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Read comments on Test # 117 - English Language Arts and Reading 4-8

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Strategy #1

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I was told that this test you can't really study for, which is true, to an extent. I brushed up on basic grammar (which seemed to show up more on the practice tests than the actual test). I used the practice exam on the ETS website for ELA 117, as well as the Core Subjects practice test. I broke down each question and looked up anything I didn't understand. I also used the Xam book by Sharon Wynne. It was helpful, but I think the ETS information was most helpful.

Test: Read the questions and be sure what they are asking. This should help you eliminate at least one of the answer choices. I only took a 5 minute break to use the bathroom and get a drink of water; they don't let you have water in the room. I took the exam Wednesday morning and received my results Friday afternoon. I passed the test the first time with a 266/300. This exam does not have an essay portion. Good luck!

Strategy #2

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I used the ETS preparation manual and the program from CertifyTeacher, both were very helpful. I also made study cards on Quizlet of important terms to study. I reviewed materials related to early language development, like Birsh's Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, which helped me understand some of the early reading/oral language concepts better. I also bought the TExES Secrets Study Guide from Mometrix, but I found it to be mostly a waste of money. It didn't really focus on the competencies very much. My main advice would be to use the competencies listed as your study guide and seek out any of the concepts you don't know. I passed with a high score doing that.

Test: It's very much based off of teacher scenarios you might encounter, not so much a test of your knowledge of concepts. Make sure to understand how you can apply the concepts, not just memorize them.

Strategy #3

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I started studying about two weeks prior to the test. I used an XAMonline review book, as well as Quizlet and 240Tutoring. I also searched on Google for test practice questions and used those. I read through the entire content of the XAMonline book and took the practice test. I then went through and looked at all the questions I missed and essentially did corrections. I then made sure to know the basic terminology backwards and forwards (I practiced with a Quizlet I found after searching TExES 117). I went through many rounds of practice questions on 240Tutoring and made sure to read the review materials in the areas I was week in.

Test: The biggest thing that helped me when taking the test was to try and pick apart the question to figure out what it was ultimately asking. This test doesn't have extraneous information in the question, so you need to think about how to best respond to each part of what it is asking. If you aren't sure what one of the answers is, use process of elimination for the answer choices that you do know what they are. It is important to know key terms so you can use that basic knowledge as the basis of your critical thinking process. I passed with a 284.

Strategy #4

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I took two weeks to prepare to take this exam and I studied for 2-3 hours a day. I used two references to study: the preparation manual from the ETS website and a practice test from www.proprofs.com. Read each competency; I wouldn't say completely memorize it, but it does help to know each one. The TExES manual is the exact format of the test! Use it to your advantage! The explanations for the study questions are very helpful. I used those to dissect each question. Know why your answer is correct.

Test: The test was 100 questions long and the time given is 5 hours. I used about 4 hours total to take the test and review it. Know what the question is asking you; it makes a difference in a right or wrong answer choice! Pay attention to what they say or ask of the teacher in the question. This test is not difficult. Take your time, take a break at the half point if needed, read each question more than once to have a good understanding of what's asked. Use process of elimination. I took my test on a Wednesday morning and got my results by Saturday afternoon. I passed on my first attempt with a 266.

Strategy #5

This test was taken on Paper.

Study: When I started studying for the test, I had no idea what I was about to experience. I read this message board which helped me identify which study materials to use and what worked the best. Originally, I was going to go through CertifyTeacher.com and get the online program for $55, but I didn't buy it in enough time before my test. I just used the materials on the Texas Education Certification website (ETS). All the competencies are listed and there's a practice tests with 40 questions. This is all that is needed. I wrote all the competencies down in a notebook and printed the practice test. When I first took the practice test, I did 20 questions and got around 7 wrong. I was so stressed from that because I knew if I didn't understand these questions I would fail. This test is about your critical-thinking skills. I found a couple more practice tests online, one test was on proprofs.com. That test was extremely helpful as well, and had 39 questions. Study and memorize each competency name and know basic information about each. When it comes to test day, you need to be able to read the question and know which competency the question is referring to.

Test: It wasn't necessarily hard, but it was nerve-wracking. It took me about 3 hours to take the test out of a possible 5 hours. I didn't take a break at all. I thought I needed one originally but when I got past question 40, I just did the last 60 with no problems. The test is almost like the practice test found on the ETS website, with exception to asking about certain literary terms I wasn't familiar with such as onset rime. Know phonemes and the linguistics in the competencies. Try and memorize that information. I walked out not knowing how I did, but I received my test scores and passed with a 259 out of 300! There are so many horror stories associated with this test, but I passed on the first try. Good luck!

Strategy #6

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I originally bought 240Tutoring to study for this test. I wanted to do everything I possibly could to pass. In May, I took the 7-12 English content exam and missed it by 5 points, but I did not study as much as I should have. After reviewing the 240Tutoring material, I felt confident I knew the content. To be completely certain, I purchased Certify Teacher program for English 4-8. I am so glad I did, and also disappointed I wasted money on 240Tutoring. Certify Teacher is more expensive, but you have the option to break down the competencies and study them individually; that is what worked for me. By focusing on one at a time, I really grasped each concept. I studied for a solid 3 weeks before the test. The first week I studied about an hour a day. The last two I studied 3-4 hours a day leading up the the exam. I took my exam this past Saturday and passed with a 265!

Test: The test was about as hard as I expected, not too hard nor too easy. While taking the test, I would say definitely get a good night worth of sleep. All the reading you do during the exam strains your eyes, so if you're already tired it will be difficult. You are given 4 hours to take the exam. My strategy was completing all 100 questions first and making the ones I was uncertain of for review to go back to. Once I had finished the 100 questions, I went on a bathroom break; it helped to step away from the computer. Upon returning, I was ready to go and review every single question. I ended up changing about 10 answers due to carelessness. Domain II is what you're tested the most on. Certify Teacher does a good job of not only breaking down the competencies to be quizzed on individually, but you can also break down the domains. I would definitely recommend it to anyone! Good luck everyone!

Strategy #7

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I used the practice test in the prep manual as well as the ELAR section of the Core Subjects 4-8 test. I also used a textbook called "Teaching Reading Strategies". This helped tremendously! I also looked at a bilingual TExES study guide book to learn more about ELL's. In addition, I purchased the Certify Teacher study guide. It helped a little, but not much; the explanations were terrible.

Test: You have plenty of time, pace yourself. It is not so bad, if you study the right material. Focus on how to teach and assess ELL's. Know a lot about phonemic awareness, how to teach reading comprehension and writings at all stages, and how to best assess during these stages. Eat something. Get some rest and do your best! I was so scared I didn't pass, but I did!

Strategy #8

This test was taken on Paper.

Study: I used 240tutoring and Certify Teacher. 240tutoring has easily digestible material and Certify Teacher gives you a more thorough explanation and mirrors the format of the test almost exactly. I studied for two weeks, working through one competency a day and then getting really comfortable with the exam structure.

Test: It was easier than I expected, and I felt pretty well prepared. I chose to stop studying the night before and made sure to enter the exam as relaxed as possible. I took just over two hours to take the exam, and I left feeling confident but unsure. The most important thing is being able to tease out what the question is most literally asking. There are usually two good answers, and you have to apply your knowledge of the competencies to choose the best answer. Like I said, I was nervous about my exam results, but in the end, I passed with a 281 out of 300 on my first attempt!

Strategy #9

This test was taken on Computer.

Study: I had about two weeks to study, and this forum was a HUGE help. As others posted, I focused on the preparation manual and practice test from the TEA website. I also reviewed the competencies thoroughly and took a couple other practice tests. I also studied flash cards on Quizlet which were very helpful. I moved to TX from AL, and was not familiar with any of the material. I studied an average of two hours a day.

Test: I felt pretty confident going into the test. Initially I did not do well on the practice tests, but after reviewing weak areas and re-taking the practice test I did well. All of the questions were scenario-based, or asking which competency certain assignments were addressing. Many of the questions have more than one fitting answer, but take your time, re-read the question, and look for key-words to see what it's really asking. The test took me almost 3 hours, and this includes checking my answers. I left having 5 questions I was really uncertain about and 5 more I felt 50/50 about. I passed with a 261 on my first attempt.

Strategy #10

This test was taken on Paper.

Study: I used the state practice exam and the "Pass the TExES" book that I downloaded online. I also used the Quizlet site for the pre-uploaded terms. I took a random practice test that I found on Google, after typing in "TExES 117 practice exam." Like many have said here, take the practice test from the state. It is what resembles the actual test the most. However, be prepared for different questions. If I could have studied differently, I think I would have focused more on the teacher instruction than learning the actual definitions of terms. I did not do well on the practice tests until I went back and read each question thoroughly. I actually studied the practice tests and why the answers were the best choice. I probably would still buy the online book, just for back up. I can't stress enough, focus on teacher instruction and the competencies. I memorized them; you probably don't need to, but it will help you to identify the direction of the questions on the test.

Test: The test was very difficult. I studied for about a month and a half. I was extremely nervous. It took me about 3 hours to take the test; I read very carefully. The last 40 questions were tedious, because I was getting antsy to finish. I would suggest closing your eyes for a little bit when you can't focus. The test itself was about 90% situational questions. The rest were actual knowledge based. Know the different visual aids that can be used (KWL, Venn diagram, story map, etc). Know about emergent readers, ELL, media types, and persuasive essays in terms of instruction. I took a break after I had finished answering and marking the answers I was going to look at again. I came back and looked at each answer. I changed about 10 answers. When I left, I did not feel confident. I took the test on Saturday evening and got the scores early Tuesday morning. I got a 253! If I did it, you can!

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