Praxis PLT, 7-12 (5624) Practice Tests

Discussion in 'Other Tests' started by RSA1984, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. RSA1984

    RSA1984 Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2018

    Hi all,

    I'm getting ready to take the Praxis PLT (7-12) next Wednesday and I've utilized the Kaplan study guide, as well as watching a handful of YouTube videos for clarification mostly on theories/theorists.This is the last hurdle standing between my receiving certification via reciprocity, as I graduated 3 weeks ago from my graduate level program, received my certification in my school's state (they didn't require the PLT), and am now transferring it to my home state, pending completion of this Praxis.

    I purchased the practice exam bundle from ETS for $45, which gives you 3 practice tests. I took each of them over the course of the last 3 weeks at various intervals and my scores ranged, in terms of selective response, from 53-60 out of 70 questions. It seems to me that a lot of the questions on this particular assessment are basic common sense (e.g. Student A tells you their father punished them by not allowing them to eat dinner for 3 nights. What is your responsibility as an educator? Obviously you need to report this to the proper personnel/authorities). I found myself finishing the exams in about an hour to one hour and fifteen minutes, including the short response questions, which I thought I did OK on...at least enough to merit a 1 out of 2 for a score on each. I sent a response to a personal friend and he thought it was decent. He also read the sample responses and rubric in the ETS study companion and said that it seems nearly impossible to get a 0 on a response if you put some thought into it, stating that one would have to write "almost garbage and be completely out in left-field, lacking substance or meat in the response."

    In any event, how helpful are these practice exams in terms of gauging how well one may or may not do on the real thing? Are these practice exams actual ones that have been retired? I've looked at score reports, from within the last 6 years, for this particular Praxis that are available on Google image search and it does seem possible to do well on selective response but lousy on short response to pass. For example, one particular individual scored a 58/68 (2 questions were field tested) on selective response, and a 7/16 (scaled I am assuming since the SR questions are worth anywhere from 0-2) on short response and still passed with a 173. So I am guessing, even if the written response score was, say, 4/16, this person would've probably still passed, somewhere in the low-mid 160s. I know that each version of this test is different; some are more difficult, some easier, so this affects the scaled point distribution to some extent, but they are probably in the same relative ballpark.

    I'm nervous but I'm not as nervous as I was when I was preparing to take my biology Praxis about 2 years ago, and I guess I am a little confused by this. A friend of mine, who is an educator, remembers taking his about 10 years ago and said there were fellow students in his class who cried after having taken it, and some bombed it. Another person I know told me they failed it 5 times, while another told me they scored in the low 130s. So what gives?

    Any thoughts/advice would be appreciated. I will come back next week to share my thoughts on the test, and also post my results after I receive them approximately 2-3 weeks thereafter.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jun 7, 2018

    If memory serves, the test does NOT require you to write full paragraphs on your responses. If you can bullet-point or outline your ideas, you'll be great. Am I right on this, @TeacherGroupie?
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 7, 2018

    You're right, cat: it's generally the case that, unless a teacher test explicitly tests formal writing (as do the basic-skills tests and the English/language arts tests), bullet-listing is perfectly acceptable. The object is to show what one knows, not to write pretty prose; as a matter of fact, candidates whose first language is not English often report finding the subject-matter and professional-practice tests easier than the basic-skills tests, simply because they don't have to sweat over the conventions and grammar of formal English.

    Your friend is right, RSA1984: on constructed responses - and this is true for Pearson's tests as well as for ETS's - a score of 0 goes to the response that is blank, incomprehensible, in a language other than English (except, of course, for world-language tests), or very far out in left field.

    I confess that I haven't really paid attention to PLT exams for some years - but if a Praxis selected-response section has 70 questions, it's a bit surprising to hear that only two of them are not being scored; Praxis generally discounts either no questions or 15% or so of them, but not much in between. With that said, though, it is indeed generally possible to squeak through on a test like this by doing nothing on the constructed responses provided one scores very high on the selected-response questions.

    As for practice tests and sample questions, their chief purpose is to give a sense of what the test as a whole can be like and a decent range of ways in which questions can be framed. No one practice test can cover every topic that might appear, any more than any one actual test can (and this is one of several reasons that each test exists in multiple versions); note, however, that practice tests generally exist in fewer versions, and the free practice tests are rarely updated unless a major revision of the test specifications requires it. Allowing test takers to diagnose their weaknesses is hardly a primary goal. Diagnosis of test takers' weaknesses is an afterthought. With that said, one classic use of practice questions - and explained answers, if any - is to plumb the question stems and the incorrect answers for unfamiliar technical terms to look up elsewhere. (Wikipedia is the test taker's friend.)
     
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  5. RSA1984

    RSA1984 Rookie

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    Jun 7, 2018

    Thank you both for your responses. I am going to spend this weekend going over everything in my Kaplan study book one last time. The guide isn’t comprehensive as compared to that of the Cliff Notes guide, but I feel it does a good job at narrowing down what most likely will appear. I know Kaplan isn’t affiliated in any way, shape or form with ETS, but I don’t think it’s far fetched to believe they have access to old tests, whether purchasing or having a business deal of sorts, and try to find patterns relative to content in order to put together their guide. My guide is the most up-to-date available as it was published in late 2017, and I found it has helped me on the ETS practice exams bundle. I honestly feel the Cliff Notes guide gives waaaaay so much more than one actually needs. However, I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’ll post again on Wednesday to provide feedback that’ll hopefully be beneficial for those whom are also preparing to take this test. Thanks again.
     
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  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 8, 2018

    Ah: I didn't realize you had a specific test-prep book in mind, RSA1984. A test taker should select the test-prep book that does best at resolving the test taker's own known weaknesses while being the most congenial (or, more likely, the book that strays least far from one's needs while being least irritating).

    Let me wish you good hunting.
     
  7. RSA1984

    RSA1984 Rookie

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    Jun 13, 2018

    Hi again everyone,

    I just got home & I honestly feel OK. I don't feel as if I bombed this thing; I feel I have a legitimate chance at passing. The test wasn't bad; my particular version, for selected response, only had 1 possible answer per question (I didn't have any questions such as: select three of the following 5 choices which best align with this). Some questions were a little confusing, I had to guess on very few, and felt I used proper logic in reasoning in answering. The essays were fairly straight forward. I felt I wrote content that wasn't out in left field. I did have to BS a little bit in some areas, but for the most part I really used logic behind my responses. I don't anticipate getting any 0s on them, so that's good. Honestly, it wasn't bad. God forbid I did fail, I know I am fully capable of passing this test.

    It's going to be a rough 2-3 weeks, but I'll keep myself busy until I get my score report back. My girlfriend is preparing to take the Bar exam next month and she has to wait 3 months to get her results back...If she can do that, I can most certainly do this.

    I'll be back in a few weeks and will post my results to help give people some idea of what scoring looks like on a current version of the test, and to help gauge what one could get in order to achieve a certain score or range in score.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 13, 2018

    Sounds like good hunting for you, then. I look forward to learning your results.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You're doing much better than I did. I walked out, shoulders slumped, feeling utterly rejected. Rockhubby laughed at me and said I was the last one out, and EVERYONE looked like that. I earned a 173 out of 200 and was just fine.
     
  10. RSA1984

    RSA1984 Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2018

    Hi again everyone,

    I just got my scores about 5 minutes ago. First and foremost, I passed. What a relief. As the days were dragging on, I was honestly becoming a little nervous, but I'm glad it's over with. I am heading to my state's DOE on Monday to get the ball rolling on getting my certification approved. Thanks to this forum for providing advice, suggestions, tips, etc. over the last few years regarding these tests. I'm sure as I eventually move into practice, I will be back to gain more insight into everyday teaching.

    Below I give the breakdown of my score:

    Selected Response Sections
    1) Students as Learners
    Raw points available: 21
    Raw points earned: 19

    2) Instructional Process:
    Raw points available: 21
    Raw points earned: 19

    3) Assessment
    Raw points available: 14
    Raw points earned: 13

    4) Professional Development, Leadership and Community
    Raw points available 14
    Raw points earned: 12

    5) Analysis of Instructional Scenarios (Essay/Written Portion)
    Raw points available: 16
    Raw points earned: 13

    Total raw points available for selected response sections: 70 (I am a little surprised I didn't have any field test questions)

    Total raw points earned for selected response sections: 63

    My final, scaled score ended up coming out to a 193 out of a possible 200 points.

    I just want to say that the Kaplan study guide is an amazing tool to utilize. As I said in my initial post all the way at the top, I think it gives you what you MOST LIKELY will encounter on your exam. Kaplan specializes in study guides; it's what they're known for. I will confess that I did use the Cliff Notes guide for simply the assessment section. I thought Kaplan was a little lacking in that area...but as far as the theorists are concerned, Kaplan and a few YouTube videos on them are all you need. The Cliff Notes study guide gives waaaaaayyyy too much information on the theorists and theories. Honestly, just know about Kohlberg, Vygotsky, Piaget, Bruner, Erikson, Skinner, Bandura and Dewey, and that should more than suffice. If you perhaps run into someone not on that list, say, Luis Moll, don't stress it....you won't have more than 1 question pertaining to him. The thing is, you want to focus your time more so on those areas where you might run into more than 1 question about a theory or theorist. As I have said in the past, Kaplan may not be directly a part of ETS, but they may have a business deal set up where they get retired exams, and they study them, looking for patterns in terms of content that may appear.

    As far as professional development/Community, I looked at, like, 4 court cases...PD is really just common sense I thought in terms of the questions asked...don't stress too much over it.... Again, In my opinion, Kaplan is the way to go...Cliff Notes is good for the assessment section...gives you a good 2 page list of the various types of assessments and also types of scoring. Instructional process I really didn't study a lot for...again, it just seems like a lot of common sense...And just watch a couple of YouTube clips to help you with the theories and theorists mentioned in Kaplan...You don't have to watch the 20 minute clip...just watch a basic 2,3,4 minute clip that gives you the theorist and the theory for what it is, plain and simple. Have an idea of what ADA, IDEA, an IEP and a 504 are, again, just for what they are...you don't have to find some 10 page piece that goes extremely in depth about the ADA. Just know, for example, what the ADA is at face value..Whom does it protect? What does it do?... I pretty much focused on assessment and theories/theorists. The test isn't as bad as a lot of people might say...Get the practice exam bundle from ETS (no, I didn't have any questions appear on my actual exam...but it helped me to get a feel for the real thing).

    Again, thank you to everyone on this forum...I appreciate all the feedback. I hope this post can help some people out with scoring and potential studying. I look forward moving into other sub-forums pertinent to everyday classroom activity in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2018
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