Study Guide

Test-Taking Strategies

Understanding the Structure and Content of the Tests

The knowledge, skills, and abilities assessed on the test are described in the test framework that is available in Section 3 of this study guide and as a PDF through the "Prepare" section of this website.

Test Framework

The test framework is based on relevant academic standards. The framework is organized for structural and reporting purposes into subareas. The subareas define the major content areas of the test, and each subarea contains a set of one or more objectives. Each objective is further defined by a number of descriptive statements. These components are described below.

Plan a Course of Study

Step 1: Read the test framework for the test(s) you are preparing to take.

The first step in preparing for an ILTS test is to identify the information the test will cover by reviewing the subareas and test objectives for your field. The ILTS study guides and website are the only sources for this information.

The number of objectives within each subarea typically reflects the emphasis given to that subarea on the test. In general, subareas with greater numbers of objectives will receive more coverage on the test.

Once you have gained a broad picture of what the test includes by reviewing the subareas, read each objective and its descriptive statements carefully to get a more specific idea of the knowledge you will be required to demonstrate on the test. This will help you

Step 2: Read the sample questions, attempt to answer them, and review the correct response provided.

The sample multiple-choice questions and any sample constructed-response assignments are designed to give you an introduction to the nature of the questions included in this test. The sample test questions represent the various types of questions you may expect to see on an actual test; however, they are not designed to provide diagnostic information to help you identify specific areas of individual strengths and weaknesses or to predict your performance on the test as a whole.

To help you prepare for your test, each sample multiple-choice question is preceded by the objective it measures and followed by a brief explanation of the correct response. On the actual test, the objectives, correct responses, and explanations will not be given.

If the test field included in this guide has a constructed-response assignment, this is preceded by the subarea it measures, and a sample response is provided immediately following the assignment. The sample responses in this guide are for illustrative purposes only. Your written response should be your original work, written in your own words, and not copied or paraphrased from some other work.

After reading a multiple-choice question or constructed-response assignment, you may want to reread the associated objective or subarea. This may help you understand what items associated with particular objectives or subareas might look like.

After answering a sample multiple-choice question, review the correct response and explanation provided. If you answered the question incorrectly, you may need to do some additional studying of the content covered by that objective. If your test includes one or more constructed-response assignments, review the sample response(s), as well as the performance characteristics and scoring scale provided.

Step 3: Develop a study plan to focus your studies.

You may wish to consult with faculty at your educator preparation program to determine the best time for you to take the test. In your coursework to date, you should already have mastered most or all of the content that you will see on the test. At this point, the best preparation is to identify: 1) your areas of strength and weakness (the sample questions in the study guide may provide you some idea of the areas on which you wish to focus); 2) any content with which you have had difficulty in the past; and 3) any other content you have not yet mastered. You should then study areas you have not yet mastered systematically and effectively.

While concentrating your studies on your areas of weakness, you should also be sure to do some additional preparation addressing the content covered in the other objectives. Remember, your score on the test is based on the total number of questions that you answer correctly; therefore, improvement on any objective will increase your total score on the test.

Suggested Study Method

One study method that many students have found to be effective is "PQ4R," or "Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite, Review." After reviewing the objectives and descriptive statements, locate appropriate study materials such as textbooks; then apply the six steps of the PQ4R method as described below.

  1. Preview: Scan the section headings and subheadings of the chapter or article you wish to study. Read the introduction or overview section as well as the summary section. This initial step can provide a good foundation on which to build your knowledge of a topic or skill.
  2. Question: Based on the appropriate test objectives and your preview of the study materials, think of specific questions to which you would like to find answers as you study. Write these questions down and use them as a guide as you read.
  3. Read: Read through the chapter you have selected. Adjust your reading speed as needed; some sections may take less time to read than others. Also, study any figures, tables, or graphics when you come across references to them in the text. This helps to keep each piece in context.
  4. Reflect: As you read, think about the examples and descriptions provided in the text. You may also think of examples from your own experience that are related to what you are reading. Reflective reading is active reading; by interacting with what you read, you may better understand and remember the content.
  5. Recite: When you complete each section of the text, check your understanding of what you have read. Can you answer the questions about this section that you wrote down before you started? Do you need to reread the section or some parts of it? Monitoring your progress by asking yourself these types of questions may help you identify areas you understand well and areas that you will want to study further.
  6. Review: After you have finished reading the text, you may want to check your understanding of the content by reviewing your questions for the whole chapter. Can you answer your questions without referring to the text? Reviewing your questions for a chapter immediately after you finish reading it, as well as later in your study plan schedule, can help you retain and apply what you have learned.

Whether you use PQ4R or some other study technique, the key to success is to become familiar with the material you are studying. As you study, predict what the content will be, ask yourself questions about it, paraphrase information aloud, relate the information to other things you know, review and summarize what you have learned—become involved in your studying.

Strategies for Success on the Day of the Test

Review the following strategies to help you do your best:

After the Test

With the help of the test-taking strategies described above, you should be able to use the time before and during the test wisely. There are also a few things you can do after the test that may be helpful to you, whether or not you have passed the test.

First, it may be useful to review the list of objectives you used during your studying. Look over that list and mark the objectives that represented the most difficult content for you on the test. Whether or not you pass the test, you may wish to enhance your own knowledge with further study in those areas.

Also, your score report will provide a graphic indicator of your performance for each subarea and, if applicable, for the constructed-response assignment(s). For more information on how to read and interpret your score report, please review the score report explanation in "Understanding Your Test Results." Devote further study to the content of the subareas and any constructed-response assignment(s) in which your performance was the weakest. Remember that all the subareas that were tested have been identified as important to being an effective beginning educator.