Praxis 2 Test Practice: Mastering the Constructed Responses

The Praxis 2 test assesses your knowledge on the subjects that must be taught by teachers in the classroom through varying test formats that contain a combination of multiple choices and constructed responses or just either one.

The more common complain and frustration of various Praxis 2 test takers is in the constructed responses questions that entail essay writing. Praxis 2 tests English Language, Literature and Composition consists of purely constructed response questions while the exam in Teaching Foundations has a combination of multiple choice and constructed response with the latter weighing heavily in the scoring system. You are better off with the Praxis 2 Math; Special Education; Social Studies, Elementary Education: Content Knowledge; and Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for these tests are purely multiple choices. For many, the dreaded writing portion cannot be avoided and many times becomes the obstacle to pursuing a teaching career.

Why do Praxis 2 test takers fear the constructed responses?

• “I am sure that I failed the writing portion.” Candidates believe that one cannot fully prepare writing an essay because the Praxis practice exam questions are not often well set-up to score answers to a constructed response question. You can only pick up a few hints on what constitutes a good and bad response and work from there with cross fingers.

• “I am a Math major so how would I be adept in writing an essay.” Constructed response questions can be answered with essay writing when the Educational Testing Service (ETS) clearly implied that it does not have to be an essay. You can make charts and diagrams or even answer in bullets.

• “I am a journalism graduate with accolades for my writing and the score report says I failed the writing portion, unbelievable!” The Praxis 2 test assesses knowledge on educational theories as listed in your Praxis 2 exam study guide and not how well you write. It is true that teachers are expected to be adept in spelling and grammar, but these hardly matter when it comes to scoring.

• “There are only a couple of constructed responses so I should concentrate more on the multiple choices”. Candidates do not understand how ETS scores constructed responses. ETS clarifies an important point: “Your response will be scored only on the feature listed in the scoring guide for your test”. For instance, if you were asked to point a difference, then any lengthy definitions may not weigh much unless these definitions are used to pinpoint a difference. Many times, stating one major difference will suffice to ensure excellent Praxis 2 scores. You can check the ETS scoring guide for a specific test.

• “By the time I got to the 3rd constructed response question, my mind is in jumbles trying to beat the time.” Test takers feel that 15 to 30 minutes for one constructed response question is insufficient. By doing more practice questions, you can easily provide an answer to a constructed response question. After all, the questions in Praxis 2 testing measure specific competencies that you have already prepared for.

To ace the Praxis 2 test with constructed response questions, practice is the key.

Bear in mind that the Praxis 2 exam measures your ability to explain key concepts effectively particularly for technical terms that require a teacher’s creativity and resourcefulness so that the students will fully appreciate the material. There are helpful ways to simplify the process so that you can confidently answer the constructed responses. The ETS website offers valuable tips on how to approach a constructed response question in their study tips so you may also want to read on that.

Many of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) examination concepts have been taught before so these are your options to prep for the constructed response questions

• Part of your Praxis 2 test practice regimen is to visit a real classroom and see how teachers explain difficult concepts and theories to their students.

• Find lesson plans, which are readily available online, to have an idea on how some concepts are taught in school.

• Talk to your professor on how they would teach the lesson in the classroom.

If your Praxis 2 exam entails making lesson plans or responding to case studies, always remember that you are operating on a perfect world. Always imagine a hypothetical classroom and bear in mind that you are applying an educational theory on a perfect classroom and not a real one; by perfect, it means that the kids are well-behaved.

There are many Praxis 2 constructed responses sample questions for different types of assessment test that test takers can learn from in order to hurdle this ambiguous and often scary part of the Praxis test.

• For the Praxis 2 test on the English Language, Literature and Composition, and Teaching Foundations: English. Check out the Cliffs Test Prep Praxis II: English Subject Area Assessments by Diane E. Kern, which provides useful strategies on how best to approach a constructed response question. You could learn how to break down the question into easy parts, which will serve as your outline. In this way, you tackle the question piece by piece to ensure that you are answering the question completely.

• For the Praxis 2 Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT), read a lot of case histories and answer short answer questions. Based in reviews, Cliffs Praxis 2 Test Prep: Principle of Learning and Teaching scored higher than other reviewers because it has everything that you need to know about PLT. Since the test is mostly case studies and short answer questions, you really need to review all the theories and educational theorists as well as the strategies and laws in order to come up with correct answers.

• For the Praxis 2 examination on Teaching Reading, the 3 constructed response question approximately total 25% in the total scoring, which goes to show how important that you answer this part correctly. You need to focus more on instructional practices, curriculum materials and assessment.

• For Praxis 2 Middle School Math, the constructed response questions measure how you will teach Math in the classroom so this should be less challenging once you know your basic formulas, which can be learned from your old textbooks and various internet sources.

The real truth in mastering the Praxis 2 test constructed response questions is by mastering the strategy and more importantly, mastering your fear of the dreaded essay, which in many cases may not even be required.

Go to: Praxis II Test Prep report now.