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Read comments on Test # 190 - Bilingual Target Language Proficiency Test (BTLPT)

Strategy #1

Study: First, I would like to be straightforward, this test is not easy at all. I can speak properly because I am a native Spanish speaker who has constantly used the Spanish Language both in a professional and personal setting for many years. I only studied using the official TExES preparation manual, found on the TExES website. Consider other materials if you do not feel sufficiently confident with the language. I heard about the time constraint on each section, which I took seriously and finally ended up training myself for. I believe that all mistakes I made were because of the lack of time, so train yourself to be efficient with the time allotted, since all parts are timed!

Test: I did pass the test on my first try with 272/300, but I consider given my extensive language background that I should have scored more than that. In my opinion, the test is so time-constrained that you do not have the opportunity to show your real language skills. In order to get the best possible score: you do need to have knowledge of the language, but also to develop the ability to be skillful managing the allotted time. On the listening part, train yourself to take notes since those are too long and detailed-oriented, and it is impossible to remember such amount of information to answer the questions. After you listen to the recording the first time, the questions pop up without the four possible selections, so train yourself to be a good forecaster about the possible answer without having the four possible answers to choose from. Train yourself to select the answer of each question in a 20 minute time frame after you listen to the recording the second time and all possible answers finally appear. On the Speaking part, my piece of advice: try to speak in proper Spanish. Practice preparing your answers in real scenarios focusing on time allotted for all questions. For the Reading part, get practice reading a lot and focus on time to learn how to answer a bunch of question in a short time frame (only 70 minutes). For the Writing part, practice tips about the best way to prepare a lesson plan and time yourself for it. Also, prepare for writing an e-mail response and an opinion essay in only 70 minutes. Summarizing, it is not enough for you to know Spanish very well, you need to train yourself to be able to handle the time provided in order to pass the test. Good luck!

Strategy #2

Study: The best way to study for the test is to use the guide that is on the TEA website. It's a manual that breaks down the various types of answers that can give you a certain score. I would practice by recording myself speak, while timing my statements. Those helped a lot. I highly recommend referencing to a Spanish STAAR exam (5th grade) and timing yourself that way, while taking it/practicing. For the writing, since reading and writing go hand in hand, I recommend reading a lot of Spanish.

Test: The test isn't easy, but it is not impossible. I recommend getting a full night's rest and eating breakfast, so that you can stay on your toes. During the listening part, I recommend you take notes of the 'Who, What, When, Why, How' of the conversation, so that you can easily answer the timed questions. For the speaking, use as much real-life scenarios as possible. Don't be afraid to make references to things like Khan Academy or any other software that you can actually use as a teacher in a real classroom. Also, be aware of who you are speaking to. Speak proper, polite Spanish during that section, no improper speaking. The reading section was somewhat easy.

Strategy #3

Study: The only material that I utilized to study before the exam was the state prep manual on the Texas Teachers website.

Test: The test is not difficult. I am not a native speaker and I passed the test with no problems. The hardest part was trying to block out the other test takers' responses; there was a lot of distracting noise during the speaking portions of the exam. You have to be creative and keep speaking for the allotted time set. The main way to prepare for the exam is to work on improving general proficiency in the 4 language skills. Many different topics are used to show content and vocabulary knowledge.

Strategy #4

Study: I used the TEXES preparation manual to familiarize myself with the test structure. Although Spanish is my first language, I do not have the opportunity to speak it often, since I am married to a non Spanish speaking husband. What I did was find a teaching bilingual book and studied Spanish teaching terminology (since I am not use to speaking/writing in this type of format). I also called up my mom/grandmother and practiced speaking Spanish with them and asked them to be brutally honest when I make a mistake. I also practiced a lot the oral portion by timing myself doing the test questions. This is the portion that I was most nervous about because I am not a quick thinker. It is also important to practice writing with the alternate keyboard. I also timed myself doing this.

Test: I honestly thought I flunked the test when I left. It was very draining. It's quick and you have to have a quick/sharp mind. But, I am happy to say that I passed the first time with a 244!! I didn't do too well on the listening because there were some distractions in the room, and I started freaking out, but quickly controlled my mind and focused on the test. The test was just like the preparation manual. As long as you feel comfortable with the format, you will be fine. Overall, it honestly helped that I am fluent in Spanish (in all aspects). The terminology I think was the hardest and also remembering all of the accents.

Strategy #5

Study: I took this test twice, the first time I did NOT study at all, the second time I studied using the official TEXES preparation manual found on the TEXES web site. The real test is exactly the same format. Using the preparation manual I actually wrote out the scenarios for each section, even for the speaking part. Then I wrote the email, opinion statement, and the lesson plan. (Of course the test scenarios are different but this practice helped my writing). I failed the test the first time by 5 points, then the second time I passed with a 255. I have not taken a Spanish course since high school, which was over 13 years ago. I speak Spanish only to my mom, but I am married to a non-Spanish speaker so I don't really practice my Spanish too much, even then I was still able to pass the test so it is possible!

Test: The test is NOT that difficult. The difference between my passing score and my failing score was the writing portion. I am NOT good with accents at all, so this is what I did the second time: the writing section is the last section of the test, the sections before that are all reading and listening so from those sections I wrote down on the scratch paper they gave me ALL the words with accents so that when the writing section came along I would know exactly where the accents go. Sure, I was having to answer the reading/listening questions AND write down the accent words, but it was worth it. The first time I took the test I tried to learn the accent rules and use those to compose my writing section and I failed miserably. The second time I used only words that I knew the accents for sure and whatever I wrote on my scratch paper and I scored very high. Another tip- the test is timed in every section so keep track of your time and you should be fine. Good luck!!

Strategy #6

Study: I bought an online manual- there were numerous example questions, writing scenarios, reading comprehension scenarios, and a taped speaking scenario. Beware that most the scenarios in the guide are far easier than the scenarios on the test.

Test: This test is extremely difficult- it is NOT enough that you speak Spanish well- you must use correct grammar in writing and speaking sections. It is also much faster than I expected- there are 6-8 articles with several questions each, many listening scenarios, three writing scenarios (averaging 150 words each!) and the speaking part. You can't really prepare- other than reviewing grammar rules if you never studied Spanish grammer at the high school/university level (meaning that level of native speaker- not one or two semesters of Spanish in an American high school!)

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