General Suggestions for MTEL Preparation

  • Lesley MTEL Preparation Workshops - Given throughout the year, these workshops are valuable for study tips, test-taking strategies, some content, and practice questions. Several come with online diagnostics to help you determine where you may need extra work.
  • Videos and tutorials on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's MTEL website give information about the test and testing center formats.
  • MTEL Test Information Guides: How to prepare for the tests, examples of formats, and sample test items.
  • MTEL Practice Tests: Become familiar with the structure and content of the test you'll be taking, and take the practice tests.
  • MTEL Test Objectives: What the test is going to cover. Use as a study guide while linking test objectives to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for the subject tests, and your courses at Lesley.
  • Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: Describe in detail the content that you, as a teacher, will be expected to thoroughly know, understand, and teach, and on which you will be tested through the subject MTELs.
  • MTEL Resources at the Lesley Library: Sherrill Library offers a wide range of reference materials, including several MTEL resources on reserve at the Circulation Desk. Check out the FLO Online Catalog and search under "MTEL" or the specific subject area and level that you want to study.
  • Lesley students and alumni can get free MTEL tutoring for Communication and Literacy Skills test, help with writing and reading, and other resources.
  • Disability Services Office at Lesley.
  • Reduce Test Anxiety

Test-Specific Suggestions

  • Communication and Literacy

    Writing Subtest

    • Review the Communication and Literacy Skills prep materials on the DESE MTEL site.
    • Read the Op-Ed section of a good newspaper such as The New York Times or The Boston Globe, paying attention to the writing techniques the authors use to strengthen their arguments.
    • Acquaint yourself with current issues in education by reading popular periodicals such as Time, Newsweek, or Education Week. 
    • Get A Writer's Reference (6th edition) by Diana Hacker, Copyright 2007 by Bedford/St. Martin's. Read and review the sections on grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Other useful Diana Hacker books are Exercises to Accompany a Writer's Reference: Compact Format, and Development Exercises to Accompany a Writer's Reference.
    • Proofread your own emails to become aware of using proper grammar and mechanics.
    • If you are a Lesley University student and need extra help, call the Center for Academic Achievement at 617.349.8459 to schedule free tutoring appointments.
    • Read Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference (3rd Edition) by Andrea Lunsford, which contains a list of top 20 writing errors made by college students and how to correct them.
    • Internet Resources

    Reading Subtest

    Reading and Writing Test Practice

  • Early Childhood Education
    • Look at the ECE Test Preparation Materials on the DESE website. Also, review Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for content knowledge you will be expected to know and teach.
    • Network with other friends and contacts who have already completed MTEL(s).
    • Print out and take the practice test on the MTEL website.
    • Use study resources available online and in books. Some suggestions:
      • Curriculum trade books: E.D. Hirsch series, What Your Kindergartner (1st, 2nd grader...) Needs to Know
      • Curriculum guides: individual school districts have guidelines for teachers about what will be taught in each grade. Public schools and libraries should have this available. You may want to then get a 1st grade math textbook, for example, to see how concepts are being taught. This can be done for math, literacy, social studies, health, and science.
    • Use online educational games to practice factual recall and trigger information you may have learned a long time ago. 
    • The following list is suggested resources found either in bookstores or libraries:
      • Uniquely Massachusetts by Carol Domblewski , Heineman Library (2004). 
      • Summer Bridge Activities Grades 7-8, Rainbow Bridge Publishing (2003). It's a workbook, perfect for math and map skills, charts and some other science content. 
      • Revised Edition Math Yellow Pages for Students and Teachers, Incentive Publications, Inc (2002). Resource for math formulas (geometry, definitions, weights and measure, fractions).
      • Flash Forward Math 6th Grade, Spark Publishing (2007). 
      • XAM MTEL Early Childhood 02 (Paperback), XAM Publishing: info on developmental and other content in the beginning and two practice tests. 
  • Foundations of Reading
    • Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read, 3rd Edition, 2006 [PDF] provides an excellent overview of all test content and is a good place to start. However, DISREGARD the advice on the bottom of page 5: “Phonemic awareness instruction is most effective when children are taught to manipulate phonemes by using the letters of the alphabet.” This theory contradicts the theory that serves as the basis for many of the FOR test questions (that phonemic manipulation exercises should not involve print).
    • RICA Reading Instruction Competence Assessment Practice Test [PDF] – This is a California teacher test for reading instruction created by Pearson, who also creates the Foundations of Reading. Good practice for the FOR exam.
    • Beating Them All! Thirty Days to a Magic Score on Any Elementary Literacy Instruction Exam for Teacher Certification by Chris Nicholas Boosalis (available commercially or at Lesley-Sherrill Library).
    • Speech to Print: Language Essentials for Teachers, by Louis Moats, Ph.D. Highly recommended, and particularly essential for anyone preparing for the Reading Specialist MTEL.
    • Sound it Out by John Savage (in Sherrill Library or available commercially).
    • Teaching Reading in the 21st Century by Michael F. Graves, Connie Juel, Bonnie B. Graves.
    • Teaching Reading in Today's Elementary Schools. Burns, Row, and Smith. Boston:Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Read Burns's Chapter 3 on Word Recognition very carefully and take notes on it. This chapter will help enormously with the first forty-four multiple choice questions and the running record writing piece.
    • Phonics They Use. Cunningham, Patricia. New York: HarperCollins, 2000.
    • The Beginning Reading Handbook. Head-Taylor, Gail. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2001.
    • Language Arts: Content and Teaching Strategies. Tompkins, Gail. New Jersey: Merrill Prentice Hall, 2002.
    • Phonics, Phonemic, and Word Analysis for Teachers: An Interactive Tutorial. Wilson, R.M., et al. 7th edition. New York: Prentice Hall, 2000.
    • Ready for Rica: A Test Preparation Guide for California's Reading Instruction Competence Assessment. Zarillo, James. New Jersey: Merrill, 2002.
    • Phonics, Phonemic Awareness and Word Analysis for Teachers, An Interactive Tutorial. Leu, Kinzer, Wilson & Hall - according to one student this is a great book; wonderful study aide.
    • Foundations of Reading: Effective Phonological Awareness Instruction and Progress Monitoring

    Ideas and Concepts to Review

    • Anything having to do with word recognition. In particular, phonological terms and concepts and elements of structural analysis.
    • Reading theories and philosophies - whole language philosophies, skills-based approaches, literature-based approaches. If possible, please visit the selection of basal readers available in Sherrill Library.
    • Review running records and miscue analyses.
    • Review comprehension chapters in texts (Chapters 5 & 6 in Burns, Roe, and Smith are manageable and cover most material).
    • Review comprehension of expository versus narrative texts.

    Take the entire official MTEL practice test.. Write brief notes next to every answer option. It’s important to focus on the wrong answers as well as the correct answer in order to deepen your knowledge. Forcing yourself to write notes makes you a better reader of test questions, serves as an excellent review of material, and reveals gaps in knowledge that require further studying.

  • General Curriculum Multi-Subject
    • MTEL General Curriculum (03) Exam Secrets Study Guide: MTEL Test Review for the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure by MTEL Exam Secrets Test Prep Team (Paperback, 2009).
    • Methods, Strategies, and Elementary Content for Beating AEPA, FTCE, ICTS, MSAT, MTEL, by Chris Nicholas Boosalis, Allyn & Bacon. Available commercially or in the Lesley Sherrill Library.
    • MTEL General Curriculum (Field 03) - The Best Teachers' Test Prep by Staff of REA (Paperback: Research & Education Association, 2007) Available commercially or at Lesley Sherrill Library. (This guidebook is not recommended for the Math subtest.)
    • Everything you need to know about...(American History) (Science) (Geography) (English) Homework by Anne Zeman and Kate Kelly, Scholastic Reference, 2005. A reference set of books for parents and students in grades 4–6.
    • What Your 6th Grader Needs to Know. E.D. Hirsh Jr, Core Knowledge Series.
    • For History review: "Turning Points in US History," a DVD series of 30-minute shows highlighting each century—check local libraries.
    • Schoolhouse Rock Video Series (videos on numerous topics like science, grammar, math).
    • MCAS Exams that students take are useful for studying.
    • Review juvenile non-fiction books and elementary texts that align with objectives. Enter each objective into library search and read books that support them.
    • Try other state student exams, e.g, New York State Regents Elementary.
    • GED Study Guides
    • BrainPOP
    • Wikipedia
    • Flashcard Exchange
    • Fact Monster
    • Best History Sites
    • Teacher's Domain (science)
  • General Curriculum Math
  • Middle and High School Subjects

    English: Study Guides for the SAT II - Literature, Writing (Barron's, Princeton Review, etc.);  Norton Anthology of American Literature - print and online; Norton Anthology of World Literature - print and student website

    General Science/Science:

    • Reviewing Intermediate Level Science, Preparing for your Eighth-Grade Test, 2nd edition, Paul S. Cohen, Anthony V. Sorrentino, AMSCO School Publications - 8th grade review book gives the scope of material on the MTEL. Chapters cover topics in life, physical, earth, and space science; scientific method; and technology. Questions in each chapter.
    • Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy, by Robert M. Hazen, James Trefil.
    • Khan Academy - brief informational videos online about biology, chemistry, physics.
    • Several good high school science texts to study from:
      • BSCS Biology, A Molecular Approach, 8th edition, 2001; Biology, The Web of Life, Eric Strauss and Marylis Lisowski, 1996.
      • Modern Chemistry, Raymond Davis, et al., Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2002; Chemistry: Concepts and Applications, Cheryl Winstrom, et al., Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 2002.
      • Modern Earth Science, William Ramsey & Raymond Buckley, Holt, Rinehart and Winston
      • Conceptual Physics, Paul Hewitt, Prentice Hall, 2002; Conceptual Physical Science, Paul Hewitt, Prentice Hall, 2001.
      • Study Guides for the SAT II - Biology, Chemistry, Physics (Barrons, Princeton Review, etc.).
      • Online simulated lab on biology, chemistry, physics and math.
      • MIT has an open source for courses on various subjects.
      • The Handy Chemistry Answer Book, Ian C. Stewart and Justin P. Lomont, Visible Ink Press, Canton, MI (2014).

    History: Khan Academy - brief information videos on US and World History (under Humanities); history textbooks used in public schools; Digital History - a website containing 20 major eras in American history, each with an overview as well as recommended documents, textbooks, quizzes, and other useful information.

    Mathematics:

  • English as a Second Language and Sheltered English
    • Essential linguistics. What you need to know to teach. Freeman, D. and Freeman, Y. (2004). Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann. This book is good for information on theory.
    • Reading, writing and learning in ESL. Peregoy, S. and O. Boyle. (2005).4th edition. New York: Allyn & Bacon. This book will give you the classroom strategies you need for the test.
    • Principals of Language Learning and Teaching. H. Douglas Brown.
    • Supporting English Language Learners in Mainstream Classrooms, Deborah Horan, Boston College Title III Project. A 12-page pamphlet with information for all educators about teaching ELLs. 
    • Wright, W. E. (2010). Foundations for teaching English Language Learners. Research, theory, policy, and practice. Philadelphia: Caslon Publishing: good for a historical perspective, legislation, policy, etc.
    • Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning: Teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann: teaching English learners in mainstream contexts, both theory and practice.
    • WIDA English Language Proficiency Standards (2007/2012). 
    • Recommended for Early Childhood Educators: Tabors, P. (2008) 2nd edition. One child, two languages: A guide for early childhood educators of children learning English as a second language. Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishers.
    • Read and do practice questions in the Test Information Booklet.
    • MTEL English as a Second Language (ESL) 54 Teacher Certification Test Prep Study Guide, Wynne, S. (2011). XAMonline, Inc. 
    • Quizlet - ESL MTEL Flash Cards
    • Quizlet - ESL MTEL Theorists and Terms
    • Texas ESL Practice Questions
    • ESL MTEL Practice Tests
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