How to Pass the CTEL (CLAD) Exam

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If you are a teacher in California, taking and passing the CTEL (California Teacher of English Learners) Exam is the first step towards keeping your California teaching credential and keeping your job. Let me preface this by saying that this is a very tricky test, and in my opinion, very unfair. I found many of the questions to be rather ambiguous and deceiving. You need a score of 70 percent or better to pass the exam. The written sections account for two-thirds of your score and are scored on a 1 to 5 scale. Follow these steps to pass the exam.

  • The CTEL Examination study guide is available online by selecting "Study Guide" on the CTEL website (see link in Resources below). In my opinion, this does not prepare you for the exam; you are going to need outside help to pass this exam.

  • Purchase some other study guides or ask to borrow them from friends who have take the exam. I bought some flashcards from Morrison Media and they were very helpful.

  • Start studying several weeks before the exam; this is not a test you want to cram for.

  • Learn all your buzzwords like "scaffolding" and such.

  • Once you begin the exam, read the essay questions first. The reason for this is that after you read the essay questions there should be several questions in the multiple choice portion that will help you or give you ideas for your essay.

  • Do not spend too much time on one multiple choice question. This is where I feel that the exam is unfair. I was able to easily narrow most answers down to a choice of two, but then the last two answers are both correct, although one is more correct and that is left up to the test makers.

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