Contact Us
Praxis®️ PLT 7-12 Ultimate Guide2019-12-09T20:56:05+00:00

Praxis®️ PLT 7-12: Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

Preparing to take the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) 7-12 exam?


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 PLT 7-12 exam.

Praxis®️ PLT 7-12

Quick Facts

Students as Learners

Instructional Process


Professional Development, Leadership, and Community

Analysis of Instructional Scenarios

Praxis®️ PLT 7-12 Quick Facts

understanding of educational practices foundational to beginning a career as a professional educator. Examinees will typically have completed, or nearly completed, an undergraduate education program. Simply put, the test makes sure you are ready to teach!

The test content will include topics such as human development, learning processes, instructional processes, diverse learners, educational psychology, and professional issues. Some questions will apply specifically to the stated grade range of the given test, while other questions are universal and apply to all grade levels.


You will have 2 hours to complete the Principles of Learning and Teaching

Grades 7-12 test. There are 70 selected-response questions plus 4 constructed-response questions based on case histories. All questions are computer-delivered.


States, associations, and institutions requiring the test to set their own passing scores. Your score report will include information on the passing scores for the states you identified as recipients of your test results.

A list of states and their passing scores is available at

Study time:

Ok, so you know what the test covers. How do you prepare to do your best? The amount of study time depends on many factors. One key to success is to assess what you already know. Then, allot study time to the topics in which you are not as confident.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

  1. Guess if you do not know the answer. There is no penalty or subtraction for an incorrect answer. The final score is based on the number of correct answers.
  2. Skip the questions you find extremely difficult. Focus on the questions you can confidently answer, then come back to the others.
  3. Read all of the answers before choosing one. Be careful to understand what is being asked.
  4. Eliminate the weakest answer choices first.

Information and screenshots obtained from the ETS Praxis®️ website:

Students as Learners


The Students as Learners content category has 21 selected-response questions. These questions account for 22.5% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 3 sections:

  • Student Development and the Learning Process
  • Students as Diverse Learners
  • Student Motivation and Learning Environment

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Student Development and the Learning Process

This section tests your knowledge on how students learn. You should understand the different educational theories, related theorists, and stages of human development.

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

Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development

Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) proposed the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance. An educator may provide scaffolding, meaning activities to lead a student through the ZPD. These activities/ supports will be withdrawn as the student demonstrates competency.

So, what might this look like in a secondary math classroom?

Students may be asked to calculate the area of a printed rectangle. Some students may know how to do this; some may not. The teacher may provide “tip sheets” with some prompts to get students started. Only those who need the tip sheets will use them.

Another example would be a lesson over mean. Students may understand how to calculate the mean of five numbers; however, a higher level application would be to start with a given mean and determine the five numbers. The teacher might ask, “What five numbers have a mean of 6?”  If a student is having difficulty, the teacher might decide to provide the lowest and highest numbers or show how to organize the problem on paper.

Students as Diverse Learners

This section tests your knowledge of how students learn and perform in a variety of ways. You should be able to identify areas of exceptionality and know how these impact the learning process. You should be familiar with legislation related to exceptional learners, including gifted and ELL. Finally, you should be able to demonstrate how to accommodate students and modify instruction when appropriate.

Here is a concept you should know.

Modifying Instruction

There are many ways a teacher can modify instruction to support students. Here are three general examples:

  1. For a struggling reader, the teacher may assign a summary rather than an entire chapter of a book.
  2. Instead of writing a research paper, a student may be asked to complete a pre-printed outline.
  3. On an assessment featuring fill in the blank questions, a word bank may be included.

Modifications are also appropriate for intellectually gifted students. Allowing a student to pre-test or demonstrate prior knowledge, then work on a project instead of the standard assignment, is one way to meet students’ individual zones of proximal development.

The following website includes specific strategy ideas:

Student Motivation and Learning Environment

This section tests your knowledge of behavioral theories and related theorists. The implications of motivation, classroom management, and self-motivation are also covered in this section. You should be able to demonstrate knowledge and apply strategies.

Take a look at this concept.

B.F. Skinner and Operant Conditioning

B.F. Skinner is credited with the theory of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning means that learning occurs when behavior changes. A stimulus causes a response; the reward conditions the person towards learning.

Positive and negative reinforcement are key elements in operant conditioning. A positive reinforcer might include verbal praise or a good grade. This will cause the learner to want to provide the desired response. A negative reinforcer will have the opposite effect.

One way to reinforce quality work and effort is to have a “SWAG” (Students with Academic Game) board in the classroom. Excellent student work or accomplishments may be posted here. This serves as positive and tangible recognition.

And that’s some basic info about the Students as Learners content category.

Instructional Process


The Instructional Process content category has 21 selected-response questions. These questions account for 22.5% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 4 sections:

  • Planning Instruction
  • Instructional Strategies
  • Questioning Techniques
  • Communication Techniques

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Planning Instruction

This content category tests your knowledge of how to plan instruction. You should understand how to plan instruction based on standards and theories. You should be able to plan according to a scope and sequence, selecting content to meet learning objectives. You should be aware of available resources and partners to help you plan instruction for all types of learners.

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Thematic Units

At the middle and high school levels, most classrooms are subject-specific. Yet thematic units can help students make connections between learning. Collaborating with other teachers is an option. There are four key steps to teaching via a Thematic Unit:

  • selecting a theme
  • designing integrated learning activities
  • selecting resources
  • designing assessments

A learner-centered approach would be to ask the students what theme interests them.  For example, if it is an election year, a voting theme could be implemented. A math lesson might involve polling, projections, and margins of error. A journalism lesson might focus on propaganda or bias.

Instructional Strategies

This section tests your knowledge of instructional strategies. The ability to differentiate between cognitive processes, instructional models, and direct, indirect, and interactive instruction is needed. You should be able to make decisions regarding the grouping of students and know how to adjust teaching based on feedback.

Here is a concept you should know.

Instructional Models

You should be familiar with, and know the benefits of, the following instructional models:

  • Direct– This is the use of straightforward, explicit teaching techniques, usually to teach a specific skill. It is a teacher-directed method, meaning the teacher stands in front of a classroom and presents the information. This is helpful when teaching a new or foundational concept. The teacher makes sure students are given important information.
  • Indirect– Indirect instruction is mainly student-centered. It takes advantage of students’ interests and curiosity, often encouraging them to generate ideas or solve problems.
  • Independent– Once a concept is introduced, students are given the opportunity to practice new skills prior to assessment. This allows the teacher to monitor understanding and gauge needs for re-teaching.
  • Experiential– This approach encourages students to “learn by doing”. One benefit is higher engagement and interest in a lesson.
  • InteractiveWhile the teacher leads the lesson, students are required to actively listen and engage. Examples of interactive learning include reading with think- alouds and asking students to predict. One benefit is the focus on active, rather than passive, listening.

Questioning Techniques

This section tests your knowledge of questioning techniques. An effective teacher knows how, why, and when to question students. Strategic questioning leads to higher levels of thinking and engagement.

Take a look at this concept.

Think/Wait Time

The amount of silence following a question is a big deal! Research shows that long periods of uninterrupted silence lead to an increase in correct and complete answers. A minimum of 3-5 seconds should be provided to students before accepting responses. This period of time is sometimes called “wait time”. However, the term “think time” more accurately describes what students should be doing during this time. It is also appropriate for a teacher to pause 3-5 seconds prior to responding to student questions. This models the concept and allows the teacher to consider how to clearly word the response.

For upper-level students, a longer think time may be useful, particularly when an open-ended question is asked. For example, a teacher may ask, “Do you think the United States military should have a physical presence in other countries? Why or why not?” Students may be asked to brainstorm and organize their thoughts, with support, prior to discussing aloud.

Communication Techniques

This content category tests your knowledge of verbal and nonverbal communication. A teacher should be aware of things that affect communication, know how to use communication tools, and understand effective listening strategies.

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Active Listening

Active listening is a technique that helps students focus, process, and understand what another person is saying. There are basically five steps to active listening:

  1. Focus on the person who is speaking.
  2. Show by your tone of voice, your friendly expression, and your “body language” that you are interested and want to be helpful.
  3. Don’t interrupt.
  4. Accept the person’s feelings without judgment.
  5. Paraphrase or repeat what the person has said to be sure you understand.

Active listening can relate to effective questioning. In step 5, if the listener is not clear on something said, he can ask questions to clarify.

It is helpful to practice and model active listening with students. Consider the following activity:

Explain that one student will talk about a topic you suggest, and the other partner will paraphrase. You will keep time.

  1. Divide the class into pairs. Using a topic from below, have one person talk for one minute and have his or her partner paraphrase. What is a strong feeling you’ve been having lately? If you were granted three wishes, what would they be?
  2. Have the pairs give each other feedback. Ask the people who did the paraphrasing to tell their partners what it was like for them to do this. Did they have trouble listening? Did they have trouble remembering what they heard? How did they feel about the experience? Then have the people who did the talking say what it was like for them to have their partner listen and paraphrase.
  3. Switch roles and repeat.
  4. Discuss. Was it easy or hard to paraphrase? How did it feel to do it? When you were the speaker, what was it like to hear yourself paraphrased?
  5. Repeat with other topics if desired.
  6. Summarize. Active listening is a tool that helps people clarify their understanding of one another and is essential in solving conflicts.

And that’s some basic info about the Instructional Process content category.



The Assessment content category has 14 selected-response questions. These questions account for 15% of the entire exam.

This content category can be neatly divided into 2 sections:

  • Assessment and Evaluation Strategies
  • Assessment Tools

So, let’s talk about the first section.

Assessment and Evaluation Strategies

This content category tests your knowledge of assessment and evaluation strategies. It is important to use a variety of tools and formats to make sure students are learning!

So, let’s talk about a concept you need to know.

Types of Assessments

There are three types of assessments: formative, summative, and diagnostic.

Let’s look at these…

Assessment Tools

This section tests your knowledge of assessment tools. Do you know the types, purposes, and scoring guidelines for assessments you will use in your class? Are you able to discuss these assessments and communicate results?

Take a look at this concept.

Norm- and Criterion-Referenced Scoring

These terms relate to how the results of an assessment are presented.

Norm-referenced is a percentage ranking compared to the average population. For example, “Sophie is at the 45th percentile.” This means if you took 100 students and ranked them from top to bottom, Sophie would be 45 from the bottom. So higher is better. The average is 50. Most state accountability tests are norm-referenced.

Criterion-referenced means the test relates to some sort of established unit of measure. For example, the results may be reported in grade level equivalent scores: “John’s reading comprehension skills are low 9th-grade level.”

And that’s some basic info about the Assessment content category.

Professional Development, Leadership, and Community


The Professional Development, Leadership, and Community content category has 14 selected-response questions. These questions account for 15% of the entire exam.

This content category tests your knowledge of professional development, leadership, and community. It is important that you be able to develop relationships and work with other people outside of your classroom. You also need to stay current on policies and laws.

So, let’s talk about some concepts you need to know.

Concepts to Know

Privacy and Confidentiality

One major piece of legislation to be aware of includes:


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S.Department of Education.

This law outlines what information teachers and schools may share. Details and examples are found here:

Occupational Therapists

Usually, occupational therapy is provided to students with disabilities. But occupational therapy can be made available to other students who are having specific problems in school. Occupational therapists complete evaluations and assessments. They also work with other members of the school-based team to help determine what is needed for a student to receive a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.

Handwriting is a common focus of OT sessions. In order to keep up with learning in class, students must write efficiently. Handwriting is a “skill” for the “job” of being a student.  

And that’s some basic info about the Professional Development, Leadership, and Community content category.

Analysis of Instructional Scenarios


The Analysis of Instructional Scenarios content category has 4 constructed-response questions. These questions account for 25% of the entire exam.

In this section, you will provide your own written response to given topics. For example, an essay question might present you with a topic and ask if you agree or disagree. You must support your position with specific reasons and examples from your own experience, observations, or reading. You are allowed to use scratch paper to help you organize and plan your response.

Here are some tips for completing this section of the test:

  1. Answer the question accurately
  2. Answer the question completely
  3. Answer the question that is asked
  4. Give a thorough and detailed response
  5. Reread your response