Elementary Education K-6: Ultimate Guide and Practice Test
Preparing to take the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 exam?
You’ve found the right page. Our Elementary Education K-6 practice test will answer every question you have and tell you exactly what you need to study to pass this exam.
In fact, we will cover ALL 4 key areas of the exam.
Elementary Education K-6 Overview
The FTCE Elementary Education K-6 is a required exam for anyone seeking teacher certification in grades K-6 in Florida. The test covers content and content pedagogy.
There are 4 subtests:
- Language Arts and Reading
- Social Science
If this is your first time to take the exam, you must register for the full exam (all four subtests). After a first attempt, you can register for any combination of subtests. You have to pass all subtests to earn a passing score for the exam.
The exam is a computer-based test, but don’t worry, you just need basic computer skills. If you made it to this point in your education and career, you have nothing to worry about.
Here is the subtest format and time allotment breakdown:
|Subtest||Questions (Multiple-Choice)||Time (Minutes)|
|Language Arts and Reading||60||65|
Frequently Asked Questions About the FTCE Elementary Education K-6
Cost: $150 for the full test (first attempt)
Retake: $37.50 (one subtest); $75 (two subtests); $112.50 (three subtests); $150 (four subtests)
Location: Tests are by appointment only, year-round. Click here to find a testing site near you.
What to Bring: You need to bring two valid, unexpired forms of identification in English.
Number of Attempts: There are no limits on how many times you can take the test before you pass; however, you do have to wait 31 days between testing attempts.
Scoring: You need to score at least 200 points per subtest. All four subtests must be passed. When you finish taking the test, you will immediately get an unofficial pass/non-pass result (unless they are experiencing score report delays). You can expect your official score within four weeks.
Register for the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 exam here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What FTCE test do I need to take?
The Bureau of Educator Certification (BEC) determines your testing requirements after you apply for certification. Click here for more info.
How long will the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 test take me?
The full test itself is 270 minutes but expect to be at the testing site longer. It takes time to get checked in and get started. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before your appointment time.
Do I get a break during the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 test?
Yes. If you are taking three or more subtests, you will get a scheduled 15-minute break. This break does count as testing time, however.
What can I expect when I arrive at the testing site to take the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 test?
When you get there, expect to have your identification checked, your photo taken, your palm scanned, your eyeglasses checked, and to place your belongings in secure storage. You will be given an erasable notepad and pen. Before starting the test, you’ll have to complete a short tutorial and sign an agreement.
Can I see what answers I got wrong on the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 test?
If you don’t pass a subtest, you may be eligible to register for a score verification session where you can review incorrectly answered multiple-choice questions. At this time, you could also submit scoring challenges if you feel there is an error.
Is the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 test hard?
Yea, it’s challenging. In 2017 the passing rates were:
|Language Arts and Reading||54%|
You have to study quality, trusted sources (like 240Tutoring).
How do I pass the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 test?
To pass the FTCE Elementary Education K-6 test, you must first understand what is on the exam and what you will be expected to know. The best way is to review the 240Tutoring test breakdown materials and practice questions. Once you identify areas of weakness, you can begin targeting those areas with instructional content and practice questions.
Elementary Education K-6: 5 Top Tips
Make sure to answer every question (even if you guess)
Know how much time you have left
Eliminate incorrect answers first
Work through practice questions so you know what to expect
Study quality, trusted sources (like 240Tutoring)
Elementary Education K-6: English Overview
You will have 65 minutes to complete 60 multiple-choice questions.
The FTCE Elementary Education K-6 Language Arts and Reading subtest can be neatly divided into five different sections. Those five sections are:
- Reading Process
- Literary Analysis and Genres
- Language and the Writing Process
- Literacy Instruction and Assessment
- Communication and Media Literacy
So, let’s start with the biggest, reading process.
This section involves simply understanding how students learn to read and then taking that knowledge and teaching students how to read.
Reading process questions make up about 29% of the Language Arts and Reading subtest.
There are three big concepts you definitely have to know to get these questions correct:
- Emergent Literacy
- Text Analysis
- Teaching Strategies
Emergent literacy is basically what a student understands about reading and writing before he/she can read and write words. It’s really the first step in the literacy process. Literacy means the ability to read and write.
You need to know terms like phonological awareness, concepts of print, and decoding. And you need to know the steps in both oral and written language development.
Text analysis includes knowing the main parts of comprehension. Comprehension means understanding something. So, basically, students need to understand what they read.
Brush up on terms like main idea, supporting details, author’s purpose, point of view, inference, and conclusion. Also, be able to determine the best ways to explain and use charts, tables, pictures, etc. in texts to help students understand the book better.
And the last is teaching strategies. You need to know the best practices for teaching decoding skills, fluency development, vocabulary across content, reading comprehension, and critical thinking skills.
Be very sure you know the components of fluency, too (accuracy, automaticity, rate, and prosody). There are lots of ways to teach these things, but some ways are considered “best.”
Now, those are the three broad concepts to be familiar with.
Right now, I’m going to give you three specific concepts to be familiar with because they will most likely appear on the test.
The first specific concept is phonological awareness. This is simply the ability to hear and distinguish between the smallest unit of sound. And the smallest unit of sound is otherwise known as a phoneme. Developing phonemic awareness among students is really going to help them as they learn to sound out words.
Now, there are a few best practices for teaching phonemic awareness, so you need to make sure that you research and understand what those best practices are.
Concepts of Print
The second specific concept is concepts of print. This simply means basic knowledge about text. Even more simply, does a student know how a book works? It includes reading from left to right, reading from top to bottom, knowing that the letters make words that send a message, using “return sweep” (move from one line to the next) and that every book has a front, back, and author.
There are several assessments out there that test a student’s concept of print.
You need to know what it is, why it’s important, how to assess it, and how to teach it.
And finally, you need to know what fluency is and what the main parts of it are. In really simple terms, fluency is being able to read words correctly and quickly and not sound like a robot. The big parts of fluency are accuracy, automaticity, rate, and prosody. You need to know what these words mean.
Accuracy is reading the words correctly.
Automaticity is knowing the words right away. You don’t have to sound anything out or think about it. You just know it.
Rate is basically how many words a student can read per minute. But the kicker here is that a student needs to comprehend what they read. So, if they read way too fast and don’t understand what they just read, that’s no good. They need to read at a rate that also allows them to understand what they read.
Prosody is a fancy word for expression. Basically, you don’t want to sound like a robot. You want to read in phrases, not word by word.
Literary Analysis and Genres
This section includes knowing about the different kinds of books and being able to think about them and respond to them in a higher-level way.
Literary analysis and genres questions make up about 16% of the Language Arts and Reading subtest.
There are three big concepts you definitely have to know to get these questions correct:
- Types of Genres
- Literary Devices
- Teaching Strategies
Types of genres means knowing the different kinds of books out there. There are realistic fiction books, fantasy books, poetry, informational texts, etc. You need to know the different kinds of books and what makes them different from the rest (their features).
Literary devices are things author’s use to make their writing special. These include things like similes, metaphors, personification, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, etc. You need to know what these words mean and be able to find examples of them.
And the last is teaching strategies. You need to know the best practices for choosing books for instruction and how to teach students to respond to books. This includes different strategies like think-pair-share, reading response journals, and evidence-based discussion.
Be sure to know what multicultural texts are and why they are important to use.
Those are the three big concepts to know and understand.
Now, here are three specific concepts to be familiar with because they will most likely appear on the test.
The first specific concept is knowing what realistic fiction is. Realistic fiction includes stories that could actually happen in real life but didn’t. Think Because of Winn-Dixie and Shiloh. The setting, characters, and plot could happen or could have already happened. There isn’t anything magical or make-believe about them.
The second specific concept to know is what evidence-based discussion is. Basically, students must use evidence, or proof, from a book to justify their answers or comments. If they can’t prove it with clues from the book, it probably isn’t right. Just like a person can’t be prosecuted for a crime without evidence, a student can’t draw a conclusion from a book without evidence. Evidence is key.
So, you need to know how to facilitate, or guide, students to have evidence-based discussions about books.
And the last specific concept to know is what multicultural texts are and why they are important to use.
Multicultural texts are books about underrepresented groups of people. These groups aren’t a part of the “mainstream” in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, language, etc. It is important for students to be exposed to multicultural books so that they gain a basic understanding of the world and the people in it. These books can help them understand their own culture and the culture of others.
As a teacher, it will be your job to use multicultural books for instruction that are appropriate, sensitive, and relevant. You don’t want to use a book that is offensive or outdated.
So, think about different ways to use multicultural books in the classroom.
Language and the Writing Process
This section involves knowing how students develop in writing, what the writing process is, and how you can effectively teach students to write.
Language and the writing process questions make up about 16% of the Language Arts and Reading subtest.
There are four big concepts you definitely have to know to get these questions correct:
- Developmental Stages of Writing
- Writing Process
- Modes of Writing
- Teaching Strategies
The first big concept you have to know are the developmental stages of writing. The stages of writing development will go from when a child is first learning to write (scribbling) to when they’re starting to use grammar and the finer points of grammar to make their point.
The stages of writing development are:
- Mock letters
- Letter formation
- Word writing
- Sentence construction
- Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical expression
So, make sure you’re familiar with each stage of writing development, the characteristics, what students need to learn, and what kind of instructional activities they need to progress on to the next stage.
The writing process is specifically referring to what needs to happen to go from a not completed writing assignment to a completed writing assignment.
The stages of the writing process are:
Make sure you know the purposes of each stage and how students should engage in each stage.
So, what should students be doing during the prewriting stage that differs than in the writing stage? And what should students be doing during the revision stage that’s different than in the editing stage?
All of this is almost guaranteed to come up on the test.
Modes of writing describes the different ways students can write.
The different modes of writing include:
You need to know the difference between the modes and how to select the most appropriate mode of writing for a variety of occasions, purposes, and audiences.
And the last big concept is teaching strategies. You need to know the best practices for teaching writing conventions.
Writing conventions include:
- Word usage
You also need to know how to teach the craft of writing. This means that you can teach students to effectively use precise language, figurative language, linking words, temporal words, dialogue, and sentence variety.
Know those terms and the best practices for teaching them.
Those are the four big concepts to know and understand.
Now, here are three specific concepts to be familiar with because they will most likely appear on the test.
Revising versus Editing
The first specific concept to know is the difference between revising and editing. They are not the same thing!
Revising means you change a few words or sentences to make your writing better. You may clear up any confusing parts or add more details. The content of your writing changes.
Editing means you fix errors in your writing like spelling, capitalization, punctuation, etc. Maybe you forgot to capitalize someone’s name or put a period at the end of a sentence. The content of your writing does not change.
So, be sure you know the difference between revising and editing.
The second specific concept to know is what narrative writing is. A narrative is a story (usually about a personal experience). The reader typically learns a lesson at the end of the story.
Most narratives include a theme, characters, setting, and plot. The plot is the main events of the story.
After knowing what a narrative is, you need to know how to use the writing process to teach students how to write a narrative. This includes prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
So, know what a narrative is and how to teach students how to write one.
And the last specific concept is figurative language. Figurative language is when you use words or phrases in a different way than normal.
Figurative language includes:
There are more kinds of figurative language, but these are the ones most likely to come up on the test. Know these terms and be able to identify examples of each.
Literacy Instruction and Assessment
This section includes knowing how to teach students to read and write, knowing how to monitor and assess students’ reading and writing skills, and knowing how to analyze those assessments to see what you need to do next.
Literacy instruction and assessment questions make up about 23% of the Language Arts and Reading subtest.
There are three big concepts you definitely have to know to get these questions correct:
- Teaching Strategies
- Literacy Assessment
- Data Analysis
The first big concept you need to know is teaching strategies for literacy. Basically, you need to know different ways to teach students to read and write. There are a few best practices for instruction that you need to be familiar with: literature circles, small groups, workshops, reading centers, and multiage groups.
Know what those are and how to implement each in your classroom.
The next big concept is literacy assessment. This means that you should be able to track student progress in different ways, understand what the data is saying, and make plans to help students who just aren’t getting it.
Now, within each of those three things, there are several things you need to know because they will more than likely pop up on the test.
Here are some different kinds of assessments:
There are more, but these are the ones that you need to know for the test. Be sure to know what they are, when you should use them, and what makes them different from the rest.
There are also different ways to assess how students are doing:
- Informal reading inventories
- Fluency checks
- Story retelling
Know what these are and the best times to use them.
The last big concept to know is data analysis. Basically, you need to be able to use all that assessment info and make action plans to help students succeed in reading and writing. This data should help you plan your instruction. It should also guide your talks with students and their parents.
So, know how to look at student data and use that data to drive your decisions in the classroom.
Those are the three big concepts to know.
Now, here are three specific concepts to know.
Norm-Referenced versus Criterion-Referenced
A norm-referenced test compares a student’s progress to other students.
A criterion-referenced test compares a student’s progress to a set of standards. It doesn’t consider how other students did.
Now, these are two very different types of assessments with different goals and knowing when and where to use each assessment is going to come up on the test.
This is a set of steps that a teacher takes to help a student improve reading or writing skills. If you notice a student is struggling, this is what you do to help them.
Don’t forget that you have to document everything. If you don’t write it down, it didn’t happen. Good documentation can really help both a student and the teacher.
Multiage grouping means putting students of varying ages together in the same classroom or group. The idea is that these students can learn from each other.
You should know how multiage groups can help students learn to read and write.
Communication and Media Literacy
This section involves knowing different ways to communicate with students and how to use technology appropriately in the classroom.
Communication and media literacy questions make up about 16% of the Language Arts and Reading subtest.
There are three big concepts you definitely have to know to get these questions correct:
- Communication techniques
- Teaching strategies
The first big concept to know is communication techniques. There are different ways to communicate with students. This includes:
- Eye contact
Of course, there are way more. But these are the top ones to know for the test. Know what they are and how you can use them to communicate with students.
Another big concept is teaching strategies for developing listening and speaking skills. These can include:
- Collaborative conversation
- Collaborative discussion
Know what these are and how to use them in the classroom.
You should also be aware of effective written communication. Focus on what good penmanship contains (legibility, letter formation, and spacing).
Finally, the last big concept to know involves technology. You need to know about the different kinds of technology you can use in the classroom and the correct way to use that technology.
There is a right and wrong way to use technology. Make sure you know how to avoid plagiarism (copying someone else’s work) by correctly giving credit to that person.
Those are the three big concepts to know.
Let’s talk about three specific concepts that will probably show up on the test.
Collaborative Conversation or Discussion
These are talks between students (either one-on-one, in groups, or teacher-led) where, you guessed it, they talk about a topic. The key here is that students can build on each other’s ideas or find solutions to problems. Collaborative learning is definitely a best practice you need to know about.
Know what collaborative conversation is, why it’s important, and when to use it as an instructional method.
Being an active listener means that you are fully concentrating and focused on what a speaker is saying. You aren’t just “hearing” what is being said but listening. Active listening uses more than just your sense of hearing.
Active speaking is more than just saying words. The way you say something usually means more than what you say. Think eye contact, body language, tone, gestures, etc.
You need to know not only how to do both of these things, but how to teach students to be both active listeners and speakers.
Two big ways that students learn is through modeling and thinking aloud. If students see you being an active listener and speaker, they are likely to follow your lead.
The modern classroom uses a wide variety of technology. Think:
- Digital textbooks
- Networked learning
And there are so many more. Take some time to search online about different kinds of technology being used in classrooms.
Know what they are and how they can be used to enhance student learning.
And that’s some basic info about the Language Arts and Reading subtest.
You will have 65 minutes to complete 55 multiple-choice questions.
The FTCE Elementary Education K-6 Social Science subtest can be neatly divided into five different sections. Those five sections are:
- Instruction and Planning
So, let’s start with instruction and planning.
Instruction and Planning
This section includes knowing how to plan for and teach the social sciences. It also includes choosing the best resources and assessments to use.
Instruction and planning questions make up about 19% of the Social Science subtest.
There are three big concepts you definitely have to know to get these questions correct:
- Selection of resources
- Instructional practices
- Learning environments
The first big concept to know is how to select good resources for both planning and instruction. There is a lot of information out there. It’s on you to know what resources are high-quality and accurate.
So, you need to know where to find good resources and how to use them to help you plan and deliver lessons.
Instructional practices include knowing the best ways to teach and assess students. Again, as I have said many times already, there are “best practices” for teaching. Know them.
The last big concept to know is what learning environments are appropriate for social science lessons. This means thinking about the physical design of your classroom, themes, locations of lessons, and the incorporation of community. I’ll talk more about a couple of these in a minute.
So those are the big concepts to know concerning instruction and planning.
Let’s talk about a couple of specific concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Complex Informational Text
You have to include complex informational text in your planning and instruction. What’s that? It’s nonfiction books or other forms of text that are, you guessed it, complex. These texts may have detailed graphics or have different formats than “normal” texts. It’s your job to help students navigate these texts and make sense of them.
So, I just mentioned that you need to think about the different learning environments that are appropriate for social science lessons.
The physical design of your classroom matters. Think about display areas, lighting, and organization. You need to make your classroom an inviting, comfortable, safe place so students can learn.
It seems like common sense, right? But even the small details can matter.
Incorporating the community in your social science lessons is important. Are you teaching students about community helpers? Maybe it’s a good idea to invite a fireman or policeman to visit your classroom. Or maybe you can take a trip to the fire station.
Think about ways to make your social science lessons interactive and meaningful and be ready to answer questions about it.
This section tests what you know about, you guessed it, history.
History is the study of human events from the past. While history can cover any and all past events, on the exam, history will really focus on a few main historical events and the impact of those events on the course of human history, the United States, or specifically, the state of Florida.
It’s important to know the cause and effect of historical events. So, as you study historical events, make sure you understand why that event is important and what effect that event had on the future of the state, country, or world.
History questions make up about 26% of the Social Science subtest. It’s a big one.
Here are a few notable events and people to be sure to know.
From 1348 to 1350, a plague known as the Black Death, swept across Europe killing 30-60% of the population. It was started by trade ships carrying infected rodents.
The Black Death became super destructive because the cities couldn’t keep conditions sanitary. They didn’t know that diseases were spread by microscopic germs.
England’s first semi-successful venture was the establishment of the Jamestown Colony. The settlers really struggled at first, but John Smith turned things around by encouraging the settlers to work hard. The colonists were then able to grow crops (with the biggest, most successful crop being tobacco).
As the Jamestown crop production grew, the colonists began importing Africans, both as slaves and indentured servants, to work in the fields.
Be sure to know the difference between slaves and indentured servants.
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation was the original constitution of the United States of America (1781). They were a direct response to the complaints and concerns the colonies had with Great Britain.
The Articles severely limited the power of the new national government, creating a unicameral (one house) legislature that required 2/3 vote to pass any law.
Needless to say, lots of problems came up so the leaders of the colonies called for a convention to rewrite the law of the land.
Civil Rights Movement
The Civil Rights Movement was a mass popular movement to secure equal rights for African-Americans who faced racism and segregation.
Some notable events to research and know are:
- Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1957)
- Little Rock 9 (1957)
- March on Washington (1963)
- Selma to Montgomery March (1965)
Ponce de Leon
Ponce de Leon landed in Florida in early April of 1513. He came back with more people in 1521 and tried to found a settlement. Almost immediately, they were attacked by the natives and had to abandon settlement plans.
Even though it didn’t work out, Ponce de Leon’s activities identified Florida as a desirable location for future exploration.
Take some time to research Ponce de Leon and his impact on Floridian history.
This section tests your knowledge about Earth and its people.
Geography looks at places and the relationship between people and those places.
The biggest thing you need to know for Geography: How do geographic features of land influence human behavior?
Simply put- humans respond to their geographic circumstances.
Examples would be: every single major city founded before 1900 is by a river or water source. This is because humans need freshwater and water was the faster and easiest form of transportation until the invention of the steam engine and railroads.
Geography questions make up about 18% of the Social Science subtest.
Here are a few geography concepts to be sure to know.
The Six Essential Elements of Geography
So, the first thing you need to know about geography is that there are six components of it. They are:
- The world in spatial terms (location of things)
- Places and regions (features of a location)
- Physical systems (natural features and changes they make)
- Human systems (how humans affect places)
- Environment and society (how humans affect the environment and vice versa)
- Uses of geography (understanding relationships and planning for future)
Understand the elements and come up with an example for each one. It will help you apply your knowledge on the test.
Because the Earth can be hard to visualize, geographers use maps and globes to help them.
Maps are two-dimensional renditions of a place. They can cover any area, ranging from a park to the whole world.
There are several different types of maps that you need to study for the test. They are:
- Physical map
- Political map
- Topographic map
- Climate map
- Economic or resource map
- Thematic map
You also need to know what features are on a map (compass rose, legend, etc.)
Climate is the average weather for a given place or location. There are ten distinct climates on Earth:
- Tropical rainforest
- Humid subtropical
- Humid continental
Research each of these climates, provide examples and be able to differentiate them by their unique features.
This is a big one. You need to know how humans interact with their environment and vice versa, specifically the way the environment impacts the development of culture and how human activity shapes the environment.
At first, humans interacted with their environment because they needed basic things like food, water, and clothing. Now, humans have increased their control over the environment and attempt to shape it to their needs and wants.
Globalization is the interaction and integration of people across the world. As technology expands and increases, so does globalization.
There are both benefits and concerns with globalization.
Take some time to research the history of globalization along with the benefits of and concerns with it.
This part of the test sees what you know about the people and processes that rule the land.
The rules, processes, and the people who make and enforce those rules and processes are the government.
Government questions make up 20% of the Social Science subtest.
Here are some government concepts that will most likely be on the test.
Major Political Ideas
There are several key concepts that are important to know in order to understand the structure and context of American government. They are:
- Natural law
- Common law
- Natural rights
- Social contract
Research each of these and be able to answer questions about them.
Forms of Government
The United States is a democratic republic, but it is only one of many forms of government. Others include:
- Direct democracy
Be sure to know what each of these are and give examples of each.
The US Constitution lays the foundation for the American government. It also provided and continues to provide a blueprint for a Constitutional government throughout the world. Democracy has now penetrated almost every country in the developed world.
Make sure to know what the U.S. Constitution is and the different parts of it (the preamble, the articles, and the amendments). The first ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights.
Branches of US Government
There are three major branches of the US government:
- Judicial Branch (headed by the Supreme Court)
- Legislative Branch (Congress: House and Senate)
- Executive Branch (the President, Vice President, the Cabinet, and the federal bureaucracy)
You need to know how each branch works, what it’s in charge of, and how the branches share powers and responsibilities (checks and balances).
Notable Supreme Court Cases
And finally, you need to know about some of the most important Supreme Court cases. These include:
- Marbury v. Madison (1801)
- Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
- Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954)
- Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
- Roe v. Wade (1973)
- United States v. Nixon (1974)
- Citizens United v. FEC (2010)
This is not a complete list. There are many more important and historical Supreme Court cases. This just provides you with a good starting point.
Research each of these cases and know their impact.
It is also a good idea to know how the US legal system works.
This section tests your knowledge about US and world economics.
Economics is the study of how people produce, distribute, trade, and consume goods and services.
Economics questions make up about 17% of the Social Science subtest. It is the smallest section, but still a very important one.
Here are some specific concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Scarcity is the basic problem of the gap between our wants/needs and the available resources. No human has all of the resources necessary to fulfill every need and desire. Because of this, people must use cost-benefit analysis to make their choices. This means that they make trade-offs and decisions as to best allocate their resources.
Opportunity of Cost
Because all resources are scarce, all actions have an opportunity cost. An opportunity cost is the benefits you miss out on when you choose one thing over another.
Take a look at this example:
Bob is home alone on Tuesday night. He wants to watch a television program or play a computer game. He decides to play a computer game. The opportunity cost of playing the computer game is not watching television.
Be able to identify the opportunity cost of a choice.
Most countries have their own currency (a medium of exchange to buy and sell goods). There are two types of currencies:
Know what these two types of currencies are for the test.
Supply and Demand
In simple terms, supply is how much of something is available and demand is how much of something people want.
There are a lot of factors that affect supply and demand, and it’s actually pretty complicated. Take some time to read about supply and demand and know these terms:
- Law of demand
- Law of supply
- Economics of scale
And that’s some very basic info about the Social Science subtest.
Elementary Education K-6: Science
You will have 70 minutes to complete 55 multiple-choice questions.
The FTCE Elementary Education K-6 Science subtest can be neatly divided into five different sections. Those five sections are:
- Scientific Instruction
- Scientific Process
- Physical Science
- Earth and Space Science
- Life Science
So, let’s start with scientific instruction.
This section tests your knowledge about how to teach students science concepts and skills and then assess those skills.
Scientific instruction makes up about 20% of the Science subtest.
There are three big concepts to know because they will more than likely appear on the test:
- Scientific inquiry
- Lab safety
- Scientific assessment
The first big concept to know is how to teach students the process of scientific inquiry. To learn more about the world, scientists use skills such as observing, predicting, classifying, inferring, and making models.
Sometimes a large set of related observations can be connected by a single explanation. A science teacher must understand and communicate the importance of scientific inquiry and the role it plays in solving problems effectively and in answering questions in everyday life.
There are research-based strategies for teaching scientific inquiry.
You need to know the scientific inquiry process, why it’s important to teach students, and how to teach it.
Lab safety is super important because it keeps everyone safe. And safe students are able to learn.
You need to know the basic lab safety requirements and common rules like:
- Never put chemicals back into the container.
- Always wear goggles.
- Wash hands before and after experiments.
- Direct the openings of containers away from the face.
- Do not eat or drink in the lab.
There are many more lab safety rules. These are just a few. Take some time to research more and why they are important.
The last big concept to know is how to assess students’ science skills. You need to assess students in a variety of ways using both formative and summative assessments. These assessments should guide future science lessons. As the teacher, you should also provide students with feedback on how they are doing with specific science skills.
Think about different ways to assess students’ science knowledge.
So, those are the big concepts.
Let’s take a look at some specific concepts that could pop up on the test.
Formative versus Summative Assessment
A formative assessment is the ongoing assessment of a student’s learning. The goal is to monitor student learning.
A summative assessment is the final appraisal of a student’s achievements. The goal is to evaluate student learning.
Know the difference between the two types of assessments and how you may use both of them for science instruction and assessment.
Lab Safety Symbols
To make sure students are safe, there are several lab safety symbols that you, the teacher, need to know and teach students. These include symbols for:
- Safety goggles required
- Caution with potentially fragile equipment
- Gloves required
- Open flame caution
- Hand washing required
There are several more. Do an Internet search of lab safety symbols and familiarize yourself with them.
This section tests your knowledge on how to provide opportunities for students to investigate the natural world through carefully planned processes.
Scientific process questions make up about 18% of the Science subtest.
There are three big concepts to definitely know for the test. They are:
- The scientific method
- Scientific tools
- Effects of science
Let’s briefly talk about each of those big concepts.
The first big concept is knowing what the scientific method is. The scientific method is a way to research using steps to solve a problem and gathering data to reach a conclusion.
The steps of the scientific method may look a little different from grade to grade, but here are the basic steps:
- Make an observation
- Form a question
- Form a hypothesis
- Conduct an experiment
- Analyze the data
- Draw a conclusion
- Communicate the conclusion
Know the basic steps of the scientific method and what each one looks like in the classroom.
Scientific tools include the metric system (units of measurement), data organizers (charts and graphs), digital technologies, and lab equipment.
You’ll be using all of these to teach science.
I’ll go into detail with a couple of these, but you should know what these are and know several examples of each.
And the last big concept to know is the effects of science on culture, ethics, the economy, politics, and the world.
Yea, that’s a lot. I did say it was a big concept.
Think about conservation, alternative energy sources, cloning, stem cell research, genetic testing, fitness and health, human reliance on fossil fuels, and many, many more.
Those are the big concepts to know.
Here are some specific concepts that have a good chance of showing up on the test.
Units of Measurement and Abbreviations
You need to know the units of measurement for the metric system, which is the standard system of measurement that we use.
Commit these units to memory:
- meter: measures length
- liter: measures volume
- gram: measures mass
- second: measures time
- newton: measure weight
Also, note these abbreviations:
- kilo: 1000 units
- hecto: 100 units
- deca: 10 units
- deci: 1/10 unit
- centi: 1/100 unit
- milli: 1/1000 unit
It would be smart for you to practice conversions within the measurement system.
Types of Charts and Graphs
You also need to know the different types of charts and graphs you will use for science instruction. They are:
- Data table
- Bar graph/histogram
- Line graph
- Circle graph
Know what each of these are, what they look like, and how they display data.
Kinds of Lab Equipment
As a science teacher, you will need to know about the different kinds of lab equipment and how to properly use and clean them. These tools include:
- Beaker tongs
- Graduated cylinders
- Erlenmeyer flasks
- Eyewash station
These are just a few but are the most common equipment.
This section tests your knowledge about non-living systems (think physics, chemistry, astronomy, etc.).
Physical science questions make up about 20% of the Science subtest.
There are three big concepts to know. They are:
- Force and Motion
- Physical and Chemical Properties
Let’s briefly talk about each one.
The first big concept to know is force and motion.
Motion is the physical change in position of an object in proportion to a point of reference.
Force is a push or pull on an object.
You should also know these terms:
Also, look up Newton’s Laws. You need to know these for the test.
Physical and chemical properties are ways to classify matter. By the way, matter is anything that has mass and takes up space.
Physical properties are the physical characteristics of matter or energy.
Chemical properties are the characteristics of a substance’s reactions that change the identity of the substance.
You need to know about the Periodic Table of Elements, the different types of pure substances and mixtures, what physical and chemical changes are, the states of matter and their characteristics, and the pH scale.
The last big concept to know is energy. Energy is the ability to do work or apply a force over a distance.
Know that energy is never created or destroyed; it only changes forms. And it can be transferred is a bunch of different ways.
There are two broad kinds of energy: kinetic and potential. Know what these are and the differences between them.
There are also many forms of energy like chemical, electrical, heat, light, sound, etc.
There you go! Those are the big concepts.
Now let’s look at some specific physical science concepts.
Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Mixtures
In a homogeneous mixture, or a solution, all of the substances are evenly distributed (think blood, air, and salt water). All of it looks the same.
In a heterogeneous mixture, the substances are not evenly distributed and look different (think chocolate chip cookies, beach sand, and the air with clouds).
Make sure you know the difference between these two mixtures.
Potential and Kinetic Energy
Remember, energy is the ability to do work or apply a force over a distance. There are two broad classifications of energy.
Potential energy is stored energy. A rock on the edge of a cliff has potential energy because gravity might pull it down.
Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. When potential energy is used, it turns into kinetic energy. So, if that rock falls down the side of the cliff, during its fall, it has kinetic energy.
Make sense? Good! Be sure to know the difference between potential and kinetic energy.
Newton’s first law, the law of inertia, says that an object resists changes in its state of motion. Remember this? “An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an equal or opposite force.” Think about why seatbelts are important.
The second law explains why objects with greater mass require more force to move the object. Force = mass * acceleration.
Newton’s third law explains why objects move in the opposite direction of the greater force. “For every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction.”
Take some time to look up Newton and his laws of motion.
Earth and Space Science
This section tests what you know about the earth, its characteristics, and space, and its characteristics.
Earth and space science questions make up about 19% of the Science subtest.
There are three really big concepts to know:
- Earth Systems
- Weather and Climate
- Solar System and the Universe
The first big concept to know is about earth’s systems. This includes knowing the structures of earth, especially geologic formations like mountains, volcanoes, and canyons.
You should also know the four layers of earth and their characteristics.
Other things to research include the different spheres (atmosphere, geosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere), plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, soil, and heat transfer from the sun.
This is a super broad concept. A study guide could really come in handy to help prepare you for the test. I know of a good one!
Another big concept to know includes weather and climate. The main difference between weather and climate is time. Weather describes the conditions over a short period of time, while climate is the average daily weather for a long period of time.
Some important words to know are:
- air pressure
- water vapor
- Coriolis effect
Know what these words mean!
And the last big concept to know involves the solar system and universe. Basically, you need to know what’s out there in space (the sun, planets, asteroids, stars, comets, meteoroids, etc.) and about the sun-moon-earth relationship. These systems together create tides and seasons.
Also, be aware of the lunar cycle and its process and stages.
Finally, brush up on key events in space exploration and their effects on society.
Those are the big concepts to know about earth and space science.
Okay. Let’s talk about some specific earth and space science concepts.
The Water Cycle
Now, the water cycle is really talking about how water goes from the ocean into the atmosphere, turns into rain, falls on land, and then is transferred back to the ocean.
You see, the water cycle is one of the pillars of life on Earth. So, we have to understand it to get questions right on that Earth and Space Science section.
Make sure you know the stages of the water cycle, what drives the water cycle, and these words:
- surface runoff
Characteristics of Soil
Soil formation occurs due to the weathering and erosion of rocks.
There are five components of soil:
- organic material
- living organisms
- water and air
Make sure you know what is in each component.
The process of soil formation takes many hundreds (or thousands) of years. So, a really long time.
Major Events in Space Exploration
There have been a lot of advancements in space exploration. But there are really a few, big key events that have really affected society. Here are a few:
- 1957: The first satellite, Sputnik, is launched into space.
- 1961: The first man, Yury A. Gagarin, successfully orbits earth. It takes one hour and twenty-nine minutes.
- 1969: The first lunar landing, Apollo 11, makes Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, Jr., and Michael Collins household names. Remember? “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
- 1990: The Hubble Telescope is launched into space.
There have been many more happenings in space exploration, but these probably had the biggest effects on society. Read about these events and how they affected the world.
This section tests your knowledge on living things and life processes.
Life science questions make up about 23% of the Science subtest. It’s a big one.
There are three pretty big concepts you need to know:
- Living Things
- Evolution and Change
The first big concept to know is about living things and their life cycles.
Yea, I said “living things.” I know, that is very broad.
You need to know how organisms can be classified. There are three big domains:
Then, you can break those down into six kingdoms:
From there, you can continue to sort living things into categories by phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. This ranking is called the taxonomic hierarchy. Be sure to know what all of these words mean.
You also need to know what a cell is, both plant and animal, and what parts make up a cell.
Finally, make sure you know the human body systems, parts of a plant, the life cycles of animals and plants, and how both animals and plants reproduce.
There is so much information to know here. A thorough study guide would be an excellent resource to use.
Another big concept to know is about evolution and change. Living and non-living things in an environment are partners in keeping an ecosystem in balance. Living things constantly interact with their environment. Organisms can change in response to environmental conditions, and the environment can change in response to a population or group of organisms.
Make sure you can define these terms:
- natural selection
- selective breeding
Finally, the last big concept to know is about genetics. Genetics is the study of traits passed down from parents to offspring.
There are several terms to know:
Also, know what DNA and RNA is and how they are different.
So, those are the big (very big) concepts to know.
Here are some specific life science concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Living versus Non-living Things
There are seven characteristics of living things:
- use energy
- get rid of waste
- grow and develop
- respond to environment
Some non-living things may have a couple of these characteristics, but a living thing will have all of them.
Be sure to know these characteristics and what they mean.
Human Body Systems
You also need to know the different systems within the human body. They include:
Take some time to research these systems and find out what they are, what they do, and be able to compare them to other animal’s organ systems.
Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert light energy into chemical energy. In simpler terms, it is how plants use the sun to make food for themselves.
Be sure to understand this process.
And that’s some very basic info about the Science subtest.
Elementary Education K-6: Mathematics
You will have 70 minutes to complete 50 multiple-choice questions.
The FTCE Elementary Education K-6 Mathematics subtest can be neatly divided into five different sections. Those five sections are:
- Student Thinking and Instructional Practices
- Number Concepts, Operations, and Algebraic Thinking
- Fractions, Ratios, and Integers
- Measurement, Data, and Statistics
You will be given a Mathematics Reference Sheet to use on the test. Click here to see what’s on it.
So, let’s start with student thinking and instructional practices.
Student Thinking and Instructional Practices
This section tests your knowledge on how students think about math and how you, the teacher, should teach math (aka “best practices”).
Student thinking and instructional practices questions make up about 26% of the Mathematics subtest.
There are three pretty big concepts to know:
- Major Theories of Learning
- Teaching Strategies
The first big concept to know is the major theories of learning and how they can be applied to math. First of all, there are a lot of theories about how children learn. But here are some important ones to read and think about:
- Social Learning
- Sociocultural Learning
More specifically, take a look at these theories:
- Piaget’s Four Stages of Cognitive Development
- Bloom’s Taxonomy
- Levels of Geometric Thinking (van Hieles)
Be sure to know what each of these are and how they can be applied to math.
You should also read over Florida’s standards for each grade level. You can do that by clicking here.
The next big concept is teaching strategies. Remember, as I’ve said a few times before now, there are “best practices” for teaching each subject.
Take a look at this publication by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). They outline some effective teaching practices for math.
Also, be sure to know what manipulatives are, why they are important to use, and be aware of some specific manipulatives like geoboards, pattern blocks, number lines, base ten blocks, tangrams, etc.
You also need to know the importance of using small groups to differentiate math instruction.
Finally, the last big concept to know is how to assess students’ knowledge in math. Know these types of assessments and when to use them:
- progress monitoring
Remember, assessments should guide your planning and instruction and help you differentiate for each student.
So, those are the big concepts to know concerning student thinking and instructional practices.
Let’s take a look at some pretty specific concepts that are likely to appear on the test.
Problem-solving is a critical skill that students need to master in all subjects, including math. Let’s take a look at a particular problem-solving model called Polya’s Model. Here are his four steps to problem-solving:
- Understand the problem
- Devise a plan
- Carry out the plan
Now, there are a lot of problem-solving methods out there, but all of them are basically some form of Polya’s original four steps. And there are several strategies you can use to devise a plan (Step 2) like working backward and using a formula.
Be sure you are able to use the four steps to solve a math problem.
You really need to know the different components of math fluency and why it’s important for your students to be fluent in math. The components of math fluency are:
These components are a little bit different than reading fluency.
Accuracy means solving problems with the best method, the right steps, and in the right order to get the correct answer.
Automaticity means knowing the answer to a problem right away. You’ve done it so many times that its almost just an instant reflex. An example is knowing right away that 10 x 3 = 30.
Rate is all about being efficient. You can complete the steps of problem-solving quickly. You know exactly what step to take next and don’t waste time being “lost”.
Finally, flexibility means that you are comfortable using more than one approach to solve a problem. You understand numbers and operations well, so you can manipulate the information and think critically. If you don’t know the answer right away, you know a way to figure it out.
These are some words you need to know. How do I know? Because they appear right in the description of the skill that you will be tested on. It’s like the state is handing you a little gift. Take advantage of this gift and learn these words!
Subitizing is a way of instantly counting (example: you see a group of dots and know immediately that there are ten, without counting).
Transitivity. Okay. Stay with me here. Think of three elements. We will call them A, B, and C. Transitivity means that if A is related to B, and B is related to C, then A and C must also be related to each other. Get it?
Iteration is when you repeatedly solve a problem using a result from a previous problem.
Tiling is when you put individual tiles together with no gaps or overlaps.
Number Concepts, Operations, and Algebraic Thinking
This section tests what you know about numbers, if you can manipulate those numbers, and how well you can do algebra.
Number concepts, operations, and algebraic thinking questions make up about 28% of the Mathematics subtest.
Here are some specific concepts to know.
Properties of Math
Think of a property as kind of like a rule you need to follow. Okay? There are quite a few of these properties.
- Commutative Property of Addition
- Commutative Property of Multiplication
- Associative Property of Addition
- Associative Property of Multiplication
- Distributive Property
- Additive Identity Property
- Additive Inverse Property
- Multiplicative Identity Property
- Multiplicative Inverse Property
Whew. Like I said, there’s a lot. You need to know what these are and how to solve problems using them. A really thorough study guide would be a great resource to have and use.
Solving for x
Solving for x is pretty straightforward. The test will give you an equation and then you have to solve for x. So, the test will give you an equation like:
4x2– 4(3 + 2) = 16
And in this equation, we would just need to balance the equation for x, so you would simplify it as much as you can, balance the equation, and you’d find that x equals three.
4x2 – 4(5) = 16
4x2 – 20 = 16
x = 3
Order of Operations
The order of operations, or PEMDAS, P-E-MD-AS, is simply the process you follow to simplify and work an equation.
Let me give you an example. If you have an equation like this:
2(x – 3) + 3(x + 4)2
You have to work the problem according to a specific order, the order of operations.
In this particular example, you would first solve for the parentheses, then you would solve for the exponents. Then going left to right, you do either multiplication or division then you would add or subtract in the same order (from left to right).
So that’s why we group the M and the D and the A and the S together.
Now, this is incredibly important because, on the test, you will be required to simplify an equation. So, you have to know the order of operations to get that question correct.
Number Theory Concepts
You need to know what these words mean and how to apply them to solve problems:
- rules of divisibility
So, these are just a few concepts that will appear in this section of the subtest.
Fractions, Ratios, and Integers
This section tests your ability to solve word problems and equations with fractions, ratios, and integers. You will also have to compare fractions and integers and place them on a number line.
Fractions, ratios, and integers questions make up 18% of the Mathematics subtest.
Let’s talk about some specific concepts that will for sure be on the test.
Value of Integers
You need to know the value of specific, and sometimes irregular, integers.
Now, the test will, and I mean will, have you place different forms of numbers from greatest to least or least to greatest. Sometimes you’ll place those numbers on a number line.
In a given data set, you might have two fractions, a decimal, the number pi, a negative integer, and a regular integer and you must organize all these from least to greatest.
So, make sure you know how to translate decimals to fractions and fractions to decimals, so you can compare the two and figure out which one is greater or less.
Oh, and also make sure you understand decimals to the hundredths place.
On the test, you will be asked to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions, including mixed whole numbers and fractions. You also need to know these words:
- reciprocal (multiplicative inverse)
- mixed whole number
Now, the last major concept to know is how to read, structure, and apply mathematical word problems, especially those containing fractions and ratios.
Now, my biggest tip to help you in this is simply to work through a lot of authentic practice questions, specifically, word problems in mathematics.
Now, while these questions aren’t going to be the most complex, it does take a lot of practice to learn how to read a question prompt, understand the mathematical question the prompt is conveying or asking, and then taking that and boiling it down so you can solve for it.
And really, it’s just one of those things you have to practice, practice, practice. So, find a great source of authentic practice questions that you can use.
Measurement, Data, and Statistics
This section involves analyzing sets of data, using measurement units to solve problems, and calculating and interpreting statistics.
Measurement, data, and statistics questions make up about 16% of the Mathematics subtest.
Here are some concepts that are more than likely to appear on the test.
Central Tendency Measurements
So, what’s almost guaranteed to show up on the test? Central tendency measurements. What’s central tendency measurement?
It’s simply four concepts: mode, median, mean, and range.
Now, on the test, they’re going to give you a data set of about 8 to 12 numbers, and they’re going to ask you one or more of the following. What is the mode? What is the median? What is the mean? Or what is the range of the data set?
So, you have to know what those central tendency measurements are and how to find them for a data set. And when you practice, work on a data set of about 8 to 12 double-digit numbers.
You’re going to need to know basic measurement concepts.
The first is how to estimate or approximate. It’s pretty straightforward.
The second is just to be familiar with different units of measurement. Units like temperature, time, money, mass, weight, volume, speed, and percentages.
Now, just like with word problems and number concepts, this mathematical concept isn’t necessarily complex, you just need to make sure you’re familiar with those different types of measuring units.
Interpret Statistical Models
And the last major concept is how to interpret different statistical models.
And really, it’s specifically regarding either standard deviation or quartiles.
Many times, when I’ve seen a question like this, the test will provide some sort of information about a set of students’ scores.
You will then have to extrapolate based on that information and the concepts of either quartiles or standard deviation.
This section tests your knowledge on both 2D and 3D shapes and your ability to solve problems concerning perimeter, area, surface area, and volume.
Geometry questions make up about 12% of the Mathematics subtest, so it’s the smallest section, but don’t underestimate it.
Let’s talk about some concepts that you’ll see on the test.
The Pythagorean Theorem is used to find any length of a side of a right triangle (if you know the other two sides).
The equation of the Pythagorean Theorem is:
a2 + b2= c2
Where A and B are the two sides of the right triangle and C is the hypotenuse of the triangle.
And I guarantee you one thing, if you take anything from this, take this one thing: you will have a question about the Pythagorean Theorem on the test. That is an absolute guarantee. It will most likely be in some sort of word problem.
An example would be:
Billy walked three blocks west, and four blocks north. If Billy walked a straight line, how many blocks would Billy have walked?
Something like that will show up on the test.
Types and Characteristics of Triangles
And while we’re talking about triangles, before you take the test, make sure you know the different kinds of triangles and their properties.
Now, the different kinds of triangles you most need to be familiar with would be:
- right triangles
- isosceles triangles
- equilateral triangles
- scalene triangles
Now, a lot of the differences between the triangles are really going to come down to the differences of interior angles within the triangle.
So, while you’re studying the different characteristics of triangles, make sure you understand the different characteristics of the interior angles of the triangles.
Three Dimensional Shapes
You also need to know how to identify the properties of three-dimensional shapes (sphere, cube, rectangular prism, cone, cylinder, pyramid, etc.). These properties include:
Know what each of these are and how to identify them. Each three-dimensional shape has a formula for figuring out volume.
And that’s some basic information about the Mathematics subtest.