As you prepare to take the Praxis Middle School Science (5440) exam, this article supports you with a wide range of pertinent information. You’ll find details on a variety of topics, including how to register, testing fees and payment methods, what items to bring (and not to bring) with you on the day of the exam, along with ideas for the types of content that you’ll be assessed on during the test itself.
Exam Purpose and Background
The Praxis Middle School Science (5440) exam looks at your knowledge and command of information needed to become an entry-level middle school science educator. This exam has been developed to meet the goals and minimum knowledge thresholds that align with the National Science Education Standards and the National Science Teacher Association.
You can complete your registration online at https://www.ets.org/praxis/register.
The fee to take the exam is $120, and is payable when you register online. You can pay using a check from a U.S. bank, money order, PayPalTM, eCheck, VISA®, Discover®, JCB®, American Express® or MasterCard®.
When you complete your registration, you’ll be able to review available testing time and location options.
Test Duration: You’ll have two and a half hours to take the exam.
What to Bring:
- One type of government-issued Identification, showing your name, signature and photo (such as a passport, a driver’s license, state/province ID, national ID or military ID). NOTE: It’s important that your name appears exactly the same way on your ID as on your admission ticket.
- Your admission ticket
What Not to Bring:
- Any electronic devices, including cell phones and calculators
- Personal items
- Writing insturments
- Jewelry, other than engagement or wedding rings
- Headwear (other than religious)
- Paper or books
- Food/drink unless specifically required and approved in advance
What to Expect During Your Praxis Exam
Format/Number of Questions: This is a computer-delivered exam that consists of 125 selected-response questions.
During the exam, you’ll be assessed on a total of six content categories. Here’s an overview of each of those categories, including the estimated number of questions for each category and the approximate percentage each section represents as part of the overall test.
Category 1: Scientific Inquiry, Methodology, Techniques and History (12% with About 15 Questions)
Assesses knowledge on scientific inquiry methods, including models, laws, theories, experiments, hypotheses, observations and conclusions, along with experimental design elements such as dependent and independent variable and scientific knowledge topics involving evidence, systems, equilibrium, function and form, change and constancy and models. This portion of the test also looks at data collection and manipulation processes such as units of measurement, significant figures and notation, presentation and organization of data, error review and descriptive statistics. In addition, the test reviews developing conclusions based on graphic data, proper lab material preparation, use, storage and disposal, lab safety and emergency processes, lab equipment usage review, as well as the contributions of major historic figures.
Category 2: Basic Principles of Matter and Energy (12% with About 15 Questions)
Reviews matter properties and structural elements, such as plasmas, gases, liquids and solids, the relationships between matter and energy, including laws of thermodynamics, conserving chemical system matter, types of potential and kinetic energy, energy transformations, and chemical/physical properties and changes. This section of the exam also looks at structural elements of atoms, including models, electrons, protons and neutrons, atomic mass and number, ions, electron arrangements, and radioactivity applications.
Category 3: Physical Sciences (22% with About 28 Questions)
Looks at elements of physics, including their mechanics, magnetic and electrical qualities, as well as primary optics and waves. This section of the exam also examines concepts in chemistry, including using the periodic table to predict element properties, along with the various kinds of bonding and composition of simple chemical compounds. Also reviews various states of matter and the types of phase changes involved. In addition, this section assesses your abilities with simple chemical equations, acid-base chemistry, plus solutions and solubility and the elements that come into play as part of the dissolving and solubility process.
Category 4: Life Sciences (24% with About 30 Questions)
Reviews knowledge in various areas such as cell structure and function, cell reproduction, life biochemistry, basic genetics, evolution concepts, the classification and qualities of major organism types, plant systems and organs, human body systems compared to other animals, and ecology principles.
Category 5: Earth and Space Sciences (18% with About 22 Questions)
Assesses knowledge in the areas of physical geology, historical geology, processes and structure of earth’s oceans and bodies of water, basic meteorology, and concepts in astronomy.
Category 6: Science, Technology and Society (12% with About 15 Questions)
Covers several broad categories, including the impact of technology and science on our society and environment, primary issues associated with energy management and production, applying technology and science in day-to-day life and the effect that science has on public health.
Calculating Your Passing Score: The passing score varies by association, institution, and state. Each entity sets their own passing score thresholds. Learn more at www.ets.org/praxis/states.
How Can I Prepare for the Praxis Middle School Science (5440) Exam
That’s a great question. We’ve broken down the answer into three parts.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!