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Passage Preparation™ now offers courses to help you prepare for the Praxis Core Tests!

The Praxis® Core Tests: What Are They?

ETS develops and administers the Praxis® Core Academic Skills for Educators (Praxis Core). However, the Praxis Core actually consists of three separate tests: Core Reading (5713), Core Writing (5723), and Core Mathematics (5733). ETS has updated these tests, but previous versions include Praxis I and the Praxis Basic Skills tests. The Praxis Core tests measure your academic ability in each content area noted above. Often, teacher preparation programs require passing scores on these tests before students begin their coursework.

What Do the Praxis Core Tests Measure?

The Core tests measure skills expected of a teacher candidate at the start of their teacher preparation and are often required before entry to a preparation program. Accordingly, these are skills that have been identified as important for success during teacher preparation. Although they are sometimes referred to as basic skills tests, these tests are actually quite challenging. Let’s break down what each test covers and how they are structured.

Praxis Core Reading

The Core Reading (5713) test assesses the content categories below. Click on each category for descriptive statements in order to find out what you will need to identify for that category on the test.

Key Ideas and Details

Main idea and primary purpose

Supporting ideas


Craft, Structure, and Language Skills

Attitude and tone

Organization and structure

Meaning of words

Fact or opinion

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Diverse media and formats

Evaluation of arguments

Analysis and comparison of texts

The Core Reading (5713) test includes four different types of reading passages as well as paired questions:

Paired Reading Passages Long Reading Passages Short Reading Passages Brief Statements
– two passages which you
analyze in relation to each other
-approximately 200 words
-paired with 4-7 questions
-approximately 200 words
-paired with 4-7 questions
-approximately 100 words
-paired with 2-3 questions
-generally one sentence
-paired with one question

When you prepare for the test, keep in mind that you have 85 minutes to complete all sections. All in all, the Core Reading (5713) includes 56 selected response questions.

Praxis Core Writing

The Core Writing (5723) test assesses the content categories below. Click on each category for descriptive statements which explain what you will need to identify for each category on the test overall.

Text Types, Purposes, and Production

Text production: writing arguments

Text production: writing informative/explanatory texts

Text production: revision

Language and Research Skills for Writing

Language skills

Research skills

The test includes 40 selected response, or multiple choice, items as well as two essay, or constructed response, items. Altogether, you have 100 minutes to complete the Core Writing test. The test is administered in one sitting although it is broken into three timed sections:

Selected Response Section Essay Section 1 Essay Section 2
40 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes

How To Approach an Essay Question

Essay, also known as constructed response, questions require you to respond to a prompt. Thus, you read a prompt and then develop a response based on that stimulus. You may be asked to construct an argumentative essay or, instead, to write an essay analyzing a piece of literature. These items can be intimidating; however, Passage Preparation courses prepare you to feel confident and show your writing skills on constructed response items.

For example, Passage Preparation’s Core Writing (5723) course includes these instructions for developing an argumentative essay:

Praxis Core Mathematics

The Core Mathematics (5733) test assesses the content categories below. Click on each category for descriptive statements which explain what you will need to identify for that category on the test overall.

Number and Quantity

Integers, decimals, and fractions

Ratio, proportions, and percentages

Properties of whole numbers

Properties of measurement

Data Interpretations and Representation, Statistics, and Probability

Measures of central tendency

Data collection methods and application

Linear relationships


Algebra and Geometry

Properties of addition and multiplication

Algebraic equations

Real world application

Properties of 2D shapes


Finding area, circumference, volume of shapes and figures

All in all, the test includes 56 questions. You are given 90 minutes to complete this test altogether. This test includes three item types, each of which is described below:

Selected Response 1 Selected Response 2 Numeric Entry
Select one answer choice Choose all answers that apply Calculate the answer
to the presented problem

Four-Function Calculator

The Praxis Core Mathematics (5733) test includes a four-function calculator, another feature of the test. Generally, you should use this calculator to conduct more involved, tedious calculations. However, it is usually faster to conduct simple calculations in your head, so do not use the calculator for every item.

How to Prepare for the Praxis Core Tests

Overall, there are some strategies you can use to help you prepare for these tests. Passage Preparation’s courses include in-depth, high-quality content and assessments to help you master the content covered on the exams Likewise, Passage Preparation courses help you practice responding to items structured like those on these tests.

It is important to understand how your course aligns to the competencies measured on the test; thus the image below, which is an example of the alignment between the Passage Preparation Praxis Core Reading (5713) course modules and the content categories covered on the test.

Our courses include a diagnostic assessment in order to help you identify the areas you should prioritize as you study. Then, you will develop a study plan to help guide you through the course content modules.

Additionally, you will complete checks for understanding and quizzes to help you engage with the content and practice taking items structured like those on your test. Finally, you take a practice assessment which is structured to reflect the actual certification test. In addition, you can take the practice assessment as many times as necessary to feel confident on your exam.

On Test Day

  • Get plenty of sleep the night before the test
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Arrive early to find parking and check in to the testing site
  • Bring proper forms and identification
  • Breathe, relax, and remain confident in your preparation

Passage Preparation™ Courses for Other Praxis® Exams

First you complete your Praxis® Core test your teacher preparation, and then you will take certification exams. Passage Preparation offers courses and course bundles, offering another way to help you prepare for Praxis exams required for certification in your state. For example, we offer the courses aligned to the following Praxis® tests:

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About the Author: Nathan Estel

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Nathan has over 20 years of experience in the educator preparation and certification space. In that time, Nathan has worked in a state education agency, leading the state’s efforts to recruit, prepare, license, and retain professional and support staff and on the national level for large companies providing assessment solutions for the education field.

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