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This test was taken on Computer.
Study: I used the Ultimate Guide/Big Yellow Book.
Test: The test was what I expected. If you study The Big Yellow Book you will do fine. Everything on the exam was covered in this book. There were NO surprises. You don't have to know all the Social Study/History facts or dates, which I spent time memorizing. The math was basic and at an elementary level. Many questions were common sense. I thought the Special Ed test was much more difficult.
Study: I used Cliff Notes for EC-4.
Test: It was much harder than expected. Cliff notes didn't go over everything on the test. Even some of the pe questions had me stumped. The geometry questions were tough too. I would tell you to find some textbooks about how to teach reading and test reading skills of kids, study up on geometry and science. The questions I had in those subjects were hard. I would try to find some Texas fourth grade textbooks and go over them. It was much harder, I thought, than the Special Ed Test. Study everything you can get your hands on if you have been out of school awhile.
Study: Score: 295/300
Study Materials: TExES 101 Generalist EC-4 (REA) - The Best Teachers' Test Prep
EC-4 Preparation Manual
Tips: The REA study guide is PERFECT! I just read through each section briefly and then took the practice tests. Be sure to read the explanations on the questions that you miss and then SKIM those sections again in the study guide. Be sure to brush up on the competencies regarding Lexicon, Morpheme, Phonemes, etc.
Test: It was easier than I expected, although I was surprised by the difficulty of the PE questions. You really need to know what type exercise is appropriate for EACH grade level.
The test only took me 2 hours. I then took the allotted 15 minute break before going back through the test. Make sure you review ALL the questions that you had "marked" for review to make sure you didn't make any silly mistakes.
Bottom line: If you do a 1/2 way decent review and answer every question "student centered" you will do fine.
Book: Preparing for the Texas PreK-4 Teacher Crtification by Janice L. Nath and John M. Ramsey
I studied: 2hrs/day for 2 weeks and reviewed for the 3 days before the test
I focused on: language arts and reading sections, the terminology, and brushed up on any subjects I felt weak in
I wouldn't change how I studied.
Test: It was about what I expected, though there are some questions that you have to use your instinct on.
Language Arts and Reading
During the test:
Look for key words in the questions.
EXAMPLE: what is the "best" method for the teacher to use or what will help the teacher the "most"
if you have the time look over your test again
Helps, but not nesessary:
To ask a teacher you know to help comprehend info.
Have any classroom experience or volunteer/observe in a school if you have the time.
This test was taken on Paper.
Study: I used the Nath & Ramsey Book and a little bit of the Cliff Noted EC-4
Test: Based on what I heard about the test, it was like I expected. I had no backround in Education but I studied the Nath & Ramsey book religously - especially the LANGUAGE ARTS portion - I pretty much skimmed through the rest. Here are my tips:
1) STUDY LANGUAGE ARTS : KNOW Phonological awareness,GOOD !
2) Make sure to study the first 5 domains religously - Know how to apply them.
3) Study the major concepts - since it is not really fact based, you have to be able to recognize scenarious the exam throws at you.
4) Study the Science
5) A little math
6) Barely any social studies
7) Maybe a couple of the fine arts
8) A few health questions
I wasted my time on alot of details on the social studies. Make sure you study the LANGUAGE ARTS & UNDERSTAND IT (don't try to memorize to much vocabulary) Just know how to apply the concepts to children. Dont waste too much time if any on the fine arts. Know Science & Math for sure - you can skim through the rest.
Study: I studied the old yellow book The Ultimate Guide to the Elementary Comprehensive ExCET which I borrowed from a friend and the new Ultimate Guide to the EC-4 Generalist TExES which I purchased from Texas Teachers. I also downloaded the state preparation test and purchased an old ExCET study guide from Half-Price Books.
Test: The test was very difficult and mind-numbing after a while. It seemed that everything I studied was not on the test, but I still passed with a 273 the first time around. Just study everything you can get your hands on especially if you do not have a background in education. Good luck!
Study: I started with the free downloaded preparation manual and did the practice test to see how much I knew/didn't know. (I also did it again a couple days before taking the test.) I also purchased the Ultimate Guide, but was too impatient to wait for it to arrive. So I purchased the Cliff's Notes and LOVED the way it was organized. I went thru it in about 3 weeks - then did both practice tests. Then the night before the test I did the practice test in the Ultimate Guide and looked thru it for the answers I got wrong - and was glad I did because it contained info that the Cliff's Notes didn't. I wouldn't study any differently than I did.
Test: The test was about as hard as I expected, I was a little scared going in because I graduated from college 8 years ago. You should definitely do as many practice tests as possible and read the explanations. I did quite a bit better than I thought, and passed by 29 points.
Study: Yellow cliff notes book, Nath and Ramsey book and went to Barnes and Nobles and took any and every practice test I could find!
Test: Ok, this is going to be weird advice. I just took the test and really feel like I did not do as good as I thought I would. Do NOT over-study! I really think I over-anaylized and second quessed decisions based on practice test that I took. It will confuse you if you do too many test.. Honestly, know all your Language terms and go in confident. I think you will do better if you go with your gut!
Study: I studied the Red Book-Passing the EC-4th Generalist by Janice Nath. I never really had the best study skills through school so in the beginning figuring out exactly how to decipher all the information was a bit intimidating. My situation was a bit different when studying as I was not working. I was able to study every day for 6 weeks. I broke my study sessions down into 3hr sections. for a total of 10hrs. per day. I know this is not applicable to everyone-so if you are completing most of your studying at night or weekends write out a schedule and stick to it. To me the hardest part about studying for the exam was staying disciplined enough to focus. I read through each section Reading, Math, Science "etc" and underlined everything! After reading the entire book I made flash cards and note cards. For the reading section flash cards are good for the other sections Note cards are better. I know a couple of people that also used the Cliff's Notes Book as well as the notorious "Big Yellow Book"
In my opinion you have to really "buy in" to what you are studying. Especially for the Reading and Literature part. Remembering that you are expected to teach/show and guide PreK-4th graders NOT adults the basics of letters, the sounds associated with those letters, reading fluency and writing fluency will help. Something too that you won't realize until you take the exam is how much the components in the Reading/Literature section roll over into the other sections of teaching.
One thing that I did that most everyone does-is over study on the reading/literature section. Is it a large portion of the test-YES! However, the first 10 questions on my exam were science. So if I could change anything about how I studied it would be to put as much emphasis on the 6 sections as I did on the Reading.
Give each section equal focus. The reading section is 40% of the test and every other section is 15%. This book by Janice Nath gave a lot of great study tips and guidance at the beginning to help create a schedule. We all study differently but the most important thing to do in my opinion is to give yourself a break the night before the exam. I read through my flash/note cards 3 times during the day and 1 time each before I went to sleep. Don't make yourself crazy cramming the night before.
Lastly,the week of the exam should be a review of all the sections. If you are looking at new material and studying more than reviewing-It's okay to postpone the date a few days. I pushed mine back by 3 days and I am so glad I did.
Test: The test is just hard-period! There are a few "gimmie" questions on the reading/literature part if you know your vocabulary! The qustions are tricky in that you really, really have to read the wording. I would read the question-then all 4 choices for answers and then narrow the answers down. One word in an answer choice can make all the difference. Something a friend told me was to remember 2 things:
1) What is the question REALLY asking
2) Make sure the answer is child-centered and teacher guided-NOT teacher led.
If all else fails and you just do not know which answer to pick and there are 2 that could be the right answer which one is the MOST, BEST-child centered. Prior to taking the exam I wnet to the "how to get your first-job" seminar and the leader of this seminar broke it down like this
Teacher's-Do everything for the student
Educator's-Facilitate and Scaffold (learn that word)
So to bring it back to the actual exam-think about that when you read the questions and look at the answers. You will have a few questions that will have the same scenario used for 3 different sets of answers. On my exam I had a question like that in Reading, Math, Social Studies and Science.
On my exam there were some crazy Art and Music questions-SO I would suggest really studying those not just glancing over. For the reading section-you will want to pay attention to alphabetic principle, reading and writing fluency, grapheme and phoneme relationship and emergent literacy, scaffolding, Reading Miscue Inventory, and Independent Reading Inventory.
For Science read over all of it but know the differences between a producer, herbivore, omnivore and carnivore and their purpose in the system. Math has always been tricky for me and this was really no exception. You don't really need to focus on the ridiculous long list of equations in your study book BUT you do need to know graphs, fractions, decimal placement and how to help a student that has difficuly with number placement ex: number on the number line smallest to greatest.
Social Studies: I studied a lot of Texas History, you also need to know the branches of judicial system and their focus.
Know your Indians as well as where they lived in Texas.
I would suggest knowing which continents contain mostly rainforests.
Don't under estimate the Health and P.E. questions. I would study more than you think you should. On my exam most of the questions were focused on community health, individual health and safety (think on the level of 5-8 yr olds)
Music-there weren't to many Music quesotins BUT you will want to know the differences of music families-percussion, woodwind "etc"
Also, know your notes-whole note, half note, quarter note and how many beats they get per measure.
Lastly, remember that if you have truly put in time to study whether you have teaching experience or not-it's still a test that can be intimidating. Study hard-but reward yourself after each study session.
I took my test on Jan. 24th 2009. When I walked out I was honestly not sure what to think. I couldn't tell you how I thought I did. The questions are tricky and meant to make you think-but just slow down and really think about what the question is asking. I finished the exam in 3 1/2 hrs. You have 5hrs to test. I reviewed the answers I wasn't to sure about and that was it. Remember there are 10 pilot questions blended in with the others. I was able to pick out a few because they are way out there. But-keep in mind that if you get them right they help your score if you don't they don't count against you.
DO the best you can and know that if you really study and devote time to preparing it will pay off. I passed with a 243 out of 300. It translates to an 83 out of 100. There are 110 questoins on the exam each count for a point a piece. A passing score is a 240-so yes I made just under the radar but BUT I passed and it's the best 83 I have ever made. I am happy to help anyone so please don't hesitate to e-mail me.
Study: As you've seen already, all of us have bought different books, downloaded materials from every website offering help... Personally, I got my hands on anything I could take advantage from. But maybe you will only need one.
The only thing I'd recommend is that if you have no experience at all with a classroom, give youself enough time to prepare.
Test: Language was as I expected to be: challenging. The rest was common sense. Keep in mind you're given 5 hours to complete the test, so try to take advantage of that. It took me 3 hours to answer carefully, and 1 hour to review my answers (to my surprise, I had 6 or 7 wrong answers...)
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