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Read comments on Test # 131 - English Language Arts and Reading 8-12

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Strategy #1

Study: I used the ETS Study Guide and the GACE 6-12 Study Guide. The ETS Guide really helped with the written response portion of the test, while the GACE manual helped me sufficiently brush on literary terms, historical periods, etc.

Test: The multiple choice questions were definitely more situational. There were some literary terms. I feel like I did well on the written portion and got the majority of the multiple choice questions correct.

Strategy #2

Study: "Preparing for Teaching Certification in English, Language Arts and Reading Grades 8-12", Dr. Jane Thielmann-Downs is the book I used. It was full of mistakes because she gave the assignment of proof reading to a student. Anyway, it was very helpul in the long run. Know the terms. They will be needed for the test and the essay. I made my own flash cards. Know the literary eras. Understand Blooms Taxonomy. It takes a month to get results back so I have no idea if my study techniques worked at this point.

Test: 1/2 questions are very difficult. Other 1/2 are not bad. Situational questions as in all Texes tests. Remember to answer what is best for the student...not the teacher, parent, etc. I used 3 hours for the essay and barely got out in time. No spell check. No cut and paste from the 2 choices given for the essay. Besure you can type fast. To prepare I would say memorize all literary terms and elements. Know the periods of history for literature. Know the well known writers for each period. You should do well and knowing how to write an essay under pressure is good too. Good luck.

Strategy #3

Study: I used the TExES Prep Manual and the "Preparing for Teaching Certification in English, Language Arts and Reading Grades 8-12", Dr. Jane Thielmann-Downs. Both were great at explaining why an answer is right or wrong.

Test: Just pace yourself. Skip what you don't know and come back to it later. Also, get familiar with mapping an outline for the written portion.

Strategy #4

Study: I prepared for the exam by cramming for 3 weeks prior to the test date. I purchased both copies of the TExES practice test booklets and the study guide by I also gathered study materials from the TEA website and studied all of the online materials. Studying for the test at least 3 weeks in advance was important for me. During the day I used the booklets and in the evening I used my iPad to study and even created an Excel document with pertinent question and answer columns to aid in my studies. I passed the ELAR 8-12 with a 261 score! Waiting for the results was tedious. The essay portion will require familiarity with literary time-periods and genres. The TExES exam #131 by Dr. Jane Thielemann-Downs was very helpful for identifying the authors and the literary movements they are associated with.

Test: The test was more difficult than I thought, because many of the questions were "situational" questions in a multiple choice format and I thought many more of the questions would be based on specific literary elements, terms, genres, and movements. I was also expecting more questions related to structural analysis, but more of the questions related to STARR preparation and actual classroom / study examples and scenarios. Also, bring a sweater--I was freezing and they had a portable AC blowing in my ear the entire test time. I took 5 hours to take the test and gave myself lots of time on the essay portion (over 2 hours). I received a score of 3 out of a possible 4 holistic score for the essay portion. Be sure you give yourself plenty of time to review your completed essay. Reference everything you can about the 2 passages you are asked to compare. Reference the literary genre, the literary movement or time-period and what was going on historically when the piece was written. Focus on the passages provided and do your best to include specific passage quotes to demonstrate you provided a "deep reading" of the material. The essay portion was more difficult for me than the other parts of the test because you don't have time for pre-writing activities and no spell-checker! I was able to cut and paste sections to other sections of my essay and was glad I still had time to do a proof-read as I found some incomplete sentences I still had time to correct. I never got the chance to go back and review the other 90 multiple choice test questions because I got wrapped up in the essay, but I still scored 261 overall. Good luck and hope my comments were helpful!

Strategy #5

Study: I bought a pass the texes for ELAR which was not effective. The best study tool for me was the preparation manual and the practice test. When you take the practice test, understand why you got the question wrong or why you got it right. Questions on the actual exam are extremely close to the practice test.

Test: Before taking the test, everyone I spoke with continued to tell me how insanely hard it was going to be. I felt prepared once I nailed the practice test in the manual. I had decided that I would do the prewriting for the essay and then go back to the multiple choice, and finally finish with my completed essay. Since it is computer based, I had to manualy skip through all the questions to get to the essay which was time consuming and stressful. I did not spend as much time on my essay and did not feel good about it. I felt the multiple choice was easier than expected. Waiting four weeks was terrible! I passed with plenty of points to spare! Good luck!!

Strategy #6

Study: Kindle edition of TExES (131) English Language Arts and Reading 8-12 Exam Secrets Test Prep Study Guide by Mometrix Media. Take the practice exam without studying and see how you do. I also looked over the practice tests

Test: Test taken on computer. This test was difficult because there wasn't always one right answer... there was a "best" answer. Check mark any questions you aren't certain about and double check them before submitting. Be sure you are polished up to write a comparative, analytical essay over two boring poems/excerpts, essays using literary devices.

Strategy #7

Study: I used the TExES Prep Manual, "Preparing for Teaching Certification in English, Language Arts and Reading" Grades 8-12", Dr. Jane Thielmann-Downs, and SECRETS Study Guiide - Mometrix. Both were useful for some content. The Thielmann book had better explanations for why sample answer choices were right or wrong. It would be great if both of the editors could update their books with new, current information and content. I saw terms on the test that I have never heard of....

Test: It was harder than I expected mainly because of some of the content and terms that I was unfamiliar with. Go over sample questions again and again and again. Understand why certain choices are more correct than the ones that are like them! Understand what the question is asking and how the best answer choice is related to the what is asked in the question. Mark any questions you are unsure of whether you answer them or not so you can go back and review them after you are done with your constructed response.....oh yeah....constructed response....just be sure you know how to write a good essay. Be sure to give them what the question is asking for. Say what you are gonna say, say it, then say whhat you just said, basically.

Strategy #8

Study: Buy the XAM Texes English 8-12 study guide, the Barron's Texes English 8-12 study, and another one if you can find one. Don't bother reading through it. Just take the tests in both of them. Whichever questions you answered wrong and whichever questions you answered right because you guessed, write them down or photocopy them. Try to figure out why you answered them wrong and try to memorize them altogether(flashcards). A day before the Test, return them to whatever bookstore you got them(barnes and noble offers a 14 day return policy). Then get yourself M.H. Abrams Glossary of literary terms and learn poetic devices and the different types of sonnets there are. The answers can usually be identified by very closely examining the question. Learn exactly what it is asking. And yes, imagine that the students are perfect and we live in a happy wonderful world(read previous post to understand what this means).

Test: Learn what a Venn Diagram is and what it is best used for. Also learn what an SKL graph is and what it is best used for. I passed the test. I thought i had definitely failed it but I actually did pretty well. Concerning the essay, you must identify as many rhetorical and literary devices as possible.

Strategy #9

Study: I used the Xam study guide available at Barnes & Noble. I studied up on literary periods and literary devices available online. At the last minute I ordered English Teacher Certification Exams by Beatrice Mendez. I took the practice exams from the ETS website and the one available in the Xam book. The Xam book gives you a lot of the content that you may need to know. I found it very helpful.

Test: I got my results 3 and a half weeks after taking the test and this was a CAT test. The wait almost killed me. I passed with a 267! The test was difficult. Most questions are scenario questions and very few test for content. When dealing with the scenario questions I kept in mind that everything is should be student centered, in a perfect world, and from there I could pick the best option. I would tell future test takers of this exam that study everything you can get your hands on. This test isn't easy, but it is possible to pass.

Strategy #10

Study: I used the free study guide from the website and took a study session with Region 10. That helped the most with the essay portion.

Test: For the multiple choice part, it was very much like all the other content exams, not much content and mostly teaching strategies. Pick the answer that allows the student to achieve the highest level of Bloom's Taxonomy and for the teacher to guide the learning. For the essay, have at least two to three pages written. Use as many literary terms as you can think of and link them to the similarities between the two works. I did an intro paragraph, three paragraphs for the body, each one showing how each author used a similar or same literary technique with examples from the works, and then a closing paragraph. Each paragraph had five to eight sentences. I passed with plenty of points to spare. Good luck!

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