6 Tips For Taking the Praxis Exam

6 Tips For Taking the Praxis Exam

The test that determines our fate... doesn't determine our fate
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It is just a test. I know it costs money, and I know it determines the rest of your life...but it doesn’t. If you are taking the Praxis then you already know that tests and exams don’t actually reflect on your intelligence. You know that just because some people are good test takers doesn’t mean they actually know the material. You also know that just because people know the material doesn’t mean they will test well. It sounds like a lose-lose situation, but it isn’t. You. Got. This. If you fail, it DOES NOT mean you are going to fail as a teacher. I repeat. If you fail, it DOES NOT mean you are going to fail as a teacher.

Here are some tips for studying as well as ways to reduce your Praxis anxiety.

1. Take the practice test

Take the practice test to understand what your strengths are, as well as the topics you may need to improve on. Taking a practice test will give you an idea of what the exam will be like. Taking practice exams will also get you more comfortable with the idea of taking the exam. Imagine walking into taking the exam taking zero practice tests vs taking practice tests.

2. Study with a friend

There is no one else better to study with than someone who knows what you’re going through. For some reason, teachers really have a knack for finding ways to learn creatively. Finding a future teacher that is in the same boat as you will give you two brains creating unique ways to study and remember the material.

3. Use your resources

You have plenty of notes from classes that you know you saved because you’re a teacher AKA hoarder. Use what you have to help you study. Seeing your old notes and books can help jog your memory of what you may have learned and talked about in class.

4. Deep breathes

Don’t forget to breathe. Whenever you get frustrated take a step away or a brain break and take deep breathes. Focusing on your breathing will help you relax because you aren’t focused on whatever problem or material is stressing you out.

5. Little by little

Do not sit down all in one night to learn all the material. Set goals for yourself. Reasonable goals. For example, maybe focus on math for one week or focus on a specific theorist in one study session. Do not try to cram for everything each time you study. Not only will it feel like it is impossible, you will get frustrated and burn out before you learn anything.

6. Be your own student

Treat yourself like you’d treat your own students. You would never be negative towards them, instead, you’d encourage them. If they got a problem right, you’d be proud of them. If they got a problem wrong, you’d find out where they messed up and work from there. Be the inspirational, positive and encouraging teacher you want to be to yourself.
Cover Image Credit: Avonshae Rounds

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10 Horrible Fashion Trends From Our Middle School Days

What a time to be alive.
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Being in middle school is one of the worst times of your life. You're awkward and you have no idea what to think about everything that is changing. I was cleaning out my closet the other day and found my old pair of Etnies and started reminiscing upon some of the worst trends that ever existed in the 2000s. I look at pictures of myself from middle school and cringe. I really just want to tell my past self to stop shopping at Claire's and Aeropostale. But since I did shop at those stores, I do have many embarrassing photos and fashion choices. Here's a list of popular (and unfortunate) trends from the 2000s.

1. Aeropostale

Buy all the graphic tees! I had at least one in every color. So many skin-tight tees were a part of my wardrobe. These t-shirts would always be spotted in MySpace profiles with people throwing a peace sign. Unfortunately, Aero has filed for bankruptcy, so we will be seeing less of them.

2. Rubber "Causes" Bracelets

You would see people walking around with these things up to their elbows! I had one for pretty much every type of cancer/disease you could imagine. Of course the yellow "Livestrong" bracelets were the bracelets that started the trend. (Thanks Lance for that let down.)

3. Silly Bandz

Yet again, a bracelet trend took over our middle school minds. I remember wearing so many of these wonderful "bandz" that the circulation in my arms were cut off. It was also the best thing to compare and trade silly bandz with your friends. I also scoffed at all of the knock-off brands. I only wanted the real deal.

4. Gauchos

Back when these pants were popular I had at least three pairs in a good variety of colors. I wore them so much, my mother could not do the laundry fast enough. I would compare these pants to yoga pants today because they were just as comfortable. It was always way cooler to wear a poncho with gauchos.

5. Massive Sequin Purses

Every girl had these. Mine was lime green. I thought that these purses were cute at the time, but really they are just atrocious. I'm not even sure why I was carrying a purse in middle school. I really didn't have that much stuff save for my phone, lipgloss, and gum.

6. Wearing Jeans with Dresses

Is that dress or skirt too short? No problem, just wear jeans under it! But really though, I have never understood this trend. Even when it was "popular" I thought that it was just plain ugly. I mean, how can you even look at this picture of Ashley Tisdale and not cringe?

7. Heelys

Hands-down the best trend of middle school. Some of my best memories are in Target Heely-ing around the entire store. I would still wear my Heelys today if I had them. No regrets about these shoes. Every adult that I've ever talked to about them, hated them. I guess that's why they were basically banned from everywhere.

8. Soffe Shorts

I had (have) a pair of these in every color. Having these made you cool. Quite often paired with rubber Old Navy flip-flops or some Rainbows, these cotton shorts were a staple of any middle school girl in the 2000s. My cheerleading really helped reinforce my love for these shorts. But thankfully it seems that "norts" have replaced these.

9. Nike Shox

Who actually cared if the spring-things made walking or running easier. These shoes just looked so cool. While writing this article, I was surprised to find out that Nike still makes these shoes. It was always the sporty-athletic people who wore these.

10. Popcorn Shirts

I never understood the madness that is the science behind these magically shrinking and expanding shirts. They are just straight up fascinating. The best ones were tie-dyed. I had one blue one and thought it was the greatest shirt ever.

Cover Image Credit: Cloud Front

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Chill Out, Your Major Doesn’t Define Your Career

Oh and by the way, feel free to change your major 15 times.

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In high school, we have some kind of idea what area we're interested in and maybe, just maybe, if you were really a star student, you had a career in mind. We apply to the major, we get accepted into the major, we finally get to study it and find out that this selection you just made with your adolescent brain may be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. Or perhaps you already knew what you were good at, what you were interested in, and what you were passionate about. However, social pressures (family, friends, etc.) have convinced you that it's not worth studying that very thing you love. So you choose something else that sounds more "noble" and you completely dread the classes you take on that topic for the rest of the quarter/semester.

If that sounds like you, then you're not alone.

I know Computer Science majors who become Sociology majors, I know English majors who become Biochemistry majors, and I know Nursing majors who become Art majors! To those people who realized that their passions were set elsewhere, I applaud you. It takes great courage to make the big switch, ESPECIALLY if you're already a third-year or fourth-year student. Too often, I see bright and shiny Freshman come in with a major they absolutely hate and refuse to change it because of either 1. Pride or 2. Social Pressures. As someone who went from Nursing to Psychology to Anthropology and now English, Pre-Occupational Therapy. I have TOTALLY have been there.

The notion that we all should know what we want, what we want to do, and where we want to go fresh out of high school is completely ridiculous. At that point in your life, you haven't even really figured your own self out. Of course, college is challenging. I'm not saying that you should completely drop out of your major the moment you don't find success. All I'm saying is that you will know when you're not happy with what you're studying, and you will know that something else other than your chosen major is calling to you and look, nobody will hate you for changing your major. A piece of advice that I received from a mentor seemed to clear it all up for me:

"Undergraduate life is not so much about discovering more about what you initially thought you wanted to study, it's about learning more about yourself than any other subject on your schedule. It's about finding things you're passionate about and finding a way to spread that joy with others and perhaps even carry it on to your future academic goals."

Of course, you'll compare yourself to that kid who had private tutoring and career coaching since he was 7. You'll see your friends in the same major succeeding, and you'll wonder why you're not doing the same. You may even have family members who praise your major so much that you'll feel too ashamed or embarrassed to change it at this point. Maybe you really like that sense of pride (and that hint of elitism) when you tell someone you're majoring in x even if you've been crying every night while studying for the third midterm that you're about to blow for the third time. Perhaps you're thinking about the stable job opportunities with that major.

Whatever your reason may be, here's a piece of advice one of my other mentors also gave me:

"What many undergraduates don't understand is that their 'major' doesn't really mean anything except 'hey, look! I graduated!' Students tend to stay within the borders of their chosen major and don't think outside-the-box. I was a Biochemistry Major at UCLA, but the environment took a toll on my mental health. I always loved literature, but decided against it because I felt like I would disappoint my family. But I made the switch to an English Major anyway, did the prerequisites for Medical School on the side, and now I am surgeon-poet! I work in Pediatrics, so I always like to teach my younger patients how to write poetry. It helps them cope with their illnesses or disabilities and stimulates their brain-functioning at the same time!"

So look, you are not defined by the title on the piece of paper you receive when you graduate. What you first checked in that box will not determine where you end up in life. Don't be afraid to explore your interests, don't let go of your dreams, and know that life isn't painted in black and white. If you are happy, if you are passionate, and if you have discipline, then you will succeed.

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