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Praxis Elementary Education Multiple Subjects 5001 Practice Tests and Prep

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Welcome to the Praxis®️ Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects 5001 Practice Test and Prep Guide! We’ve created this free resource to prepare you specifically for the 5001 exam. We’ll go over the key concepts you’ll need to know to pass your test.

While this free guide outlines the categories found on the exam, our paid Praxis®️ Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects 5001 Study Guide covers EVERY concept you need to know and is set up to ensure your success! Our online Praxis®️ 5001 Study Guide provides test-aligned study material using interactive aids, videos, flashcards, quizzes, and practice tests.

Praxis 5001

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Praxis 5001 Multiple Subjects Test Information

Praxis 5001 Practice Test and PrepThe Praxis®️ 5001 Multiple Subjects exam is used by multiple states to measure the knowledge and skills of beginning elementary school teachers. It assesses the content knowledge needed to support a generalist elementary school license.

There are four subtests:

  1. Reading and Language Arts (Praxis®️ 5002)
  2. Mathematics (Praxis®️ 5003)
  3. Social Studies (Praxis®️ 5004)
  4. Science (Praxis®️ 5005)

You can register to take all or any combo of the four subtests in one session.

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.

The test format includes selected-response and numeric-entry questions. An on-screen scientific calculator is provided for the Mathematics and Science subtests.

Here is the subtest format and time allotment breakdown:

SubtestQuestionsTime
Reading and Language Arts8090 Minutes
Mathematics5065 Minutes
Social Studies6050 Minutes
Science5550 Minutes

If you take all four subtests in one session (5001), you will have 4 hours and 15 minutes. Each subtest is separately timed.

 

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Praxis®️ 5001 Subtest 1: Reading and Language Arts

The Reading and Language Arts subtest is made up of 80 selected-response questions between two categories– Reading and Writing, Speaking, and Listening. Each category has test specifications that describe the knowledge and skills measured by the test.

In the first category, Reading, you will need to know foundational reading skills and literature and informational texts. This category makes up 38 of the 80 questions on the Reading and Language Arts subtest. In this category, you will be asked questions that assess your knowledge of concepts you’ll need to know to be able to teach students reading and questions that assess your reading skills.

Foundational reading skills to help teach students reading include:

  • phonological awareness
  • phonics and word analysis
  • fluency and comprehension

You will need to understand the role each of these plays in literacy development. So, let’s dive into what each of these looks like and how you can use them to teach students reading.

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear individual words, syllables, and sounds in spoken language. Phonological awareness is a foundational skill for literacy development.

phonological-awareness

All of these terms fall under the phonological awareness “umbrella”. You will need to understand each of these and be able to identify and provide examples of phonemes, syllables, onsets, and rimes. You will need to identify and provide examples of how to blend, segment, substitute, and delete phonemes, syllables, onsets and rimes.

  • Phoneme – the smallest unit of sound
  • Syllable – a unit of pronunciation within a word that has one vowel sound
  • Onset – the initial phonological unit of a word
  • Rime – comes after the onset, usually includes a vowel and final consonants

Also, be aware of what phonics and word analysis are. This includes knowing the importance and purpose of sight words and how they differ from decodable words, common letter-sound correspondences and spelling conventions, using roots and affixes to decode words, the stages of language acquisition, syllabication patterns, and varying pedagogical approaches for English Language Learners.

Fluency consists of three components: accuracy, prosody, and speed.

reading-fluency

  • Accuracy – a reader’s ability to correctly pronounce words as they appear in the text.
  • Automaticity – the ability to read words effortlessly.
  • Prosody – a reader’s ability to convey expression.
  • Speed – pace the reader reads.
  • WPM – number of words read correctly in one minute.

The next part of the Reading category covers literature and informational texts. For these questions, you’ll read a passage and answer 1 or more questions about it.

The main idea and primary purpose are two concepts you will need to know for your exam. Identifying the main idea and primary purpose of a text is one of the most important steps when working with a reading passage. Let’s look at the differences between the two.

main-idea-primary-purpose

The main idea is the point of the text. A good tip to help you identify the main idea is to read the bookends, the first and last sentences of the paragraph. These sentences will give you main idea clues to help identify the main idea. If the text has multiple paragraphs read the bookends of the first and last paragraphs of the text to help you identify the main idea. The main idea is also commonly referred to as the central idea. You might see those terms used interchangeably.

The primary purpose is the why. You will need to ask yourself, “why did the author write this text?” Is the author trying to persuade you, inform you or entertain you? These are all good questions to help you infer why the author wrote the text.

Expanding upon the main idea and purpose includes:

  • Identifying supporting ideas
  • Interpreting elements of characters, setting, and plot
  • Picking the best summary
  • Determining the theme
  • Identifying author attitude
  • Making inferences

Text complexity is another big concept in reading development. Text complexity is simply how challenging text material is for the students at their specific grade level. Determining text complexity is important in the proper assessment of students because the level will help the teacher understand how best to interpret students’ assessment scores.

Qualitative evaluation of text complexity measures the qualitative dimensions of a text, such as the level of meaning, structure, language, conventionality, and knowledge demands. Qualitative evaluation of text complexity seeks to understand how difficult a text is for the reader.

Quantitative evaluation of text complexity measures the word frequency, word difficulty, and sentence length. Quantitative measures typically use a set formula and are calculated by computer software.

Category 2 covers writing, language, speaking, and listening. This category makes up around 43 of the 80 questions on the Reading and Language Arts subtest. In this category, you will be asked questions that want to know if you can teach writing, and questions to see if you can work with writing.

Writing types and contexts is a topic you will most likely see on your exam. There are three main types of writing– narrative, persuasive, and informative. You will need to understand the differences in each writing type and know that each writing has its own purpose, audience, organization, and style choices associated with it.

  • Narrative writing is written with the intent to entertain the reader. This type of writing involves a main character, a setting, and a problem.
  • Persuasive writing, also referred to as opinion or argument writing, is written with the intent to convince the reader to buy or do something. This type of writing involves opinions, careful word choice, and logical arguments.
  • Informative writing or explanatory writing is written with the intent to educate the reader. This type of writing does not involve opinions, only facts.

The next big topic you will need to know involves a skill. Revise writing is a skill that involves making changes to improve the writing. Steps to revise writing include:

  1. Reading a short passage
  2. Making changes to improve organization
  3. Removing unnecessary information
  4. Improving clarity

When you edit a piece, you will want to:

  • Reorganize to create a logical flow
  • Check the writing to ensure that sentences and paragraphs build on each other in the best order
  • Remove details that do not support or distract from the main idea
  • Choose new vocabulary to eliminate redundant or word descriptions
  • Remove multiple descriptive words if one or two more precise terms will do
  • Edit phrases for consistency in style or tone
  • Reread the passage with the change to make sure it sounds right

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:

  1. Scribbling
  2. Mock letters
  3. Letter formation
  4. Word writing
  5. Sentence construction
  6. Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical expression

Make sure you are 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.

Praxis®️ 5001 Subtest 2: Mathematics

The Mathematics subtest of the Multiple Subjects exam consists of 50 selected-response questions spread out over three categories– Numbers and Operations, Algebraic Thinking, and Geometry and Measurement, Data, Statistics, and Probability. Each category has test specifications that describe the knowledge and skills measured by the test. You will also be able to use an on-screen scientific calculator for the Mathematics subtest.

Category 1, Numbers and Operations, consists of approximately 20 questions and accounts for about 40% of the Mathematics subtest. In this section you will need to understand:

  • Number theory
  • Operations
  • Fractions and ratios

Number theory is your ability to understand what a number represents. You will see concepts that contain questions about place value, writing numbers using numerals, words, and expanded form, and rounding numbers to any place value; including the tenths, hundredths and thousandths.

Understanding a place value chart like the one below falls under this concept. When given a digit you will need to identify the place the digit is in and the value of the digit in that place.

base-10-system

Operations involves taking the information you know about the value of a number and solving equations. You’re going to need to know how to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and use parentheses and exponents. Most importantly you will have to know the order of operations when solving equations using real numbers that include fractions, decimals, and negative numbers. Let’s take a closer look at the order of operations.

order-of-operations

The order of operations, or PEMDAS is simply the process you follow to simplify and work an equation. You have to work the problem according to a specific order, the order of operations.

2(x – 3) + 3(x + 4)2

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.

Fractions and ratios involve using a part of a whole to represent the relationship between a value. You will not only need to understand fractions and ratios but also decimals and percentages and how to convert between them.

A rational number is a number that can be written as a fraction (or ratio). Examples of rational numbers include: 7, 1.75, .003, -0.6, and .111.

You will be presented with multi-step and real-world problems where you must conduct operations with rational numbers.  When using division, be comfortable with remainders. Also, do lots of practice problems with fractions.

A prime number is a whole number that cannot be made by multiplying other whole numbers together (besides one and itself). Examples of prime numbers include 2, 3, 5, 7, and 11. There are many more. You should also know what prime factors are and how to find them.

A composite number is a whole number that can be made by multiplying two other whole numbers together (besides one and itself). Examples of composite numbers include 4, 6, 8, 9, 10, and 12. There are also many more.

Let’s move on to Category 2, Algebraic Thinking. This section consists of approximately 15 questions and accounts for about 30% of the Mathematics subtest. In this section you will need to understand how to evaluate, manipulate, and solve algebraic expressions and equations. You will also need to be able to look for patterns in the expressions and equations.

When evaluating and manipulating expressions and equations you will want to know what keywords to look out for and what they mean. The chart below is a sample of some of the words you might see on your exam.

Addition  +Subtraction  –Multiplication  ×Division  ÷
add(ed) to

all together

both

combined

in all

increase by

sum

plus

total

more

more than

perimeter

subtract

how many more

take away

left

remaining

decreased by

minus

difference

deduct

less

fewer than

less than

area

multiplied by

of

per

product of

times

triple

twice

rate

each

ratio

divided

out of
shared
quotient of

split

quarter

half

percent

how many of each

You will also want to know the big difference between an expression and an equation. An expression does not contain an equal sign, while an equation does.

You will be asked to add and subtract linear equations, use the distributive property, solve simple expressions, use formulas, and represent words with equations or expressions.

Solving for x is pretty straightforward. The test will give you an equation and then you have to solve for x. Let’s look at an example:

4×2– 4(3 + 2) = 16

First, we 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.

4×2 – 4(5) = 16

4×2 – 20 = 16

4×2= 36

x2= 9

x = 3

When solving linear equations, remember whatever you do to one side of the equal sign, also do to the other.

When finding the slope of a line, you might see a function table on the exam and need to figure out the pattern to find out how much x and y are changing.

xy
04
12
20
3-2

When looking at the function table above you can see that the x column is adding one and the y column is subtracting 2 each time.

funtion-table

After finding the pattern, you can then use the formula (change in x over the change in y) to determine that the slope of the line is -2.

determining-the-slope

Category 3, Geometry and Measurement, Data, Statistics, and Probability, makes up the remaining 30% of the Mathematics subtest, which means about 15 questions come from this category. This category can be broken into four main areas:

  • Shapes
  • Measurement
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Data

In the shapes section you will need to know the names, properties, and rules for basic shapes. You will also want to know the different formulas to use for each shape to solve problems involving perimeter, area, surface area, and volume.

When given a shape’s outside measurements, you might be asked to find the area. When you are given a shape like the one below you will want to split the shape into a triangle and a rectangle to find the area.

area-of-a-triangle

Once you have split the shape into a triangle and a rectangle, you can use known formulas for finding the area of a triangle and a rectangle. The area of a rectangle is length times width. The area of a triangle is ½ times base times height. So, let’s use those formulas to find the area.

triangle-area

l x w = a

6 x 4 = 24 cm²

½bh = a

½ 6 x 2 =  6 cm²

Now, add the area of both shapes together to find the total area of the original shape.

24 + 6 = 30 cm²

You will also need to know the components of the coordinate plane and how to graph ordered pairs on the plane.

The coordinate plane is a two-dimensional number line with both an “x” and “y” axis. The “x” axis is horizontal, and the “y” axis is vertical. It has four quadrants (sections) and an origin (located at coordinates 0,0). You use a coordinate plane to plot points and graph lines and shapes.

Measurement involves solving problems involving time, money, length, volume, mass, and using the U.S. customary system and metric system. You will also need to be able to convert units within both systems.

Make sure you are comfortable estimating weight and length and are able to choose appropriate units of measurement. The chart below provides you with some real-world equivalents.

Length Example
1 millimeterWidth of a dime
1 centimeterWidth of your pinky finger
1 meterLength of a guitar

A little more than a yard

1 kilometerLength of 10 football fields

For example, you would not want to measure the height of your classroom in millimeters; this unit of measurement would provide you with a really large number and would take a significant amount of time to measure. Measuring the height of your classroom in meters would be a more appropriate unit of measurement because it is much bigger than a millimeter.

The next area of category 3 is statistics and probability. This area covers the measures of central tendency, which is simply four concepts: mean, median, mode, and range.

Mean is the fancy word for average. To find the mean, or average, of a set of numbers, there is a really simple set of steps to follow:

  1. Add all of the numbers together.
  2. Divide the sum of those numbers by the number of data values in the set.

The median is the middle value in a set of numbers. To find the median of a set of numbers, follow these steps:

  1. Order the numbers from least to greatest.
  2. Find the number in the middle.

If you have a data set with an odd amount of numbers, finding the middle value is super easy; however, if you have a data set with an even amount of numbers, there will be two values in the middle. In this case, find the mean, or average, of those two numbers. That average is the median.

In a data set, the mode is the number or numbers that appear the most. Unlike the mean and median, the mode can have more than one answer.

The range is the difference between the highest data value and the lowest data value.

Make sure you know what the 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.

When it comes to probability, you will need to be able to determine the likelihood of an event happening.

Let’s move on to our last area in category 3, data. You will see a lot of data and questions asked in different ways. For example, you might be given a data set and be asked to choose the best graph or chart to display the data. You also might be given a completed graph or chart and be asked to interpret it. Let’s look at an example of one of these questions and what it means to interpret a graph or chart.

bar-graph

You might be given a bar graph like the one above and asked “Which type of movie is the most popular among children?” First, you would make sure to look at the key to see which color represented children and then you would find the category with the tallest bar graph, which would indicate the most popular type of movie.

You will also want to be aware of and be able to create different ways to organize and display data, like box plots, histograms, and scatterplots.

Take a look inside our Praxis®️ 5003 Mathematics study guide for free!

Praxis®️ 5001 Subtest 3: Social Studies

The Social Studies subtest has 60 selected-response questions spread out over three categories– United States History, Government, and Citizenship, Geography, Anthropology, and Sociology, and World History and Economics. Each category has test specifications that describe the knowledge and skills measured by the test.

Category 1, United States History, Government, and Citizenship, consists of approximately 27 questions and accounts for about 45% of the Social Studies subtest. In this section, you will need to understand and know about a lot of major events, but it is also important to know the cause and effect of those 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 country or world.

The American Civil War is a major U.S. event that is most likely to appear on your exam. You will want to know which states belonged to the Confederacy and which ones belonged to the Union. The southern states made up the Confederacy and elected Jefferson Davis from Mississippi as their President. The Union was made up of the northern states and led by Robert E. Lee. Some of the advantages of each side included:

UnionConfederacy
More industrialized economySuperior military leadership (Robert E. Lee)
Larger populationSupport of Great Britain
Stronger NavyFighting on own soil

So, let’s talk about some of those major events and other things you have to know.

  1. European exploration– You need to know why Spain, France, and England explored and colonized North America and what the results of their efforts were. Also, know how Native Americans play into this.
  2. American Revolution– Be aware of the causes of the American Revolution, the key players, and the key documents (Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, the Constitution) of the rebellion.
  3. Major events and developments– These include slavery, westward expansion, Mexican relations, the Trail of Tears, technological innovations, immigration, the Industrial Revolution, the Progressive Movement, women’s rights, etc.
  4. 20th-century developments– You need to know about America’s role in World War I, women’s suffrage, the Great Depression and the New Deal, America’s role in World War II, the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, Environmentalism, changing demographics, and the development of computers and information systems.

The next area in category 1 is Government and Citizenship. Federalism is a system of shared powers between the National and State governments. You will need to know which powers belong to each government, as well as which powers are shared between the two. You will also need to know the effects of the system.

National PowersShared PowersState Powers
  • Regulate interstate commerce
  • Declare war
  • Admit new states
  • Mail service
  • Print money
  • Create treaties
  • Pass laws
  • Levy taxes
  • Build highways
  • Maintain Law and Order
  • Establish Courts
  • Charter Banks
  • Borrow Money
  • Regulate intrastate commerce
  • Issue Licenses (marriage, driver’s, etc)
  • Ratify Constitutional Amendments
  • Establish local government
  • Assume any powers not delegated to national government

The separation of powers refers to the division of powers between three branches of the federal government– legislative, executive and judicial. This system ensures that one branch is not more powerful than another. You will want to know the responsibilities of each branch.

  • The Legislative branch makes laws. Congress, which includes the Senate and the House of Representatives, are over this branch.
  • The Executive branch enforces the laws. The President, Vice President, the Cabinet, and the federal bureaucracy are in charge of this branch.
  • The Judicial branch is headed by the Supreme Court and interprets the laws.

Category 2, Geography, Anthropology, and Sociology, includes around 18 questions and is worth 30% of the Social Studies subtest. This section tests your knowledge over Earth and its people.

Let’s look at the first part of Category 2, Geography. You will need to know where major land and water areas are located. For example, when looking at a map be sure you can locate specific geographic features like the continents, oceans, major seas and rivers, major mountain ranges, and major countries and cities.

It is also important to understand how the environment affects humans and how humans affect the environment.

Humans directly respond to their environments. For example, before 1900 people settled near water sources (rivers or oceans). Every city founded was near a water source because people needed fresh water to drink and because water was the easiest and most efficient form of transportation. When asked about human settlement, water is often a key factor. Water is just one example of how humans adapted their behaviors to respond to their environments.

Geographers describe places by their physical characteristics but they also describe them by their people and cultures.

Each culture is composed of cultural traits that include:

  • Daily routines
  • Practices
  • Food
  • Language
  • Art
  • Religion

Cultural diffusion is the process by which cultural traits spread from one group to another. For example, food is an obvious example of cultural diffusion. In America, you can find Italian, Chinese, or even Indian food all within a 5 mile radius.

Culture is continuously changing as societies encounter new challenges and influences.

Category 3, World History and Economics, is made up of about 15 questions that account for 25% of the Social Studies subtest.

You will want to know the major contributions of Classical civilizations like Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Let’s look at Ancient Rome in more depth.

Ancient Rome was a civilization that started to form in late 200 BCE. Rome was both militarily and economically strong due to its geography. Some of these geographical advantages included:

  • The Alps – provided winter protection and kept European invaders away
  • Appennine Mountains – provided protection and natural resources
  • Po and Tiber River Valleys – provided rich soil to grow crops that the romans would use to trade with other societies
  • Mediterranean Sea – easy access to trade, which in effect allowed the Romans to use that wealth to strengthen their military

Also, know the major happenings of the twentieth-century including:

    • World War I – lasted from 1914 until 1918. The Central Powers, which included Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire, fought against the Allied Powers, Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Canada, Japan and the United States. The allies won the war in 1918.
    • World War II – lasted from 1939 until 1945. It started with the rising power of Adolf Hilter when he invaded Poland in 1939. The Allies were an international military coalition formed to fight the Axis, which included Nazi Germany, the Kingdom of Italy, and the Empire of Japan. The Allies won the war in 1945.
  • Cold War – began after World War II between once allies, the United States and the Soviet Union. The conflict lasted for many decades, 1947-1991 and involved anti-communist suspicions, international incidents, and the creation of nuclear weapons which led to attack drills in schools.

It would also be beneficial to know about various revolutions in the twentieth-century, the Great Depression in the 1930s, the rise of communism and fascism, the Holocaust, the rise of Germany and Japan, and globalization.

Scarcity and opportunity cost are two of the most important concepts to know for the Economics portion.

Scarcity is the basic problem of the gap between our wants and needs and the available resources. Because of this, people must make choices. This means that they make trade-offs and decisions as to best allocate their resources, this is called opportunity cost. Time is the most important resource to consider when talking about opportunity cost. For example, if a student decides to go to the movies instead of studying for their exam the opportunity cost is the time spent studying.

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. Take some time to read about supply and demand and know these terms:

  • Law of demand
  • Law of supply
  • Economics of scale
  • Equilibrium
  • Disequilibrium
  • Surplus
  • Deficit
  • Elasticity

Praxis®️ 5001 Subtest 4: Science

The Science subtest consists of 55 selected-response questions between three categories– Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. Each category has test specifications that describe the knowledge and skills measured by the test. Each category accounts for 33% of the Science subtest, so you can expect to see about 18 questions from each of the above categories.

For this subtest, there are four test specifications that are exactly the same for each of the three categories:

  • Understands science as a human endeavor, a process, and a career
  • Understands science as inquiry
  • Understands how to use resource and research material in science
  • Understands the unifying processes of science

Since the test creators put each of these in all three categories you know these are super important, so we’ve created category 4, The Process of Science, to elaborate more on each of these test specifications from each category.

Category 1, Earth Science, covers Earth and space science. The topic areas include Earth’s systems, Weather and atmosphere, and Astronomy.

For Earth’s systems, you will want to know the big systems on our planet and how they work.

  • Rock cycle is the process that changes one rock to another. There are three processes in the rock cycle– crystallization, metamorphism, and erosion and sedimentation.
  • Carbon cycle is nature’s way of reusing carbon atoms. Carbon atoms continuously pass through the atmosphere to the Earth and back to the atmosphere through rocks and sediment, the ocean, and living organisms.
  • Nitrogen cycle is when nitrogen transforms from one chemical transformation to another through chemical reactions. Nitrogen moves through the atmosphere, soil, water, plants, animals and bacteria.
  • Water cycle is how water goes from the ocean into the atmosphere, turns into rain, falls on land, and then is transferred back to the ocean. Water goes through 4 steps during this process– evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection.

You will also want to know what events happen to change land on Earth:

  • Plate tectonics
  • Volcanoes
  • Earthquakes
  • Weathering
  • Erosion
  • Current
  • Waves
  • Tides

Let’s dive more into plate tectonics and give it a closer look. There are three types of tectonic plate boundaries:

  • Convergent boundaries occur when two plates move towards each other. They can remove crust and are a deconstructive boundary.
  • Divergent boundaries occur when two plates move away from each other. They add crust and are a constructive boundary.
  • Transform boundaries occur when two plates slide past each other. Neither adds or removes crust and they create earthquakes and fault lines.

plate-tectonics

Another big concept is weather versus climate. Weather is short-term, occurring over minutes and hours. While climate is long-term, creating patterns over years.

WeatherClimate
RainyTropical
WindyDry
SunnyTemperate
CloudyContinental
SnowyPolar

The last section of Category 1, Astronomy, covers topics like the Lunar Cycle. The moon’s phase depends on how much sunlight is reflected on Earth, which changes based on where the moon is in its orbit. There are four main phases of the moon:

  • New moon
  • First quarter
  • Full moon
  • Third quarter

There are also four transitional phases between each of the main phases:

  • Waxing crescent
  • Waxing gibbous
  • Waning gibbous
  • Waning crescent

Waxing is when the light we see is growing and waning is when the light we see is shrinking. It takes about one month for a moon to go through a complete lunar cycle.

You will also want to be familiar with the stars and galaxies, comets and meteors, the solar system and planets, and the relationships between the Earth, Sun, and Moon (think orbits, rotations, and tilt.)

Category 2, Life Science, is about 33% of the Science subtest, which accounts for about 18 questions. There are three big areas in this category you need to know to get these questions correct:

  • Structure and function of living things
  • Genetics
  • Ecology

Understanding what qualifies something as alive, human body systems, and cells are a few of the topics you will see in the structure and function of living cells section.

There are seven characteristics of living things:

  1. use energy
  2. movement
  3. breathing
  4. get rid of waste
  5. grow and develop
  6. respond to environment
  7. reproduce

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.

You are also going to see a lot of cells on your exam. You will need to know the differences in animal and plant cells and what all the organelles inside of them do. For example, understanding the purpose of the mitochondria is to convert chemical energy into ATP is important to know.

animal-cell-plant-cell

Moving into the next section, genetics, it is important to understand a living thing’s normal growth and development. Know that genetics is the study of heredity and be familiar with these genetic terms:

  • DNA – carries all of the information about how a living thing will look and function.
  • Chromosomes – come in identical pairs, half of a living thing’s chromosomes come from each parent.
  • Genes – carry the information that make up a living thing’s traits. They are found on chromosomes.
  • Nucleus – tells every part of the cell what to do, it is the “brain” of the cell. It contains one’s genes and chromosomes.
  • Dominant genes – are shown with a capital letter, offspring only need one copy of the dominant gene to show the dominant genotype.
  • Recessive genes – are shown with a lowercase letter, offspring need two copies of a recessive gene to show the recessive genotype.
  • Punnett square – a grid of letters used to show the genotypes of two individuals and all of the possible genetic outcomes of the cross.
  • Alleles – refers to the alternative forms of a gene.
  • Genotype – refers to the exact pairing of the alleles of a trait.
  • Phenotype – refers to the expression of the trait.

For example, the Punnett square below shows three possible genotypes (BB, Bb, bb) for the color of the flower. However, the phenotype has only two combinations, purple or white.

punnett-square

The last section of Category 2, Ecology, is all about organisms and how they interact with each other and their environment. A good way to understand how organisms depend on each other is a food web.

Ecosystems contain many organisms linked by food and energy relationships. Food webs show these overlapping food chains. Therefore, a food web provides a more complex and detailed picture of how energy flows from producer to other organisms. These can be useful to determine the impact of removing a population.

food-web

For example, if the frog population died out there would be no food for the snake population and it would also die out. Then, the Hawk population would have to depend more on the mouse and rabbit populations, which might get over-hunted. On the other hand, the grasshopper population that the frog used to eat might have an increase in population.

You will also want to be familiar with the different life cycles of living things.

The majority of common organisms including dogs, snakes, and fish have a simple, three-stage life cycle, which includes:

  • Egg
  • Birth of young
  • Adult stage

The young are similar to the parent, just smaller in size. Plants also have a simple life cycle, which includes the seed, seedling, and adult.

The life of an insect can be categorized as either complete or incomplete metamorphosis. Complete metamorphosis is a four-stage cycle in which the young look completely different than the adult. An example of such an organism is the butterfly. The four stages include:

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Pupa
  • Adult

Incomplete metamorphosis consists of three stages in the life cycle:

  • Egg
  • Larva (nymph)
  • Adult

The dragonfly and grasshopper both have this type of life cycle.

Category 3, Physical Science, is the final 33% of the Science subtest, which accounts for about 18 questions. The three big areas you will be tested on include:

  • Matter
  • Force and Motion
  • Energy

Matter is everything that has mass and takes up space. You need to know these things about matter:

  • physical properties of matter
  • conservation of matter
  • physical and chemical changes of matter
  • mixtures and solutions
  • atoms and elements
  • molecules and compounds

You will also need to know the characteristics of a solid, liquid, and gas.

solid-liquid-gas-table

You will also see some questions about atoms, molecules, and the periodic table. States of matter are defined by the arrangement of the atoms or molecules.

  • A solid has particles packed together in a relatively fixed position and has a definite shape and volume.
  • Liquids have a definite volume, but no definite shape so they take on the shape of their container. The particles of a liquid are close together, not packed, and move around more than those of a solid.
  • The particles of a gas are moving so quickly and far apart that they fill all available space. Substances in the state of a gas do not have a fixed shape or volume; they take the shape of their container.

In the force and motion section you will need to know about Newton’s Law.

  1. Newton’s first law, the law of inertia, says that an object resists changes in its state of motion. “An object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by an equal or opposite force.” Think about why seatbelts are important.
  2. The second law explains why objects with greater mass require more force to move the object. Force = mass x acceleration.
  3. 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.”

Energy is the ability to do work or apply a force over a distance. There are two broad classifications of energy. Be sure to know the difference between potential and kinetic 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.

Let’s take a look at that last category we created to talk about the four repeated test specifications that show up in all three categories. Category 4, the Process of Science, is all about how to do science well. You will see questions from this category throughout each of the three science test categories.

Lab safety is a topic that comes up frequently. When answering questions about lab safety, you will want to familiarize yourself with common lab safety rules like the ones below:

  • Never put chemicals back into the container, to avoid contamination
  • Properly dispose of excess chemicals in liquid waste bottles
  • Always wear safety goggles and closed-toe shoes when working with glass, chemicals, fire, or projectiles
  • Tie back hair and loose clothing when working with fire and machines
  • Wash hands before and after experiments
  • Direct the openings of containers away from faces
  • Never use/touch chipped or broken glass directly
  • Do not eat or drink in the lab
  • Never directly smell chemicals; instead, waft the air toward the face
  • Do not taste chemicals
  • Keep water and objects away from electrical outlets
  • Always notify the teacher in the case of a spill or accident. Teachers should address spills immediately and minimize spread.
  • Turn off all gas and electrical equipment when not in use
  • Never leave flames or moving equipment unattended

A good tip for answering lab safety questions is “when in doubt, use common sense.” For example, if you are working with an open flame, you will want to tie back hair and loose clothing.

You will also need to know how to teach science. The number one thing you need to know about teaching science is the Scientific Method. You will need to know all of the steps in the Scientific Method and how to do each one.

scientific-method

Basically for these types of questions, make sure you understand that science is necessary and important, the foundation of science is inquiry (investigation), and all science is based on research. Scientists continue to question, gather data, and draw conclusions so that we gain a better understanding of life and the living and nonliving things in it.

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