FTCE Math 5-9: A journey from start to finish

Discussion in 'Single Subject Tests' started by MiamiMathMan, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. MiamiMathMan

    MiamiMathMan Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2014

    Hello everyone, this is my 1st post/thread, new member and green/naive to everything. If you are like me and perhaps were good at math as a kid but then never used much of it as you matured but then suddenly find yourself teaching in Florida and discover the hardship of finding competent math teachers in this state.

    A golden opportunity for those willing to put in the time needed. Now if you plan on teaching high school especially Alg II/Trig/Calculus, this thread and FTCE test is probably not for you(Try 6-12). On the flip side if Alg I, Geometry, and 5th thru 7th grade level basic math scares you, then perhaps teaching middle school level math might not be for you.

    If you are like me you had to start from scratch and search the internet looking for help in order to pass the exam. I have scoured the internet, gathered a lot of information, printed out the guidelines and test questions provided by the state of Florida which I will get to in this thread.

    The reason I am going to begin this thread is quite frankly for selfish reasons but at the same time in my own selfishness I will be helping some poor folks out there who stumble upon this thread. So understand this thread will have many posts, perhaps several in the same day as I share with you step by step what I am doing to pass this test. This is Middle School Math specific 5-9. I cannot vouch for any of the other tests.

    To make this easy to read, I will try and limit the information per post to something reasonable and digestible. Again, I want to stress that I have not actually taken the test but there is so much that goes into this beforehand that by sharing what i have done with all of you I actually will be re-enforcing the lessons for myself. If I can explain it to you then it only empowers me further for the test.

    Approx 2,000 people take the FTCE math 5-9 test per year in the state of Florida and roughly 60-65% of folks pass the 1st time but that leaves an awful lot of folks who fail. Hopefully this will help you.
     
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  3. MiamiMathMan

    MiamiMathMan Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2014

    Step 1

    Step 1: Go to the Florida Dept of Education website and print out the "Florida Teacher Certification Examinations Test Information Guide for Middle Grades Mathematics 5-9"

    "fldoe.org"

    This booklet is about 35 pages and includes all 10 Competency and Skills you will need to know for the exam. Do not blow this off, the guide is crucial as you will see and despite it looking a little vague or theoretical when you 1st gaze at it, I promise you this guide is chocked full of information.

    Specifically pages 8-11 which tell you in great detail the % of the number of questions that will appear for all 10 Competency and Skills. THEY ARE NOT all measured equally, in fact about 50% of this test is going to be made up of Algebra and Geometry.

    There are between 70-80 questions on the exam and the 10 Competency and Skills are broken down. For example the 1st one is 13% of the test or between 9-10 questions. The 2nd Competency is 6% or roughly half the number of questions of the 1st. Don't panic, I will help steer you in the right direction. This is step 1, print out this packet from the website I listed.

    5th Edition-Important!!!
     
  4. MiamiMathMan

    MiamiMathMan Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2014

    Step 2

    Step 2: Get a library card!!!

    About 2% of this country owns a library card, be a 2%'er and go get a library card!!!

    Why you ask? Because most public libraries or University libraries will have different FTCE specific study guide books which cost a lot of money on Amazon and book stores but I will show you how to extract most of the information without spending a dime. I sound like an infomercial but I'm not. Just had a lot of free time this summer and want folk to find this as helpful.

    Try to put a hold on the book/books I am going to list.

    XAMONLINE which publishes FTCE Math 5-9 by Sharon Wynne. There are a few editions of these, I'll cover them briefly.

    2006/2007 edition: Oldest one I found in circulation but surprisingly very informative. Remember this is math...1+1=2 has not changed much over the last several thousand years.

    2008 edition: Standard version you find in Barnes and Noble, $65 roughly.

    2014 edition: XAMONLINE website has the latest edition but I will show you a couple tricks here as well.

    Most public libraries are going to have the 2006/2007 edition, just go ahead and grab it. It will solve a lot of the problems for you or give you a track to run on. It's not perfect but let's keep some perspective here, we only need to pass with a 70%, let's not kill ourselves trying to find every last little shortcut for the exam. We have plenty to start working towards here as you will see shortly.

    Go get a public library card or if you still live close to the college you attended then go there. You can have the book shipped to most public libraries or universities from other locations and again the idea here is to save the money.

    One last note on this post: FTCE Secrets book that looks like Cliff Notes, I can't vouch for it but everything I read says it is more than thorough, like it has you doing precalculus which simply is not on the list of 10 Comps and Skills you need to know so I dodged this book as it seems to have a scare tactic involved with it.

    I also looked at Algebra for Dummies, Geometry for Dummies, but I find that Khan Academy is best for actual tutorials. If you do not have a Khan account set up which is free, I would make that happen as step 2B on this journey. The website is so helpful.
     
  5. MiamiMathMan

    MiamiMathMan Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2014

    Step #3

    Next thing you want to do after checking out the book I recommended is grab the state guide I also had you print out and flip to pages 8-11. Now take the Wynne book and go to the table of contents.

    Start with Competency 1 on the guide and then turn to the 1st chapter on the table of contents and you will see that they line up very similar. You can write on that guide the matching number and lesson from the Wynne book and line up the entire state guide to organize your study time.

    Now there will be some sections that are not in the Wynne book so do not put all your eggs in one basket but I did manage to sneak a peek at the 2014 edition which I will share with you, not a lot of major changes and you can even view a chapter in that book for free on their website so you can compare.

    I would say about 75% of the state guide is almost done verbatim in the Wynne book, that' s a lot of test questions you are being exposed to that you otherwise might not know. If you stopped right here and didn't read any further into the thread, I am confident a college graduate such as yourself can piece it together from there.

    You are going to waste a lot of time and spin your wheels trying to go overboard or too deep into the entire subject of algebra and geometry, don't do it. Sure you need to know the basics. I would equate it to an olympic size pool but only about a foot deep. You need to know a little about a lot of things.

    The back of that book has about 140-145 questions from the competencies you are learning as you go along. Don't be afraid to try answering them, answers and reasoning are in the back of the book.
     
  6. MiamiMathMan

    MiamiMathMan Rookie

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    Jul 19, 2014

    Test Note/Theme

    On the test at some point you are likely to see a question or two that will focus on the purpose of this test and that test, the purpose of doing this and that, etc...and the answers are gonna look something like this and the question will be basically what is the purpose of these tests...

    A. Student Ranking
    B. Teacher Evaluation
    C. Student Achievement
    D. Lesson Planning

    One of the themes I am getting from everything I read and it is something new teachers or those who did not go to college specifically for teaching might not be aware of. The purpose or the outcome of the standardized tests is to lesson plan for the students to make corrections and improvements.

    It's not to rank students and teachers although on the surface to most that is exactly what it seems takes place. You need to understand this concept because there is a competency and I believe it is #3 on the state guide. That competency is a difficult one to go and find information in books about. A lot of it is common sense but some of it focuses on themes that are not so obvious at 1st glance.
     
  7. rapple

    rapple Rookie

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    Jul 22, 2014

    MiamiMathMan ~ I took the FTCE 5-9 a couple weeks ago. Still waiting on results as it is under revision. I studied the Schaum's math series, Paul's online math notes (for algebra), onlinemathlearning and PatrickJMT online videos. I've tried Kahn Academy but I've never clicked with his style that well so I found other math videos sites.

    I can't really give specific details about the test but I found this test contained more algebra/geometry than some might expect.

    Focusing on the competencies is great advise and I also memorized as many math formulas that I could and wrote them down before the test started. You are given a pad with wipe-off sheets. While the tutoring module was playing (didn't need it as this is my 6th Pearson test), I filled up the front sheet with math formulas. Just helped to calm my nerves so I could focus on the test. Good Luck!
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 22, 2014

    Sounds promising, rapple!
     
  9. MiamiMathMan

    MiamiMathMan Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2014

    RE: Grapple

    Great advice Grapple, appreciate all that you are saying and will seek those websites out.
     
  10. Oneonly54

    Oneonly54 Rookie

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    May 14, 2016

    hello all, I toke the exam and failed . FTCE middle school math 5-9 :(
    There was a lot of "what is functions" scenario for example graph and word set up , three DI shapes such as triangular prism, open face shapes, find the perimeter with just the diagonal given, what is this shape if it has one vertex, two faces, and one edge. Also, simplify exponents , word expression, instructional scenario. I really need help on the instructional scenario in all the test prep study guides Idid not see any mentions on this, Where to go to find this vital information? Also there is no reference sheets , so know your formula.
    please let me know if you have any question happy to help
     
  11. TinaMc

    TinaMc Rookie

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    Jun 2, 2016

    OneOnly54:

    I have been using Exam Edge. FTCE Prep website. You can take the practice exams online, timed and untimed. I have found them very helpful to setting my pace. I also print out the questions I get wrong or weren't sure of and use them for studying. I have gotten much faster and my scores continue to rise. The test don't cover much on assessment or instructional. :( I too have been having trouble finding information on assessment and instructional scenarios. . . have you found any more information that you can share. How much of the test would you say is instructional and assessment questions? Did you find the percentages on the fldoe website on competencies accurate? I plan on taking it within the next three weeks.
    Thank you!
     
  12. Oneonly54

    Oneonly54 Rookie

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    Jun 4, 2016

    Hello
    Thanks for your response and Great Blessing on your exam . I would say about 10 questions. However,a lot of word problem I am still for instructional scenarios . I checked out the ftce language arts middle school for the flow of the class . I hate it's like a big secret. This should also be part of every study guide or where to find it.
    Sorry I don't have any more idea but if I find out I will definitely post
     
  13. MrsFlorida

    MrsFlorida New Member

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    Jun 6, 2016

    It's been so hard to find any resources for this test but so far the best I have found is on the pd portal website. The site lets you take a "course" to prep you, it's used for inservice points for teachers and other staff in Florida.
     
  14. TinaMc

    TinaMc Rookie

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    Jun 14, 2016

    Unfortunately, I am not staff ..YET! but I wanted to mention something I haven't seen mentioned. I purchased the calculator used in the test to become familiar with it. Texas Instruments TI-30 XIIS. It has been worth every penny of the $12 I spent. The calculator has functions on it that I didn't realize until I really studied the manual and did some checking online. The calculator performs functions such as mean, variance, standard deviation, nCr and nPr, and with two pair of coordinate points it will give you the slope and y intercept. Simpler things are it converts fractions to decimals, and does all the mathematical operation of any fraction. This may seems like a DUH moment to you, but I was not a math major and am switching careers after nearly 30 years since leaving college. Just thought I'd pass along the tip for anyone else in my situation. Scheduled to take the test the end of June.

    Here is the texas instruments teacher guidebook, it's very helpful.
    https://education.ti.com/en/us/guidebook/details/en/ED3059C9A7F74958BD6CC2EDD8517352/30xiitg

    Here is the Texas ]Instruments teacher guidebook. Very helpful.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
    GroovyMathSista likes this.
  15. TinaMc

    TinaMc Rookie

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    Jun 24, 2016

    I passed the test this morning. So relieved. I had no issue with the more complex math problems, but there seemed to be loads of instructional scenarios. Not sure where to get help for this...maybe a PET resource.
     
  16. GroovyMathSista

    GroovyMathSista Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2016

    TinaMc... Congratulations!!! I'm scheduled for July 14 and am super nervous!
     
  17. Jon

    Jon New Member

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    Jul 5, 2016

    Thats a great idea!!! I took this test last year and got a 190....
    This year i got both the Algebra 1 and Geometry End of Course Assessment books for Florida. Each Chapter has about three sections teaching a skill with Exercise Problems(3-8) and then a Chapter test at the end of 15-25 problems. Its been pretty good helping explain my weaknesses and helping strengthen them. I only used the XAMonline book the first time around, and while it covers all of the skills, I felt there would only be one or two problems to practice that skill if any at all.
    Has anyone used the Exam Edge practice tests and are they accurate to predict your score? I ask because the five I've taken have all been in the 220's and I really hope they work!

    Here to help or take any pointers. Thank you.
     
  18. TinaMc

    TinaMc Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2016

    Reposting my post from another forum about exam edge:
    I feel I can accurately review exam edge now that I've taken my exam. I used it for the FTCE middle grades math and passed. I was more than prepared for the math part...however, was unprepared on the assessments and manipulative and models competencies...which equal 15% There weren't any question on their practice tests (I took 6) relating to these two competencies. I would recommend them for reviewing and refreshing the math. The explanations are good...but the practice tests lack, so make sure to grab another resource for those questions. I used an FTCE Professional Education guide from REA and reviewed the assessment chapter. It helped alot. I have now bought the practice test for FTCE Math 6-12 and they have more questions pertaining to assessment. I near the end of taking the practice test I was getting 85-90% of the problems correct. So I'm not sure how that relates to my actual score, since they don't give you a score. Just pass. If you fail...then they give you a score. Hope this information is helpful!
     
  19. GroovyMathSista

    GroovyMathSista Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2016

    Hi TinaMc & Jon, Can you tell me the difference between Examedge & Xamonline? Is either one better? I'm taking the Math 5-9 test in about a week & am very nervous. I know the concepts just fine but then when I try to apply it to the practice test it's like a foreign language. Thoughts?
     
  20. TinaMc

    TinaMc Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2016

    I haven't used xamonline so I can't speak to the differences. I just know the practice test allowed me to learn pacing and I felt very comfortable taking the test. But I bought 5 test...was given a 6th because I found an error , and took them all at least twice before I took the actual test. On my actual test, there were several questions I was really thrown for a loop when reading first time over. But remember to read all the answers...there were clues in the answers. Then I would literally think..ok what do I know and then I realized I actually knew the answer or how to get to the answer. There was one problem I could not figure out...but I just took all the answers and inputted and was able to find the answer...so plug and chug works sometimes! Don't spend too much time on one question...mark it and move on. Come back to it if there is time. This is where knowing your pacing is so helpful. One last thing I can not stress enough is get the EXACT calculator and use it! Get as familiar with it as you can. The one they use has lots of great features and it helps to just know where they are so you aren't wasting time hunting for the function. Best of Luck!!
     
  21. GroovyMathSista

    GroovyMathSista Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2016

    Thank you! I'll take a look at the practice tests. Your suggestions are very helpful- what a house of mirrors this is!!!
     

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