The Praxis Middle School Mathematics Certification Exam: possibly the last hurdle that stands between you and your goal of becoming the world’s greatest middle school math teacher. Maybe you didn’t plan on becoming a math teacher but you heard about an opening at a local school and want to apply. In any event, this test should not be a major hurdle. A little common sense, preparation, and positive attitude should be more than enough to get you through this latest and possibly last examination of your student career. Take it from a late career changer who never thought of becoming a math teacher, this test should not be a problem for you.

Step 1. If you’re math-phobic, don’t freak out. This isn’t rocket science. If you took calculus or trigonometry in high school and hated it, guess what? There’s none on the test. Middle school students don’t learn calculus or trigonometry. Basic algebra and geometry is about all you’ll need.

Step 2. Don’t waste $20 or more, buying a fancy Praxis or math study book. You already learned all the material you’ll need, otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten into, or through college.

Step 3. Go to the website of the company that actually makes the Praxis Middle School Math exam. Here’s the link. Educational Testing Service You will find a detailed description of exactly what is on the test, what type of questions are used, and how much time each question should take. It also provides sample questions.

Step 4. Read the Topics Covered and scare yourself half to death. Now take a deep breath and complete the sample questions. See? You actually do remember some of this.

Step 5. Analyze what you had trouble with in the sample questions and what topics that you don’t feel that you’re strong on.

Step 6. Go to a free math site like http://www.algebrahelp.com or http://math2.org or http://math.com and brush up on what’s giving you problems.

Step 7. After you remember how to solve a linear equation or whatever scary sounding operation that is actually very simple with just a little review, take the Praxis exam. Get there early with lots of sharp #2 pencils and a calculator. Graphing calculators are allowed, but nothing with QWERTY keys.

Step 8. When you receive your passing grade on the Praxis Middle School Math Exam, think about how much time you wasted worrying about what was really a pretty simple test. And smile. Good luck! (But you won’t need it.)