Test Taking Strategies for Reading for Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Test Study Guide
Test Taking Tips
Now that you have reviewed the components that will help you understand and analyze what you read, you are ready to consider some specific test-taking strategies. The following techniques will help you read the PPST passages quickly and effectively and answer the multiple-choice questions strategically so that you can boost your score.
Reading passages for a standardized test is different than reading at home. For one thing, you have a time limit. You have one hour to complete 40 questions (the computer-based test gives 75 minutes for 46 questions). This means that you have about 90 seconds to answer each question! And the time you spend reading each passage detracts from the time you have to answer questions. Here are some basic guidelines for keeping you moving through the test in a time-efficient way:
- Spend no more than two minutes on a question. Circle difficult questions and return to them if you have time.
- Skim and answer short passages quickly. Short passages have only one or two questions, so you should move through them with speed. Give yourself a bit more time for long passages that are followed by four or more questions.
- Guess, if necessary. The PPST Reading test does not penalize for wrong answers. Make sure to answer each question, even if you think you might return to it later.
- Circle, underline, and make notes. You can write in your test booklet, so be sure to mark up the passage as you read. Scribble down quick notes that will help you answer the questions.
- Target the first part of the passage. The first third of many reading passages is packed with essential information. Often you can answer main-idea questions based on the information at the start of a passage. Likewise, for longer passages of 200 words, you will often find what each paragraph is about from its first two sentences.
- Locate details, but don't learn them. Detail-heavy portions of passages can be dense and difficult to read. Don't spend precious time rereading and absorbing details—just make sure you know where to find them in the passage. That way you can locate a detail if a question asks about it.
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