Praxis ParaPro Ultimate Guide2019-01-07T21:38:41+00:00

Praxis ParaPro

Preparing to take the Praxis ParaPro?


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Praxis ParaPro Quick Facts

The ParaPro assesses reading, writing, and math skills. It also assesses the application of those skills in the classroom.

School paraprofessionals include teaching assistants, teaching aides, translators, library and media center assistants, etc.





The score range for the ParaPro is 420 – 480. Each state or school district sets their own passing score. Click here for the list of passing scores.  

Pass rate:


Study time:

To pass the ParaPro, there is no set time to study. It depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the participant in relation to the skills covered on the test.

Plan a course of study by focusing on your weaknesses. The best way is to review the 240Tutoring materials.

What test takers wish they would’ve known:

Several test takers stated that it had been years since they were in school; they wished they would have studied specific math and reading terms, as well as specific grammar rules.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Test-takers tend to overestimate their abilities to perform well. Many regret not putting more time and effort into preparing. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this mistake by using test preparation materials.
  • When answering the multiple-choice questions, you should read all possible answers before marking the correct one. You don’t want to miss out on the best answer by not reading all of the responses!
  • Always check your answer before moving to the next question. Many test-takers are surprised by how they’re able to find overlooked errors in their work by using this strategy.

Information and screenshots obtained from the ETS website:

ParaPro: Reading


There are about 30 Reading questions.

The Reading section has two types of questions:

  • Reading Skills and Knowledge
  • Application of Reading Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

So, let’s start with Reading Skills and Knowledge.

Reading Skills and Knowledge

For this section, you will read short passages and answer questions about the main ideas, supporting details, and text organizations. You will also be required to figure out what specific words mean, make inferences, decipher between fact and opinion, and gather information from visuals like tables and charts.

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Main Idea

The main idea of a text is what it is all about. Usually, the main idea is written in general terms, and the supporting details are more specific. The best way to determine the main idea is to identify key details in a text. Then, figure out what these key details have in common. This will help you arrive at the main idea of a text.  

Look at the example about fog below.

In the example above, the three key details (green boxes) may appear in a text about fog. The main idea of this text may not be stated directly. You may need to determine what these three things have in common.

Fog is the topic, not the main idea. The key details are about the formation of fog; therefore, the main idea is how fog is formed. It is important to identify the key details in a text before identifying the main idea.

Main idea questions may be asked in a variety of ways. Take a look below:

Drawing Inferences

An inference is an educated guess. It is based on two things: details from the text and background knowledge.

When you are answering an inference question, you should be able to find details in the text to support your answer. Also, your background knowledge about the topic will come into play when answering the question. Look at the example below.

In this example, there is evidence in the text to support the answer of Benjamin Franklin’s siblings receiving very little education, as well. Money was probably scarce with seventeen children in the family. Also, it isn’t stated, but it cost money to go to school back then.  

The words “inference” or “infer” may or may not be included in a test question, but there are other keywords in inference questions including “suggests” or “what would happen if.”

Fact versus Opinion

A fact can be proven true. An opinion is an expression of someone’s feelings, and it cannot be proven. Facts may contain dates and/or statistics. Opinions may use descriptive words (terrible, beautiful) and/or comparative and superlative adjectives (best, worse).

On the ParaPro, the fact and opinion questions may look like this:

  • Which sentence from the passage contains an opinion?
  • Which sentence is a fact from the passage?

Application of Reading Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

This section tests your ability to assist students with reading activities.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Long and Short Vowels

You need to be able to help students read words containing long and short vowels. Long vowels say their name. Short vowels have special sounds. Let’s take a look at words containing long and short vowels:

Also, take a look at the symbols that represent the short and long vowel sounds:


Homonyms are two or more words that sound alike but have different meanings.

Take a look at these examples of homonyms:

  • heir and air
  • knead and need
  • lead and led

A question on the test may ask you to identify an instructional strategy that will help a student understand homonyms. Below is an example.

Making Predictions

A prediction is a guess about what will happen next in a sequence of events. The “guess” is supported by details in the passage. You will most likely see a prediction question after reading a fictional passage.

Let’s practice making a prediction. Read the story below.

What do you think happens next? More than likely, Louisa and her dog walk to the park across the street and buy ice cream from the truck.

You may be asked questions that look like the ones below:


A syllable is a word or part of a word that contains only one vowel sound. The syllable can include consonants or consonant sounds; however, it must contain a vowel or vowel sound.

Understanding syllables can help you read and spell challenging words. You will need to know how to help students identify syllables. One way to do that is through clapping. Children find it easy to clap as they slowly say a word; it helps them “hear” the syllables in words.

Here is a word broken into syllables:

Breaking words into syllables also helps students figure out what words mean. If there is a prefix or suffix in the word, a student may be able to apply his/her knowledge of that prefix or suffix to the overall word meaning.

And that’s some basic info about the Reading section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Praxis ParaPro Reading Practice Questions and Answers

Questions 1-3 are based on the following passage.

1 President Kennedy was not the first to imagine sending a man to the moon. A little more than 100 years earlier, in 1865, science fiction writer Jules Verne also imagined space travel. He put his innovative thoughts in a book called From the Earth to the Moon. In it he described a lunar expedition that is so eerily close to the Apollo 11 mission that a reader would think he was predicting the future. He called his spaceship with a crew of three the Columbiad. In his book the spacecraft launches from Florida, and the United States Navy recovers it from the Pacific Ocean. In 1969, Florida was the launch site of Apollo 11. The command module was named Columbia. When the spacecraft returned to Earth, it splashed down in the Pacific, where the Navy recovered it along with its three-astronaut crew. Verne accurately delineated the future when the technology of his own time made his predictions seem highly unlikely to occur. How could he have known that his far-fetched idea was not so far-fetched after all?

2 Like Verne, other science fiction writers have accurately described inventions that are commonplace today. Many of H. G. Wells’s ideas, for example, have become a reality. Considered by many to be one of the best science fiction writers of all time, Wells wrote about lasers, wireless communication, automatic doors, and other gadgets that did not exist at the time of his writings. But today these gadgets are such an integral part of our society that we probably cannot imagine living without them. Wells also describes a journey to the moon on a spaceship made from antigravity material. We can only speculate that these writers might have inspired those who later turned their fiction into reality.

3 In 2012, a Mars rover, developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), landed on the planet Mars. No one would have been more excited to hear the news than Ray Bradbury, one of America’s greatest science fiction writers. In 1950 he wrote about travel to Mars in his book The Martian Chronicles. The book describes an expedition that lands humans on Mars. The story then tells how the people inhabit the planet and bring their families to live there. Since NASA has successfully landed a rover on Mars, Bradbury’s fantasy may yet become reality. The Mars rover, appropriately called Curiosity, is gathering information that will help NASA plan a manned mission to Mars sometime in the 2030s. Will future families travel to Mars to live there, as Bradbury imagined? If so, the world as we know it today will certainly be different.

Question 1 

A good title for this reading passage would be:

  1. “Jules Verne Predicts the Future”
  2. “Mars, Our Future Home”
  3. “Fiction Can Predict the Future”
  4. “Space Travel as a Part of Life”

Correct answer: 2. The passage focuses on demonstrating how different writers from the past seemed to imagine a future that has actually come true. Thus, this is the best answer.

Question 2

What is one detail that illustrates how Jules Verne’s book connects with the real Apollo 11 mission?

  1. When the space craft returned to earth, it landed in the Pacific Ocean
  2. When they landed on Mars, it looked eerily similar to the way Verne had described it
  3. The mission’s name, Apollo 11, was taken from Verne’s book
  4. President Kennedy was in charge of the space launch

Correct answer: 1. This question asks you to recall simple details, so the answer will be right in the passage. This is the only answer that correctly states what is implicitly written.

Question 3

What method of organization does the author of this passage employ?

  1. Problem/Solution
  2. Compare/Contrast
  3. Cause/Effect
  4. Spatial

Correct answer: 2. The paragraph does not discuss how fiction writing necessarily caused these modern inventions to take place; it simply focuses on describing their similarities. Likewise, the passage doesn’t describe any effects of the writings on reality; it’s simply showing us how they’re oddly similar. Therefore, “Cause/Effect” is incorrect. Also, “Problem/Solution” is incorrect since there is no problem stated to be solved. “Spatial” is incorrect because the passage does not focus on the geography or locations. These facts are mentioned, but they’re mentioned as part of the main idea that they’re the same as in the past writings that predict their realities.

Questions 4-5 are based on the following passage.

Landscapes, images of natural scenery, remained a popular subject in early modern art. Driven in part by their dissatisfaction with the modern city, many artists sought out places resembling untouched earthly paradises. In these areas, away from the bustle of the modern city, artists were able to focus on their work and observe nature firsthand. Because of this, many radical artistic experiments occurred in the most rural and least “modern” of settings. These ranged from the use of unexpected, non-naturalistic colors, to the unusual application of paint.

Question 4

Which of the following best states the main idea of this passage?

  1. Early modern artists used new techniques in color choice and application
  2. Similar to previous artists, modern artists enjoyed painting landscapes
  3. Inspired by the modern city, artists experimented with new techniques
  4. Early modern artists avoided the modern world and embraced nature, causing new techniques to be developed in old settings

Correct answer: 4. This is correct. The passage discusses artists’ desire to leave the modern city and focus on nature to create art, which caused new “modern” techniques to be created in settings that weren’t modern at all.

Question 5

The author uses the word “dissatisfaction” in line 2 to mean:

  1. unhappiness
  2. contentment
  3. misery
  4. unkempt

Correct answer: 1. This is correct. Artists expressed their “dissatisfaction” or unhappiness, with the city, so they went to the country to create.

Question 6

During a decoding exercise of rhyming words, a GACE Paraprofessionalfessional in a first-grade classroom noticed Billy could not decode new words when particular suffixes were added to the word. Billy would most benefit from which of the following instruction?

  1. Isolating the initial sounds of the words
  2. Increasing understanding of vowel digraphs
  3. Sounding out the words
  4. Counting the syllables in the words

Correct answer: 3. Sounding out the word, otherwise known as blending phonemes, will help Billy sound out the root word and then identify the suffix. This will help Billy separate the root word and the suffix to help Billy decode the word.

Question 7

How many phonemes are in the word “hat”?

  1. 1
  2. 3
  3. 4
  4. 2

Correct answer: 2. A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that can be used to make one word different from another word. In the word “hat” the sounds /h/, /a/, and /t/ are all distinct phonemes.

Question 8

Today, the Vikings are mostly known as violent pirates and raiders. It is true that Vikings did raid and destroy many towns and villages along coastlines, all the way from what is now northern Russia to Morocco. However, the Vikings were also traders and merchants and didn’t simply destroy things. They built towns and markets of their own, including Hedeby, which in the 10th century had a population of 1,500, making it the largest trading town in northern Europe. At their height, the Vikings attacked, settled, or traded on four continents. They were active all the way from Canada (they became the first Europeans to travel to the Americas) to present day Istanbul.

Which of the following statements best expresses the main idea of the selection?

  1. The reputation Vikings have as destroyers is completely accurate
  2. Vikings destroyed towns, but they also created towns and markets
  3. Vikings contributed positively to society and never harmed it
  4. Vikings attacked, settled, or traded on four continents

Correct answer: 2. This is correct. By including both positive and negative facts about Vikings, the author makes it clear that he wants to show both sides of the story of Vikings: they destroyed, but they also created.

Question 9

Billy is having a difficult time reading a multisyllabic word. He asks the paraprofessional in his classroom for help. Which of the following strategies would best support Billy’s learning to decode multisyllabic words independently?

  1. Pronouncing each letter independently and then combining the sounds into one word
  2. Having the paraprofessional demonstrate how to sound out the word and then find it in the dictionary
  3. Using the dictionary to learn how to pronounce the word
  4. Highlighting the different syllables of the word and then sounding out the word by syllables

Correct answer: 4. Identifying each individual syllable and then sounding out the word by syllables promotes Billy’s understanding of what a syllable is and how to identify syllables in a word.

Question 10

A paraprofessional asks a student an open-ended question about the literary piece the class just finished.  The students are always required to give their answer with support directly from the text. This is to assess and improve which of the following?

  1. Comprehension
  2. Sequencing
  3. Fluency Vocabulary
  4. Vocabulary

Correct answer: 1. This is the correct answer. Students need to be able to explain and show how they came up with their answer.

ParaPro: Mathematics


There are about 30 Mathematics questions.

The Mathematics section has two types of questions:

  • Mathematics Skills and Knowledge
  • Application of Mathematics Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

Mathematics Skills and Knowledge questions include three categories:

  • Number Sense and Basic Algebra
  • Geometry and Measurement
  • Data Analysis

So, let’s start with Number Sense and Basic Algebra.

Number Sense and Basic Algebra

This section tests your knowledge on arithmetic and algebra.

Review the following tables and graphics for a refresher on basic math terms and concepts.



Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Place Value

On the test, the place value questions will directly ask you to identify the place value of a certain digit. Here’s an example:

In this number, the digit 8 is in the hundred-thousands place.


An exponent is the power of a number. The exponent tells you how many times to multiply a number by itself. Look at the example below.

In this example, 20 is raised to the power of 4. 20 x 20 x 20 x 20 equals 160,000.

Order of Operations

On the test, you may come across a problem like this:

Do not work this problem from left to right! You will have to follow the order of operations. Here are the steps to solving this problem:

  1. First, solve the subtraction problem within the parentheses: 6 – 2 = 4.
  2. Then, multiply by 4: 4 x 4 = 16.
  3. Next, add 8: 16 + 8 = 24.
  4. Finally, subtract 3: 24 – 3 = 21.

Here’s the order to follow when solving problems (and a fun mnemonic device to remember the order):

You must work the operations in parentheses first. Then, solve the operations with exponents. Next, work multiplication and/or division operations. Finally, solve the addition and/or subtraction operations.

Note: Multiplication and division operations are considered equal, so you can solve them from left to right. The same goes for addition and subtraction operations.

Geometry and Measurement

This section tests your ability to solve equations and real-world problems concerning shapes, time, and money. You will also be tested on graphing data.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Basic Geometrical Shapes

You can probably already identify a circle, triangle, square, and rectangle, but some shapes are harder to remember. Take a look at these:

Be prepared to identify these shapes on the test.


Area is the size of a surface. When calculating the area of a two-dimensional shape, like a circle, triangle, square, or rectangle, you will need to use a formula. Take a look below:

More than likely, area questions on the test will be presented in word problems.

Graphing Data on an XY-Coordinate Plane

You will definitely see a coordinate plane on the test. Take a look at the coordinate plane below. Pay special attention to the x-axis (horizontal) and the y-axis (vertical).

You will be asked to graph a point on the coordinate plane. A set of coordinates will be given to you, like this:


The first number, 2, represents the x-axis. The second number, 3, represents the y-axis. To graph a point, you always begin at the origin (0,0).

Let’s graph the point at (2,3). Begin at the origin. Then, move along the x-axis two spots to the right. Now, move along the y-axis three spots up. Your point will look like this:

Data Analysis

This section tests your ability to understand and think critically about information from tables, charts, and graphs. You will also be asked to find the mean, median, and mode of a set of numbers.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.


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 amount of numbers in the set.

Let’s look at an example:

14 + 88 + 43 + 25 + 10 + 33 + 85 + 26 = 324

324 ÷ 8 = 40.5

After adding all of the numbers together, we divide the sum by 8, because there are 8 numbers in the set. The mean, or average, of the data set is 40.5.

On the test, questions about the mean of numbers may be presented in word problems. Take a look at an example:

Here are the steps to solving this problem:

89 + 76 + 100 + 100 + 92 + 72 + 83 = 612

612 ÷ 7 = 87.43


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.

Now, 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.

Let’s look at how this might appear on the test:

First, we order the numbers from least to greatest. Then, we find the value in the middle. Since there are 8 numbers in this set, there are two values in the middle: 55 and 74. Find the mean, or average, of these numbers. The median is 64.5.


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. Look at an example:

In this data set, 117 appears twice, while the other numbers only appear once; therefore, 117 is the mode.

Application of Mathematics Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

This section tests your ability to assist students with mathematics activities.    

You will need to know specific strategies for helping students understand math processes and solve problems. Here are some important strategies to remember:

You will see questions on the test similar to this:

And that’s some basic info about the Mathematics section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Praxis ParaPro Mathematics Practice Questions and Answers

Question 1 

Simplify: 30 – 2 × 50 + 70

  1.   570
  2.   -70
  3.   0
  4.   -210

Correct answer: 3. To simplify the given expression, follow the order of operations. The order of operations is often expressed by the acronym PEMDAS: Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction. Within the equally ranked operations (the pair including Multiplication and Division, and also the pair including Addition and Subtraction), work left to right. Of the operations present in the problem (subtraction, multiplication, and addition), the first to be completed must be multiplication because “M” precedes “A/S” in the order of operations. Therefore, the expression 30 – 2 × 50 + 70 will be simplified to 30 – 100 + 70. The remaining operations (subtraction and addition) are equally ranked and so must be performed in the order in which they appear when reading the problem from the left to the right. First 30 – 100 + 70 becomes -70 + 70, and then finally -70 + 70 = 0.

Question 2

Adam earns $48,000 per year. Marco earns 25% more than Adam does. How much does Marco earn per year?

  1. $60,000
  2. $38,400
  3. $36,000
  4. $12,000

Correct answer: 1. This question requires use of percentages and can be approached in more than one way. One option is to take 25% of $48,000 to determine the extra earnings that Marco makes past Adam’s salary: 0.25 × 48,000 = 12,000. That additional amount can be added to Adam’s earnings to find Marco’s total earnings: $48,000 + $12,000 = $60,000. Alternatively, if Marco earns 25% more than Adam does, then Marco earns 100% of what Adam earns, plus an additional 25%. In total, then, Marco earns 125% of what Adam earns, and so 125% can be converted into decimal form (1.25) and multiplied on Adam’s annual earnings of $48,000 to get 1.25 × 48,000 = 60,000. Through either approach, it can be found that Marco earns $60,000 per year.

Question 3

What is the digit in the hundreds place in the product of 63 × 31?

  1. 1
  2. 9
  3. 3
  4. 5

Correct answer: 2. The product of 63 × 31 = 1,953. The digit that occupies the hundreds place is 9.

Question 4

The west wall of a square room has a length of 13 feet. What is the perimeter of the room, expressed in feet?

  1. There is not enough information
  2. 169
  3. 52
  4. 48

Correct answer: 3. A square has four sides of equal length. Perimeter is the total distance around an object. To find the perimeter of a square, follow the formula P = 4s, where P = perimeter and s = the length of a side of the square. In this case, P = 4 × 13 = 52 feet.

Question 5

What is the approximate length, in centimeters, of segment AB shown above?

  1.   9.5
  2.   8.5
  3.   2.5
  4.   11

Correct answer: 2. Segment AB begins approximately at the marking for 2.5 cm, and ends at approximately the marking for 11 cm. The difference between the ending and starting points yields the length of the segment: 11 – 2.5 = 8.5. Therefore, the approximate length, in centimeters, of segment AB is 8.5.

Question 6

What is the mean of the data: 15, 18, 19, 54, 74, 94, 67, 82, 48, 31, 15?

  1. 52
  2. 47
  3. 40
  4. 42

Correct answer: 2. To calculate the arithmetic mean (or average) of a set of data, a total sum must be found for all of the data in the set and then that sum must be divided by the number of values in the set of data. In this set of data, the total is 517 and there are 11 values. The mean, therefore, is 517/11 = 47.

Question 7

What is the median of the data?

15, 18, 19, 54, 74, 94, 67, 82, 48, 31, 15

  1. 48
  2. 44
  3. 47
  4. 54

Correct answer: 1. The median of a set of data (with an odd number of values) is the middle value when data is ordered numerically. When the given data is reorganized from least to greatest, it is: 15, 15, 18, 19, 31, 48, 54, 67, 74, 82, 94. There are 11 values in this set of data. Therefore, the 6th value (with 5 values below it and 5 values above it) is the median. In this case, the 6th value is 48.

Question 8

A field trip to the planetarium is being planned.  If each bus will hold 48 people, at least how many buses will be needed to transport 350 children and teachers?

  1. 8
  2.   7
  3.   7.29
  4.   Not enough information given

Correct answer: 1. A bus can carry 48 people, and there are 350 people needing transportation. Therefore, 350 must be divided by 48 to see how many buses are needed. 350 ÷ 48 = 7.291666… However, 0.291666… buses is not possible and 7 buses would not be sufficient to transport all 350 people. Therefore, 7.291666… must be rounded up to 8, and 8 buses must be taken.

Question 9

When asked to solve ½ ÷ 2, Jon answered 1.  How could a paraprofessional present this problem to John so that he would better understand the problem and how to answer it?

  1. Tell Jon to think about having ½ a pizza. Ask him, “if he were to share the pizza equally with a friend, how much of the pizza would each of you get?”
  2. Have Jon draw a picture to represent ½ a pizza, then divide it into two equal parts. Ask him how much of the whole pizza each part represents.
  3. Have Jon draw a picture to illustrate his thought process to you.
  4. Tell Jon that he has answered the question, “What is ½ of 2?” Then have him rework the correct problem.

Correct answer: 2. This choice allows Jon to go to a pictorial representation of the problem; this will aid him in understanding what the problem is asking, as well as reinforce the strategy of drawing a picture or diagram as a valid problem-solving strategy.

Question 10

A paraprofessional in a fifth-grade classroom is helping a student better understand equivalent fractions after an introductory lesson. Which of the following activities would be the most effective in helping the student understand the concept of equivalent fractions?

  1. Use pattern blocks to model fractions equivalent to ½ of the hexagon
  2. Compare pictures showing ½ of a variety of different objects
  3. Begin with the concept that 50¢ is ½ of $1; 25¢ is ½ of 50¢; 5¢ is ½ of 10¢
  4. Find as many fractions as possible equivalent to ½ in one minute

Correct answer: 1. Since this is an introductory activity, concrete, proportional manipulative materials like this should be used for concept development. It is important not to rush past this step and to use a variety of different materials to develop and reinforce understanding of this concept.

ParaPro: Writing


There are about 30 Writing questions.

The Writing section has two types of questions:

  • Writing Skills and Knowledge
  • Application of Writing Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

So, let’s start with Writing Skills and Knowledge.

Writing Skills and Knowledge

This section tests your ability to find errors in sentences. These errors include:

  • word usage
  • punctuation
  • spelling

You’ll also need to have a basic understanding of the parts of speech and the parts of a sentence.

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Parts of Speech

Take a look at the parts of speech:

On the test, you will be required to identify the part of speech for an underlined word. Here is an example:

In this example, the word without is being used as a preposition.


Let’s talk more specifically about adverbs. Adverbs describe verbs. A lot of adverbs end in -ly. Adverbs usually answer the following questions:

  • How?
  • How often?
  • When?
  • Where?

When an adverb describes a verb, it is usually located close to the verb. Take a look at this example:

The adverb (carefully) describes the verb (fired) because it explains how the hunter fired his gun. Below are common adverbs and the questions they answer.

Commonly Misused Words

There are many words that people commonly misuse. Sometimes, the words are spelled similarly (which is the reason for the confusion). Take a look:

Here is how this concept may appear on the test:

Can you identify the error in this sentence? The error occurs in choice C; then should be than, because a comparison is being made between wearing a nice pair of pants and a full suit.

Application of Writing Skills and Knowledge to Classroom Instruction

This section tests your ability to assist students with writing activities, including the writing process. Take a look at the steps of the writing process:

Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.

Revising a Composition

Before we talk specifically about revising a composition, you should know that revising and editing are different. Revising involves:

  • adding new ideas
  • expanding on ideas
  • adding more detail
  • improving understanding
  • eliminating wordiness, redundancies, and confusing elements

Editing involves fixing errors in:

  • spelling
  • punctuation
  • capitalization
  • grammar
  • sentence structure

In a composition or essay, ideas should be organized into paragraphs that flow smoothly. Take a look at the most common elements of a composition:

You will be expected to know how to help students revise their compositions. A test question may look like this:

For this question, you will need to select an answer that involves writing a good thesis statement. Typically, a thesis statement answers the question or prompt. In personal essays, it gives an overall statement about what your essay will be about.

Different Modes and Forms of Writing

There are many different modes of writing including descriptive essays, narratives, and letters. Take a look at those three:

You may have to identify a form of writing on the test. You’ll also need to know how to explain the differences between forms of writing. Here is an example of a test question:

A teacher asks his students to write a letter to their best friend. This letter should contain all parts of a letter. Timmy writes a letter and shows it to you. His letter is one large paragraph. What response should you give Timmy to make sure his letter contains all the necessary parts?

For this question, you should choose the response that includes all of the parts of a letter. The parts of a letter are the heading, greeting, body, close, and signature. It appears that Timmy included the body of the letter, but forgot to include the other elements.  

Reference Materials

Reference materials include dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, biographies, almanacs, and atlases. These sources can be found online or in print.

Students use reference materials to improve their writing. For example, students may use dictionaries to find the correct spellings of words. Thesauruses can be used to find synonyms or antonyms.

Reference materials should be accessible to students while they are writing; however, it takes direct instruction and practice to learn how to use these sources.

And that’s some basic info about the Writing section.

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Praxis ParaPro Writing Practice Questions and Answers

Question 1 

Ronald’s lawyer was able to advice him₁ that she would not lose₂ the case and that she could prove whose fault₃ the car accident really was.  

Which part of the sentence above contains an error?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. No error

Correct answer: 1. The lawyer would “advise” Ronald, not “advice” him. Advise here is used as a verb, whereas “advice” is a noun.

Question 2

Which dessert should I choose₁? Last time I choose₂ chocolate cake and I was disappointed. This time I think I’ll choose₃ lemon pie.

Which part of the sentence contains a grammatical error?

  1. 2
  2. 3
  3. No error
  4. 1

Correct answer: 1. People commonly confuse the words choose and chose because they don’t follow the typical rule of using “-ed” for past tense. The present tense of choice is choose. It is a verb, an action word. The past tense is chose. “2” should be “chose” because the author has indicated past tense with the phrase last time.

Question 3

Caroline or her parents wants₁ to go to the film festival₂ in San Diego₃.

Which part of the sentence contains a grammatical error?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. No error
  4. 3

Correct answer: 1. This sentence has a compound subject with one singular noun (Caroline), and one plural noun (parents) joined by the word or. In this situation, the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer to the verb. Therefore, the singular verb “wants” should be changed to “want” to agree with the plural subject “parents.”

Question 4

Allie’s science project₁ focused on how music would effect₂ plant growth; she found that classical music had the most positive effect₃.

Which part of the sentence contains an error?

  1. No error
  2. 3
  3. 1
  4. 2

Correct answer: 4. Affect and effect are commonly confused words. It helps to remember that affect is a verb and effect is a noun. Therefore, Allie studies how music will affect plant growth. What she discovers when her experiment is finished is the result, or the noun effect.

Question 5

The Browns₁ run a dairy farm and produced₂ milk, cheese, and yogurt to sell at the market₃.

Which part of the sentence contains a grammatical error?

  1. 2
  2. 1
  3. 3
  4. No error

Correct answer: 1. Tenses should not change, or shift, within a sentence unless a time change needs to be shown. In this sentence, the first verb “run” is in present tense, so the present tense verb “produce” should be used instead of the past tense verb “produced.”

Question 6

There₁ thinking about selling their₂ house; it’s the one with the red door over there₃.

Which part of the sentence contains an error?

  1. 2
  2. No error
  3. 1
  4. 3

Correct answer: 3. There, their, and there are commonly confused words. The sentence should begin with “they’re,” which is a contraction for they are.

Question 7

The playful₁ dog wagged its tail, ran hilarious₂ around the living room, and quickly lapped₃ up the cold water.

Which part of the sentence contains an error?

  1. 3
  2. 1
  3. No error
  4. 2

Correct answer: 4. “Hilarious” should be changed to “hilariously,” since the word is an adverb describing how the dog ran.

Question 8

My band has been rehearsing daily. Because we have a concert in two weeks. It is our first paid gig, so we are all looking forward to it.

Which part of the passage is a fragment?

  1. 2
  2. No error
  3. 3
  4. 1

Correct answer: 1. A sentence is a group of words that has a subject, a verb, and expresses a complete thought; a sentence fragment is a group of words that does not express a complete thought. The word “because” makes “2” a fragment. The corrected sentence would read, “My band has been rehearsing daily because we have a concert in two weeks.”

Question 9

During the writing process, fifth-grade students need to be enabled to organize information and build on ideas by choosing an appropriate organizational strategy which might include sequence of events, cause and effect, or compare and contrast. Which of the following best describes this practice?

  1. Publishing
  2. Editing
  3. Drafting
  4. Planning

Correct answer: 3. This is the correct answer. This is when students organize information and build on their ideas.

Question 10

After we witnessed₁ the crime, we were interesting₂ to know the outcome of the trial, so we read₃ the verdict in the newspaper. Which part of the sentence contains an error? 

  1. 3
  2. 2
  3. No error
  4. 1

Correct answer: 2. This sentence is built upon past tense verbs. So, “we were interesting” should be changed to “we were interested.” Additionally, the adjective form of “interested” refers to the “we” speaking in this sentence—we were interested. “Interesting” would be referring to the thing that “we” are responding to, namely, an “interesting” trial. However, this is not the intended use of this adjective; here, “interested” is being used to describe “we.”