Preparation For A Test: Taking The PLT
The Principles of Learning And Teaching Test
The Principals of Learning and Teaching test, also known as the PLT is a certification exam that many states use to determine whether teachers are highly qualified or not. The test is similar to the Praxis test but it is not broken down into subject areas. This test is broken up according to grade levels that teachers are certified to teach. One major difference between the Praxis and the PLT is that the PLT is not completely multiple choice. There are seventy multiple choice questions and four essay questions. This test is not easy and many people have to take it more than once. Thankfully, I passed mine on the first try. I'm going to share my strategies for passing this test in hopes that you will only have to take it once as well.
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Which Test To Take?
If you are unsure or confused about which test to take, make sure you contact your school's education department, or the state department of education. Taking the wrong test can put your teaching license at rist. It's also a huge waste of money.
Study Guides - You Will Need One Of These
Here are some study guides that I recommend you use. Make sure you get the guide that focuses on your certification area. Whether you are finishing up your teaching degree, recently graduated, or in the teaching field, you'll need a refresher. These guides have a plethora of information in them. Most of them also have practice tests in them.
How Should You Study?
Getting Into The Zone
Hopefully you've picked up some good study skills throughout your life that you'll be able to utilize while studying for this test. The first thing I suggest you do is go through all of your class notes and handouts from your education classes. Your professors gave you this information because they felt it would be valuable. Pull it all together and categorize it. Go through and refresh your brain!
After you look over your notes take one of the practice tests in your study guide, or take one on the ETS website. This will give you a good idea of what information you need to brush up on. The study guide I used actually had a quiz at the beginning of each section. The quiz was designed to tell you what to study in that section and what you could skip. There is no reason to study information that you already know.
Read! Read! Read! Make sure you read the sections of the study guide that you are having trouble with. Have a friend study with you and take lots of notes. After each section of the book, take a quiz to see if you are ready to move on. Once you've studied your brains out, take another practice test. I also found it helpful to use more than one study guide. I liked having two because each guide gave similar information, but it was organized differently. I also liked having additional practice tests.
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Sticky notes can be very helpful. Use them to write down key points or as a quick reference. They also come in handy to mark important pages in your study guide.
Test Day Has Arrived
What Should You Do?
You may be nervous on test day, but these tips may help you get through. The first thing you need to do is review all of the requirements for the test on the ETS website. Make sure you have all necessary forms and bring your I.D. You'll also need to know what is allowed in the testing room. Chances are you'll need a pen and several sharpened pencils. You will probably not be allowed to bring much more than that into the testing center. Make sure you leave your phone at home, in the car, or in a locker. You don't want to risk removal from the test because your phone rang. I'm fairly certain cell phones and other electronic devices are prohibited from the testing room.
The next thing you need to do is make sure you fill out all of the forms properly. Most of the tests are given on scantron sheets, so make sure you look things over to make sure you didn't bubble any of your information incorrectly. You'll also want to make sure that you read all of the directions. Sometimes the testing proctor will read the directions to you.
Decide how you will take the test. Remember, there are seventy multiple choice and four essay questions. You'll have to decide which one you want to answer first. This is a timed test and you may not finish every question. Try to do what you think will get you the most amount of points. There are pros and cons to each section. If you take the multiple choice section first, you may run across information that will help you with your essay questions. You never know if something will jog your memory or give you an idea for one of your essay questions. If you take the essay section first you may feel more relaxed during the multiple choice section. I say this because if you find that you are running really short on time, you can always bubble in some answers at the last minute. You may not get them all right, but you'll have a greater chance of getting them right then not answering them at all!
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How Do You Prefer To Take Tests?
I prefer to take the multiple choice first, unless the test is timed. If it's timed I try to take the essay portion first so that I don't run out of time. What do you do?