The Ultimate Guide to Acing the Praxis II Art Test

Art teachers and test taking go together like oil and water. However, sometimes tests are unavoidable. For many, one such test is the Praxis II, which teachers have to take to gain licensure in certain states. If the Praxis II is in your future, have no fear! We’ve compiled the following guide with the help of our knowledgeable Facebook Fans.

The guide is broken into 2 parts: Under “General Resources” you’ll find things to help you study for the test overall. Under “Specific Tips” you’ll find 4 categories on which to focus plus tips and resources for each.

Note: Even if you’ll never need to take the test, most of the resources below would be a fantastic way to deepen your art teaching knowledge!

General Resources
General

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Praxis Website

The Praxis Website has a free study companion. It will tell you what the test focuses on, as well as how many of each type of question you can expect. It also goes over all the topics that the test covers. It looks overwhelming but remember, you already know a lot of the information! The study companion also includes practice questions and tips for taking computerized tests. It’s worth a look. You can also pay to take a practice test through the website.

The Art Teacher’s Book of Lists

This suggestion came up again and again in our original Facebook Post. It’s an easy-to-digest resource that covers numerous art-related topics. Plus, it will serve as a fantastic guide for you even after you finish the test.

Quizlet

Quizlet is a website that allows users to make and save test prep materials such as flashcards. If you head to quizlet.com and search “Praxis II Art Content” you will find thousands of helpful study resources that you can use. You can also make your own! As a bonus, if you’re wanting to brush up on one thing in particular, you can narrow your search to something like, “Praxis II Art Content Printmaking.”

Mometrix Test Preparation

Mometrix has developed a study guide for the Praxis II Art Exam. At $39.99, it’s fairly pricey. We haven’t used this ourselves, and, therefore can’t vouch for it, but wanted to make sure you knew it was available. If you’ve used it, please let us know what you think in the comments below!

Specific Tips

1. Brush Up on Your Art HistoryArt History

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Art History is a major part of the Praxis II  Art Exam. If it has been a while since your last course, check out the recommended resources. You’ll want to focus on recognizing artists’ styles (i.e. not their most famous works), art movements, and multicultural art. Although the first two resources are books, if you don’t have time to devote to reading, brushing up by watching art history videos is another great suggestion.

– The Annotated Mona Lisa

– Art History for Dummies

– Art of the Western World Video Set
Buy the set used or check it out from the library.

– Art History YouTube Videos
Otis College of Art and Design has a nice set of short videos that move chronologically through time, as well as some longer videos about Modern art. However, with a quick search, you can find many different topics of interest.

– Art History Apps
Try Art  or Art Study to start, but know there are many more choices.

– Art History Quizlet Flashcards

2. Know Your Vocabulary
moma

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Chiaroscuro. Impasto. Assemblage. Do you know what these words mean? Gouache. Analogous. Sfumato. How about those? The test covers a wide variety of art-related vocabulary. Here are some resources to help.

– Vocabulary Quizlet Flashcards 

– MoMA Glossary of Art Terms

3. Learn About Different Processes and Techniques
how to etching

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The Praxis II wants you to know about many different art processes and techniques. The information might show up as a vocabulary word or could show up in a multiple choice question. Before you run for the hills, realize, you won’t have to study everything. You most likely already have a specialty in something whether it be painting, printmaking or ceramics. Concentrate on studying processes that are less familiar to you. Maybe you don’t know much about metals or have no idea what the aperture setting on a camera does. Focus on those things you don’t know much about and you’ll do just fine!

If you’re interested in diving into a specific medium, you may want to check out Art Ed PRO. We have a ton of Learning Packs that cover everything from jewelry making to ceramics to photography and more!

The Art Teacher’s Book of Lists is a great resource here too. MoMA Learning also works well because of the search feature. In addition, check out the Kahn Academy for videos on various process, like intaglio.

4. Be Familiar With Common Art Room Safety Proceduressafety

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The test generally has questions regarding art room safety procedures. Most of this is common sense. Do you think it’s a good idea to inhale clay dust? Didn’t think so. Regardless, if you want to brush up, there’s a super detailed safety book from the School of Art and Art History at the University of Florida available here, and a common sense Art Hazards Guide available from the Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment here.

On test day remember to stay calm and relaxed. If you read the Praxis website, it says that there may be questions on your test that are not graded, so don’t worry if something seems outrageously difficult. Make an educated guess on those questions you don’t know. With a bit of time and effort, you’ll come out on top!

Once again, thank you to all of those Facebook fans that posted tips and suggestions, especially those that shared their Quizlet flashcards. Incredible!

Tell us, have you taken the Praxis II test? What did you think?

What tips or advice would you add to our list?

Amanda Heyn

Learning Team

Amanda is the Senior Editor at AOE. She has a background in teaching elementary art and enjoys working to bring the best ideas from the world of art ed to the magazine each day. 

Related

  • Mary K. McCardel

    I’m taking this in May, thanks for the timely article. Fingers and paint brushes crossed.

  • Mr. Post

    This time in history will be remembered as the data-obsessed period. The time where humans tried to put a number on everything in an effort to improve it. After the data-obsessed period of massive testing passes, people will lament the disappearance of their humanity – well at least the people who don’t have their noses stuck to their phone screens. Humanity will split into two distinct species – the humans who actually notice nature and the world while living in it, and the computerthals who experience life by measuring data presented to them on their digital screens.

  • Amanda Vroman

    I just discovered Kahn Academy. How I did not know about it sooner, I have no idea. It has A LOT of art related content. I am currently watching their art history videos and re-designing my Art Analysis unit. I will have to check out the videos by Otis College of Art and Design as well. Thank you for sharing this information. I think these resources will be helpful to more than just the test takers. :)

  • Christopher Hall

    I failed it last year. I am taking it in June. I have a lot more time to study this time, but my memory is horrible, I never do well on tests. Any suggestions? I was supposed to get a 161 but received a 147. Any suggestions on the essays? Especially the essays on your own artwork?

  • artpoet

    I took and passed the version without the essays. I highly recommend quizups art history, sculpture and arts general sections as ways to brush up on art history.

    • April Davidson Hollingsworth

      Which version does not have essays? Art History and Content?

  • Sharon Hanna Canaday

    Does anyone know the standards that are used to ‘review’ the artwork we present? Much of my best work was destroyed when hour home was hit by a tornado 5 years ago, and the last 5 years of my life have been sucked dry raising some emotionally challenging kids we adopted, so I have not been able to replace it. That leaves me with stuff I did in college classes that was in my portfolio folder, under the stairs, and survived, and a few items that I have given to family members, and am thus able to photograph. I’m not sure if I should spend time this month creating new things, or if I should focus on studying and just assume what I have will be good enough. (I guess most of what they see IS from recent college graduates, so, mine will at least be comparable to that)

    • Hi Sharon, I did not have to present my own artwork for review, so I can’t help with specifics. That said, I would think that your college work would be fine, because, as you said, that’s what they’ll be seeing from many others too. It’s hard to create when you have so many other responsibilities!

    • Kelly Ford Muckell

      I was just wondering what you ended up doing, work from college or new work? I am taking the test in mid March, but finished my undergrade art therapy degree nearly 10years ago. Since then I have gotten my masters in elementary ed, taught in a 1st grade and have been raising my kids so I haven’t made much time to create new works.

  • Sharon Hanna Canaday

    and what the HECK does THIS mean?

    (from the study guide on the ETS website)

    For historical and theoretical foundations of art,
    candidates are asked to respond to a general topic
    by selecting, identifying, and analyzing a relevant
    art historical example from memory. Candidates
    may select a work of art from any culture and any
    art historical period, but the work must be verifiable.
    It must appear either in a textbook or online. It may
    not be an example of student work. In analyzing the
    selected work, candidates will have to supply specific
    visual evidence from memory, as well as engage with relevant art historical and theoretical concepts

    • It sounds like the test has changed somewhat in the last year or two. I don’t remember this question. However, this sounds like it’s asking you to choose a work of art to use as inspiration to answer a general question. I would prepare by selecting 2-3 works and studying them in depth. That way, you should be covered no matter what they throw at you. Best of luck!

      • Sharon Hanna Canaday

        this is preparation for one of the three essay questions (other two are about my own work – writing about process and analysis) The part that freaks me out a bit is the ‘from memory’ bit – does that mean I won’t even be able to LOOK at it, while I’m writing about it

        • I’m not sure. However, that’s what it sounds like.

          • Hillary Alysse

            Is there actually an essay section on the test (5134)? The study guide says right at the top that it’s 120 selected-response questions….I think the “Responding to Art” section is still multiple choice.

          • Thanks for the note! I did not have to complete an essay section when I took the test, but I wasn’t sure if it had changed formats or not. If the study guide says it’s 120 selected-response questions, it sounds like there is no essay.

          • Sharon Hanna Canaday

            there are two different Art tests, one with ‘analysis’ and one with out. Just depends which one your state requires. Mine requires the analysis. :(

          • Thanks so much for the information, Sharon!

  • Mariam

    I just took the 5134 art praxis which did not have a written portion. Know…Metals, Jewelry, Ceramics, 5+ questions on photography, at least 5 questions on safety. Some questions were tricky because of the wording but just read through it a few times. There were a few questions on specific artists, the type of art they did. famous African American artist who made story quilts < didn't know that one. Architects, Native American history, color theory, female artist who worked with text, installation art.

    • Bre Breasaurus Garcia

      Thank you!! I’ve got to take the 5134 next month and I’m freaking out bc there is SO much I still don’t know. This helps tremendously!

  • Bre Breasaurus Garcia

    Thank you so much for posting this, even if it was a while back. I’ll be taking the 5134 Art Praxis in about a month or so and there’s just SO MUCH I haven’t covered yet. I am terrified I won’t know everything I need to know to pass. This helps a lot.

  • Simone N MitchellScott

    Hi. I am an international teacher and this is my first time teaching in the US. I have taught in Guyana (my home country) Botswana and the Bahamas. I am now teaching Art at a High School in South Carolina. I have to take the Art Content and Knowledge 5135 Praxis test. where can i find and purchase the recommended book to study for this test. Desperately need answers.

    • Amanda Heyn

      Hi Simone,

      If you click the resource links in the article above, they will take you right to where you can purchase them. I would say the #1 resource people recommend is “The Annotated Mona Lisa.” Best of luck!

  • Mandy

    Hi everyone. I will be taking the Praxis II this summer. I bought the Art History for Dummies book but doe anyone know any good books that talk about other aspects of art such as the elements of design, techniques, etc? I can’t seem to find anything like that. I’ve been going over the flashcards on this website (which have been very helpful!) and I could use a book that talks about things like that in art like the vocabulary where the book I have now is mostly about art history.

  • Meghan McGinty

    Hi all! So, I have taken the Art Praxis II three times now, last time I didn’t pass by 1 point…I take it again in two weeks (my last chance). I am currently a Media Arts teacher at a local high school. Having not taken an art courses before besides Media Arts (photoshop, film, photography) and 1 Art History class in high school, I have had to learn all of this information without having the experience like most Art students do in college.
    I have studied multiple textbooks, quizlets, etc. I always excel in Art History…it’s Art Making that I struggle with. Does anyone have any advice on how I should study for principles of design/visual elements and *especially* applying it to a work of art? I know the terminology but when it comes to having to determine (for example) Which element of art did the artist use or emphasize most in this piece…..also identifying printmaking techniques just by looking at a work of art. ANY advice or study websites/links would be very much appreciated! I love my job and the students and want to pass so badly

  • Nikki West

    Just wondering if anyone knows how to upload your artworks to the ets website. I’m taking the Art: Content Knowledge (5134) which requires you to upload 4 artworks in 2 different mediums but no where can I find any directions on how to upload. Can anybody help a girl out? :)

  • Marcella

    I took the Art Content and Analysis Praxis 5135 and I have these resources to thank for my passing score. I used the Annotated Mona Lisa to study Art History and it helped tremendously on the history portion of the test. The book covered many of the questions on the test from prehistoric to modern art and I felt well prepared because of my time spent studying this book.

    I didn’t study Art Making and that was the portion I scored the lowest on. There were several questions specific to jewelry making, photography, digital art, print-making, weaving, and more. I should have spent more time preparing for this as it had the most amount of questions on the test. There were also many questions about tools, materials in various art supplies, and safety techniques. There were several questions where there were many potentially correct answers and you had to select the “most correct” one. That was challenging.

    There is a written response portion where you had to select an artwork from memory and explain how it demonstrates the prompt’s topic. It’s hard to prepare for that portion but I would recommend thinking of a variety of themes and artwork that fits those topics (see the example questions on the Praxis study guide and the practice test to get an idea of the prompts). There are also two prompts where you have to select one of your work samples and answer questions about the meaning or process behind your work. That part was much easier to answer than the first prompt.

    My recommendation is to use the resources listed on this blog. Don’t expect to go into it without studying and pass unless you are very confident that you have a deep understanding of all these topics. It isn’t an easy test. Take time to study and review.