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How to Pass the Assessment of Professional Teaching Test

by Flora Richards-Gustafson

The Assessment of Professional Teaching, or APT, is the licensing exam that aspiring teachers take in the state of Illinois. Pearson Evaluation Systems has designed the exam to measure a test taker’s understanding regarding the principles of effective teaching and pedagogical knowledge in a field of specialization based on the standards set by the Illinois Department of Education. The Illinois Licensure Testing System (ILTS) shares that fully understanding the APT's test objectives can help you receive a passing score.

Know the Test Format

The APT test contains 120 multiple-choice and two constructed response questions. The content, or subareas, that the test covers includes educational technology, language arts, managing the learning environment, planning and delivering instructions, foundations and assessments, as well as collaboration, communication and professionalism. The multiple-choice questions evaluate your understanding of topics like child development, teaching theories and standards, resources and classroom learning objectives. The constructed response questions require you to write essays that are two pages in length about one of the subareas.The test reviewers score the essays based on how well you answer the question, your application of professional knowledge and your supporting statements.

Practice Writing Constructed Responses

Because the constructed responses make up a significant portion of the APT, the Illinois Licensure Testing System recommends that you practice writing essays using practice prompts. Write your responses as if other teachers will read them. The assignments are meant to evaluate your knowledge and skills more than your writing abilities; however, you must communicate your responses clearly. You’ll have scratch paper that you can use during the APT test to organize your thoughts and write an outline, as well as an “answer document” for your final draft. As you complete your practice essays, ask your academic adviser to evaluate them so you can learn how to improve upon the essays that you write for the APT exam.

Take Practice APT Tests

Use a practice APT test before you begin studying to learn which APT subareas give you the most difficulties so you can focus your studies on improving your knowledge in those areas. You can find practice tests on the Illinois Licensure Testing System website or through your university’s education department. You may also find quizzes that test your knowledge an APT study guide. As you get closer to the day of the APT exam, take another practice test so you can become more familiar with the format of the test's questions and the scoring methods that the Illinois Licensure Testing System uses. A practice test also lets you see how your knowledge has improved over the course of your studies and get an idea about how long it will take you to complete the actual exam.

Complete a Computer-Based Testing Tutorial

While paper tests exist, many testing centers use computers for the APT test. If your test is electronic, continue to prepare for the test by taking the computer-based testing tutorial made by the Pearson Evaluation Systems before the test’s date. The tutorial, which you can download onto your own computer from the Illinois Licensure Testing System website, shows you how to navigate through the test, answer the questions and submit the exam. By completing the tutorial, you’ll spend more time answering questions on the day of the test and less time trying to figure out the testing software.

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