The Praxis test is a teacher certification exam required in some U.S. states. Praxis replaced the National Teacher examination, but some states have their own certification exams, and students should check which exams are required. Praxis II tests are single-subject exams, covering arts, languages, sciences and other subjects, including English to Speakers of Other Languages. Teachers for English as a Second Language classes take this exam.

Exam Format

The two-hour ESOL test consists of 120 multiple-choice questions. The test begins with 20 questions based on listening to audio clips of nonfluent English speakers. This section of the exam takes about 30 minutes and the exam proctor, or invigilator, is in control of playing the audio tapes. Students must take the full 30 minutes for this portion of the exam, even if they can complete the work faster. Anecdotal evidence from students suggests that the ESOL exam is less flexible than other Praxis tests in this respect and that some students find it difficult to finish the rest of the test in 90 minutes.

Content Categories

Questions about terminology form a significant part of the exam, so learn as many terms and definitions as possible during exam revision sessions. The key areas tested, in order of the number of questions in each area, are: teaching methods and techniques; analysis of student language production; linguistic theory; assessment techniques and cultural issues and professional issues.

Content Detail

For the largest category, focus on identifying and selecting teaching methods, classroom management and teaching multiple ability classes. For language production, review oral language development, pronunciation and written English. Linguistic theory includes psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics, as well as syntax, morphology and phonology. Methods of assessing student progress, learning style and language level and sensitivity to cultural issues, such as the way other languages are structured and their narrative styles are covered in the fourth section. Professional issues cover ethics, teaching tools and structuring a curriculum.

Education Test Service

Before registering for an Education Test Service Praxis test, ensure that this is the correct test for the state in which you are teaching. The Praxis website provides free test preparation documents covering study tips, methods of reducing test anxiety and a test overview. Students can also purchase an ESOL study guide e-book prepared by the ETS test writers who prepare the exam.

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