Study Guide

Test-Taking Strategies

The Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators, developed and administered by the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, are aligned with Oklahoma and National standards. The best preparation for the tests is to have studied consistently throughout your time in college.

When you are preparing to take the test, the best strategy is to study systematically and effectively. Remember that you are not only preparing for a test but also reviewing content that will be an important part of your responsibilities as an educator.

The information in this document is designed to help candidates taking the tests:

For information about who must take the Certification Examinations for Oklahoma Educators and which tests must be taken, visit "What Tests Do I Need to Take?" on this website.

Understanding the Structure and Content of the Test

The knowledge, skills, and abilities assessed on the test are described in the test framework that is available in Section 3 of this study guide and as a PDF through the "Prepare" section of this website.

Test Framework

The test framework is based on relevant academic standards. The framework is organized for structural and reporting purposes into subareas. The subareas define the major content areas of the test, and each subarea contains a set of one or more competencies. Each competency is further defined by a number of descriptive statements. These components are described below.

Sample of Test Framework sections

Test: Elementary Education
Subtest: Subtest 1: Reading/Language Arts
Subarea: Subarea II Language Arts
Compentency: 0011 Apply knowledge of the fundamental elements of research to build and present knowledge
Descriptive Statement: Apply knowledge of strategies for developing research projects (e.g., exploring issues and interests, posing problems, generating questions).
Test Question: Sixth-grade students are beginning research for individual writing projects on topics related to the ancient Mayan civilization. To help students take effective notes from various sources, the teacher should ensure students first take which of the following steps?

  1. learning the structure of a traditional outline
  2. formulating specific questions they want to address in their papers
  3. making a list of key words related to their topic
  4. developiing a color-coded system keyed to reference material

Plan a Course of Study

Step 1: Read the test framework for the test(s) you are preparing to take.

The first step in preparing for a CEOE test is to identify the information the test will cover by reviewing the subareas and test competencies for your field. The CEOE study guides and website are the  start bold  only  end bold  sources for this information.

The number of competencies within each subarea typically reflects the emphasis given to that subarea on the test. In general, subareas with greater numbers of competencies will receive more coverage on the test.

Once you have gained a broad picture of what the test includes by reviewing the subareas, read each competency and its descriptive statements carefully to get a more specific idea of the knowledge you will be required to demonstrate on the test. This will help you:

Step 2: Read the sample questions, attempt to answer them, and review the correct response provided.

The sample selected-response questions and any sample constructed-response assignments included in this section are designed to give you an introduction to the nature of the questions included in this test. The sample test questions represent the various types of questions you may expect to see on an actual test; however, they are  start bold not end bold  designed to provide diagnostic information to help you identify specific areas of individual strengths and weaknesses or to predict your performance on the test as a whole.

To help you prepare for your test, each sample selected-response question is preceded by the competency it measures and followed by a brief explanation of the correct response. On the actual test, the competencies, correct responses, and explanations will not be given.

If the test field included in this guide has a constructed-response assignment, this is preceded by the subarea it measures and one or more sample responses are provided immediately following the assignment. The sample responses in this guide are for illustrative purposes only. Your written response should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.

After reading a selected-response question or constructed-response assignment, you may want to reread the associated competency or subarea. This may help you understand what items associated with particular competencies or subareas might look like.

After answering a sample selected-response question, review the correct response and explanation provided. If you answered the question incorrectly, you may need to do some additional studying of the content covered by that competency. If your test includes one or more constructed-response assignments, review the sample response(s) and any response rationales, as well as the performance characteristics and scoring scale provided.

Step 3: Develop a study plan to focus your studies.

You may wish to consult with faculty at your educator preparation program to determine the best time for you to take the test. In your coursework to date, you should already have mastered most or all of the content that you will see on the test. At this point, the best preparation is to identify: 1) your areas of strength and weakness (the sample questions in the study guide may provide you some idea of the areas on which you wish to focus); 2) any content with which you have had difficulty in the past; and 3) any other content you have not yet mastered. You should then study areas you have not yet mastered systematically and effectively.

While concentrating your studies on your areas of weakness, you should also be sure to do some additional preparation addressing the content covered in the other competencies. Remember, your score on the test is based on the total number of questions that you answer correctly; therefore, improvement on any competency will increase your total score on the test.

Suggested Study Method

One study method that many students have found to be effective is "PQ4R," or "Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, Review." After reviewing the competencies and descriptive statements, locate appropriate study materials such as textbooks; then apply the six steps of the PQ4R method as described below.

  1.  start bold  Preview:  end bold  Scan the section headings and subheadings of the chapter or article you wish to study. Read the introduction or overview section as well as the summary section. This initial step can provide a good foundation on which to build your knowledge of a topic or skill.
  2.  start bold  Question:  end bold  Based on the appropriate test competencies and your preview of the study materials, think of specific questions to which you would like to find answers as you study. Write these questions down and use them as a guide as you read.
  3.  start bold  Read:  end bold  Read through the chapter you have selected. Adjust your reading speed as needed; some sections may take less time to read than others. Also, study any figures, tables, or graphics when you come across references to them in the text. This helps to keep each piece in context.
  4.  start bold  Reflect:  end bold  As you read, think about the examples and descriptions provided in the text. You may also think of examples from your own experience that are related to what you are reading. Reflective reading is active reading; by interacting with what you read, you may better understand and remember the content.
  5.  start bold  Recite:  end bold  When you complete each section of the text, check your understanding of what you have read. Can you answer the questions about this section that you wrote down before you started? Do you need to reread the section or some parts of it? Monitoring your progress by asking yourself these types of questions may help you identify areas you understand well and areas that you will want to study further.
  6.  start bold  Review:  end bold  After you have finished reading the text, you may want to check your understanding of the content by reviewing your questions for the whole chapter. Can you answer your questions without referring to the text? Reviewing your questions for a chapter immediately after you finish reading it, as well as later in your study plan schedule, can help you retain and apply what you have learned.

Whether you use PQ4R or some other study technique, the key to success is to become familiar with the material you are studying. As you study, predict what the content will be, ask yourself questions about it, paraphrase information aloud, relate the information to other things you know, review and summarize what you have learned—become involved in your studying.

Strategies for Success on the Day of the Test

Review the following strategies to help you do your best:

 start bold Follow directions. end bold 

Read, listen to, and follow all test directions.

 start bold Pace your work. end bold 

The test session is designed to allow sufficient time for you to complete the test. At any point in the test, you will be able to see how much time you have remaining. You can also choose to begin the test in any section or go to any particular question at any time during the test. If you have any difficulty answering a question, you may flag it for review and return to it later, but you must respond to the questions, including those flagged for review, during the allotted time. If your test contains constructed-response assignments, remember to leave enough time to respond to the assignments.

 start bold Read carefully. end bold 

Do not try to save time by skimming directions or by reading the test questions quickly. You may miss important information and instructions.

 start bold Determine the "best answer." end bold 

Your response to each selected-response question should be the best answer of the alternatives provided. Read and evaluate all four answer choices before deciding which one is best.

 start bold Guess wisely. end bold 

Your results on the selected-response section will be based on the number of questions you answer correctly. Attempt to answer all questions. You will not be penalized for incorrect responses; it is better to guess than to leave a question blank. If you are unsure about a question, use your knowledge of the content area to eliminate as many of the alternatives as you can; then select from the remaining choices.

 start bold Designate your answers carefully. end bold 

Your responses to the multiple-choice questions will be scored electronically. It is very important for you to designate your answers carefully. You may wish to use remaining time at the end of the test session to check the accuracy of your work.

 start bold Respond to the assignment on the Writing subtest fully and clearly. end bold 

Be sure to read and respond to each part of the assignment. It is important for scorers to be able to understand your response. Also, make sure that you have recorded your responses as instructed.

 start bold Respond to the constructed-response assignment fully and clearly. end bold 

If you are taking a test with a constructed-response assignment, be sure to read and respond to each part of the assignment fully and clearly. It is important for scorers to be able to understand your response.

After the Test

With the help of the test-taking strategies described above, you should be able to use the time before and during the test wisely. There are also a few things you can do after the test that may be helpful to you, whether or not you have passed the test.

First, it may be useful to review the list of competencies you used during your studying. Look over that list and mark the competencies that represented the most difficult content for you on the test. Whether or not you pass the test, you may wish to enhance your own knowledge with further study in those areas.

Also, your score report will provide a graphic indicator of your performance for each subarea and, if applicable, for the constructed-response assignment(s). For more information on how to read and interpret your score report, please review the score report explanation in Understanding Your Test Results. Devote further study to the content of the subareas and any constructed-response assignment(s) in which your performance was the weakest. Remember that all the subareas that were tested have been identified as important to being an effective beginning educator.