secret to passing the RICA?

Discussion in 'Other Tests' started by littlemama, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2017

    Vsimpkins, I'd love to be able to study from your study guide. I keep failing by 7 points. I've used all the teacher jargon, studied Zarillo and Boosalis and I'm still failing. Help!
     
  2. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2017

    Sadly, you and I are in the same boat. I'm in the Bay Area and I keep missing by 7 points. Soon, my CSET will be nullified, which means my credential program grades/TPA/etc. will be nullified (per state) too. I'm soo distraught. The state keeps complaining about a teacher shortage and yet they won't freeze this test.


    QUOTE="Curiousfox, post: 2031510, member: 109421"]Hey everyone!

    So this will be my 6th time taking this test. I am on the verge of going back to school for another career. I love working with kids and I don't want this test to crush that for me. That being said, any tips to help? I had the Cliff notes book, that didn't work. I have the Zarillo book, but it only helped so much. I have done the RICA seminars and is able to take it again for free since I didn't pass. I have watched the videos on YouTube by the one professor. Each time I have not gone lower than 200. The closest I have gotten to passing is 218. Every test I have gotten a 2 for the case study as well as word analysis and I believe comprehension. At this point, I will take anything ANYTHING to help me pass next month. I would like to find a job for the next year.[/QUOTE]
    Sa
     
  3. Confusedasusual

    Confusedasusual Rookie

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    Jul 29, 2017

    I think my issue is that when I take my test, I'm not using the specific "buzz words" aka teacher jargon. I'm using the language that I would use when I explain to parents what we need to do to get their children up to grade level. I really wish they'd split this test in half because the big essay takes at least two hours and causes anxiety. I wish they'd go back to paper tests too because a lot of people, like myself, are tactile. I need those papers to flip back and fourth and write notes on it.

     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 30, 2017

    Use the teacher language, not the parent language. The people who score RICA are teachers or teachers of teachers; they want to know whether you know enough about reading to succeed as their colleague. They expect to see the professional terminology.

    Writing for fellow professionals rather than for parents may make it easier not to spend two hours just on the case study. (The case study counts for 1/4 of available scaled points; it probably shouldn't take half the time.) If I'm describing a word sort activity that involves picture cards and diphthongs to a parent, I'm likely to have to explain what a diphthong is and how it differs from a regular vowel, and I'm going to have to explain what a word sort is, and I'm probably going to have to try to convey what it is that picture cards can possibly have to do with words. If I'm explaining that activity to another teacher, however, I can use "diphthong" and "picture card" and even "word sort" with confidence that I don't have to explain what those terms mean.
     
  5. cmuir

    cmuir Rookie

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    Jul 30, 2017

    I've taken the RICA three times now, each time adding resources to my study collection, but have not been able to pass this test. My first attempt, I used the notes provided by my RICA tutor and scored 213, with a +++ in Domains 1 and 2, a ++ for Domain 3, ++ for Domain 4 and +++ for Domain 5. For the case study I scored ++. The second time I attempted the test, I used the notes given to me by the tutor, as well as the revised Zarillo book, and online study "matching" games where definitions are matched with terms. I scored 210 overall and received a ++++ for Domain 1, ++ for Domains 2, 3, 4, and 5. The case study gave me a ++++. For my third and most recent attempt, I used my tutoring notes, the Zarillo book, Boosalis videos and online study games and received a score of 214. Domain 1 I received a ++, Domain 2 I was scored +++, Domain 3 a +, Domain 4 ++, Domain 5 +++ and for the case study I was scored with +.

    I have yet to complete student teaching and was in the credential program 7 years ago, so I'm thinking that may have something to do with my inability to pass thus far.I will be student teaching starting in August, but I've been told that my course work will be expiring in December, so I need to pass this test the next time I take it (Sept 11). I'm at a loss, however as to how to adequately do so. I've ordered Cliffnotes, which I will read and study in conjunction with my other materials and books, but any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
     
  6. allaphoristic

    allaphoristic Companion

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    Aug 4, 2017

    What worked for me was doing a deep dive of Zarillo. Near the beginning of the book he lists 12? topics that you need to know for sure and what you need to know about them - what it is, how to teach it, how to assess it. I made a graphic organizer with that information. I also focused on the structure of the test. Zarillo breaks down which domains have short essays and which have long essays. I kept track so that I knew which topic I needed to focus on for which essay. Good luck!
     
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  7. cmuir

    cmuir Rookie

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    Aug 4, 2017

    Thank you for your reply. I'm feeling extremely discouraged with myself; my abilities; and this test overall, especially since I felt so confident that I had passed both the first and third times taking the test (the second time, I walked out knowing for certain that I didn't fare too well).

    You gave great advice with regard to Zarillo. My plan is to re-read the Zarillo book, making additional note cards for content that I may have missed the first time that I read the text. I've heard that Cliffnotes is a hit or miss, so I plan to read that book as well, but focus primarily on Zarillo. It's been 7 years since I was in the credential program, so a lot of what was covered I have since forgotten. I'll be starting student teaching in a few weeks, and I'm assuming that once I'm back in the swing of things that the content may start coming back to me. The downside however, is that I won't have much extra time for studying. I'm hoping to get as much studying in between now and the 28th (which is when I begin student teaching), but of course having failed the test 3 other times, I'm plagued with negative thoughts about my next test taking date.

    Thank you again for the advice and pointers; it's very much appreciated!
     
  8. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 5, 2017

    cmuir, hugs. The best advice I can give you is to get in the habit of "speaking RICA": find excuses to use the terminology, at least to yourself. Sitting at a stoplight? Name the phonemes and graphemes in the street name. Waiting in a doctor's office? Pick up a children's book and muse to yourself about a skill you could use it to teach, the age level for which it would be appropriate, and how.
     
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  9. cmuir

    cmuir Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2017

    Thank you TeacherGroupie. I've heard that "speaking RICA" is very helpful, but my issue is second guessing myself. For instance, I may try to break a street name down into phonemes, graphemes, blends, digraphs, dipthongs, syllables, etc..., but then I wonder if I'm doing it correctly, or whether I've missed something. I definitely need to get over my fears; lack of self confidence; and negative thoughts because let's be honest, it's doing nothing more than holding me back. Thank you again for your suggestions and advice.
     
  10. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 5, 2017

    Tell you what, cmuir: define "diphthong" and "digraph" for me and give me an example word for each.
     
  11. cmuir

    cmuir Rookie

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    Aug 5, 2017

    Dipthong: Two vowel sounds sounded together (ex: ou in loud)

    Digraph: Two graphemes that make a single sound (Ex: Sh as in shock and Ph in Phil)
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Your definition of "diphthong" is pretty good. Can you find another word with the same diphthong in which the diphthong is spelled differently? Is the "ou" in "you" also a diphthong? If not, why not?(Oh, and for the record: "diphthong" is spelled with two h's. It turns out that "phthong" is Greek for 'sound'.)

    There are, for purposes of teaching reading, four diphthongs in American English. What are the other three?

    You're in a little more difficulty with "grapheme". A grapheme is a way to spell a sound. Thus "p" in "productive" is a grapheme, and "ph" in "grapheme" is a grapheme; the difference is that "ph" is a grapheme that consists of two symbols.

    What do graphemes have to do with phonemic awareness?
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Aug 6, 2017

    cmuir, I know this seems cliched but go with your GUT feeling. A lot of the times, your first guess is the right one (assuming you made an educated guess).

    Here is how I look at it: If you are not 100% sure that the answer you selected is wrong -- after eliminating the other answer choices by making educated guesses -- then DON'T change the answer. Why would you change an answer choice you guessed anyway? What would be the point of changing the answer to another guess? This is what I advise to my students when they take multiple choice tests.

    And just to be clear: This will NOT work ALL the time, but it can help eliminate your second guessing problem. :)

    Good luck!

    Edit: If you have to guess consecutively (this is a last resort), then select the same answer choice for each question. The odds are such that you are *more likely* to get more problems correctly then, say, selecting randomly (e.g. a, c, c, b, etc).
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2017
  14. cmuir

    cmuir Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2017

    Thank you for the reply. To answer the questions that you posed, I would say with complete uncertainty that the "ou" in "you" is a vowel digraph because of the long "U" in the word. I would also say that the "ou" is a diphthong because the two vowels produce a single sound.

    As far as the four diphthongs in American English, I thought there were closer to seven or eight. Some of them are "ou" as in "sound", "oi" in "oil", "oy" in "boy" and "ei" in "eight", "ai" as in "aim".

    Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words. Because the English language is an alphabetic language, children must be taught that words are made up of phonemes that are represented by letters or groups of letters. This is vital information in teaching students to learn to read.

    Thank you again for the reply; I really appreciate all of your input and advice with this test.
     
  15. cmuir

    cmuir Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2017

    Thank you so much. I've heard that typically the first choice is the best choice (assuming that one made an educated guess). I typically stick with this thinking as well, however I'm finding that for the questions that I am guessing on, there are typically two answers that seem plausible for the scenario posed, so it's a matter of choosing the "best" answer out of those two. With that being said, I don't know if my "best" answer meets up with the tests "best" answer, which in turn causes me to second guess myself.

    Thank you again for your reply and for the advice.
     
  16. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Vowel diGRAPH, yes, because the two letters <ou> in "you" SPELL a single vowel sound, and it's the same sound that they spell in "group" or "Lou" (short for "Louise") or "cougar". DiPHTHONG, no, because what one HEARS or says (quite irrespective of spelling) is a ONE-sound vowel - that is, if you sound out the first syllable of "cougar", you get the consonant /k/ and a vowel that educators tend to render as "/oo/". As you correctly pointed out a few posts ago, however, a diphthong is a TWO-sound vowel, as in "loud": sound "loud" out, and between the consonants /l/ and /d/ you get something that starts out like the /a/ in "father" or the /æ/ in "fad" before it changes.

    Note, please, that <y> at the beginning of "you" spells its own sound just as surely as it does in "yack", "yoke", and "yuck".

    With all of this said, you're right that the "long U" sound is a diphthong - though by "long U" we mean the vowel sound in "cute" or "few", and notice how that differs from the vowel in "cougar" or "food". Long U is the diphthong no one admits to, partly because it's lost its onglide (the bit that sounds like /y/) after alveolar consonants (/t d s z r l) in many dialects of American English - we Californians don't pronounce "tune" so it sounds like "tyoon", though speakers of RP British English (the poshest British English) do. But that onglide is responsible for the letter <t> sounding like "ch" in "nature", the letter <d> sounding like "j" in education, the letter <s> sounding like "sh" in "sure" and "sugar", s c> coming to sound like "sh" in "nation", session, special and for the letters <s z> sounding as they do

    On the level purely of phonetics, yes, there are more diphthongs, depending on the dialect of English: a person who pronounces the "long A" sound without the /y/-like offglide is likely to be identified as not a native speaker of English. It's exactly the same sound, by the way, in "nature", "bait", "pay", "they", "veil", and "eight": spelling doesn't matter. But there are dialects of English that don't make long A a diphthong - and, more to the point, there's no dialect of English in which pronouncing long A without the y-offglide results in a different word than pronouncing it with the offglide. The same goes for "long O" with its audible w-offglide as in "Grow oats with aloe? Oh, no, Beau!"

    But "cute" (long U, with y-onglide) and "coot" (oo-sound, no offglide) sound different only in their vowels, yes? So the long U is a phonemic diphthong. There are three other phonemic diphthongs in English, and you've already identified two of them:

    - The diphthong that's spelled <ou> in "sound". We can tell that this sound is a phoneme because "sounder" (with diphthong) is a different word than either "sander" or "sunder". We also know it's a diphthong because English has two words spelled <row>: the more common one with long O means 'to propel a boat with oars' or 'a line of objects', but the one with the diphthong means 'a fight'. (The Row River in Oregon is pronounced with the diphthong: it commemorates a feud between brothers.)

    - The diphthong that's generally spelled either <oi> or <oy>, as in "A noise annoys an oyster." We know it's a phoneme distinct from long O because "noise" is a different word than "nose".

    The remaining phonemic diphthong is "long I", which has a vexingly large number of spellings, including "by", "buy", "bye", "hi", "heist", "high", and "height".

    Good try on the definition of phonemic awareness. I wish schools of education would teach it differently: "Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the phonemes of English, which are the sounds that distinguish one spoken word from another." Phonemic awareness can perfectly well be fostered without any reference to the alphabet; the average three-year-old is capable of noticing that "mama" and "me" begin with the same sound /m/, long before she connects the stuff in the alphabet song to those funny squiggles that adults pay so much attention to. If she is aware of /m/ as a phoneme, then she's got something to attach to the letter <m> when she learns it.

    Any test answer that makes the alphabet part of phonemic awareness is an answer that is leading you astray.
     
  17. cmuir

    cmuir Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2017

    Wow! Thank you for the thorough reply, and for clarifying the definition of Phonemic Awareness. I truly appreciate the time you have taken out of your day to help me better understand the topics at hand.
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 9, 2017

    You're welcome. Got questions? Ask.
     
  19. Aug 21, 2017

    Hello, I'm new to this forum. I've been on a bit of a hectic schedule where I've been traveling every two weeks for about a week at a time which has really disrupted my studying.

    I've postponed the test by 2 weeks the first time, 1 week the second, and an additional week for the third time. Now here I am, back from my travels...and the test is in 10 days (obviously I won't be studying on Day 10), so with nine days...is that enough time to cram all the information? I've taken a teaching reading class...which however helps minimally because there were just a few assignments, the course hardly met, and therefore there wasn't much learned.

    I have bad test anxiety, so now I'm not sure if this is even possible. I'm not sure what I'm looking for here, but I'm definitely afraid. I have the Zarrillo book and I'm renting the Case Studies book. What am I missing? Should I postpone the test another time to give myself an ample amount of time (solid two weeks)? Or should I study 4-5 hours a day in hopes of a success story?

    I know there is more that I could have done in the past, but I just need to look forward now.
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Aug 23, 2017

    Hugs, bookishcalifornian. Your best bet might be just to give the test a go and see how you do.

    It might be smart to read back through this thread tocheck out some of the questions that people have raised and some of the issues they've had.
     
  21. lolo

    lolo Rookie

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    Sep 4, 2017

    me too!! :)
     
  22. Anny

    Anny Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2017

    I've been staying awhile from RICA because I've been so close every time and got discouraged. I am studying again and am very motivated this time. However, I come here and received a very big shock that caused me to call my school for answers.

    On the previous page, I read that your CSET, teacher prep courses, everything expires??? I have already received my Masters and completed all my courses at the same school. I just need the RICA to receive my pre-lim credential. Somebody please clarify!! It has been 5 years since I graduated! I didn't realize there was such a thing! I remember freaking out over the CSET because you had 5 years to pass it or else you would have to take all sections of the test again. I can't go back to school! It was expensive and time consuming going the first time!
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  23. Mr.A721

    Mr.A721 Rookie

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    Oct 2, 2017

    This is an email I got from my credential program. CSET/RICA Examinations: The CTC has made a change to the validity timeframe. Examinations passed after April 1, 2007 are now valid for 10 years (in lieu of 5 years) and can be used towards a teacher certification license. However, for the TPA (teacher performance assessments, depending on your university, you may have to take a recourse and do another TPA.) And I also found this out.
    • Credential coursework is only valid for 7 years. Depending on when you completed your credential coursework you may be required to request course extensions from your credential program.
    • Fingerprint clearance with the CTC can expire so a new livescan may be needed.
    Ultimately, it depends on what your school says. Good luck!!

     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 3, 2017

    Thanks for sharing this, Mr.A721, and welcome to A to Z!
     
  25. Anny

    Anny Rookie

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    Jan 10, 2018

    I've been utilizing this website since I began taking the CSET: MS to the RICA. Many of you have shared disappointments and frustrations on here and it helped me because I didn't feel alone in my struggles. I always felt so jealous whenever I came here for advice only to see people posting that they passed their tests. I come today with different news than what I usually come for: I, too, have passed the RICA!!!! I tried not to think about my score because I felt my essays weren't strong enough, but I actually gained a star with nothing missing (meaning that I didn't miss the identify, describe, explain parts). I came here for two reasons: to confirm what Mr.A721 wrote on the previous page and how I studied this time that made a difference.

    Mr.A721 is correct! The CSET has a validity of 10 years while the RICA has it for five years. I even e-mailed my credential manager at my credential program, who confirmed it! She said that if you didn't pass the RICA or CSET within the time frame, and "your PACT expired, then you will be required to pass the new assessment which is the edTPA" (her direct words).

    For motivation, 2017 was my fifth year, and I had failed in November by seven points. I was obviously devastated and stressed out, but decided to take it again one more time before finally resigning to the fact that I'd have to take that new assessment. I took the test on December 30. I began with the case study and worked my way backward. I didn't realize I took longer on the case study until I got to the multiple choice with 60 minutes remaining, and if you know the test, there are 70 choice questions, so I couldn't doubt myself. I zipped through the questions and even had 20 minutes left to look over the questions I flagged.

    The reason I passed it this time after many, many times of failing, Chris Boosalis really, really, truly helped me. I found out about him through this book I bought called "Beat Them All!" His website is no longer listed but found his videos on YouTube. PLEASE WATCH ALLLLL OF THEM!!!! I cannot stress how important it is!!!! Download the practice test from the RICA website and following along as he goes through each question and helps you eliminate the wrong answers and why the answer is the right one. He has videos going over the constructed response and case study questions from the practice test. He also has his own case study questions with the materials that you can download to follow along. I followed his way of writing the case study, which was:

    Strength 1 + example
    Strength 2 + example
    Need A + B
    Lesson for issue A + benefit
    Lesson for issue B + benefit

    I found this to be soooo helpful! But obviously, there are different ways you can go about doing it.

    His videos are not boring! They are quite the opposite! :) His book is also recommended! There are very good strategies that you can use on your essays! I also watched other Youtube videos that pertained to the areas where I was weak, but mostly, I watched a lot of case study videos because I always scored two stars and could never pass the "describe instructional activities/strategies" part. He has a chart with all the essays, and what each essay is about, which was so helpful to me!!! I couldn't believe I never noticed it!!! His videos are under "DISTANCEPREP".

    People always mention the Zarillo text and there is a reason why! He goes deeeeep into each content area and their specifications. If there is something you don't understand, always Google!! There is so much information out there to help you! Heck, Pinterest is filled with it!!!

    I've used the Cliffnotes book, and while it didn't help me the first few times I used it, it made a heck of a lot of sense the second to last time I used it. The text really breaks down each section, but what I really liked about it was the practice tests! I recommend taking it and then checking your answer because it tells you why the answer you picked is the right one and why the other ones don't work.

    I made a flashcard using the vocab list in the back of the Cliffnotes book whether I knew the words or not because these are buzzwords you should use in your essays. BUZZWORDS!!!!! I can't stress how important this is!!! These buzzwords show the people reading your essays that you know what you're talking about.

    I also ended up writing out all the essays from the Boosalis videos and Cliffnotes book. It was tedious, sure, but I needed a different method instead of just reading text after text.

    I used Teacher's Test Prep videos that my friend loaned me, and while it was great, it was a bit boring. Use it to help you if you haven't read any of the study guide books (at least that's what I did).

    I read somewhere on here (probably from TeacherGroupie) who said that if you don't pass, your next strategy is to either work on the areas where you were weak or to strengthen your strong areas.

    I wish you much luck and much success. I hope I helped in a way you all helped me. If you have any questions, please message me! I really enjoy spreading knowledge that I gained!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 10, 2018

    Congratulations, Anny!
     
  27. Mr.A721

    Mr.A721 Rookie

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    Jan 10, 2018

    Nice work, Anny! It's a post like this that really makes me believe I WILL pass this exam! And thank you for also providing me other useful tools that I haven't explored yet! Once again, CONGRATULATIONS!!!
     
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  28. lolo

    lolo Rookie

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    Feb 9, 2018

    I also have to give credit to Chris Boosalis' YouTube videos and this site! I took the RICA on 1/26/18, got my results on 2/7/18 and I passed, first try! Some advice that was given that I agree with is work on the case study and long answers first, save the multiple choice portion of the test for last. Also, I had studied and memorized Chris Boosalis' foundations for reading diagram, so as soon as I began the test, I wrote on that diagram/chart so I didn't have to remember the stages of fluency. I wanted to say thank you to all of you that have posted suggestions, I took all of them and used them! THANK YOU. That was my last step in the credential program, so now I begin the job search!
     
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  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Feb 9, 2018

    Well done! I’m so happy for you. Congratulations! :celebrate:

    Happy job hunting!
     
  30. Ms. Buck

    Ms. Buck New Member

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    Feb 11, 2018

    Hey, studying for the RICA in Los Angeles. Just wanted to see if there's any other folks that would like to study together using all these tips.
     
  31. Teacher2688

    Teacher2688 Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2018

    I finally passed this test.. I took it MULTIPLE times, and let me tell you Chris Boosalis' YouTube videos made the difference, really wish I would of watched them and studied of them along time ago... This site has helped me soooo much, mostly by staying positive and driven that I wasn't the only one that was struggling and having a hard time with this test. Thank you too everyone who has helped me and good luck to the ones that still need to pass this test. I honestly dont know how i passed but glad i did.. Keep your heads up and keep going.
     
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  32. Feb 21, 2018

    Hi Anny! Congratulations! I have been struggling to pass the RICA...going on my 4th time taking it and only miss the passing grade by only a few points. I have missed on teaching opportunities because of this.
    You mentioned BUZZWORDS...would you be willing to help me?
    Thank so much!
     
  33. Angie13

    Angie13 Rookie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Messages:
    6
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    Mar 7, 2018

    I just got my score of 219..
     
  34. Mar 21, 2018

    Hi everyone,
    Just joined
    Can't pass the RICA,
    I read every single comment in this Forum, will study and watch videos.
     
  35. Ricaless

    Ricaless Guest

    Apr 7, 2018

    Hi!
    I have taken the Rica numerous times and I just can't lick the test. Do any of you have the silver bullet that will finally put this beast to rest?
    Thanks!
     
  36. rebecca lynn

    rebecca lynn New Member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2018
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    May 17, 2018

    Has anyone done the video assessment?? any tips/tricks/ help is greatly appreciated!!!
     
  37. Ms. Buck

    Ms. Buck New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2018
    Messages:
    3
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    May 17, 2018

    Update: I passed on my first attempt! I watched all the free videos by distanceprep, taking lots of notes. I took the practice test prior to watching him answer, which allowed me to focus on the areas in which I was weak. I also read and took notes on "Ready For The Revised RICA". I made flashcards of buzzwords, borrowing from various quizlets. I studied for about a month.
    I will say that this test was much easier after I got classroom experience. If I had taken it after my literacy course but before student teaching, I don't think I would have passed.
     
    futuremathsprof likes this.
  38. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    May 17, 2018

    Congratulations, Ms. Buck!
     
  39. PearsonHater

    PearsonHater New Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2018
    Messages:
    3
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    3

    May 19, 2018

    FINALLY PASSED!! Took two years and 8 attempts (2 at the video assessment) before finally passing the written exam. Boosalis, Zarillo, the Case Studies book and my friends notes got me through it. Can finally apply for my credential next week. To anyone out there who is discouraged, without sounding too cliche, keep your head up and keep attacking the test. I'm far from a genius and if I can pass then so can you. The high I've felt since seeing the word PASS on Wednesday night was worth the stressful grind.
     
    Been There and futuremathsprof like this.

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