ICTS Test Breakdown

Establishing an acquaintance with an unfamiliar thing is essential for harmonious progress. This is true for ICTS as well. Building up familiarity with the exam, its pattern, content, scoring system etc. is important not only for scoring high in it, but also for carrying out the process of preparation in a smooth manner. No matter how well you score in the end, if your preparation time has been problematic, success does not seem as sweet, as there is regret about the discomfort you faced while preparing. There is no match to smoothly accomplishing a task, after all it is not just the end but the journey as well is important. Understanding the test breakdown shall help you accelerate your preparation process, besides making it more meaningful. The following are the details of the different ICTS tests.





Basic Skills Test: The skills of comprehension, communication and calculation are tested through this test. These skills are basic for any professional teaching task.
Test Subsections: Reading Comprehension, Language Arts (writing and grammar), Mathematics and Writing.
Types of Questions: Multiple choice questions for all except the writing section, in which a constructed response is to be given.
Number of Questions: 125 multiple-choice questions and one writing assignment.
Scores: The score for this test varies from 100 to 300. A candidate has to score a total scaled score of at least 240 to pass the exam, besides obtaining the minimum passing score for each subarea. This minimum score is 50% for the reading and language subareas, 35% for mathematics and 5 (out of 12) for the writing subarea. The multiple choice questions contribute 85% and the writing assignment contributes 15% towards your total scaled score.  

Assessment of Professional Teaching Tests:

Test Levels: Birth to Grade 3, Grades K–9, Grades 6–12 and Grades K–12.

Types of Questions: Multiple-choice questions and constructed response questions.

Number of Questions: 120 multiple-choice questions and 2 constructed response questions per test.

Scores: The scale of APT tests’ scores varies from 100 to 300. A total scaled score of 240 is set as the least score for passing a test. The multiple-choice questions contribute 80% and the constructed response items contribute 20% towards your total scaled score. Each subarea is marked separately, but there is no passing score determined for a subarea. For the constructed response questions, each assignment is scored on a scale of 1 to 4 and the score is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 100 to 300.

Content-Area Tests:
Types of Questions: Multiple choice questions.
Number of Questions: 125 questions comprise each test, leaving foreign language content-area tests and the Special Education General Curriculum Test, which contains 65 questions.
Scores: A scale varying from 100 to 300 is used to score the test. The passing score is set as 240 for a test. There is no negative marking and all questions carry equal marks. Subarea scores are also reported with each on a scale of 100 to 300. Though you do not have to pass each subarea to clear the test, a score of 240 is considered satisfactory.

Foreign Language Content-area Tests:
Test Sections: French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish tests, Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Korean.
Types of Questions: Multiple-choice questions and constructed response assignment.
Number of Questions: 100 multiple choice questions and 2 constructed response items per test for French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Russian and Spanish tests. 7 constructed response items only for each of Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese), Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, and Korean.
Scores: The total scaled test score is reported on a scale varying from 100 to 300 and the passing score is set as 240. The seven constructed response items in the tests for Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Korean are used to assess seven subareas of the test and each subarea is scored on a scale varying from 100 to 300. A score of 240 indicates satisfactory performance.  Each constructed response is scored on a scale varying from 1 to 4 and then these scores are converted to scaled scores between 100 and 300. The total test score depends on all the seven responses.
For French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Spanish content-area tests your multiple-choice questions and constructed response items are scored for obtaining the total scaled test score. Each subarea is also scored on a scale from 100 to 300. There is no need to pass the subareas separately. There is no negative marking for the multiple-choice questions and all questions carry equal credits.

Learning Behavior Specialist II (LBS II) Tests:
Types of Questions: Stand-alone constructed response assignments and constructed response assignments based on a case study.
Number of Questions: 3 questions are based on stand-alone constructed response items and 3 questions are based on constructed response based on a case study.
Scores: The scores vary from 100 to 300 with 240 being the passing score. Subareas are also scored for each test. Each of the six responses is scored on a four point scale. These scores are then converted to scaled scores varying from 100 to 300 where 240 indicates satisfactory performance.

Tests for Removal of a Learning Behavior Specialist I (LBS I) Limitation only:
Test Sections: Educable Mentally Handicapped, Learning Disabilities, Physically Handicapped, Social/Emotional Disorders, and Trainable Mentally Handicapped.
Types of Questions: Multiple-choice questions.
Number of Questions: 125 questions per test.
Scores: The total scaled score and the scores for each subarea lie between 100 and 300. The total scaled score has to be 240 for passing the exam and there is no need to pass the subareas separately.

Language Proficiency Tests for the Transitional Bilingual Certificate:
Test Sections: The English Language Proficiency (ELP) test and the Target Language Proficiency (TLP).
Types of Questions: Multiple choice questions and constructed response assignments.
Number of Questions: 55 multiple choice questions and 2 constructed response assignments for each of ELP and TLP-Spanish tests. Other TLP tests consist of 4 constructed response assignments each.
Scores: The total scaled score is reported on a scale from 100 to 300 with 240 as the passing score. This total scaled score depends on your total performance in the test. Each subarea is also scored on the same 100-300 scale and there is no passing limit for a subarea. However, a score of 240 indicates satisfactory performance. All multiple choice questions carry equal credits and there is no negative marking. The constructed response items are scored on a four point scale and then the scores are converted to scaled scores varying between 100 and 300, with 240 being indicative of satisfactory performance.

Format of the Tests
The tests are paper based, except for the Basic Skills test which is available in the computer based format as well. In the computer based Basic Skills test, you shall have to answer the multiple choice questions on a computer and type your response to the writing assignment. This calls for speed in typing besides knowledge of other basic computer skills.
Be very careful while selecting your format for the test. Even if you are aware of basic computer functionality, it might not be enough for you to opt for the computer based format. Since you have to type your response to the writing assignment you shall have to have a good typing speed as it shall make a difference to your score. Opt for the format about which you are more confident about your performance, rather than the one that brings about ease in other matters.

Points to Ponder
Every exam that one takes has some significant aspects that make it different from other exams. Awareness of these points brings you closer to success as you prepare keeping these is focus. Let us see some such aspects of ICTS and how they can help you succeed.

  1. The exam contains a large percentage of multiple-choice questions. Go through the study guides and take a look at the questions that appear in it and prepare in light of those. Do not concentrate on those subject areas that call for lengthy explanatory responses, instead prepare to handle multiple-choice questions based on such content areas.

  2. There is no negative marking in the exam. This gives space for guesswork. Practice for making educated guesses should start while you prepare, instead of trying out the tricks in the examination hall itself. You should learn how to make a guess based on logic. While you take practice tests, learn how to select the best answer option when you do not know the correct answer.

  3. Understand the test breakdown of the exam you are to take. Each test is different with specific Test Frameworks and Study Guides available for each. The information in these might seem trivial but it is vital to go through them for understanding the specific requirements of the exam you are to take.

  4. Understanding the scoring procedure is equally significant. You shall understand what scores finally matter and how your preparation should thus proceed.

  5. All the questions of one type carry equal credits. This implies that you can afford to attempt the easier ones before moving on to the difficult ones. Attempting easier questions first shall make you get over initial exam jitters and you shall even save time for thinking over difficult questions.

Remember that ICTS is not a competitive exam; each individual performance is rated independently. Thus, you are not in competition with anyone. You shall earn credit for your own attempt and another person’s scores shall not diminish the importance of yours. Besides other benefits of this aspect, it implies that you can share your notes with those of others. You need not be selfish and secretive in preparation. Share your knowledge and learn from others.