MTEL Communication & Literacy Skills (01) Exam

The Massachusetts Tests
for Educator licensure (MTEL) Communication and Literacy Skills Exam is offered
to prospective teachers to measure whether they will succeed in a classroom

How is the MTEL Communications and Literacy Exam formatted?

The Communication and Literacy Skills Exam is computer-based and consists of two subtests. You may choose to take both subtests at the same time, or you may choose to take either the reading subtest first or the writing subtest.

The reading subtest consists of 42 multiple-choice questions, and the writing subtest consists of 35 multiple-choice questions, 7 short-answer sentence correction items, and 2 short answer assignments.

How much time do I have to complete the exam?

You will have a total of 4 hours to take the exam regardless of whether you choose to take both subtests at the same time or just one. In addition, you will be guided through a 15-minute tutorial for how to operate the computer-based test.

How much does it cost to take the Communication and Literacy Skills Exam?

The cost for the exam is as follows:

Reading subtest only: $76

Writing subtest only: $85

Both subtests: $112

You will need to pay by credit or debit card that carries the Visa or Mastercard symbol.

How often is the exam given?

The exam is given year-round, Monday through Saturday by appointment only. You should consider scheduling your exam far in advance.

How can I register for the exam?

You may register for the exam on the official MTEL website:

You can only register after creating an account. As you register you will be able to pick a testing location that is convenient for you.

*Important: Your registration is good for one year. This means that you must schedule and take your exam within that year. If you don’t, your registration will expire, and you will not get your money back.

Where can I find a testing location?

The exam is given at testing centers located in Massachusetts and nationwide. In order to find a testing center closest to you, you can visit the Pearson VUE website at

What does the Communication and Literacy Skills Exam test me on?

The reading subtest tests you on topics such as:

  • Examining written material for the main idea and supporting details
  • Critical Reasoning
  • Meaning of words and phrases
  • Outlining, summarizing, and interpreting graphs

The writing subtest tests you on topics such as:

  • Sentence construction, grammar, and usage
  • Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation
  • Effective summary preparation
  • Methods used to establish and maintain a central theme and main idea

For this subtest you will need to demonstrate skills including, but not limited to, the correct use of grammar, vocabulary, and developing ideas.

What will test day be like?

On the day of your exam, it is recommended that you arrive 15 minutes early. You will need to have your current, government issued ID. If you don’t have your ID, you may not be permitted to take the exam. If you are not permitted to take the exam, you will not receive a refund of your money.

Personal items, including cellphones, other electronics, bags, food and drinks are not permitted in the testing room.

Bathroom breaks are allowed, but you will not be able to make up any missed time.

Will I lose points for guessing if I don’t know the answer to a question?

If you don’t know the answer to a question, you won’t be penalized for guessing.

What score do I need to get on the exam in order to pass?

The exam is scored on a scale of 100 to 300. You will need to score at least a 240 on each subtest in order to pass.

What if I fail my exam? Will I be able to retake it?

If you fail your exam you can retake it. However, you will need to wait 45 days before you can take the exam over.

When can I expect my scores?

You should expect your scores approximately two to four weeks after taking the exam.

How Can I Prepare for the MTEL Communication and Literacy Skills Exam?

That’s a great question.  We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.

  1. Do yourself a favor and study.  Do not walk in unprepared. We have recommended prep materials below, but that only helps if you actually try.  Plus, studying is actually proven to be the best antidote to test anxiety.
  2. Take care of yourself.  Make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and sleeping.  All of these things are scientifically linked to brain performance.  If you take care of your body, you’ll be helping your grades.
  3. Get a study guide or set of flashcards.  Some people study better a certain way. Find your study strengths and make the most of them.  We’ve tried to make it easy for you by 
  4. tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam.  Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: November 9, 2023