Teachin' Spanish For America

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 15 2011

Praxis II Spanish: World Language

Welp, this is a bit late to help much of anyone this time around, but I figure that a) since it’s a new test, and b) since it’s a requirement for at least the future NJ Spanish teachers/TFA CMs teaching Spanish in lots of places out there, I would give my impressions of the test.  Then I won’t update this page (unless, of course, something exciting happens!) until AFTER the March 12 Elementary Education: Content Knowledge exam.  I promise!  The next post will also be partly dedicated to some  first impressions on the Pre-Institute Work (and probably brief as at the moment I’m only on Unit 2/6!)

So, for starters, getting to the S: WL exam happened to be hellish for me, mostly because I made the perennial mistake of trusting in the NJ Transit system to get me to Penn Station on time.

…So after I arrived at 8:45 for my 8:30 appointment (for which I was also supposed to be a half hour early, so…45 minutes late) in a panic, I went through all the usual BS of photos and promising to give them my first-born male if I cheated.  Then came the test.  The test’s UI was very intuitive so there were no issues there.  We went through listening comp first, which was fine, and seemed to follow the comfortable trajectory of getting progressively harder.  It was actually pretty easy, because they play the listening section, then they show you the questions they’re going to ask you, and leave them on the screen while you listen a second time.  They also give you scratch paper to take notes.  Each listening section has mostly content questions with one or two cultural knowledge questions that only coincidentally have anything to do with the passage.

Then came the reading comprehension section, which was fine but I was SO tired from getting up at 4:30am to take this test that I kept zoning out.  Don’t be me, and you’ll be fine.

Then came writing, three different tasks, getting progressively harder.  I felt pretty confident in my first one, okay in my second, and eh in my third.  Yes, eh.  The adjective?  You know the one.  The third passage pertains to the first listening section, and then there are two more listenings: an opinion, and a fake dialogue.  Haha.  Those are always weird.  These were all pretty okay.  (You’ll notice I’m being vague.  This is because I want to keep my first-born son.)

My only real complaints about the test is having to take in in a room with other people taking speaking tests (distracting), and that they are inconsistent about whether they show you the timer for your prep times for tasks.  I would like it to have been available for every single section to help with my time management.  And, of course, being 45 minutes late.  Yeah that.

Anyway, see you guys in a month–and with results!

–H

31 Responses

  1. erinkay

    Glad the test seemed to go well enough- despite the bad start to the day!

    Did you already receive your Pre-Institute packet? I wish mine would get here already so I could figure out where to budget my time :/

    Good luck studying for Elem. Ed. Content Knowledge. I am scheduled for April 30 for that one. Did you know you can get the ETS study guides mailed to you for free (Jessica overnighted them to me!)?

    • heikemarie

      Ahhh I forgot to tell you! It’s all available online, on TFANet. Just log in, and on the right hand side it should say “Pre-Institute Work.” And how did you finagle this?! I should email her and ask I guess? That would be SO helpful!

      • erinkay

        In one of the pdf’s that we could dl off the applicant center about testing it said to e-mail Jessica for a study guide, haha! I just thought it would be a TFA guide or something, but when I requested, she mailed the official ETS guide that day and it came overnight through Fed-Ex! Unfortunately, I had already bought one for one of my tests, but hadn’t for the Elem. Ed. yet!

  2. justcallmemaestra

    I took it today too. I am sure you did fine! I agree with your impressions, the hardest part to me was trying to speak while trying to zone out the other people in the room speaking at the same time. Suerte with your other exam! :)

    • heikemarie

      At least for me, the test-takers were all speaking Spanish. I know other people who had students taking the exam for German–which is distracting in and of itself, but I was praying it wouldn’t happen to me because I speak German and I couldn’t imagine hearing German while speaking Spanish–ah! And gracias :) Ya has terminado con everything you have to do, tests-wise?

      • justcallmemaestra

        ¡Sí! Espero no tener que take them again. ;)

  3. sean

    Can you recommend websites or books for preparation?

    • heikemarie

      For the Spanish: World Language exam? I guess I don’t really have any specifics. After studying Spanish for a while, you know your weak points, and those are what you should shore up. I reviewed subjunctive and letter-writing vocabulary–academic writing in general is pretty important. So, I think your best shot would be something with which you are familiar such as a trusted Spanish 201 textbook, or, if more motivated, the info is all there online. A website like livemocha.com will allow you to speak Spanish with native speakers as well as maybe help you brush up on the basics. As far as the culture stuff goes, maybe an intro text on Latin America and Spain? It’s a very basic overview that tests your general cultural knowledge, so cramming is kind of useless. I do know that the “practice questions” that ETS has were of little to no help.

      That being said, my disclaimer is that I haven’t gotten my score back, so definitely take all of my advice with a grain of salt! I’ll be posting my score up here within the next couple days, so stay tuned ;)

      Hope this helps! If you have more/further questions or want clarification, my email is up on the Contact/About Me page. And best of luck!

      –Heike

  4. Heike,
    Can you refer back to the excerpts you are writing about in the essay portion of the praxis II?
    Leigh

    • Not sure if I’ll be able to answer your question correctly, I’m not sure exactly what you want to know! Do you want to know what types of prompts I had, or were you looking for the topics of the readings that we had to do? Hope I can help!

      –H

  5. Shannon

    Hi there. I have been reading all of your comments about the Praxis. I just found out that I did not pass the exam and I am re-taking it on July 29th. I am so nervous to re-take it! AH. I tried to get the “pre-institute work” but I am not a member and it won’t let me create an account. Is there any other way I can get that?
    Thanks :)

    • Hi Shannon,

      The pre-Institute work covers literally nothing about the Praxis exams, and I didn’t get any materials that helped with the Praxis exam in the least from TFA. The Pre-Institute work is about the process of teaching that we engage in as TFA corps members. So, unfortunately, I don’t have any more info or materials for you, I’m so sorry. If you have any specific questions or sections you did badly on and would like to go over it, please reach out to me at heike DOT marie AT gmail DOT com. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful!

      –H

  6. bdubs

    Thanks for the post! This is actually helpful for some people still right now because my Spanish exam is on Wednesday. I’m not really nervous (like you said, once you’ve been studying and speaking Spanish for a while you know yourself), but I guess you never do get rid of those standardized exam jitters.

    Overall it sounds like you did fine! No se preocupe~ Espero que nos vaya bien a todos nosotros.

    I’m going be heading down to Mississippi for TFA. I’m excited :3

    -Brad

    • bdubs

      So I totally realized that you posted this in Feb 2011 and not 2012 jaja! I found your log post via Google so I didn’t really look at the date. So… just disregard any time-sensitive info.

      I look forward to reading more of your posts.

      • Ha! Thanks Brad :) A good friend from high school is teaching Spanish down in Mississippi currently. Let me know if you want her info!

        • bdubs

          If you could send it to me that would be great actually. Thanks! Also, quick question about institute: did you teach summer school Spanish or did you have to do another subject?

          • AHHH Late!! Remind me if I emailed you or not. (I’m a terrible person, I’m so sorry).

            And I didn’t teach Spanish–with very few exceptions, there’s no Spanish to be taught in summer school. I did teach in a bilingual classrom, and around the grade level I knew I would be going into.

  7. Scott

    I take my Spanish praxis tomorrow!

  8. cammie

    im looking for online aids now to take this test before i pay 60 bucks for the actually book to practice. do you know any good online sites to print test from. i already have the test at a glance printed out from the site. thanks!

  9. Garrison

    Hello, I am taking the Spanish 5195 test in July and was wondering if anyone had any updates to the info above. Also, what website did you use to download the free ETS guides? Muchas gracias por la ayuda,
    Garrison

    • I have no new info, but if you go to the official ETS website, the guides are there.

  10. Jenn

    Spanish speaking prompts are my weakest. If anyone can rember the topics…. help. i need to practice. I have the praxis 5195 may (next month) 2013.
    Can anyone remember?

    • maestra12

      Fill free to email me. We may be able to study together. I also will be taking it soon and have taken it before.

      • JOSE

        Hola Maestra12:
        Me gustaria saber si tomaste el praxis II 5195 de Spanish, cual es la parte de Inglés que tiene? Que tipo de preguntas sobre pedagogía hace? Voy a tomar el examen la proxima semana y no sabia de esta parte.

      • Amalia

        can you suggest any good study guides for this test.

    • Amalia

      How was the test? I’m taking the spanish test next week and I was wondering if you can give me some tips.

  11. JOSE

    Hi all,

    If any one can help me to know how is the English part of the Spanish 5195? I’ll take it next week and I didn’t realiza that this test have this section. Could you please suggest a sample a question? Do I need to write a composition in English? Thanks

    • Hola Jose,

      From what I recall there was no English section at all.

  12. Maestra12

    Any tips on how to improve my writing or speaking sections?

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