only studied with CertifyTeacher for 2 days prior to my test.

Testing Strategy

Because I did take the test from out of state, I guess the format was a little different. I wanted to write the essay first, but I tried multiple times and it forced me to complete all 100 questions before going to the constructed response portion. I felt confident doing the multiple choice portion, although there were a few questions that I had no idea what the answer was because I didn't see them in my study material. I was annoyed at many of the "best practices" questions, because I think its a little subjective. But CertifyTeacher definitely helps you learn how to answer the way they want you to answer. It is usually student-centered learning; very active/interactive teaching style where kids are encouraged to take responsibility of their own education. There are also questions that are multi-faceted and they want your responses to match up accordingly. If they ask you how to make your lesson connect to prior knowledge, use media and require kids to identify with the material personally. You want to make sure that the answer you choose fits exactly those 3 qualities! There will be plenty of times where all 4 answers that you are allowed to choose from sound great, but this helped me to narrow those kinds of questions and answers down. All in all, I thought the test was moderately difficult. It's not easy, but its not impossibly hard either. I don't know if I've passed the test yet, I will find out in a few days! Apparently, it takes about 7 days for you to get your scores after taking the test. I left the testing center hoping that I passed, but not feeling 100% confident, or even 80% confident. I'm a slow essay writer, and because I was forced to do my essays last, I felt rushed. I ended up using every second of my 5 hours. I was able to review my essays, but not my multiple choice answers. Good luck to all that will be taking this test!

Strategy 46

Study Strategy

Hello everybody! I was in your shoes just a couple of weeks ago, so I know what you are going through. But, I am here to reassure you, you can do this! I used two study materials: the free preparation manual and the Certify Teacher website. I paid $55 to use the online program and I'm glad I did. I had less than 2 weeks to study. I took the practice quizzes and exams over, and over. I read thru the free manual and took the practice exam at the end. I studied the flashcards and completed the practice essay prompts. The literary analysis seems daunting, but I actually scored better on that than the student's response; so I would say focus on having at least 2 strategies on how you will come up with the answer for tasks 1, 2, and 3 based up the area of strengths and weakness you find in the students response. The practice prompts these resources give you are very similar!

Testing Strategy

The test is a beast, like everyone is saying! I used all 5 hours provided. I worked backwards, did the essays first, then went and did the multiple choice. I don't know if that is helpful, because I took up a lot of time writing! But I would say do it, if you think the writing is going to be your weaker point. If not, go from front to back with the multiple choice first then essay. If you have any time left, then go over your questions. I had about 5 minutes to re-check questions. I figured i failed, but you can never know with these tests! So, when I got my score of 255 I was elated! Be confident, especially if you have more time to study. Use these materials; practice, practice, practice. Think student-centered and you will PASS!

Strategy 47

Study Strategy

I used a booked called "TExES Exam 231," by Jane Thielemann-Downs. This book was much more helpful than the Secrets Study Guide. Yes, the Secrets Book carries a lot of information and is very informative, but it is really difficult to study with if you are a visual learner and like things to be arranged. The Jane Thielemann-Downs book is divided by each domain, the important terms are in bold, and it is very visual. It was extremely helpful. I will be keeping this book as reference for the rest of my teaching career.

Testing Strategy

The test was a little harder than I expected in terms of the multiple choice. I walked out feeling a little less confident than when I went in! The literary genre/time periods questions were just fine, but there are not many of those. Most questions are based on teaching methods and making calls on what would be the "best method" for handling a given situation. For many of these, it was easy to eliminate two answers, but the other two both seemed equally correct. At times, taking a second, very close look at the question solved that issues (for instance, realizing the word "first" in a question ending in, "what method would be best to take on 'first'?"), at other times, I just had to guess what I hoped was correct. I took four hours and fifty minutes out of the five hours given to finish. I saved about two hours for the essay and last written response. The state manual helped me so much (more than my study book even!) with the essay portion. Read the sample essays for example scores - that is a major prep to know what's expected.

Strategy 48

Study Strategy

Based on information in the online community, I used certifiyteacher.com. I discovered that two areas I needed to focus on were Competency 008-The Writing Process and Competency 0011-Media Literacy. Other than as an initial diagnostic, Certify Teacher wasn't as helpful as other resources. I obtained materials from two sites to focus on studying for the competency areas: www.ncte.org for writing and www.medialit.org for media literacy. I also used the following on-line resources to brush up on basic skills: AP: English Language and Composition from Educator.com on YouTube and Literary Terms Defined & Described by Raja Shama on YouTube & The Great Courses Plus. You can sign up for the Great Courses Plus for free for one month and then cancel your membership; there are a number of ELA courses and lectures available on the site. Lectures within the following classes were particularly insightful: The Irish Identity; How Great Science Fiction Works; and How to Read and Understand Shakespeare. In addition, I found a helpful series of TED-Ed clips that illustrated various literary terms on YouTube. I also checked out some Insight Study Guides and the Social Issues in Literature series published by Greenhaven Press from the library, as a quick way to review classic literature & plays, and I read the TExES Secrets Study Guide. For additional practice in essay writing, I used the essay example questions in Barron’s AP English Literature & Composition study guide. I studied a few hours every day for about four weeks, increasing the amount of time I studied as the test approached.

Testing Strategy

I took the test on a computer. My strategy going into the test was to do the essays first and then go back and do the multiple choice questions. However, when I started the test I was unable to find a way to go directly to the essays without clicking through all the multiple choice questions so I revised my strategy on the spot. I spent the first 30 minutes on multiple choice questions, marked on my scrap paper the question number I was at when the 30 minutes passed, answered the remaining questions “A” and went to the essays. I was relieved to find the literary analysis essay contained two passages from fiction with which I was familiar. I answered the practical question first and did one revision before writing my first draft to the literary analysis question. I took my time with that draft and made sure to reference the passages in support of my answer. My strategy paid off because I passed with a 272 and had very high scores on the essays. After finishing my first draft of the literary analysis essay, I returned to the multiple choice questions and answered the ones I had not read. I then went back through the multiple choice questions I had marked and reviewed them. Finally, I went back and did a revision of my literary analysis essay. I didn’t take any breaks during the exam and I finished with 40 minutes to spare. If I had to do it all over again, I would purchase Certify Teacher materials, as the multiple choice questions were structured very differently from the ones on my exam. The most helpful study information was practicing essay writing using the questions in the various study guides. I would also suggest going into the exam with a plan for answering questions within the allotted time and stick to that plan to the best of your ability. Good luck!

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