Friday, October 14, 2016

The difrences between the Praxis II 5161 and the Indiana Core 035

OK, I know that title looks almost like gibberish, but it should make this post easier to find for those who need it.

I've been doing online school with WGU to get my secondary math Teaching certificate and, since the school is based in Utah, I had to take the Praxis to get my degree, but since I live in Indiana I had to take the Indiana Core 035 to get my Indiana license and thought, since I have experienced both tests it might be helpful to share my experiences.

My Preparations:

  The great thing about WGU is that they provided me with 3 practice Praxis tests plus the one free one that comes from ETS and a lot of practice worksheets (though i didn't find out about the worksheets until the night before the test for me, but that's more my fault than anything).  I also picked up a college Math workbook from Half Price books that let me go through and practice all the dusty old math from algebra and pre-calc.  I also watched alot of videos on you tube (especially kahn academy and mathbff) I used those for things like matrices which i never learned and Math/logic which I couldn't remember the specifics of since I took the class for that about a decade ago.

The Praxis

...had me more panicked.  There are so many articles and posts about how the 5161 is so intense, plus the median score is below passing and there's rumors about a 33% pass rate per taking... for those of us with math brains, that's a horror story right there... especially when you're a perfectionist like me.  The great thing is the graphing calculator for the Praxis, it will even calculate zeros, intersections, max, min, or anything you could need really.  They also provide a great reference sheet that includes all the info for polar/Cartesian conversion, volumes of solids and more (all available on the ETS site for perusal before the test)  The Praxis was a lovely 60 (or 66, can't remember right now) questions long and it felt like plenty of time.  I do recommend that If you can't think of how to solve the problem within the first 30 seconds or so of looking at it, guess, flag it and come back to it at the end.  You don't want to run out of time, and you don't get penalized for guessing. I used all but 5 mins of my time, and didn't feel rushed, but i may have been if I was 10 mins from the end and hadn't touched all the problems.

Core 035

... I wasn't really worried about this one because I'd just come off of the Praxis win and figured I should get this one out of the way when all the info was still fresh and holy cow did it kick my butt.  As of right now I've got a preliminary Pass, but I'll update that when I receive my official scores. If you haven't taken 3rd calc (or at least thats what wgu calls it) or at least know things like vector graphing, polar graphing, logic tables, and beginning teaching concepts I'd hold off.  There were things I'd never learned.  Plus the reference sheet is not as detailed and the digital calculator is a scientific not a graphing.  There was alot more matrix problems up to 3x4 that I saw.  Plus its 100 questions, which was a snug fit, I wish I'd had a half hour more.  I did get back to all my flagged questions, but I didn't have time to work them as thoroughly as I wished I could, and a few were blind guesses.

All in all I think the Praxis II 5161 is easier than the Core 035, though few people need to take both. Preparation material for one will work for the other with the added information of vectors and higher level calculus, all done without access to a graphing calculator for the IN035.