Praxis Physics: Content Knowledge (5265) Exam

Physics has a certain electricity about it, doesn’t it? But it also has mechanics and optics and waves, other topics covered in the Physics: Content knowledge (5265) exam offered by Praxis. Educators take the Praxis exam to show they have the expertise to teach at the secondary school level. It’s an important test because several states use the exam as part of their licensure process. With so much on the line, it’s important candidates know what to expect on test day. This guide will help by offering an insight into the test as well as information on a study guide to help you prepare for the exam.

What is the fee to take the exam?

Candidates pay a $120 fee to take the Physics: Content knowledge (5265) exam.

Candidates pay a $120 fee to take the Physics: Content knowledge (5265) exam.

There are 125 selected-response questions on the exam and candidates have 2.5 hours to complete the test.

What’s on the exam?

The Physics: Content knowledge (5265) exam has six content categories, as outlined below:

  • Mechanics. Topics include motion and forces; mass, speed, and other scalars; displacement, velocity, and other vectors; linear, circular, and projectile motion; relative velocity; Newton’s laws of motion; sum of forces and torques; normal and frictional force; and impulse and impulse momentum.
  • Electricity and Magnetism. Topics include electric and induced charge; electrical field, flux, potential and potential energy; conductors, insulators, semiconductors, and their electrical properties; alternating and direct current; series, parallel, and direct circuits; and magnetic field, flux, and force.
  • Optics and Waves. Topics include wave types and characteristics; scattering, absorption, and transmission; Doppler effect fundamentals; moving source and observer; sound, including wave, pitch, and beats; electric and magnetic field; and prisms.
  • Heat, Energy, and Thermodynamics. Topics include temperature; heat and thermal energy; heat transfer mechanisms like conduction and radiation; energy forms; phase transitions and diagrams; thermodynamic laws; and heating/cooling diagrams.
  • Modern Physics, and Atomic and Nuclear Structure. Topics include matter; atomic and subatomic structure; radioactivity; alpha and beta particles; and modern physics. 
  • Scientific Inquiry, Processes, and Social Perspectives. Topics include scientific inquiry, including problem identification; hypothesis forming and testing; theory, model, and law development; variables, both dependent and independent; how physics principals developed; and data collection, processing, and analysis.

Where can I take this exam?

Candidates can use the test website to find a test center location nearest to them. The Praxis tests are delivered at private testing centers that have locations across the country.

When should I arrive at the test center?

Please arrive at least 30-minutes before your test time for pre-test check-in and other exam procedures.

What identification will I need to show at the test center?

You should bring a driver’s license or another piece of government-issued identification that contains your photo and signature. You’ll also need to show a second piece of ID, like a student ID, and your admission ticket.

Can I bring and use my own calculator during the test?

No. Calculators are prohibited.

Will I be provided any tools to help answer questions during the test?

Yes. Candidates will have access to the periodic table of elements.

Can I bring my mobile phone and other personal items into the test room?

No. All personal items, including electronic devices, are banned from the test room. You can consult the test center rules for a list of prohibited items.

When can I see my test results?

Please check the exam website since states have different policies on releasing test scores.

What is the test’s passing score?

You’ll need to check with your local jurisdiction since states set their own passing scores.

How Can I Prepare for the Praxis Physics: Content Knowledge (5265) 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: July 28, 2021