Your Guide to the History MTEL

history MTEL

Your Guide to the History MTEL

A passing score is required on the History MTEL for anyone hoping to seek a license to teach history in Massachusetts public schools. Like all MTELs, this test requires careful preparation, but there are some very specific skills you’ll need to pass. Unlike the Communication and Literacy Writing exam, test takers are not assessed on reading and writing skills (more on that below) but instead on knowledge of the covered topics.

The History MTEL encapsulates a wide range of topics, and believe it or not, it actually covers more than just history. It requires competence in five key topics: United States history, world history, geography, government/political science, and economics.

The Structure of the History MTEL

The History MTEL is structured much like many of the other MTEL exams and is broken down into two sections: multiple choice and open response. 

The Multiple Choice Section 

When you begin the exam, you will be brought right into the multiple-choice section. 

Test prep material can sometimes be deceitful when it comes to the History MTEL. Despite the way that MTEL structures their study guide, this section does not follow any linear or thematic pattern. Basically, one question might be about World War II and then the next might ask about the fall of the Roman Empire.

The multiple-choice section consists of 100 questions. Roughly 38 out of the 100 questions assess knowledge of United States history, 31 questions assess world history, and 31 questions assess politics, economics, and geography. 

The questions themselves are not all structured the same way. There are questions based on primary source reading passages, ones on interpreting tables, graphs, maps, or pictures, along with the more “traditional” multiple-choice questions.

The Open Response Section 

Next up is the open response section. This section consists of two open response questions that, similarly to the multiple-choice section, can cover a wide range of topics. 

These questions can come from any of the above-mentioned topics covered on the exam, so knowing exactly what to study to narrow your focus is key to passing this section. 

It is also important to note that – while writing abilities are not at the forefront of scoring on this section – they are not ignored, so be sure to brush up on your writing, especially if it has been awhile since taking the Communication and Literacy exam.  

A clear, concise, and direct open response free from major grammatical issues will earn the highest score.

History MTEL Scoring 

The History MTEL is scored much like many of the other MTEL exams. The passing score is 240 out of 300. The multiple choice counts for 80% of the score, while the open response counts for 20% (10% for each question).

The MTEL score is scaled.  Your raw score, the actual number of questions or points you earned on the test, is converted to a scaled score. The scaled score depends on how the rest of the people did who took the same version of the exam you did.  

The same raw score can result in a higher or lower scaled score; if people did worse overall, a raw score would convert to a higher scaled score.  Your score is compared to how everyone else did; you do better when others do worse and vice versa.

Studying for the History MTEL 

While the History MTEL assesses students on their knowledge of history, government and political science, economics, and geography, it is still an MTEL; the same test-taking strategies that lead to success on other MTELs are helpful when applied to the History MTEL. 

We use the same approach to test-taking as we do for the other exams. We walk you through the necessary content and the structure of writing the open response questions. You will be taught the same logic-based test-taking system used for the other MTELs. We examine the different types of multiple-choice questions and practice best strategies to be able to accurately answer the questions. 

This exam can be overwhelming due to the expansive topics covered. But, with study guides designed to focus on the most important topics on the exam, we pare down your studying to a more manageable preparation experience. This includes three distinct study guides: World History, United States History, and Government/Political Science/Economics/Geography. These study guides combined with the test-taking strategies necessary to pass!

Check out our website here to learn more and see an overview of the classes offered. The MTEL exams can be challenging, so MTEL practice is key to success. We’re always here to help. 

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