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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 studied for 4 weeks and used CertifyTeacher.com (CT) and 240Tutoring.com (240T). I think CT was the best of the two study programs and worth the money. The questions and setup are exactly like the test. CT clearly identifies what questions come from what domains, which help you target your studying. For extra practice with fresh questions, I would buy 240T too. I spent under $100 total for both programs and ended up passing with ease the first time.

Test: The test is just like the tests on CertifyTeacher.com (CT). It was 100 questions, but you're only graded on 80 of those 100. It was strictly multiple choice and no "check all that apply" or anything like that, which you do see on CT. You have 5 hours to complete the test, but I finished in an hour and 15 minutes. I went through the entire test and submitted without going back to review. I passed on my first time with a 272. If you're like me, going back to review your answers causes more confusion than anything. Good luck!

Strategy #2

This test was taken on Paper.

Study: The materials I used to study were 2 resources: Certify Teacher ($55)and 240 Tutoring ($40). The Certify Teacher does not provide written study materials; it only has the competencies and what you are required to know in each competency. Although there is no study material, the practice questions on Certify Teacher help to prepare you to become familiar with how the test questions will be. 240 Tutoring is the resource that provides study material you can print out and read from each competency, as well as practice questions. These practice questions do not really reflect the type of questions you will encounter on the exam, however it is still good to know the answers to these questions so you can conceptualize the material and apply it to the real test questions. I would recommend that you further define certain terms and concepts from the study material because some terms and concepts are listed without explanation. When it comes to my study method, I would not change it because I see that my study method was successful being that I passed on my first attempt with a 266 out of 300. I studied for a total of 2 months and spent about 1-3 hours per day studying the material and testing myself on the practice tests.

Test: The test was not as hard as I anticipated. I left the testing center feeling confident that I had passed. I took my test on a Thursday and received my results on the following Tuesday (it can take up to 2 weeks). Again, use the 240 Tutoring resource for study material (doing a little more research yourself on concepts and terms that are not defined) and use Certify Teacher for the Practice Questions and you should do fine. I took the practice tests on Certify Teacher 9 different times to ensure that I really understood the key concepts of the questions, and to be sure I passed well above the required 240 minimum score each time. It is also wise to test yourself on each competency individually to be sure you have mastered the key concepts. (Certify Teacher allows you to simulate tests on each competency or on all competencies at once, therefore you are able to focus on areas which need improvement).

Strategy #3

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 #4

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 #5

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 #6

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 #7

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 #8

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 #9

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 #10

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!

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