How to Prepare For Praxis Core Math

If you are an aspiring educator, you would be well aware of the importance of the Praxis Core Tests administered by the Educational Testing Services (ETS). These tests are designed to measure the knowledge level and skills of candidates who intend to become teachers. This credential is now required by most states for educators.

The Praxis Core exam has three tests: Reading, Writing and Math. These tests can be taken on the same day or on separate days. The following guide will provide details about the Praxis Core Math exam including information on Praxis Core Math preparation and the best study options available.                      

Praxis Core Math Preparation

The math section of the Praxis Core exam includes five basic math formulas – Pythagorean Theorem, area, perimeter, volume of basic shapes and slope-intercept form. The following guidelines would be of help in preparing for this comprehensive exam.

1.       Know the Exam Vocabulary: In order to ace the test, the first thing you should get acquainted with are the terms of the exam. Make sure you understand the key words related to geometry, statistics, algebra and other math problems. For instance, you ought to be aware of words like variable, factor, mean, median and congruent etc.

2.       Know the Common Formulas:  In some cases, the Praxis Core Math test would provide you with the required formulas. However, more often than not, these formulas will not be given and you will need to know them. Make sure you memorize the most commonly used formulas.

3.       Make Sure You Understand the Formulas and Terms: A lot of the times students simply memorize the vocabulary and formulas, instead of actually understanding them. If you spend some time reviewing and analyzing the terms and formulas you learn, along with the logic behind them, you are less likely to make mistakes on the test day.

4.       Don’t Overthink the Questions: The Praxis Core Math test is designed to check your ability to focus on the right details in a problem that seems to be complex. More often than not, the actual question is quite simple, and students get derailed by the unnecessary details given. For instance, geometry questions may show angles or lines that you don’t need at all in your answer calculations. Therefore, you ought to develop an eye for the necessary details so you don’t end up wasting time on variables that don’t matter.

5.       Cross-Out Obvious Incorrect Answer Choices: This process will increase your probability of getting the answer right by a huge margin. Look for quick ways to eliminate the obvious wrong choices. For instance, if a question involves multiplying two odd numbers together, any even number given cannot be the answer. To get good at this process, it is important that you are aware of these short-cuts.

6.       Improve your Mental Math Skills: This would save you a lot of time on the test day. Using a calculator even for the simplest of calculations would slow down your entire answering process. Similarly, writing down all the steps to solve a math problem that is simple enough to be calculated mentally, would also slow you down. If there is a simpler way to solve quick problems, you should aim to master that.

7.       Learn the Art of Estimation: A lot of time, you can estimate the answer without having to go through a lengthy calculation. In case where you are running short on time, it would be ideal to calculate the answer with realistic accuracy. Then you can pick the answer nearest to your estimate.

8.       Learn to Calculate ‘pi’ Without a Calculator: This will be one of the most frequently used constant in calculations involved circles and cylinders. In fraction form, pi is written as 22/7 and in fraction form, it can be estimated to around 3.14. Being comfortable in the use of this estimation can save you a lot of time.

9.       Know the Estimation of Square Roots: Some square roots are simple to calculate. For instance, the square root of 4 is 2 and the square root of 9 comes to 3. But there are many square roots the result of which will not be a whole number . For instance, how do you calculate the square root of 5? A simple way to estimate this would be like this. 5 lies in between the numbers 9 and 4, but is closer to 4. We are already aware that 2 is the square root of 4 and 3 is the square root of 9. So we can know that the square root of 5 will be between 2 and 3, but closer to 2.

10.   Know When to Use a Calculator: There will be several times on the Praxis Core Math test when you will feel like your mental math is not taking you anywhere or is taking longer than it should. In such cases, it would be better to take out the calculator. The trick is to learn to decipher between ‘I need a calculator’ moments and ‘I can do this mentally’ moments.

Study Options for Praxis Core Math Test

Here are some recommended study materials that will help you get ready for the Praxis Core Math exam:

Free Study Companions on the ETS website: These include sample questions, along with explanations.

Paid Study Guides: Multiple preparatory websites offer online and textbook study guides for this exam. Make sure you invest in the right study package and get your money’s worth.

Past Tests as Practice: The best way to ace the test is to practice through old tests. Students are advised to take at least one complete practice test before appearing for the exam. The more you practice, however, the better you will get with time.

Personal Tutor: If you think you need personalized study plans and attention, you might want to consider investing in a personal tutor. Both online and in-person options are available through various preparation organizations. 

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