MTEL Early Childhood (02) Exam

The Early Childhood (02) exam by the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) is required for licensure in the state of Massachusetts. The examination assesses the proficiency and understanding of an entry-level educator including subject matter expertise, education pedagogy, and the regulations and guidelines required to be a successful teacher.


To be eligible for a preliminary license, you need to hold a bachelor’s degree and pass the required MTEL examination(s). To qualify for an initial license, you need to meet the qualifications for a preliminary license and complete an approved teacher preparation program.

Registration, locations, and cost

Before you can register to take the MTEL, you need a Massachusetts Education Personal ID number (MEPID). To obtain a MEPID, create a profile at the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Educator Licensure and Renewal system (ELAR). There is no cost to obtain a MEPID. From your account you can manage your licensure requirements, and register for the appropriate assessments.

The Early Childhood exam is conducted at testing centers located nationwide and can be scheduled Monday through Saturday on a first-come, first served basis. Military personnel have the option to utilize testing centers located on military bases.

Your exam is $139.00 payable by a credit or debit card with the Visa or MasterCard emblem. Once your payment is received, you are authorized to schedule your examination. You have one year from the date your registration is approved to schedule your exam. After that time, you have to re-register and pay the fee again.

Test design

The Early Childhood exam is a criterion-referenced, objective-based measuring your knowledge in relation to established standards of competence with content based on a set of test objectives. The exam is computer-based and consists of four subareas:

The testing subareas are:

Subarea I: Knowledge of Child Development containing 30-32 multiple-choice questions.

This portion of the exam assesses your understanding of child development from prenatal to early elementary, and child development and learning in students with disabilities.

Subarea II: Knowledge of Children’s Literature and the Writing Process containing 18-20 multiple-choice questions.

This subarea examines your understanding of children’s literature, genres, literary elements, and literary techniques. Your knowledge of the principles and concepts of writing for varying purposes is also examined.

Subarea III: Core Knowledge in the Content Areas containing 49-51 multiple-choice questions.

In this subarea, your understanding of the principles and concepts of mathematics, history, social science, science, and technology/engineering is assessed.

Subarea IV: Integration of Knowledge and Understanding containing two open-response (essay) questions.

In this subarea of the exam, you are asked to prepare two organized, developed essays that relate to child development in two or more of the following topic areas:

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • History and Social Science
  • Science

You have 15 minutes to complete a pre-test tutorial and four hours to complete the exam. The required passing score is 240.

Test Day

At the testing center, your digital signature, digital photograph, and palm scan are taken. Present your government-issued identification and follow the directions for storing your belongings. Everything you need for the exam is provided, and you are not allowed to bring reference materials or tools to your testing station.

At your station, you have the opportunity to take a tutorial to become familiar with the exam delivery method. Fifteen minutes is allotted for the tutorial, and when you have completed the tutorial your exam begins.


The multiple-choice questions are awarded one point for each correct answer. You are not penalized for incorrect answers so try to answer every question. The open-response questions are reviewed and evaluated against a metric. Unanswered open-response questions do not receive any points. The points you are awarded are converted to a scaled score, and your score report indicates your passing status. The score report also includes information on your general performance in each subarea. The passing score is 240. Results are available in your online account within two weeks of the close of the test window, and your score is reported to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. If you indicated a Massachusetts educator program at registration, your results are sent to that program.

How Can I Prepare for the MTEL Early Childhood 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 tracking down the best study guide and flashcard set for your exam. Below you’ll see links to both!

Study Guide



Last Updated: August 20, 2019