Contact Us

What NES Test Do I Take?

Blackboard Teaching vectors

You may have heard of the NES if you plan to teach in Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, or Wisconsin. You are probably wondering what the NES is and what tests you need to take. It can be unclear because many of these states also have state-specific tests that you might be required to take.

In this article, we will explain what the NES is and determine what tests you need to take. We will also tell you who is required to take these tests. The NES includes content area assessments, professional knowledge assessments, and essential academic skills assessments; this article will explain the difference between these. Once you have figured out which tests you need to take, you can begin studying.

Are you ready to get started?

What is the NES?

NES stands for the National Evaluation Series and is a group of tests created by Pearson. The NES exams cover everything from essential academic skills to elementary reading instruction and teaching English language learners. Some states use these exams to certify teachers, but others do not. States currently using NES exams for teacher certification are Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Who has to take the NES?

If you are seeking teacher certification in one of a handful of states (including Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin), you need to take an NES exam. It’s a good idea to check with your state to see if you’re required to take an NES exam. There are many different exams to choose from and which one you take depends on your certification area.

What NES test do I have to take?

NES test requirements vary by state. If you are seeking certification in Arizona, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, or Wisconsin, you will most likely need to take one or more NES exams. Here are some popular NES exams:

Essential Academic Skills

The NES Essential Academic Skills test is used in some states to meet the basic skills requirement for teacher certification. The exams are available year-round by appointment. The test fees are $50 for one subtest, $75 for two subtests, and $100 for three subtests. A passing score is 220. Here are the included subtests:

  • Subtest I: Reading — This subtest has 45 multiple-choice questions, and you have 1 hour of testing time. Go here for a Subtest I: Reading study guide and practice test.
  • Subtest II: Writing — This subtest has 36 multiple-choice questions and one written assignment. You have 1 hour and 15 minutes of testing time. Go here for a Subtest II: Writing study guide and practice test.
  • Subtest III: Mathematics — This subtest has 45 multiple-choice questions, and you have 1 hour of testing time. Go here for a Subtest III: Mathematics study guide and practice test.

Assessment of Professional Knowledge

The NES Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Elementary and Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Secondary exams are used by some states to fulfill the professional knowledge testing requirement. If you plan to teach elementary school, you will need to take the APK: Elementary. If you plan to teach middle or high school, you will need to take the APK: Secondary. Each test has 100 multiple-choice questions, one case study, and one work product. You’ll have 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish. A passing score is 220.

Start studying for the APK: Elementary with the Ultimate Guide and practice test found here. You can find the Ultimate Guide and practice test for APK: Secondary here.

K-12 Assessments

There are a few NES assessments that are not specific to the grade level you plan on teaching. The most popular K-12 NES exams are English to Speakers of Other Languages, Special Education, Physical Education, and Health. All of these exams are 150 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll have 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish. They each cost $95 and have a passing score of 220.

Click on your test to find a matching study guide and practice test:

English to Speakers of Other Languages

Special Education

Physical Education

Health

Elementary

If you are hoping to become a certified elementary teacher in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, or Washington, you will need to take the NES Elementary Education test. The NES Elementary Education test is divided into two subtests. Subtest I is 75 multiple-choice questions, and you have 1 hour and 45 minutes to finish. Subtest II is made up of 75 multiple-choice questions, and you will have 2 hours to complete it. The test fee is $50 for one subtest and $95 for two subtests. A passing score on each subtest is 220.

Start studying for the NES Elementary Education test with the study guide and practice test found here.

Middle Grades

If you are planning to be a certified middle-grade English language arts teacher in Arizona, New Mexico, or Oregon, you will need to take the NES Middle Grades English Language Arts test. This test is 150 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll have 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish. The test fee is $95. A score of 220 is passing.

Start studying for the NES Middle Grades English Language Arts test with the study guide and practice test found here.

If you are planning to be a middle-grade science teacher in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, or Washington, you will need to take the NES Middle Grades General Science Exam. This test is 150 multiple-choice questions, and you will have 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish. The test fee is $95, and a passing score is 220.

Start studying for the NES Middle Grades General Science Exam with the study guide and practice test found here.

If you are planning to be a middle-grade math teacher in Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, or Washington, you will need to take the NES Middle Grades Mathematics exam. This test is 150 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll have 5 hours and 15 minutes to finish. The test fee is $95, and a passing score is 220.

Start studying for the NES Middle Grades Mathematics Exam with the study guide and practice test found here.

If you are planning to be a middle-grade social science teacher in Arizona, New Mexico, or Oregon, you will need to take the NES Middle Grades Social Science exam. This test is 150 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll have 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish. The test fee is $95, and a passing score is 220.

Start studying for the NES Middle Grades Social Science exam with the study guide and practice test found here.

High School

If you are planning to be a high school teacher in a state that requires an NES exam, you will need to take a subject-specific test. The table below includes more information on NES specific content area exams:

You can find the study guides and free practice tests to these high school exams here.

Now that you know more about the exams NES offers, find out how to register for your needed exam by reading “NES Test Registration Information.”

Picture of: Kari Wasmer

Kari Wasmer

Kari is a microscopist at an environmental testing company, but her passion is science education. She has experience writing and editing science textbooks and loves helping educators understand how to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In her free time, she enjoys gardening with her young daughters, sewing, and knitting.