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Testing Strategies for Teacher Certification Exams

What is the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination?

The MTLE Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination 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 of 240 on a variety of MTLE Exams is required for an initial Minnesota Teacher License and to be able to teach in the State of Minnesota. Established teachers, who already hold a Minnesota Teacher License but are seeking to add additional content-areas to their license, may also take the required MTLE to display proficiency in another content area.

Which MTLE Test Do I Need to Take?

Those seeking an Initial License need to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills and can do so by either passing the MTLE Basic Skills Tests (Reading 001, Writing 002, and Mathematics 003), or the ACT Plus Writing/ SAT Examination.

Initial License Seekers also need to demonstrate proficiency in content. The MTLE has a variety of examinations that testers can take to prove competency. An applicant desiring to obtain K-12 licensure may select either the primary or the secondary pedagogy subtest to demonstrate proficiency. Each pedagogy exam is made up of two subtests. For example, in order to receive an Elementary Endorsement, one must pass both the Elementary 012 Exam and the Elementary 013 Exam.

Further, teachers who wish to add a content-area accreditation to their license, need to pass two content-area subtests. Each subtest needs to be passed in order to receive a content-specific license. For example, in order to receive a Middle Level Science Endorsement, one must pass both the Middle Level Science 036 Exam and the Middle Level Science 037 Exam.

When Can/Should a Person Take the MTLE

Ideally, these exams should be taken in the last semester prior to graduation for individuals who are completing a teacher licensure program. An individual who is seeking to change their Limited Minnesota Teacher’s License to a Professional Minnesota Education License, or individuals who hold a teachers license from another state but are relocating to Minnesota, may also take the MTLE exams at least 3 months prior to the desired date of receiving a Professional Minnesota Educator’s License. Please visit  the Minnesota Department of Education for more information.

MTLE Test Dates

Most of the MTLE Exams are available year round Monday-Saturday (excluding some holidays). Tests are available at many different locations throughout Minnesota and the rest of the U.S. To make an appointment for a test please visit the MLTE 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 MTLE Exams. You can create an account by providing your email, desired password, and answers to a variety of security questions on the MTLE website.  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 MTLE exam.

How Teacher Exams are Scored

Cost of the MTLE

An annual registration fee of $50 must be paid prior to registering for any of the MTLE subtests. The cost of each subtest is additional to the annual registration fee and is as follows:

Basic Skills Test
  • Reading: 001 – $25
  • Writing: 002 – $25
  • Mathematics: 003 – $25
Pedagogy Tests
  • Early Childhood: 010 – $35
  • Early Childhood: 011 – $35
  • Elementary: 012 – $35
  • Elementary: 013 – $35
  • Secondary: 014 – $35
  • Secondary: 015 – $35
Content Area Tests
  • Agricultural Education: 086 – $35
  • Agricultural Education: 087 – $35
  • Business: 082 – $35
  • Business: 083 – $35
  • Chemistry: 058 – $35
  • Chemistry: 059 – $35
  • Middle Level: Communication Arts and Literature: 030 – $35
  • Middle Level: Communication Arts and Literature: 031 – $35
  • Communication Arts and Literature: 050 – $35
  • Communication Arts and Literature: 051 – $35
  • Computer, Keyboarding, Related Technology: 130 – $35
  • Computer, Keyboarding, Related Technology: 131 – $35
  • Dance: 110 – $35
  • Dance: 111 – $35
  • Early Childhood Education: 020 – $35
  • Early Childhood Education: 021 – $35
  • Earth and Space Science: 060 – $35
  • Earth and Space Science: 061 – $35
  • Elementary Education: 024 – $35
  • Elementary Education: 025 – $35
  • Elementary Education: 026 – $35
  • English as a Second Language: 114 – $35
  • English as a Second Language: 115 – $35
  • Family and Consumer Sciences: 084 – $35
  • Family and Consumer Sciences: 085 – $35
  • Middle Level Science: 036 – $35
  • Middle Level Science: 037 – $35
  • Health: 056 – $35
  • Health: 057 – $35
  • Instrumental and Vocal Classroom Music: 106 – $35
  • Instrumental Classroom Music: 184 – $35
  • Library Media Specialist: 102 – $35
  • Library Media Specialist: 103 – $35
  • Life Science: 062 – $35
  • Life Science: 063 – $35
  • Middle Level Mathematics: 034 – $35
  • Middle Level Mathematics: 035 – $35
  • Mathematics: 054 – $35
  • Mathematics: 055 – $35
  • Physical Education: 112 – $35
  • Physical Education: 113 – $35
  • Physics: 064 – $35
  • Physics: 065 – $35
  • Preprimary: 022 – $35
  • Preprimary: 023 – $35
  • Reading Teacher: 100 – $35
  • Reading Teacher: 101 – $35
  • Middle Level Social Studies: 032 – $35
  • Middle Level Social Studies: 033 – $35
  • Social Studies: 052 – $35
  • Social Studies: 053 – $35
  • Special Education Core Skills: 186 – $35
  • Special Education Core Skills: 187 – $35
  • Technology: 080 – $35
  • Technology: 081 – $35
  • Theater: 108 – $35
  • Theater: 109 – $35
  • Instrumental and Vocal Classroom Music: 106 – $35
  • Vocal Classroom Music: 185 – $35
  • Visual Arts: 104 – $35
  • Visual Arts: 105 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: Chinese: 158 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: Chinese: 159 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: French: 160 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: French: 161 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: German: 162 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: German: 163 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: Spanish: 164 – $35
  • World Language and Culture: Spanish: 165 – $35

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 MTLE. The most effective way to prepare for the MTLE Exam series is to develop a study plan. Your study plan should include understanding the standards, the structure of the MTLE, what study materials are available, practice or diagnostic assessments, studying strategies,  how to write a CRQ (if applicable), and developing a study schedule as discussed below.

Understanding The Standards

The MTLE was designed to align with Minnesota state regulations and content standards for teachers. The Pedagogy and Content Area exams will measure proficiency in their respective fields based on the Minnesota standards for that field. You can find information about these standards on the Minnesota Department of Education website.

Structure of the MTLE

The MTLE Basic Skills Reading Subtest 001 consists of approximately 48 Multiple Choice   Questions. A time- period of 1 hour is allotted for this test.

The MTLE Basic Skills Writing Subtest 002 consists of approximately 33 Multiple Choice Questions and 2 written assignments. A time- period of 1 1/2 hours is allotted for this test.

The MTLE Basic Skills Mathematic Subtest 003 consists of approximately 50 Multiple Choice Questions. A time- period of 1 hour 15 minutes is allotted for this test.

The MTLE Pedagogy Early Childhood 010 & 011, Elementary 012 & 013 , and Secondary 014 & 015 Subtests each consist of approximately 50 Multiple Choice Questions. A time period of 1 hour is allotted for each of these tests.

The MTLE Content-Area Specific Tests each have a unique format and time allotment. Please visit the MTLE website and select the desired test for more information.

What Study Materials are Available?

Each MTLE Subtest has a unique study guide designed to help testers prepare for the test. Please visit the MTLE 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.

More tips and strategies to help you pass your exam

Practice Test or Diagnostic Assessment

Practice Assessments are helpful tools to not only familiarize yourself with the structure and pace of the MTLE, 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 MTLE series can be found at the MTLE website.

Don’t Forget to Study Testing Strategies

Testing strategies are an essential element of preparation for the MTLE. Here are some helpful articles that detail testing strategies and reasons why people fail their certification exams.

How to Write a CRQ

CRQ’s or Constructed Response Questions are an important part of some of the MTLE’s. 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.

Test Day

What to Expect on Test Day

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 the MTLE website and follow the instructions.

Test Scores

Passing Score

A passing score for every MTLE 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.

Your test score will also be automatically sent to any institution that you indicated during registration as well as to The Minnesota Board of Teaching.

Your score is not directly sent to the Minnesota Department of Education and must be submitted by you along with your License Application.

Understanding Your Score Report

Your Score Report will include the date of the exam, your subtest scores, and a pass or fail status. In order to help testers understand their strengths and weaknesses in testing areas, indices marks are provided for each content test subarea.  The indices marks for both multiple choice and constructed response can be interpreted as:

++++ Most items answered correctly. Your writing skills (if applicable) and content knowledge are substantially above the performance level represented by the passing standard.

+++ Many items answered correctly. Your writing skills (if applicable) and content knowledge are at or above the performance level represented by the passing standard.

++ Some items answered correctly. Your writing skills (if applicable) and content knowledge are limited and below the performance level represented by the passing standard.

+ Few or no items answered correctly. Your writing skills (if applicable) and  content knowledge are weak and substantially below the performance level represented by the passing standard.


State Reciprocity

The MTLE Exams are required for certification in Minnesota. As of September 1, 2010, Praxis exams can no longer be taken for the purposes of obtaining a Minnesota teaching license.

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