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This test was taken on Paper.
Study: I bought the online exam prep from certifyteacher.com ($55). It was good as far as preparing you for the test format, and you can take practice tests, but the only part I really look at were the online flash cards for vocabulary. I actually found it harder than the actual test. I have a degree in Child Development, so I was able to us a lot of knowledge from that.
Test: There were quite a few questions on theorists (Piaget, Vygotsky, etc.) and on disorders (autism, ADHD, Aspergers, etc.) so I would study that if you are not familiar with it. Some answers can be eliminated quickly once you determine specifically what the question is looking for. Many of the questions were very wordy so don't let that bother you!
Study: I studied the online preparation material and checked out books from my local library. I also ordered flash cards available from Mometrix Media.
Test: It was much harder than expected. Although the test framework says that 33% of the test is math/English/science, this was false. There were maybe 5 math questions total, and no questions pertaining to science or
reading. On the preparation materials online, one question from there was actually on the exam.
Study: I studied using the XAM Special Education study guide. I also printed the preparation materials off of the Texes-ETS website. I used this material (outline and practice test) and followed along in my XAM study guide.
Test: I was nervous about this test because I had heard many bad things about it. I did well on it, however, it took me almost 3 hours (allotted time is 5 hours). Take your time and do not rush through this test. Give yourself enough time to think through each question.
Study: I used the TEA website and it's Special Education overview for parents. I also used the Texas Teachers Special Ed presentation, the SBEC study resources, and 2 texts: The Special Educator's Survival Guide (Roger Pierangelo) and A Parent's Guide to the Special Education Process (Wilmhurst).
Test: I passed with a 284 out of 300, but it was hard. I studied on and off for 2 weeks, and knew the Special Education process very well. However, these tests are so broad, there are always curve balls. For instance, one question asked about specifics ushered in by IDEA 1997. This law was replaced by IDEA in 2004, so why there was even a historical question about the 1997 version makes no sense (one should only be concerned about current existing laws). Also, random reference to the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability and what that organization would advise a special educator who was having a new student with a tracheotomy tube introduced to his purview. Overall, know the ARD process, IDEA 2004, reading education philosophy and terms - phonology, morphology, etc. There are a lot of questions around reading instruction. Know mental retardation and expose yourself to other organizations that support/lobby for students with disabilities. Understand the difference between IDEA and Section 504. Approach every question that has to do with education practices from the approach of "Least Restrictive Environment".
Study: I studied the night before the test. I have never taught before. I used the information posted on here from previous test takers, and I downloaded the free study guide from the SBEC website. Make sure you look at the laws regarding students with disabilities, ARD, autism, Bloom's Taxonomy, and how different disabilities affect a student's learning. There is a lot of focus on what is best to help a student with disabilities in the long run (i.e. knowing how to count money to pay for an item versus knowing algebra).
Test: The test was one of the hardest tests I have ever taken. The questions are situational and each one has 2 answers that are very similar. Always think "in the best interest of the child with unlimited resources" and you will be okay. For example, if a child recently became disabled and was afraid that his friends would stop visiting him, what should the teacher do? The teacher would want to come up with an activity that would get the student out of the house but also include their friends. This would be the least restrictive choice. Look for least restrictive choices throughout.
Study: Get a study guide! The first time I took it, I made a 238 and I had only used the state preparation manual to study. This time around, I used a study guide in addition to the prep manual and passed.
Test: The test isn't that difficult, however you must use "perfect classroom" thinking. Take all the time you need on the questions. Make sure to read all the questions thoroughly. Good luck!
Study: I used the TExES Special Education EC-12 book by Sharon Wynne (published by XAM). It is available on Amazon. I also studied the free study guide from the TExES website. My strategy was to take the "practice" test in the XAM book first (as if it were a diagnostic test). Then I studied/reviewed the areas in which I missed questions. Then, I printed the TExES test book and took the practice test in it. I then used the XAM book's explanations of the different content areas to help me understand why the correct answers were right for the questions I got wrong.
Test: The test was a wee bit harder than I expected after all the studying I had done. My advice is to: (1) do not forget about the resource sheet the test provides for math (2) take your time with the questions (for example, for every non-math question, I explained to myself in my head why each answer choice sounded wrong or right before picking which one I thought was BEST), and (3) always look for the answer that is the best for the child. Also... think positively. I got a 267 out of 300 for my score.
Study: I downloaded the test simulator from certifyteachers.com. It is the best study material for this particular test. Review the No Child Left Behind law and the Texas laws. Do not waste your time studying for these in depth. There are not that many questions about laws. Just helps to have a good understanding so that you can decipher your answers better.
Test: I have taken four certification tests so far and the SPED test was the easiest on so far.
This test was taken on Computer.
Study: Honestly, I didn't study for this test, but I was previously a Special Education student. I passed with a 282 after being out of my program for 3 years.
That said, I have taken several other tests and I have found that using the XAM study guides, the Texas Teacher guide, basic college texts related to the material, and knowing every domain and competency is essential.
I would suggest actually WORKING with children with disabilities. It will put a HUGE perspective on the method and disability details.
Also print out a copy of IDEA 2004 and NCLB. You need to know the basics of these.
Test: The test was heavy on situations. Questions are always the "which is a more correct accomodation to this child's disability"... You always want to do what is best for the student in and what is in the least restrictive environment. You always need to look at the student first and not the disability.
Make sure you know the ARC and RTI models.
KNOW THE IEP PROCESS!!
Know the different types of disabilities and their general characteristics.
Know your SPED laws including 504. Know the legal terms.
Study: I used internet resources such as googling key terms and taking practice tests from the TEXES website. Also, I would advise taking practice tests for teacher certification for other states. California, Illinois, and Arizona have theirs online for free. I found this very helpful. I ordered certifyteacher.com software and XAM, but I dont think you need to waste your money on that! Use the internet for FREE
Test: It was really not that bad. The situational questions dealing with ARD and IEP's were not easy, and the situational Math questions were tough too. I made a 93/120 which translated to a 258. I studied hard and it paid off. You can do it but PREPARE!
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