Praxis Core Reading Test: Tips for Slow Readers

By Carla Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

Here, you will find some help with the complaint that so many Praxis Core test takers have, especially about reading comprehension tests: “I could get all the questions right if I had enough time, but I keep running out of time because I read slowly!”

If you’re worried about running out of time on the Praxis reading test because you’ve had trouble with time management on other standardized tests in the past, keep in mind that time may not be a problem this time around.

Although some of the questions on the Praxis can be tricky, most test-takers find it to be one of the more forgiving standardized tests where time is concerned (the time ratio ends up working out to more than 1.5 minutes per question, which almost everyone finds to be more than enough).

If anything, the more likely danger on the Praxis reading test is rushing because you expect to run out of time and making silly mistakes in your haste. Take some sample Praxis exams and time yourself. If you find that time is indeed likely to be a problem for you on this particular test, some of the following tips may help:

  • Skip the hard stuff. If you come to a particular sentence or section of a passage that you don’t fully understand, resist the urge to read it over and over. Keep going. The “hard part” only matters if that’s the part the question is about, and it probably won’t be, so don’t worry about it unless it turns out that you have to after you see the question.

  • Eliminate the wrong answers. If you find yourself stuck on a particular question, don’t waste time reading the choices again and again, praying that one will suddenly jump out at you as correct. Get more proactive about eliminating wrong answers. Don’t just read the answer choices — do something about them as you read, and you’ll notice an improvement in your time.

  • Resist the urge to skim. Letting your eyes rapidly glaze their way down the passage or using the old “first and last sentence of each paragraph” trick actually costs you more time than it ends up saving you, because most of the time you just end up having to read the passage again more carefully after you see the question.

    Read the whole passage quickly and once, without laboring over the parts that you don’t fully get. It may feel like you’re going slower than you would by skimming, but all things considered, you’re actually not. Doing something right the first time is faster than doing it quickly but inefficiently the first time and then having to do it again.

  • Don’t ponder skipping the question. Although the computer-delivered Praxis exam does allow you to skip and return to questions, keep in mind that doing so — or even thinking about doing so — can eat up more time than it would to simply force yourself to answer all the questions the first time around. Ten seconds spent wondering about whether you should skip each question really adds up!