What is the Illinois Licensure Testing System?
The ILTS, Illinois Licensure Testing System, is a series of tests that are required for prospective teachers to take in order to display proficiency in both pedagogical and content-area knowledge. A passing score on a variety of ILTS Exams is required for an initial Illinois teacher license. Established teachers, who already hold an Illinois teacher license but are seeking to add additional content-areas to their license, may also take the required ILTS test in order to display proficiency. The state of Illinois recognizes reciprocity from a variety of other states and exams passed under the umbrella of reciprocity may sometimes be substituted. Please visit the Illinois State Board of Education Licensure page for more information.
Which ILTS Test(s) Do I Need to Take?
Those seeking an initial license need to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills and must do so by passing three different exams. The basic skills exam (which can be substituted by the TAP, ACT Plus Writing, SAT, or OSS Exam from out of State), various content area exams, and either the APT or the edTPA (The APT for individuals who completed their student teaching prior to September 1, 2015 and the edTPA for individuals who complete their student teaching after September 1, 2015).
Those seeking to add the following endorsements to their Illinois State Teaching License must also take the Special Education General Curriculum Test.
- Learning Behavior Specialist
- Teachers of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
- Teachers of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
- Speech-Language Pathologist: Teaching
Those seeking licensure from out of state, or to add content knowledge areas or endorsements to existing licenses need only to take the relevant content area exams. Please visit the Illinois State Board of Education website and select “Timeline and Requirements” for information relevant to your specific needs.
When Can/Should a Person Take the ILTS
The state of Illinois has released specific guidelines for the ideal time period in which to take the various ILTS Exams. The basic skills exams (TAP, ACT Plus Writing, SAT, or OSS test of basic skills from another state), and relevant content area exams must be passed prior to student teaching or serving as a teacher of record. The APT and the edTPA must be passed before teacher training program completion. The edTPA is only a requirement for those seeking an initial teaching license. For specific and up to date information about teachers who are seeking to add an area of concentration or teachers from out of state, please visit the Illinois State Board of Education and select “Testing Requirements”
ILTS Test Dates
Most of the ILTS Exams are available year round, Monday-Saturday (excluding some holidays). Tests are available at many different locations throughout Illinois and the rest of the U.S. To make an appointment for a test please visit the ILTS website to view an available test date and location that is convenient for you.
How to Register
Applicants are required to create an account in order to register for any ILTS Exams. You can create an account by providing your email, desired password, and answers to a variety of security questions at the ILTS Test Registration page. It is crucial that the information you provide at the time of registration matches your government-issued ID. Early Registration is strongly encouraged in order to schedule a desired seat and meet the required deadline for any ILTS exam.
Cost of the ILTS
- Reading Comprehension: 401 – $68
- Language Arts: 402 – $68
- Mathematics: 403 – $68
- Writing: 404 – $68
All 4 Subtests taken in one sitting: 401-404 – $113
*Only for individuals who have completed educator preparation for the state of Illinois, but have not yet completed student-teaching requirements.
APT: 188 – $99
- Agricultural Education: 170 – $122
- Business, Marketing and Computer Education: 171 – $122
- Computer Science: 038 – $122
- Dance: 140 – $122
- Drama/ Theater Arts: 141 – $122
- Early Childhood Education: 107 – $122
- Early Childhood Special Education: 152 – $99
- Elementary Education (1-6)Subtest I: Language and Literacy: 197 – $60
- Elementary Education (1-6)Subtest II: Mathematics: 198 – $73
- Elementary Education (1-6)Subtest III: Science/Social Science: 199 – $60
- Elementary Education (1-6)Subtest IV: Fine Arts, Physical Development, and Health: 200 – $60
- Elementary Education (1-6) all 4 subtests taken in 1 sitting: 197-200 – $120
- Elementary Middle Grades: 110 – $122
- English as a New Language: 125 – $122
- English Language Arts: 111 – $122
- Family and Consumer Sciences: 172 – $122
- Gifted Education: 312 – $95
- Health Careers: 173 – $122
- Health Education: 142 – $122
- Learning Behavior Specialist I: 155 – $99
- Library Information Specialist: 175 – $122
- Mathematics: 155 – $122
- Music: 143 – $122
- Physical Education: 144 – $122
- Reading Specialist: 176 – $122
- Reading Teacher: 177 – $122
- Science: Biology: 105 – $122
- Science: Chemistry: 106 – $122
- Science: Earth and Space Science: 108 – $122
- Science: Environmental Science: 112 – $122
- Science: Physics: 116 – $122
- Social Science: Economics: 109 – $122
- Social Science: Geography: 113 – $122
- Social Science: History: 114 – $122
- Social Science: Political Science: 117 – $122
- Social Science: Psychology: 118 – $122
- Social Science: Sociology and Anthropology: 121 – $122
- Special Education General Curriculum: 163 – $99
- Speech Language Pathologist: Teaching: 153 – $122
- Teacher of Students Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired: 150 – $122
- Teacher of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 151 – $122
- Technology Education: 174 – $122
- Technology Specialist: 178 – $122
- Visual Arts: 145 – $122
Beginning to Prepare
After you have determined which exam you need to take, have registered and paid the exam fee, it is time to begin preparing for the ILTS. The most effective way to prepare for the ILTS Exam series is to develop a study plan. Your study plan should include understanding the standards, the structure of the ILTS, what study materials are available, practice or diagnostic assessments, studying strategies, how to write a CRG (if applicable), and developing a study schedule as discussed below.
Understanding The Standards
The ILTS was designed to align with Illinois state learning standards and content standards for teachers. The Professional and Subject Knowledge exams will measure proficiency in their respective fields based on the Illinois standards for that field. You can find information about these standards on the Illinois Department of Education Website.
Structure of the ILTS
Each AEPA exam consists of a unique format and time allotment. Please visit ILTS Frameworksand select the “Desired Test” for more information.
The edTPA consists of a portfolio, similar to the process used for National Board Certification, in order to display proficiency in five key competencies. These competencies are planning, assessment, instruction, reflection, and academic language. Specific items reflecting the competencies must be present in the portfolio including video recordings of the student teacher interacting with students in the classroom, lesson plans, student work samples, analysis of student learning, planning and assessment documentation, and reflective commentaries. For more information about the edTPA, please visit the Illinois State Board of Education website.
What Study Materials are Available?
Each ILTS subtest has a unique study guide designed to help testers prepare for the test. Please the ILTS website to find the study guide related to your desired test.
Each study guide includes test format, number of questions, duration, reference sheet (where applicable), sample questions, and approximate subtest weighting.
Practice Test or Diagnostic Assessment
Practice assessments are helpful tools to not only familiarize yourself with the structure and pace of the ILTS, but also in identifying areas of weakness that might require further study. Information about the practice tests that are available for any exam in the ILTS series can be found on the ILTS website.
Don’t Forget to Study Testing Strategies
Testing strategies are an essential element of preparation for the ILTS. Here are some helpful articles that detail testing strategies and reasons why people fail their certification exam. reasons why people fail their certification exam
How to Write a CRQ
CRQ’s or Constructed Response Questions are an important part of the ILTS. If your exam includes CRQ’s, you will need to know how to write one effectively. Here are some helpful tips to help you prepare for the CRQ portion of your exam.
After creating your study plan, you need to begin studying! Using 240Tutoring’s preparation guides, you can begin learning more about the content and types of questions on each exam and completing practice questions using testing strategies.
- Read test overviews and descriptions. Completing practice questions without guidance will not help you improve. Read the introductory information in each tutoring guide, including the overview for each content area. By understanding the content assessed in each section, you will have a more informed understanding of how to approach each question.
- Learn about question types. Understanding the types of question on each assessment is essential to preparation strategies and time management strategies during the test. Each question type requires a different approach and method of preparation.
- For multiple-choice questions, you will need to understand content very thoroughly in order to answer questions correctly. Your strategies should include eliminating wrong answer choices, skipping over but returning to the most challenging questions, and making educated guesses when possible.
- For constructed-response questions, you will need to understand content knowledge, be able to analyze documents or problems in the moment, and to explain your thinking in a clear, concise way. Your strategies should include planning, drafting, revising, and using key words.
- Complete practice questions with a timer. After you understand the content and question types you will face on your exam, you should then begin completing practice questions. When practicing, use a timer. Practicing without a time can be detrimental on test day—if you are not accustomed to the time limits and do not have a sense of how much time to spend on each question, you could easily run out of time on test day. Set a timer for each section of the test that aligns with the allotted amount of time for the official test. Even if you do not finish your within that amount of time at first, you will see whether you are spending too little or too much time on each part.
- Check your answers and read explanations. After each practice test or section, check your answers against the key. Do not simply mark the number of questions you answered correctly or incorrectly, but analyze your performance by looking for patterns. Ask yourself:
- Are there content-areas in which I consistently do well?
- Are there content-areas in which I consistently struggle?
- Do I answer more questions correctly at the beginning, middle, or end of a test/section?
- Are there many questions on which I need to guess?
By identifying patterns in your performance, you can adapt your study plan to hone in on the areas in which you need to improve most.
For incorrect answers, be sure to read the answer explanation. You will see why each answer choice is correct or incorrect, and may notice details about the questions and answer choices that you did not notice in your first attempt. Reading explanations of incorrect answers ensures that you learn from your mistakes as you progress.
What to Expect on Test Day
Your preparation plan does not end with studying—you should also have a test-day plan. This includes strategies should as taking a few days off from studying before the exam, taking care of yourself physically leading up to the exam, and looking up maps and directions in advance to ensure you arrive early to your site. You should also consider strategies to reduce test anxiety to be sure that your hard work and preparation are not overshadowed by nerves on test day.
Develop a Study Plan
Now that you have an understanding of the Illinois standards for teachers, have identified the structure of the ILTS, gathered study materials, taken a practice assessment, reviewed testing strategies and learned how to write a CRQ, it is time to develop a study schedule. Your practice assessment will be helpful in identifying your areas of weakness. Take these areas of weakness and prioritize their importance concerning how much they will be weighted on the ILTS by looking at the structure of the test. Develop a daily study schedule that includes helpful testing strategies and CRQ writing practice (if applicable). If you set time aside each day, up until the date of your ILTS exam, you will find yourself more prepared to pass the exam the first time.
What to Expect the Day of the Test
You should plan to be at the testing center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled test appointment. You should dress comfortably and in layers. Wear soft-soled shoes in order to maintain a quiet testing environment for all testers.
Lockers are provided at most testing centers. Please double-check by calling the testing center in advance.
You need to have a government-issued ID to verify your identity. When you check in your ID will be checked, your digital signature recorded, your palm scanned, and your photograph taken.
Each testing center has computers separated by partitions as well as a proctor to prevent cheating. Before beginning the exam, each tester will complete a computer-based tutorial session designed to show you how to navigate through the test successfully. If you would like to preview this tutorial, please visit and follow the instructions.
A passing score for every ILTS subtest is 240.
When Do I Get Scores?
A score report will be emailed to the email address you provided upon registration as soon as it is available, so it is important to keep your registration information up to date. You can also access a PDF version of your score report 45 days after the test date by logging in and following the prompts. You can also find your results, when they become available, here.
Understanding Your Score Report
Your Score Report will include the date of the exam, your total test score out of 300, and a pass or fail status. In order to help testers understand their strengths and weaknesses in testing areas, subarea scores are provided. You do not need to pass every subarea in order to pass the exam but do need an overall score of 240 or higher. Your subarea scores are for your information only and should be used to identify weaknesses in specific subareas.
The ILTS Exams are required for certification in Illinois. In some cases, alternate state exams can replace the ILTS . For up to date information on specific requirements please visit the Illinois State Board of Education.