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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 Heyn is the Director of K-12 Professional Development at The Art of Education. She enjoys helping to create relevant, engaging PD just for art teachers.

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