How to Pass the General Curriculum Multi-subject MTEL

Multi-Subject MTEL

How to Pass the General Curriculum Multi-subject MTEL

ETI has been preparing students for this particular MTEL since before it actually existed, so we have more experience than anyone.   The General Curriculum MTEL evolved from the Elementary Education MTEL in the early 2000s.  My Communication and Literacy students from our first few years (we started in 1999) asked me for help with the Elementary Education MTEL (among others), so I read up on it and started more programs.  As the exam evolved, so has our program.

Most test takers find the aptly named General Curriculum Multi-subject MTEL to be quite difficult.  The test covers many subjects—hence the “multi-subject” moniker—science, history, and English.  Within those subjects are numerous subtopics such as biology, physics, US history, grammar, punctuation, authors, literary devices, and parts of speech.  These subtopics are further divided into dozens or even scores of other topics.  It’s not necessarily the content itself that makes this exam hard; the questions are fairly straightforward for their content area.  A biology question, for example, will be on a basic biology concept.  What makes this exam so difficult is the amount of content it covers.  The breadth of information that is covered is mind-numbing. 

So, given the task at hand, what should you do to prepare for this gargantuan exam?  Whatever you decide, take it as soon as you can.  The exam is changing in the summer of 2022, and we don’t know much about the revision.  What we do know is that the new General Curriculum exam will still be in two parts, but one part will be math/science and the other part will be history/ELA.  We do not know if the essential content of the exams will be changed significantly.  The last time this exam was changed in 2009, the math portion was significantly expanded and became much more difficult.  However, the science, history, and ELA were essentially unchanged.  Removed from the exam were the topics of child development and special education.

If you have a good and solid fund of knowledge, you can probably review the test-information booklet for the exam and review the topics you need to brush-up on.  Use the online practice exam for a good idea about the content, level, and wording of the questions.   Don’t use other sites’ materials as they do not represent what you will see on test day.  Use the genuine materials from the DESE/Pearson website. 

To review, use the Everything You Need to Know About _________ Homework series by Zeman and Kelley that are published by Scholastic.  I recommend the American History, World History, Science, and Geography titles to my students.  While they don’t always have the depth of material you need, they are an excellent review, very approachable, and cover most of the content you need.  You can supplement your studying with any Internet resources, Brain Pop, videos, etc., on any topics necessary. 

Most published “MTEL prep” books and Internet resources are not worth wasting your time on.  In my and my 1000s of students’ experience, they are simply not work wasting your time or money on.  I know a publisher of one of these series who has a book written for one state’s teachers’ exams, and the title is changed—not the content—for all other states with similar exams; many “MTEL” materials were not actually designed for the MTEL. 

If you don’t have a good fund of knowledge, never really learned the material when you were in school, or are SLD, ESL, etc., you might want to find a good preparation course.  My advice would be to thoroughly look at the websites of the prep companies and see if the teaching style and program is a good fit for you.  I do not recommend “boot camp” style programs.  There is simply too much information to absorb it all in a day or over a weekend.  I have run a few in the past, but I just don’t think they work.  They are easy, quick paydays, but they are not fair to students.  Those who do well in these programs most likely could have self-studied and been fine taking the exam. 

Since 1999, all of our programs have been guaranteed.  Thousands of educators have passed their MTELs and become certified teachers with ETI’s help.  joinETI.com to find out how we can guarantee your success! 

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