Test Taking Preparation/Remediation Strategies

Candidates can use scores from the ACT Plus writing (www.actstudent.org) or the SAT (http://sat.collegeboard.org/hom) in lieu of the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) test. Students need a composite score of 22 on the ACT Plus writing and a minimum 19 in combined English/writing if taken prior to September 2015. ACT Plus writing scores taken after September 2015 require a minimum of 16 in the writing. ACT Plus writing scores taken after September 10, 2016 require a minimum of 6 in the writing. Students need a composite score of 1030 on the mathematics and critical reasoning sections of the SAT and a minimum 450 in writing if taken prior to March 5, 2016. SAT scores taken after March 5, 2016 require a composite score of 1110 (evidence-based Reading and Writing + mathematics) and a minimum of 26 on the Writing and Language Test.

The test is required for acceptance to the WIU Teacher Education Program (TEP).  Candidates need to confirm that the passing results of the ACT Plus Writing, Test of Academic Proficiency (400) or SAT are on file in the CPEP/ Advising Center (HH91).

ACT Plus Writing

The ACT consists of four multiple-choice tests:

  • English: 75 multiple-choice questions;
  • Mathematics: 60 multiple-choice questions;
  • Reading: 40 multiple-choice questions;
  • Science: 40 multiple-choice questions;
  • Writing: 1 prompt
  1.  Review the test framework: www.actstudent.org/testprep/descriptions/
  2. Review the online ACT test prep materials: http://www.actstudent.org/testprep/
  3. Review preparation materials such as: ACT for Brainiacs; The Real ACT Prep Guide or Dissecting the ACT 2.0
  4.  Take the ACT practice questions: http://www.actstudent.org/sampletest/

Test of Academic Proficiency (400)

The Test of Academic Proficiency (400) consists of four independently scored and passed subtests.

  • Reading Comprehension: 48 multiple-choice questions;
  • Language Arts (grammar and writing): 42 multiple-choice questions;
  • Mathematics: 35 multiple-choice questions; and
  • Writing: 1 constructed-response assignment.

A passing score on each subtest is required to pass the Test of Academic Proficiency (400). Passing subtest scores will be banked, such that candidates will only need to complete subtests they have not yet passed. Candidates should take the Test of Academic Proficiency (400) during the first semester of their sophomore year. Registration for Test of Academic Proficiency (400) is available online at http://www.icts.nesinc.com.  It is strongly recommended that candidates take measures to prepare for the test.  Sitting repeatedly for a test will require paying to take the test multiple times, which will be costly. 

  1. Review the Test Framework (http://www.icts.nesinc.com/PDFs/IL_fld300_FW.pdf) The framework provides information on the content covered on the test in the areas of Reading Comprehension, Language Arts, Mathematics and Writing.
  2. Review the Test of Academic Proficiency (400) Study Guide (http://www.icts.nesinc.com/IL_studyguide_opener.asp#basicSkills)
  3. Take the interactive Test of Academic Proficiency (400) Diagnostic Practice Test (http://www.il.nesinc.com/IL_viewPT_opener.asp)


    • http://www.longsdalepub.com/icts-test.html Online course and practice test.  This site is highly recommended and well worth the money.
    • ICCB Basic Skills Preparation website managed by the Illinois Community College Board is:  http://www.basicskillsprep.org.
      The BST-Prep's purpose is to assist education students in becoming familiar with the Illinois Learning Standards and to develop the competencies necessary to successfully pass the Basic Skills. This study guide is divided into 18 different lessons.  Each lesson provides users with detailed information about each standard and learning activities that will reinforce the concepts being presented. In addition, there are learning reviews and a post test which closely resembles the Basic Skills.
      • Click on Register Student
      • Enter the Institution Passcode: H7P3J7IXYP  (Case sensitive, best to copy and paste this code)
      • Complete the student information section
      • You will be given a user name and password.  Do not lose this.
      • click on main, which takes you to the login page
      • Once logged in, you will be asked to change your password
      • When you do this, you will begin the preparation part of the Web site
    • https://www.fabmarks.com/
    • Suggestions for preparing for the Mathematics portion (prepared by Dr. Jim Olsen, WIU Math Department)
    • Math.com provides tips on working with different math subjects
    • PFD Boot Camp online.  This is a new web site being developed with tutorial videos and practice questions on percents, fractions, and decimals.  Modules are under construction. http://www.wiu.edu/users/mfjro1/wiu/BootCamp/PFDfront/index.html
    • http://www.mathpower.com/
      This site provides information about basic math, algebra, study skills, math anxiety and learning styles
    • http://www.mathforum.org/
      This site provides help in all levels of mathematics in a question and answer format
    • http://www.khanacademy.org                                                                                                                                                                                                        This site includes videos that provide explanations for solving a vareity of math problems.
    • Grammar tutorial  (prepared by Dr. Angela Ferree and Dr. Deborah Horack, WIU C & I Department)
    • Writing Component, contact the Writing Center, Simpkins Hall 341, 298-2815
    • http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/
      This site contains handouts and online quizzes on a variety of writing topics such as the writing process, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and essay writing
    • http://education.pearsonassessments.com/pai/ea/teacher/NES_Study_Products.htm
      This site contains online study tools for educator candidates seeking certification/licensure in a variety of fields
    • http://www.myplan.com/education/colleges/college_resources2.php
      The editors at MyPlan.com compile, summarize & provide links to sites that we believe may contain information of value to you. We do not, however, endorse these sites or the information they may contain, nor are we in any way affiliated with them. We simply believe in providing the best information to our users -- even if it may sometimes come from others
    • http://www.studygs.net/
      This site contains information about taking essay tests, multiple-choice tests, and test anxiety
    • Preparing for a multiple choice exam  (prepared by Dr. Reinhard Lindner, WIU EIS Department)
    • http://www.theastudyguide.com/
      The THEA Online Study Guide will help you:
      1. pinpoint your strengths and target areas needing improvement, using diagnostic tests and sample test questions
      2. familiarize yourself with key skills covered on the test, with rich content aligned to test skills
      3. practice with sample test questions and review correct answer explanations
    • http://www.teacherstestprep.com/praxis-1-practice-tests Praxis I is a test similar to the TAP used for admission to teacher education programs in other states. One free Praxis 1 practice test can be accessed. Once you finsih the practice test, you can go back to your account page to see your results. Feedback is provided fore each itme. An upgrade to another practice test, classroom notes, and video explanations is available for $65.
    • Commercial Guides (Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency (400) and ACT Study Guides) - Many commercial test preparation publishers have developed study guides.  These study guides can be found at bookstores and online through sites such as Amazon
    • Review Middle and High School textbooks
    • Hire a Tutor - consider getting help from a former teacher or friend with exceptionally strong skills in the area(s) in which you need help.


Registration information, test dates, test sites and information about testing accommodation requests are available online at http://www.actstudent.org/regist/ for the ACT Plus writing and at http://www.icts.nesinc.com for the TAP test. Please note you cannot register for the TAP test online if you are requesting alternative testing arrangements.  All documents for alternative testing must be mailed and received by the regular registration deadline.  Please read all information carefully.  Be sure to report Western Illinois University as a score recipient on the TAP test. Be sure to report the Illinois State Board of Education as a score recipient on the ACT Plus writing.