Praxis I Test Breakdown

Each state has its own policies and regulations for admissions to teacher education programs being conducted in the state and for grant of teaching licensure. The most common teaching exam accepted by most states for admission to teacher education programs, and in certain cases, grant of teaching licensure, is the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST®). If you are keen on pursuing a career in education, then you should be prepared to take this test early during your college education. The test has been created by Educational Testing Service (ETS), which is a nonprofit organization that owns and conducts various other standardized tests like SAT and TOEFL. Thousands of prospective teachers take the Praxis I tests for qualifying for admissions to teacher education programs.

Understanding the Praxis I Test Format

You cannot hope to pass the Praxis I test without adequate knowledge of the test format. This is because a deep understanding of the test format is required for passing the Praxis I. Without this understanding you will not be able to

  • appreciate the amount of time you require for studying for taking Praxis I
  • understand the types of questions that will be asked
  • familiarize yourself with the test content
  • identify your weak and strong subject areas as per the test content
  • familiarize yourself with the time you will have at hand for answering the questions asked

In view of the above it is evident that you need to understand the test format in the best possible manner so as to be able to pass Praxis I.

The Three Praxis I Tests

Praxis I has been designed to assess the level of those academic skills in test-takers that are associated with adults in the teaching profession. These academic skills pertain to competence in mathematics, reading, and writing. The test consists of three tests, one each for testing skills in each of the subject areas mentioned.

  1. Reading Test: This test assesses the abilities of the test-takers in understanding, analyzing and evaluating written text. The questions asked are based on statements and reading passages that will be presented to you.

  2. Mathematics Test:  This test is designed to evaluate the mathematical skills and the knowledge that should be possessed by an educated adult who is keen on becoming a teacher.

  3. Writing Test: The Writing test measures the ability of the test-taker to utilize grammar and language in the best possible manner for effective communication through his writing. You will be presented with multiple-choice questions based on sentence corrections and usage and you will also have to write one essay to demonstrate your writing abilities.

Praxis I CBT and Praxis I PBT

Praxis I is offered in two formats. The number of questions asked in each format and the time allotted for answering the questions will vary depending on the format of the test that you are taking.

  1. Computer-based Praxis I (CBT): You can take the CBT version of Praxis I at any time of the year. You will have to visit the official website of ETS, to get details of the test centers that offer the computerized tests. You can exercise the option of taking all the 3 subtests separately or as a single test.
  1. Reading Test:

Type of questions: Multiple-choice
Number of questions: There will be a total of 46 questions out of which 21 will be based on literal comprehension and the remaining will be based on critical and inferential comprehension. 
Time allotted: 75 minutes

    2.  Mathematics Test:

Type of questions: Multiple-choice. You are not permitted to use calculators.
Number of questions: There will be a total number of 46 questions from four content categories. There will be approximately 15 questions from numbers and operations, 9 questions from Algebra, 10 questions from geometry and measurement and the remaining questions will be from data analysis and probability. There could be some trial questions in this section which will not count towards your final test score.
Time allotted: 75 minutes

    3.  Writing Test:

Types of questions: One essay section and one multiple-choice section
Number of questions: 44 multiple-choice questions based on three content categories (approximately 15 questions on grammatical relationships, 16 questions on structural relationships and remaining questions will be on word choice and mechanics) and 1 essay.
Time allotted: 38 minutes for the multiple-choice section and 30 minutes for the essay.

  1. Paper-based Praxis I (PBT): You can take the paper-based version of Praxis I only on specified test dates. Check the official website for test dates and PBT test centers. As in the case of CBT test, the PBT subtests can also be taken separately in different Praxis I administrations or on the same day as a combined test.
  1. Reading Test:
  2. Type of questions: Multiple-choice questions
    Number of questions: There will be a total of 40 questions with 18 questions based on literal comprehension and the remaining based on critical and inferential comprehension.
    Time allotted: 60 minutes

  3. Mathematics Test:
  4. Type of questions: Multiple-choice. Use of calculators is not allowed.
    Number of questions: There will 40 questions in all. These will be from four content categories. There will be approximately 13 questions from numbers and operations, 8 questions from Algebra, 9 questions from geometry and measurement and 10 questions will be from data analysis and probability. In addition, some trial questions may be included in this section, but they will not count towards the scores.
    Time allotted: 60 minutes

  5. Writing Test:

Type of questions: One multiple-choice section and one essay section. Number of questions: 38 multiple-choice questions and 1 essay. The multiple-choice questions will be based on three content categories. There will be approximately 13 questions from grammatical relationships, 14 questions from structural relationships and 11 questions from word choice and mechanics.
Time allotted: 60 minutes (30 minutes for each section)

Passing Praxis I

You will earn ‘raw points’ on the basis of the number of questions that you have answered correctly in the multiple-choice questions. The ‘raw points’ for the essay section will be the sum of the ratings given by independent scorers to your essay. These raw points will be converted to scaled scores to account for the differences in difficulty levels across the different editions of Praxis I tests.

The possible score range for each of the tests is from 150 to 190 for both the CBT as well as the paper-based formats. The average scores in the Reading test lie in the range of 174 to 181, those for the Mathematics test lie in the range of 174 to 184 and the average scores in the Writing test are through 173 to 178. ETS has not set any passing score for the tests. Each state has set its own testing requirements for the conduct of the test and also for the minimum passing scores required for passing the test. The passing scores for the test may be set below the average score ranges or they may even be within the average score range depending upon the state requirements.

Therefore, your attempt to understand the scores required for passing Praxis I has to begin with a visit to the official website of ETS, This website contains detailed information about the state testing requirements for the test.

The Best Time to Take Praxis I

It would be in your interest to take the Praxis I while you are in your freshman year or even before you have entered college. This will give you adequate time to prepare for a retest, if required. Moreover, you will be comfortable knowing that you have cleared the first hurdle towards a career in teaching and thereafter you will be able to concentrate on your college studies and the other requirements that have to be met for becoming a successful teacher. Therefore, put your best foot forward and pass the Praxis I early in your college career! 


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