Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications (5543) Exam

Individuals who want to teach students in grades Pre-K to 12, with mild to moderate disabilities, must take and pass the Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications Exam. This exam is designed to evaluate the prospective teachers’ ability to instruct on particular content areas.

This computer-based exam consists of 90 multiple-choice questions and 3 integrated constructed-response questions (essay or short-answer). You will be allotted 90 minutes to complete the multiple-choice questions, and 30 minutes to complete the integrated constructed-response questions.

Examinees with conditions covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, who require special testing accommodations, may make this request in writing.

Some of these accommodations include extended testing time, breaks, separate testing room, pen/pencil test, Perkins Brailler, and large print test book and answer sheet.

This exam will cover what topics?

  • Development and Characteristics of Learners – 17 questions
  • Planning and the Learning Environment – 20 questions
  • Instruction – 20 questions
  • Assessment – 17 questions
  • Foundations and Professional Responsibilities – 16 questions
  • Integrated Constructed-response Questions – 3 questions

Under the topic of Development and Characteristics of Learners, the subtopics that will be assessed include human development and behavior, theories of student learning and motivation, major disability categories, impact of disabilities, identification process and language, culture, and gender, simultaneous conditions, family systems and people with disabilities, and student development and environment and society.

Under the topic of Planning and the Learning Environment, the subtopics that will be assessed include lesson plans, measurable learning objectives, curriculum access, learning environment organization, managing student behavior, and class environment and promoting student achievement.

Under the topic of Instruction, the subtopics that will be assessed include instructional strategies and techniques, use of research-based interventions, supplementary and functional curriculum, assistive technology, and preventive strategies for at-risk learners.

Under the topic of Assessment, the subtopics that will be assessed include evidence-based assessments, use of various assessments, and assessment results.

Under the topic of Foundations and Professional Responsibilities, the subtopics that will be assessed include federal definitions, pre-referral, referral, and identification, rights of stakeholders, individualized education program (IEP), legislation, special education teacher, other professionals who provide special education services, collaborative approaches, communication and stakeholders, and bias issues.

Under the topic Integrated Constructed-response Questions, the subtopics that will be assessed include instruction and assessment, learning environment, classroom management, and collaboration.

What is the most convenient way to register for the exam?

Register online and pay using a credit card or debit card. PayPal is also accepted. Once you have registered, print your admission ticket. You will need to take it with you to the testing center.

What is the cost of this exam?

The fee for this exam is $146.

What should I do the day of the exam?

Be sure to arrive at the testing center 15-30 minutes early so you have enough time to check-in and get settled before taking the exam.

In order to take the test, you must bring one valid form of identification that has your name, signature, and photo. This form of ID must be unexpired, and cannot be a photocopy or temporary.

This exam does not require a calculator, nor are you permitted to take one into the testing area.

Personal items such as a cell phone, purse, briefcase, food/drink, and study materials are not allowed on your person when taking the exam.

What happens after I take the exam?

You will not receive your score before leaving the test center because it takes additional time to grade your constructed-response questions. Approximately three weeks after the close of your testing window, you will be allowed to access your official score report online.

What is the passing score of this exam?

Consult your state, as the passing score varies state to state.

What happens if I don’t pass the exam?

Luckily, failing the Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications Exam does not immediately disqualify you from being able to teach special education. You can retake it once every 21 days, until you have passed the exam.

How Can I Prepare for the Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications 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: March 8, 2024