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FTCE Social Science 6-12 Ultimate Guide2021-08-06T00:58:24+00:00

FTCE Social Science 6-12: Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

Preparing to take the FTCE Social Science 6-12?


You’ve found the right page. We will answer every question you have and tell you exactly what you need to study to pass the FTCE Social Science 6-12.

Quick Facts

The Florida Teacher Certification Examinations (FTCE) Social Science exam is required for Florida teachers who teach social sciences in grades 6-12. It is designed to measure a candidate’s knowledge of the six competencies to ensure a teacher is qualified to instruct students in this subject area.

Types of questions include command questions, questions over charts and graphs (graphic related questions), sentence completion questions, scenario questions, and direct questions.  

Since the entire Social Science (6-12) Test is approximately 120 questions, you can break down the number of questions by the weight of each competency:

  • Geography (10% = approximately 12 questions)
  • Economics (15% = approximately 18 questions)
  • Political Science (15% = approximately 18 questions)
  • World History (25% = approximately 30 questions)
  • U.S. History (25% = approximately 30 questions)
  • Social Science Methodology (10% = approximately 12 questions)

Given a test time of 2 hours and 30 minutes and 120 questions, you have about 1.25 minutes to answer each question. The test is timed, and at any point, you can see the time remaining on the test. So, pace yourself and monitor the time.  We recommend going through the entire test and answering every question you are reasonably certain about. Then go back and address the questions you were unsure of.




The number of questions answered correctly is converted to something called a “scale score.” A scaled score of at least 200 is required to pass.

For the Social Science (6-12) test, test takers must answer roughly 74% of the questions correctly to pass the test. For a 120-question test, this equivalates to approximately 89 questions answered correctly. These numbers may vary slightly based on the number of questions and the difficulty of the test, which may vary slightly from test to test as there is more than one version.  

Study time:

In order to feel prepared for the test, plan to spend several weeks studying. It is helpful to create a schedule for yourself ahead of time by breaking down the test topics into different weeks. This way, you will know you have enough time to study each topic covered on the test.

What test takers wish they’d known:

You may encounter a series of “test questions” which exam writers may incorporate into the test as practice questions which may or may not later be added to the test as a regular question.  So do not be alarmed if you come across a question that you feel may not be worded well or doesn’t make sense. Do your best to answer it correctly, but it’s possible this is just a test question that will not count toward your score.  

Don’t spend too much time on a question you don’t know and risk losing valuable time on future questions that you would know.  You risk running out of time if you allow more difficult questions to occupy too much of your time and don’t allow yourself enough time to read every question.  

Information obtained from

Exam Content


This exam has 6 competencies:

  • Geography (10%)
  • Economics (15%)
  • Political Science (15%)
  • World History (25%)
  • U.S. History (25%)
  • Social Science Methodology (10%)

The Social Sciences encompass several academic disciplines that all center around society and the dynamics of human relationships. Social Sciences include the study of both U.S. and world history with the intent of better understanding the past to plan for the future. The study of geography examines physical features of the Earth and its landscape and analyzes population growth and movement and its effects on competition for resources and land use.  Political Science focuses on government practice and politics at all levels. Economics focuses on the widespread manufacturing and distribution of goods or services for financial gain. The study of society and social phenomena is paramount for us to gain a better understanding of what human beings require to function and thrive.

So, let’s talk about Geography first.


This competency includes about 12 multiple-choice questions which make up about 10% of the entire exam.

This section tests your knowledge of the six essential elements of geography and the application of those elements as it pertains to spatial relationships. You will also process information as it relates to maps and location. You will determine how humans and nature can impact Earth’s terrain and the future trajectory of various geographic regions. Geography analyzes the impact of humans on Earth as well.  

Let’s talk about some concepts that you will more than likely see on the test.

Six Essential Elements of Geography

The 6 Essential Elements of Geography include:

  • The World, in spatial terms- This element puts human and physical systems in a geographical context. Examples include absolute location (latitude and longitude or 123 Main St.) and relative location (position relative to a landmark, “1 hour south of the border”, “a block from downtown”).
  • Human Systems– This element considers the impact of humans on other humans in the population, which in turn shapes that region’s economy, resource availability, culture, and politics. It also deals with how humans shape and reshape the earth (e.g. Globalization).
  • Physical Systems– This element (also known as “Physical Geography”) includes the effects of glaciers, hurricanes, the atmosphere, the climate, etc. on Earth’s terrain. It explains how Earth’s physical systems shape Earth’s terrain and how these systems interact with various plant and animal life which inhabit the region.
  • Places/Regions– Consider geographers division of the world into hemispheres, or regions. These divisions are all characterized by natural, physical characteristics or by the people who inhabit the area. These characteristics can establish a culture unique to an area.
  • Environment/Society– Consider the effects of human impact and behavior on the Earth. More specifically how people interact with the land, water, climate, plants, and animals of a place. How does a factory emitting harmful chemicals into the air impact society as a whole? How does a community that establishes a green approach to recycling impact the Earth? This element of geography considers location and the impact on Earth and its geography. It further considers how humans adaptations to these changes can impact the environment- like the building of dams and canals, etc.  
  • Uses of Geography– This element of geography focuses on utilizing past experiences to prepare for the future. Geographical characteristics have largely impacted wars, the spread of disease, and the demise of entire cultures or populations. Learning the location of places and the physical and cultural characteristics of places allows people to function better in an interdependent world. 


Erosion is the gradual wearing away or destruction of the uppermost component of a surface, like soil. This typically occurs as a result of some force acting upon the surface, like wind, water, etc. Consider a rocky shoreline for instance, which has waves crashing into it all day, every day. Over a period of time, the rocky cliffs of the shoreline will wear down and erode the cliff’s edge. This impacts the geography of shorelines across the globe. 

Both natural and manmade factors can contribute to erosion. Something as simple as soil utilized by farmers can cause erosion. For example, excessive rainfall may lead to flooding and runoff of topsoil. This impacts the land directly and the subsequent environment in the surrounding areas. One of the greatest examples of erosion is the Dust Bowl that occurred from 1930 to 1936. Farmers over plowed the Great Plains, displacing native soil and grass. These features played a vital role in preserving moisture. The stripped away soil, paired with drought conditions and windy prairie conditions, were a recipe for agricultural disaster. Due to the dry conditions, the soil became dust. The drought conditions, wind, and soil erosion of the Dust Bowl damaged land and crops throughout America.


This competency includes about 18 multiple-choice questions which make up about 15% of the entire exam.

This section tests your knowledge of understanding society’s need for the evolving process of manufacturing and distributing goods. Economics accesses how scarcity and opportunity cost impacts the availability and distribution of resources. This section also tests your understanding of the various types of economies and their associated advantages and disadvantages.    

Let’s talk about some concepts that you will plausibly see on the test.

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Simply put, opportunity cost is the value of something given up to acquire something with greater potential. For example, if a company manufactures a product that requires plastic containers for distribution, they can manufacture those containers themselves, or outsource the job to a third party. If a third party has a storage solution that is not plastic, but more environmentally friendly, they may choose to exercise opportunity cost and utilize the more environmentally friendly (yet more costly) alternative storage solution. While their profit margins may not be as great, they may stand to gain support of more “green” customers, or realize some other financial relief from taking a more environmentally friendly approach. Hence the most desirable alternative (opportunity cost) is the plastic containers.  

Consider your day today.  You are likely to encounter a choice you made today in which you exercised analysis of opportunity cost.  

Types of Economies

In traditional economies, the pricing of goods and services is guided by history, tradition, beliefs, and customs. Essentially, the traditional economy is built around the way society runs. Simple in principle, this type of economy has roots in bartering for goods and is perhaps one of the oldest forms of economics. It also functions mostly with subsistence agriculture. Today, you tend to see this type of economy in mostly third-world countries. As a result, it suffers from a lack of development as it relates to more modern and advanced medicine and technology.    

In a command economy, the government dictates what goods will be produced and sold. A central power controls everything and dictates for what goods are produced, how goods are produced, and for whom goods are produced. Ideologically speaking a command economy’s goal is to redistribute wealth in a more equitable fashion through the control of the government.

A market economy is an economic system in which the decisions regarding investment, production, and distribution are guided by the price signals created by the forces of supply and demand. In market economies, the economy is driven by a combination of the desires of individuals and businesses. At a minimum, the government intercedes through regulatory policies.

Political Science

This competency includes about 18 multiple-choice questions which make up about 15% of the entire exam.

This section tests your knowledge of the guiding principles of the Constitution.  This section also tests your knowledge of the functions of both local and state governments, the ability to compare and contrast various political systems, and your ability to determine the guiding principles and associated results of foreign policy.  

Let’s talk about some concepts that you will likely see on the test.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a collaborative effort initiated by Canada, the United States, and a handful of Western European nations in 1949. It was created to offset the Soviet Union’s desire to spread communism throughout the world. It inevitably provided a good forum for the United States to limit the Soviet Union’s expansions and functioned as a counterweight to the Warsaw Pact and Soviet advances. Nuclear testing by the Soviet Union was a major catalyst. The Korean War further strengthened and solidified NATO. The Warsaw Pact was a collective effort of various Soviet satellite countries attempting to offset the NATO Alliance. NATO was essentially the United States’ first peacetime military alliance It was founded under a United Nations charter. Today, NATO has 29 members (countries) and is still dedicated to the security of the North Atlantic region.  

Branches of the Federal Government

The Constitution divides the federal government into 3 equal branches- the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, and the Judicial Branch.  

The President of the United States, along with his Vice President and Cabinet, make up the Executive Branch. The President serves as both Head of State and Commander in Chief but acts with his Vice President and Cabinet to enforce legislation put in place by the Legislative Branch.  

The Legislative Branch, or Congress, is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The legislative branch is charged with making the law for the United States of America. The Constitution grants Congress the sole responsibility of enacting laws, initiating revenue bills, declaring war, impeaching officials like the President, and raising and appropriating funds to put laws, or bills, into action.  

The Judicial Branch is appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The Judicial Branch interprets laws passed by Congress and ultimately decides whether or not they are constitutional. The Judicial Branch operates with a system of district courts, courts of appeal, and the highest court, the Supreme Court.  

World History

This competency includes about 30 multiple-choice questions which make up about 25% of the entire exam.

This section tests your knowledge of early and ancient civilizations, understanding the major contributions of various eras which gave rise to significant contributions to society. You should also be able to identify the cause and outcome of major wars. This section also tests for understanding of major religions, the timeline of major eras, and the historical figures who left their footprint on society.  

Let’s look at some concepts that are likely to pop up on the test.


Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician and philosopher. During his time, most people attributed illnesses to the “wrath of the Gods.” Hippocrates was the first to suggest that sickness had a natural or scientific cause that was not a result of superstition. Hippocrates is credited with establishing the first School of Medicine. The Hippocratic Oath, an oath many physicians take today before beginning their practice of medicine, is based on his medicinal principles but not written by Hippocrates himself. Presently, this approach involves addressing a patient, their symptoms, and their habits and lifestyle choices before determining the course of treatment.   


Hinduism, the third most numerous of the world’s major religions, is mostly practiced in India and the surrounding region. Over 95% of the world’s Hindus reside in India. Hindus believe in a single deity, Brahman, who is the ultimate being. A Hindu’s priority is the “soul” and the belief that salvation ends the cycle of reincarnation. Another Hindu principle is the “what goes around, comes around” mentality or karma. This causes people to believe actions on Earth impact their present lives as well as their future lives.  Hindus hold all living organisms in high regard and as such, tend to be vegetarians.  

The Renaissance

Following the end of the Middle Ages, around the late 14th century, Italians declared an age of “rebirth.” In fact, the word Renaissance translates to “rebirth.”  The period was characterized by tremendous advancements in art, science, and literature. This time is highlighted by the invention of the printing press, emerging ideas of humanism, and a more modern approach to thinking and visualizing man’s place. More specifically the creation of the printing press allowed for the spread and distribution of ideas to all types of people. Some of the greatest painters and sculptors of all time prospered during the Renaissance, including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. William Shakespeare transformed literature and the English language as one of the most famous playwrights and writers of all time during the Renaissance. The Renaissance also definitively ended the Medieval Period and saw the splitting of the Catholic Church. 

U.S. History

This competency includes about 30 multiple-choice questions which make up about 25% of the entire exam.

This section tests your knowledge of major wars like the American Civil War, World War I, and World War II, including what led to them and the end results. It tests your knowledge of major historical figures that shaped the outcome of the war, and the evolution of the world’s progress and history. You should be able to identify social, political, and economical characteristics of various, influential eras of the past, including the influence of immigration to specific areas.  

Here are some concepts that are likely to be part of the test.

The Battles of Lexington and Concord

The American Revolution was a war for American independence that began on April 19th, 1775 against Great Britain.

The British Government, in debt after years of fighting the French in the Seven Years War, attempted to increase revenue by taxing the American colonies. The citizens felt the taxes were unfair and they were not treated as equal British subjects, who were unjustly represented in the British Parliament. A push to leave British sovereignty culminated with the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, effectively severing the 13 American colonies’ ties to the British Crown. Great Britain responded with a show of force and what ensued was nearly a decade of fighting. Armed conflict ended in an unlikely defeat when British General Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington in 1781 in Yorktown. Shortly thereafter began the growing idea of nationalism that eventually led to Manifest Destiny.  

Manifest Destiny

Manifest Destiny was the widespread, expansionist belief in the 19th Century that settlers of North America were destined to spread across North America and inevitably govern the continent. Following American independence from Great Britain in the American Revolution, the unity brought about by newfound nationalism led to the desire for more territory. The idea was to move west toward the Pacific and “replace ignorance with civilization.” This movement was fueled by economic incentivization and a quest for American superiority. Affectively ignoring the natural rights of Native Americans throughout North America.     

Ponce de Leon

Ponce de Leon was a Spanish explorer who is the first known explorer to reach the mainland that is now the United States, specifically Florida. In a European expedition to find gold, he landed in the southeast corner of what is now Florida.  He was appointed by the Spanish king as the first governor of Puerto Rico in earlier career expeditions. While he is credited as the one to advance Spanish colonization and discover Florida, native people had inhabited the area for some time and were aggressively resistant to the settling of European explorers there.  The opposition and uprising of local tribes and warriors in the area eventually led to his death in 1521 at the age of 61.  

Social Science Methodology

This competency includes about 12 multiple-choice questions which make up about 10% of the entire exam.

This section tests your knowledge of various social science disciplines and concepts. You are also expected to know the correlation amongst those disciplines and how they impact one another. This section also tests your understanding of primary versus secondary resources, their use, and your ability to recognize the most effective methodology for teaching the social sciences.  

Let’s talk about some concepts that are likely to be on the test.

Social Science Disciplines

Social Science Disciplines include:

  • Anthropology– This is the scientific study of humans and human behavior including their biology, language, culture, evolutionary history, etc.
  • Economics & Management– This is the scientific study of the production, distribution, utilization, and consumption of goods and/or services for the purposes of benefitting society and/or obtaining some form of financial gain by an entity.   
  • History– This is the in-depth study of the past utilizing written documents or artifacts for the purpose of linking the past to the present. Understanding and analyzing the events of the past helps people understand the present and ultimately make good decisions for the future. Having a strong understanding of what has happened in history helps to have an informed understanding of what is currently happening.
  • Human Services– Think “Serving Society.”  While Human Services is a broad field, in all disciplines, its focus is to improve the quality of life for the population it serves. Human Services accomplishes this through charitable efforts, addressing social concerns, and assisting others for the purpose of bettering their community or organization.  
  • Sociology– This is the scientific study of society, including social problems, interactions, and relationships.
  • Psychology– This is the study of cognitive, emotional, and social impact on the mind and relationships. You could also consider it the study of the interaction of human systems.
  • Political Sciences– This is the study of politics, including ideology, laws, policy, strategies, diplomacy, and wars. This includes the study of local, international, global, and diplomatic viewpoints.  

Primary versus Secondary Sources

A primary source provides a first-hand account of an event or experience. For example, an autobiography is a first-hand account of someone’s life written by the individual. A secondary source is information relayed secondhand by someone who did not experience or witness something first-hand. For instance, a biography is an account of someone’s life written by someone other than who the biography is about.  

Another example is scholarly publications of research. If the individual who conducted the experiment or participated in the experiment wrote the article, it is a primary source. If a group of researchers sit down to do an interview and tell someone else about the experiment, the interviewer then writes a secondary recollection of what they are told. This writing is a secondary resource.  

And that’s some basic info about the FTCE Social Science 6-12 exam.