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RICA Written Examination Exam Overview

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Looking to get your Multiple Subjects or Educational Specialist credential in California? You’ll likely need to pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA). The RICA consists of three separate subtests, which you can take separately or all at once.

The scope of the RICA exam may feel overwhelming, but don’t stress—you’re in the right place. The following article will detail the structure of the RICA Written Examination exam and offer valuable tips and resources to help you ace it.

The RICA Written Examination  is a test that gauges whether you are prepared to instruct students in reading. Given its importance, it’s natural to feel some anxiety about this exam. But there are ways to take charge of your testing experience. For instance, getting familiar with the exam structure can boost your confidence. A suite of effective study tools will also set you up for success on the RICA Written Exam.

With that in mind, let’s delve into the details of the RICA Written Examination and explore some strategies for preparation. Whether you’re taking a RICA test for the first time or gearing up for a retake, this article will empower you to tackle the RICA with confidence. Let’s get to work!

Overview of the RICA Written Examination

Knowing what to expect can help ease your nerves on test day. Let’s take a broad look at the RICA exam to understand what it covers.

The RICA Written Exam consists of three different subtests. You must pass each subtest in order to pass the RICA overall.

RICA: Subtest 1 has 35 multiple-choice questions and two written responses. You will have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete this test. The questions cover the following content domains:

  • Word Analysis
  • Fluency

RICA: Subtest 2 also has 35 multiple-choice questions and two written prompts. You will have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete this test. The questions cover these content areas:

  • Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge
  • Comprehension

RICA: Subtest 3 has 25 multiple-choice questions and a long written response in the form of a case study. You will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete this exam. The multiple-choice questions will relate to the following domain:

  • Planning, Organizing, and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment

However, the case study will assess all five domains listed above: Word Analysis; Fluency; Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge; Comprehension; and Planning, Organizing, and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment.

For more specific details about the topics that appear on the RICA subtests, check out the information provided in the official RICA Test Guide from the CTC.

Familiarizing yourself with these content expectations should help you allocate study time. As you begin preparing for the RICA Written Examination, prioritize topics you know will be challenging.

Overall, a well balanced approach to studying the test’s content areas will set you up for success on the RICA exam.

Time Limit

The RICA: Subtest 1 and Subtest 2 exams will each allow you 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete 35 multiple-choice questions and two written prompts.

For the RICA: Subtest 3 exam, you will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete 25 multiple-choice questions and one written case study.

Passing Score

You must score 220 or higher on all three subtests to pass the RICA Written Examination.

Number of Questions

The RICA: Subtest 1 exam has 35 multiple-choice questions and two written prompts on Word Analysis and Fluency.

The RICA Subtest 2 exam has 35 multiple-choice questions and two written prompts on Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge as well as Comprehension.

The RICA: Subtest 3 exam has 25 multiple-choice questions that relate to Planning, Organizing, and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment. It also has a case study that assesses all five RICA content domains: Word Analysis; Fluency; Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge; Comprehension; and Planning, Organizing, and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment.

Cost

You will need to register and pay separately for all three subtests of the RICA exam. Each subtest costs $57.

Visit the CTC website for more information on fees and payment. Be sure to check whether you are eligible for a fee waiver for the RICA Written Examination.

Registration Information

You can register for the RICA Written test year round. Start the registration process by creating an account, and then choose a convenient time and place to test. You can take each subtest as a standalone exam, or combine subtests. You will need to register separately for each RICA subtest that you take.

If you’re able to abide by online proctoring rules, it’s also possible to take the RICA exam at home. Learn more about the remote testing option for the RICA Written test.

Scoring Information

Visit the CTC website to find the day your RICA Written Examination scores will be released. (Scroll down to “Test Results.”) Typically, you will have access to your scores within four weeks of testing.

Want to learn more about RICA Written Examination scores? Explore the details with our RICA: Written Exam scoring guide!

Test Preparation Tips

Given its length and breadth, the RICA Written Examination may feel intimidating. However, the right strategies and mindset will give you the boost you need to succeed. Here are some preparation tips to make the most of your study time:

Take a Proactive Approach

  • Get familiar with the format and content of the RICA Written Examination as soon as you can. The longer you put off studying, the more anxiety you’ll feel. (Reading this article is a great start!)
  • Avoid procrastination by using a calendar app to schedule study time. When you’ve made a formal appointment to study, it’s harder to skip.
  • Divide your study blocks among all content areas, and consider setting a timer to stay on track. It’s important that you be ready for every topic that appears on this exam.

Review Key Facts and Skills

  • The RICA exam deals with a fair amount of specialized terminology. To avoid confusion, take some time to brush up on relevant vocab. You don’t want to be distracted by the difference between “phonetic” and “semiphonetic” as you attempt practice questions.
  • With so much writing to do on the RICA, it’s important that you’re confident in your ability to think and write quickly. To put yourself in the best position possible, this is a great time to brush up on your brainstorming, outlining, and composition skills.

Study Sample Questions and Take Practice Tests

  • Attempt sample questions of all types. While you may already have a sense of your strengths and weaknesses, you should test those assumptions against exam materials.
  • Take full-length practice tests on a regular basis to ensure you’re comfortable with the exam’s format and timing. If you’re unable to finish tests within the time limit, avoid attempting a drastic time cut. Try gradually accelerating your pace instead.
  • Use official RICA exam preparation materials. Studying content that aligns with the real RICA Written Exam will help prevent surprises on test day.

Develop Effective Study Strategies

  • Whenever you miss a practice question, don’t just move on. Read the explanation behind each answer and ensure it makes sense.
  • Break down your study routine into manageable chunks. It’s better to dedicate 20 minutes to studying every night than to burn out after 10 hours of nonstop prep.
  • Use charts, diagrams, and flashcards to organize concepts and terms. Visualizing complex ideas can make them easier to remember.
  • Engage in active learning techniques, such as defining terms in your own words, explaining an idea to someone else, or participating in study groups. These strategies will help ensure you’re truly mastering the material, as opposed to memorizing surface details.

Important Exam Day Instructions

On the day of your RICA exam, read all pre-test instructions carefully. Allow ample time for travel—and verify that you’re headed to the location named in your confirmation email. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes before the time of your exam.

If you’re taking your exam at home, read all instructions carefully to understand how and when you need to sign in.

Check Required Items

Before your exam, double-check that you have all you need. Essential items can include:

  • Valid identification: You must present a current, government-issued ID that bears your photo and signature. Examples of acceptable ID include driver’s licenses and passports.
  • Sensible clothing: If you’ll be at a test site, the CTC website recommends bringing clothes that you can layer. You should also be sure to wear soft-soled shoes to keep the testing space quiet.
  • Equipment and workspace: If you’re testing at home, you must have access to a desktop or laptop computer. You also need a quiet, private, and well lit workspace that is free of prohibited items.

Read the official instructions to learn more about testing policies and what to bring to the exam site.

If you are taking the exam at home, make sure that you’re viewing the tab that reads “Online Proctoring” when you browse the link above. Test takers who plan to use online proctoring should pay special attention to these requirements. The rules for remote testing are very strict, and a violation will cancel your score.

Understand Exam Format and Instructions

To prevent confusion on test day, familiarize yourself with the format and basic instructions of the RICA Written Examination well in advance. Key things to remember include:

  • Time limits: Be aware of the time limit and set your pace accordingly. For both RICA: Subtest 1 and RICA: Subtest 2, you will have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete 35 multiple-choice questions and two written prompts. For RICA: Subtest 3, you will have 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete 25 multiple-choice questions and a written case study.
  • Marking scheme: Make sure you know how to mark selections properly on your screen. RICA exams take place exclusively via computer.
  • Special instructions: Pay attention to any special instructions provided by the exam proctors, such as rules around breaks.

Manage Time Effectively

Time management is crucial to finishing the RICA Subtests within their time limits. The following tips can help you manage your time effectively.

  • Read and understand the instructions: Take a moment at the beginning of each section to go over all instructions thoroughly. This will help prevent errors and wasted time.
  • Pace yourself: Don’t spend an excessive length of time on the multiple-choice sections and then leave yourself scrambling to complete the written prompts. When you’re in a rush, it’s very hard to outline and write a thoughtful response.
  • Know when to move on: There is no guessing penalty on the RICA test, so if you’re stuck on a question, it’s in your best interest to guess. You can always return to the question if you have time.

On exam day, you can use these tips to streamline your test-taking process and maximize your chances of success. Working efficiently, staying calm, and maintaining your focus are all essential to doing well on the RICA Written Examination.

Conclusion

The RICA Written Examination exam is key to becoming credentialed in the state of California. To pass this test, you’ll need to show proficiency in content areas related to reading instruction.

Despite its broad scope, you shouldn’t let this test intimidate you. If you familiarize yourself with the exam structure, review all content areas, and follow our test prep tips, you can approach the RICA Written Examination with confidence, increasing your chances of success.

More RICA Exam Resources 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the structure of the RICA Written Examination?

The RICA exam consists of three subtests that can be taken together or as standalone tests. The RICA: Subtest 1 and the RICA: Subtest 2 both have 35 multiple-choice questions and two written prompts. The RICA: Subtest 3 contains 25 multiple-choice questions and one written case study. In combination, the RICA subtests cover five content domains:

  • Word Analysis
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary, Academic Language, and Background Knowledge
  • Comprehension
  • Planning, Organizing, and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment

How long is the RICA exam? 

RICA: Subtests 1 and 2 each last 1 hour and 15 minutes. RICA: Subtest 3 lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes.

What is the passing score for the RICA? 

On each subtest of the RICA Written Examination exam, 220 is considered a passing score. You must pass all three subtests to pass the exam overall.

Are there study resources available for the RICA Written Examination? 

Yes, there are several study resources available for the RICA test. You can find online RICA Written Examination study guides, prep courses, and practice tests from various educational websites.

Do I get a break during the RICA Written Examination exam? 

The RICA subtests do not have scheduled breaks, but if you take multiple subtests on the same day, there will be a break between them. In addition, if you are testing in person, you can take restroom breaks whenever you like, but remember that the exam clock will not stop while you are gone. However, if you’re taking the exam remotely, unscheduled breaks are not allowed.

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